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Before winter break, I always plan to make at least one craft with my students. It can be hard to find a craft that appeals to both artsy kids and those that never want to make a craft. However, I found the perfect activity to use in any elementary grade: Solo Cup ornaments or sun catchers! Not only are they fast to make, but they are inexpensive, too. My students loved to make them as parent or grandparent gifts for the holidays. Keep reading to learn how to make easy holiday crafts with Solo Cups.

How to Make Easy Holiday Crafts with Solo Cups - Kids of all ages enjoy making ornaments or suncatchers with Solo Cups. This craft is fast and inexpensive to make, so it is perfect for a classroom activity before a holiday. This low prep craft can be made using a wide variety of decorations, so it is adaptable to different age groups. Learn how to make Solo Cup Ornaments in the blog post.

Civics teachers and homeschool parents alike will be thrilled with This Is Our Constitution by Khazir Khan. Before using it with my seventh grader, I wanted to check it out and make sure that it presented a balanced view of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. I was pleased to find that the book focuses on what the document says and current interpretations of its meaning by the Judicial Branch. I recommend this book for grades 5 and up.

This Is Our Constitution by Khazir Khan is a Hidden Gem for civics instruction. This book breaks down the history of the U.S. Constitution, as well as each Article and Amendment. Read the post to find out more on using the book to teach civics.

Before a long holiday, I always try to wrap up any major units of study so I can plan something fun the day or two before break. Many teachers show a movie, but in all honesty, a movie just is not that engaging for students - and they don't learn anything. It takes a little more work, but if you plan a thematic unit or a few out of the ordinary activities, students get excited about doing something new. Before Thanksgiving break, I like to plan a Popcorn-themed unit. There are so many cool things you can do with popcorn - and it is relatively inexpensive to purchase.

A great way to keep students engaged before a school vacation is a Popcorn-themed unit! This post discusses 10 creative ways teachers can use popcorn in the classroom.  Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6

Finding good history apps is not easy. There are a number of apps that seem geared to younger students, but what if you need something for older kids? It took time, but I found eight terrific apps for elementary or middle school students. Most of the apps are for American History, but I did manage to find a few for World History.

Are you looking for history apps to use in your upper elementary or middle school classroom? Check out these eight terrific history apps!
The apps are not in any particular order.  Each review discusses the price, availability, and focus of the app, as well as its pros and cons.
A fellow teacher told me that Nickelodeon made a TV movie of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library. (I haven't seen it yet, but I heard it isn't like the book - surprise!) The novel was a Sunshine State book pick a few years back, and it was well-liked by students. Before I watch the movie, I decided to read the book again. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library really is a Hidden Gem for both teachers and students.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein is a terrific novel for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade readers. Read the blog to find out how this book could be used to teach character development and plot in a language arts class.

The book's cover grabs people's attention with its bright colors and game pieces. However, the book is less focused on action and more focused on its characters.
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