Category : Geography

Teaching Tolerance through Teaching about Religion and Cultures

In today’s world everything is constantly changing. We as teachers have to ability to teach tolerance through teaching about different cultures and teaching about different religions. It’s not about trying to convert anyone, of course. It’s about to understand the differences between people’s religion. Many religions do have common threads and with these common threads we can teach tolerance and empathy to our students.

I know when I was young, I didn’t know anything about any other religions and just a little about a few different cultures in Europe and Mexico (I lived in Texas). I really didn’t learn much about these things until I went to the University of Texas in Austin. I learned some through the classes I took, but most from the people I met. I took lots of foreign languages because I was so interested in learning more about these neat cultures. I took Malayalam, Japanese, Russian, French, Czech and Latin. I guess you could say I was a little bit obsessed. I embraced learning about the differences.

Today with the dawning of the internet, we can teach our children so much earlier when their minds are open to learn about new cultures and religions. One of my favorite things to make for my students and Teachers pay Teachers are units on different countries, religions and ancient civilizations. I hope you can use some of these products in your classroom to help teach about tolerance! We all can help make the world a better place to live together!

Five Ways to Use Interactive Notebooks in Your Classroom

What is an Interactive Notebook?
I’m sure you’ve heard about Interactive Notebooks by now, but let’s just review a bit in case you haven’t heard about them yet. Interactive Notebooks are a way that your students can interact with the subjects you are teaching them. They can cut, paste, draw, expand and really experience the subject they are learning. No two interactive notebooks are created equally. Some may say they are interactive, but they aren’t. Some may have too much cutting and pasting, which will interrupt your lesson plans. The best way to judge them is to look at previews and read all of the details before you purchase one.

Five Ways to Use Interactive Notebooks
1. Review and Test Prep – A lot of the reasons I started making and using interactive notebooks is because if you have a printable you use with your students, the students finish it and toss it into folder never to look at it again. With my interactive notebooks, the activities are designed to have the students come back and review what they’ve just learned. There are flaps, envelopes, yarn, brads and more all specifically used to help your students redo activities for test prep and to show their parents what they’ve learned.

2. Confidence Booster – Using an interactive notebook, your students can keep all of the things they’ve learned throughout the year in one place. Students can look through all of the different things they’ve learned and feel achieved.

3. Introducing New Topics – You can use the activities in an interactive notebook to help students learn new topics. Sometimes students are scared about learning new things. A fun activity will help relax them and allow them to learn new topics (especially fractions which can be frustrating for students).

4. Assessments – You can use the activities to finish up a unit. Instead of or in addition to a quiz, you can have students do an interactive activity to make sure they understand the concepts that you taught in the lessons.

5. Spice Up Lessons – If your students get bored with a topic (you know it’s bound to happen), you can pull out an interactive activity and use a little art and interactiveness to spice up your lessons.

If you’re interested in looking at my interactive notebooks, you can find them here. They have the perfect combination of low prep and high interactiveness.

Here are a few of my best sellers, you can click on the picture to see more information and a preview about each:

Learning about the American Revolution

History is really interesting to me, but I know some students get bored in history classes. My kids really enjoy learning about history with interactive notebooks. It combines history with hands-on activities and a bit of art.

Here are few picture of my American Revolution Interactive notebook in use.

I think it’s great to actually get the students excited about History and present it in a different format than they are used to. If you’d like more information you can check out my American Revolution Interactive Notebook on TPT.

Ancient Mesopotamia

Did you know Ancient Mesopotamia was located mostly in what is called Iraq in present day? There are also a few parts of Ancient Mesopotamia in present day Turkey, Syria and Iran. I love exploring Ancient civilizations with my kids. I think it’s great to look at the past in order to learn about things for our future.


Like my other Ancient Civilization units, this unit has a letter from a boy back in Ancient Mesopotamia. In his letter it explains how his life was in Ancient Mesopotamia. There are also facts and discussion questions, crafts, coloring pages, writing activities and more. My favorite activity is where students can make a cuneiform tablet!



Here’s an example of one of the activites. You can take these pieces and put all of the students’ artworks together and make a mosaic.


If you’d like to look at more closely at my newest Ancient Civilization Unit click here: Ancient Mesopotamia.

Giveaway and Best Year Ever Bonus Sale!

I’m having a giveaway! I have one $10 TPT gift card to give away and I’m also giving away $50 worth of my products to one person. Use the rafflecopter to enter further down in this post to enter. Giveaway runs from now until midnight EST tonight (8/21/2016).

I’m also having another sale, but this time it’s one day only, so be quick! Everything is 28%, make sure to use the code OneDay to get the full percentage off!

Now’s the time to stock up on all of my interactive notebooks. I have Reading, Writing, Math and Social Studies Interactive Notebooks for Kindergarten through high school, so check them out here: Interactive Notebooks.

I also have some of them bundled by grade level to receive an even larger discount!


Many interactive notebooks are just cut and paste definitions, but my interactive notebooks are truly interactive! Check them out here!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you all have a great school year!


Four Ways to Spice Up Your Social Studies Lessons

I have to admit I liked the concept of social studies when I was little, but I didn’t like the lessons. It was just full of memorizing facts straight from a textbook. I found these four ways really will spice of your social studies or history lessons and get your students into learning.

1. Dress up like a character from history. This sounds like it could be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Throw on a tall hat when you teach about Abraham Lincoln. Wear something Hawaiian when you teach about Hawaii. You get the point. It just keeps your kids thinking about the topic and will help them remember more about it in the future.

2. Have a class history fair. Depending on what you are studying, be it Floriday history or American social studies, you can have a history fair for your class. This will allow the students to do some of the teaching and at the same time they will be gaining a lot of skills on presentation skills and putting together a presentation. I love it when students dress up in character and read a poem they wrote about the character. There are lots of options here from songs to poems, to poster boards to power point presentations.

3. Use an interactive social studies notebook. I’m a big believer in Interactive Notebooks, so why not use one to spice up your social studies lesson? It helps to get your students juices flowing!

social studies one

social studies two

4. Have in-class group projects. One of my favorite things I did in social studies when I was little (one of the few things I did like) was create a shadow box of a Native American village. Me and my groupmates had to research it, design it and then create it. It really stuck in my head all of these years. Group projects help students learn cooperative skills and they have fun doing it!

Check out my Interactive Social Studies Notebook to spice up your lessons.

Passport to the World

A boy with some international flags

Open your students’ minds

If you want your students to grow to be accepting and understanding of others, it’s a good idea to teach them about different people, places, languages and cultures. Do it early in their educational careers, before they’ve started to form stereotypes or negative impressions about people of different races or religions.

If you’re completing a history unit, or even a math unit or a language unit, why not give it an international theme? It’s not hard to teach mathematics or science with an international twist – you can do so in conjunction with teaching your children how others live their lives in this huge world we share.

Explore the countries of the world

Here is a free student passport that you can give to your students at the beginning of the school year or semester when you are planning on studying different countries and cultures.


  1. Download and print out, then photocopy and distribute a copy of the passport to all of the children in your class. Show your students how to assemble the passport to resemble a booklet.
  2. Have your students fill out the personal information on the first inside page of the passport – their names, genders, birthplaces and nationalities. They can glue or tape a picture of themselves into the passport or, if there are no photos of your students available, have them draw a picture of themselves in the photo box with crayons or colored pencils.
  3. Whenever you start to study a particular country or region, have your students choose a Visas page and draw an arrival stamp under the Entries column. Alternatively, if you have country-themed ink stamps, you can use those.
  4. Study the country of your choice. Have fun! Teach your students to respect the cultures of others, even if they are wildly different from their own.
  5. When you’ve finished studying your country, have your students create a departure stamp under the Departures column on the same page of the passport as they added their initial arrival stamp.

Language and culture activities

For third and fourth grade students, you can use this passport in conjuction with the free Mathbooking – France Journal math problems booklet, that features individual factoids about life in France with each question. For older students you can use this passport when playing the free Flags of the World matching game.

Bon voyage!

Flags of the World Matching Game

Here’s a free download of a flag matching game for kids in sixth, seventh and eighth grades (during their final years of elementary school or in junior high school). It might also be used by high school students.

There are lots of countries in the world, and each one has its own special flag. This game gives but a taste of the various countries and their flags that exist throughout the globe – but it’s enough to help build an appreciation of geography and of the countries interspersed throughout the world and the flags that their peoples choose to represent them.

Cut out the flag cards and the country name cards, and then shuffle them up. Match the country name cards with their corresponding flag cards, and place them together under the correct continent where the countries can be found (North America, Europe, Asia, and so on). The continent cards in turn should be placed under their respective hemisphere cards (Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere).

Playing this game may require some studying beforehand – most students are unlikely to know all of the flags included in this game before playing. However, they might be able to guess at some – it might be fun to see how many they are able to get right before studying them! – and it will give them an impression of how vast the world is, how many different countries there are, and where on Earth they’re located. While you’re at it, you might also want to teach them a phrase or two of the languages found in the countries they’re learning about. Where different countries and their languages and cultures, there are lots of interesting things to teach and learn.

Have fun with it!