Thursday, March 22, 2012


Online Stopwatch has given me a solution, at least a temporary solution to a few quandaries I've been having with my sixth grade social studies students.  When given an assignment, almost any assignment, they look at it for all of two minutes then immediately begin asking questions.  Yesterday we (my teaching intern and I) gave them a guided reading assignment.  Many of the questions were simply fill in the blank questions.  They began asking us questions before they even opened the textbook! I decided to try something different today with another reading assignment.  After I gave them instructions and modeled how to answer a few questions, I told them that for the first 10 minutes that we would not answer any questions unless it was dire (vocabulary builder).  I used the rocket stopwatch from the classroom tools section to let them see when time was up.  It worked fairly well.  They found the answers on their own that they normally would have asked us to find for them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Freedom Center: National Underground Railroad Museum

    When my hubby told me that I would have a chance to go with him to Cincinnati, I knew one of the first places I wanted to go.  The National Underground Railroad Museum Freedom Center wasn't one of my first stops, but I'm glad I was able to take the tour.  One of the first things I liked was that they offer an educator (with I.D.) discount. Regular adult admission is $12. Educator/Student admission is $10. Children 6-12 is $8. Ages 5 and under are free with a paid adult for those of you with youngsters.  The second floor does have some kid friendly exhibits by the way.
      The next thing that I enjoyed was the fact that "audio tour" was free with admission.  Not only was it free but came in the form of an iPod Touch.  The iPod had a map of the museum along with videos that went along with most of the "sites" in the museum.  This feature would definitely lend itself to younger visitors.  In fact the family that came in behind me had a teenager with them that was quite excited by the iPod.  My students have the same reaction when I pull out my iPad and iPod Touches (See DonorsChoose Post).   I have a ton of pictures that I need to sort through from the trip. I was going to try to do it tonight, but Parent Teacher Night, a civic club meeting, and homework have me feeling lazy.  

Stay Tuned for more pictures and more from my trip...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Liebster Award LOVE

I know I'm double posting (tsk tsk), but I was too excited not to go ahead and share the news.  Another great event that occurred while I was away was I received the Liebster Award! I was so excited when I saw this! Kim from Finding JOY in 6th Grade bestowed this award on my humble blog. This has special meaning because my name is Joy and I just started teaching sixth grade this year (started teaching seventh in 2010).

This award is given to blogs with less than 200 followers and passed from Blogger to Blogger to highlight up and coming blogs.  Liebe is the German word for Love, so this award has a special meaning for those just starting out.  Guidelines for this award are as follows: 1) Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on yoru blog. 2)Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.  3) Copy and pasted the blog award on your blog.  4) Present the Liebster Blog Award to blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and 5) Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

I was awarded the Liebster Award by

joyin6th Homepage
Kim was my first commenter and first follower. I can't tell you how much this means.

I want to pass this honor along to....

Mrs. Piper at Pushing Through 6th Grade.  Check out this blog for some interesting math ideas.  Makes me glad that I'm not a math teacher :)

Misty at Think, Wonder, & Teach. She's having an awesome giveaway right now that you must check out! 

What are some other blogs that I should check out? 

Bibliomaniac on a Shopping Spree

     First of all, I want to welcome my new followers! I look forward to interacting with all of you.  I love how the blogging community allows us to connect with people we otherwise wouldn't meet.  I also want to apologize for not posting in a while.  If you saw Spring Break Day 1, I was on vacation in Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati. The next few posts will probably focus on that trip so I hope you don't get too bored...

       The first two days were spent in Florence, KY. I hate to admit it but I went on a small  medium sized shopping spree.  Garden Ridge, was my first stop after Cody went to "work."  Garden Ridge is a discount chain that sells books, clothes, crafts, furniture and so much more. I maintained a level of self control so I went on to Half Price Books, where I actually managed to walk out without anything.  Don't worry though... we'll come back to that.  From there I went to The Book Rack.  If you haven't been to one, check it out. They have stores everywhere. The store sells used books and also buys them.  This particular store was going out of business so I managed to get quite a few books for my classroom library - CHEAP.  Including two newish copies of The Hunger Games.  I might as well mention now I'm a closet bibliomaniac.  I'll try to get a picture of all the books I got on this trip and you'll see this fact for yourself....

      I spent a little while at the Florence Mall.  The Florence Y'all water tower is pictured above.  Supposedly the water tower originally said Florence Mall, but the development took too long and the developers were required to not display "Florence Mall" when there was none.  They painted over the vertical lines of the M and created a landmark along the interstate.  I spent way too much money at one of my favorite stores Torrid. I won't go into how much just in case my husband reads this.  

     In the midst of having a shopping high, I decided I better do some homework so I went to the local Barnes and Noble. I actually got some work done in my graduate class.  I'm taking a course on the Renaissance by the way.  As a reward I had a lovely Caramel Frappuccino.  I always feel quilty using the "free" internet and not buying anything.    

     I did get to do some "cultural" activities that I hope to get to soon... Homework is calling though. I should be reading Cardano's Cosmos for my class. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


     I had been considering going back to school for a few years and I finally bit the bullet last year.  I decided to start looking at some different programs. Through my research I discovered that Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky had an online Master's Degree Program. I applied and was fortunate enough to be accepted. I just started classes this semester, but I am already really excited about the program.  All that to say... yesterday we actually got to go through Bowling Green and we stopped and looked around the campus.  One of the first things I saw was this... Hardin Planetarium. In case your wonderful..."so what"... I'm Mrs. Hardin.

     On a side note  this is what I'll be driving for the next few days, a Ford Fiesta.  I normally drive a cherry red 2005 PT Cruiser.  My Dad got it for me for high school graduation.  It makes me feel old to think that I've had that little car almost exactly 7 years now (Dad surprised me with it on St. Patrick's Day). It's getting a much needed break (approaching 135,000 miles) for a few days while I'm on vacation.  
     While I'm on the other side of the Mason Dixon Line (in Kentucky right now), I plan on making the rounds of museums and attractions (not to mention shopping).  I'll try to get some good photos.  The ones today are from my phone, sorry for the poor quality.  If I don't post again, enjoy your week. I know I'll be enjoying mine - IT'S SPRING BREAK.  I'd do the happy dance, but I'm in the hotel "Executive Business Center" right now... I'll wait until I get in the parking lot.   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bulletin Board Idea: Dive Into...

    I was going through some of my old photos and found this bulletin board that I did last year.  It's not the best and the picture quality is horrible, but it was still a hit with my students.  It was relatively simple to put together. First I found a elephant on a diving board  and projected it onto a large sheet of butcher paper.  I then traced it and colored it in.  Next I found a new decorative font, Australian Sunset,  and created the words "Dive into History."  You could use any font, but I liked the fact that this one looked like waves.  Then I cut out a diving board and some "water" out of brown and blue bulletin board paper respectively.  Finally I let my students add words to the water that they felt were related to what we were studying.  

    This bulletin board could be adapted to meet any situation.  I plan to use this the last part of May (after state testing) and change it to "Dive into a Good Book."  My students are going to do book reviews/recommendations and I'm going to have them list their books in the water.  

Elephant on Diving Board

Font: Australian Sunset
Downloaded from 1001 Free Fonts

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blogging 101: Linking in a Comment

I've had a few different blogs over the past few years. One tool that I've utilized quite a bit is the link.  Many times I've wanted to leave my blog link or a link to some other website in a comment and didn't know how.  After a bit of research, I discovered that it was a very simple process using html tags.  In 11th grade I took an HTML programming class during a summer Governor's School program, but evidently the info just didn't stick.  I realize that many people probably know how to do this, but it is a very useful tidbit to know. So...

How to Leave a Link in a Comment (or other place using HTML tags)

<a href=""  >Whatever you want to appear in your link </a>                  

For instance if I wanted to leave a link to my blog:
<a href="">Teaching Living History Blog </a>

Your homework: Leave me a comment with a link to your blog or your favorite teacher resource :)

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All Roads Lead to Rome

My last post, When in Rome, gave you a small preview of the Roman project that we've undertaken in my seventh grade World History classroom. As mentioned in the previous post, it was the brainchild of my teacher intern.  The students really got into the project and we had some wonderful projects.  Some of the projects really surprised me.  My camera battery was dead so I had to resort to using my phone's camera.  I only was able to take a few pictures, but after Spring Break, I will post some more.

The Roman Aqueduct as envisioned by one of my students. 

I appreciated this version of the Colosseum because she labeled the various parts of her "replica."
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Horrible picture, but this is one of my favorites. Ignore the chaos that is my desk, please.  This project combined the aqueduct and the Colosseum.  The girls add plastic tubing which allowed water to flow through the aqueduct and flood the Colosseum floor.  This was supposed to represent the fact that historians believe naval battles were fought in the Colosseum by a similar process.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

When in Rome...

As part of my teaching intern's 10 day unit, she assigned the student's to complete a Roman project. She gave them a variety of options to choose from and one of the options was to build a model of the Colosseum.  Today was our first presentation. The rest will be presented tomorrow, but one group wanted to go early because Spring Break is next week and one of the members is not going to be here tomorrow.

I am not sure they got it exactly, but I love the fact that they used gummy animals to represent the various animals that might have been found in the Colosseum.  Our 7th graders have really gotten into this project. It has truly engaged them in cross curricular activities and sparked an interest in Rome in general.  The project has a variety of requirements and a wonderful rubric.  I'll try to post them when I get the chance. My brain is already on Spring Break mode though :)

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DonorsChoose: Get What You Need for Your Classroom

Ever have a project or lesson that you'd love to do, but just don't have the resources, supplies, etc that you need? Well, I run into that all the time. Two years ago, as a newbie teacher, I came across  Since then, I have had 22 projects funded. I've written projects for simple things like pencils, colored pencils, paper, ink, etc. I've also gotten some BIG ticket items such as an iPad 2, 4 iPod Touches, a laptop, and a printer.

It's fairly simple. You sign up for an account and add a picture.  Then you write a project for whatever you are needing/wanting.  You can even do a project for a speaker or a field trip.  Once your project is approved, anyone can donate to your project (as little as a $1).  When your project is funded your students will write thank you notes to the donors who meet the requirements. You will also need to upload photos of your students using your donated supplies.

Check it out! If you decide to write a project, let me know. I would love to help you work toward your project. If you are already on donorschoose, please feel free to post your link or offer any suggestions.

The First iPod Touch my classroom received.

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Meet the Teacher

The Basics:
My name is Joy and I'm a junior high Social Studies teacher in North Mississippi.  I've been teaching for two and 1/2 years. At first I just taught seventh grade World History, but this year I started teaching sixth grade Eastern Hemisphere (basically World History but focusing on North and South America) as well.  I became a Mrs. the summer after I graduated from Mississippi State University (GO DAWGS!) we've been married almost 3 years (together 6).  I'm currently working on my Master's Degree in History through an online program at Western Kentucky University.  I am also fortunate enough to have a wonderful teaching intern this semester.

I'm a VERY random person. I can not really say what you can expect from this blog, but I will post pictures of crafts (classroom and non classroom related), teacher ideas, and random musings.  If I get too off topic, I won't mind if you try to reign me in.  Like I tell my husband, "I'm a teacher. I can't help it."  Keep me on task :)

Life Outside of Teaching: 
Is there one? When I'm not in "teacher mode," I have a ton of interests. I'll probably leave some out but here are some of the main ones: photography, NASCAR (cars, racing, automobilia in general), Sports - more specifically SEC/MSU college sports, Crafts, Rocketry, History, Music, Movies (aka the "usual).  

October 2006 at Talladega Super Speedway
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