Learning About Ancient Egypt: Resources For Homeschoolers & Classroom Teachers

Ancient Egypt is my favourite ancient civilization to study! What student isn’t captivated by learning about gods and godesses, mummification, hieroglyphics, and pyramids? I thought that I would take the time to share some of my favourite resources to help you explore ancient Egypt with your students.

I’m of the opinion that if provided with the right support, setting, and resources, students can be amazing self-guided learners. In fact, I recently wrote about how my self-guided learning experience mummifying our classroom fish in the third grade was an important learning opportunity. So with any unit I consider it vital to provide students with free access to a variety of fiction and non-fiction resources. Here are a few of my recommendations for ancient Egypt.

Videos

Egypt’s Great Pharaohs– History Channel

Tutankhamun and The Golden Age of the Pharaohs– National Geographic

How to make a mummy Ted-Ed (Len Bloch)

The Egyptian Book of the Dead: A guidebook for the underworld– Ted-Ed (Tejal Gala)

The pharaoh that wouldn’t be forgotten- Ted-Ed (Kate Narev)

Books

See Inside Ancient Egypt by Rob Lloyd Jones & David Hancock

Seeker of Knowledge The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs by James Rumford

Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osborne

Cleopatra VI: Daughter of the Nile by Kristina Gregory

Eyewitness Ancient Egypt by George Hart

Music

I’m a big fan of incorporating soundscapes into the classroom to make content come alive for students. For example, play a desert soundscape while students complete an activity in their notebooks or read. For ancient Egypt I like this one by ArcologyDesigns.

Games

University of Chicago Mummy Maker

National Museum of Scotland Egyptian Tomb Adventure

Unit Study

If you are looking for a more developed unit I have recently updated my ‘Back To Ancient Egypt Time Travel Unit Study” with new components and more detailed teaching guides.

The unit provides a general overview of daily life in ancient Egypt in an engaging way that presents the information as a fun narrative. Students are transported back in time to ancient Egypt and produce a hands-on notebook with interactive components. They follow the field diary entries of an archaeologist (Dr. Helena Carter), creating crafts, foldable notes, and other activities for each entry and topic.

Here are a few example pictures from the resource. If this is something you are interested in trying you can find it here.

Let Them Explore: The Fish Story

I’m of the opinion that if provided with the right support, setting, and resources, students can be amazing self-guided learners. Miss. Frizzle is a personal hero of mine and her advice to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy” summarizes a lot of my beliefs about embracing mess and chaos in the classroom, or in your homeschool practice. Learning cannot happen unless we allow ourselves and our students to be open to wholehearted exploration, and true exploration can’t occur without a certain degree of chaos and mess. So where does the fish come in? Let me tell you…

One of the best lessons I ever had was highly unconventional, but self-guided by a small group of students and supported by my amazing third grade teacher. We had been studying ancient Egypt when one of our classroom fish died. Instead of flushing it, we decided that we were going to mummify this fish and give it a proper ancient Egyptian burial. When we asked our teacher his response was simply “of course”. And so began the process of wrapping this goldfish in layers of salt and toilet paper, decorating an inner and outer sarcophagus, and making a cardboard box tomb with appropriate antechambers, a cartouche, and enough fish food for the afterlife. It took us most of the day as we went back and forth between the fish and our classroom library of resource books, trying to get it just right as our teacher looked on from afar. The burial later that day was a solemn affair, but as we gave the goldfish a procession down the hallway we all carried with us a new detailed understanding of ancient Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife, their tomb construction, mummification, and burial practices.

So why is the fish important? Had my teacher stopped us because of a narrative surrounding potential mess, hassle, or the perception of wasted time, we would never have learned what we did with such passion. When faced with a gaggle of probably-too-eager 8 year olds he looked at the potential for chaos, and valued the potential learning more than his resistance to mess.

There are amazing educators out there who stare the potential for mess in the face and say “come at me” every day. The proof is in the inspired learning of their students, the awesome learning experiences they create, and the dirt and glitter piles in the corner of their classrooms. But with the pressure of performance as we compare ourselves to bloggers and Instagram users with seemingly spotless classrooms, it can be good to have a reminder that mess is ok.

Who knows what the next dead fish opportunity to come your way will be 🙂

Teaching Effective Group Discussion

I am a steadfast believer that the best classroom management technique is the creation of a classroom environment were students know how to communicate effectively. You cannot hope to have successful small group or classroom discussions if students do not feel safe to express themselves in a space where they know their ideas, feelings, and opinions will be respected.

Unfortunately, most students do not have effective communication modeled for them not just in their educational past, but at home, with their peers, and in the media. So how can you begin to teach effective group discussion with your students?

The first thing is to have an open dialogue with students about effective and ineffective communication. This dialogue can’t just start once there are issues part way through the school year, but should be explored during the first week of school.

  • Ask students to share past experiences and their feelings surrounding group work, when have they felt that their opinions weren’t respected? Did it affect how much/little they shared? Do they think it affected their learning?
  • Explain that it is possible to disagree with someone, or to give critical feedback, while still respecting the other person’s beliefs and emotions. Remind students that it can be okay to “agree to disagree”, and that part of learning is being able to consider issues from another’s perspective and respecting that they have their own beliefs, without having to give up your own. 
  • As a class, brainstorm some examples of effective and ineffective language. For example: “I disagree with Elliot because…” vs. “No Elliot, you’re so wrong”.
  • Come up with an acronym or other system to remind students of effective group communication. I came up with the TALK method (Trust, Appreciate, Listen, Be Kind).
  • As a class come up with a ‘reminder phrase’ that students can use to take a break and get back on track if they feel discussions are becoming ineffective. For example, “I think we need to take a breather”.

This is just a start, and effective group discussion is a skill that should be touched upon throughout the school year. I am passionate about this topic, and have created a variety of resources that you can use with your students to teach effective group communication.

 

FREE Effective Group Discussion Interactive Notebook

Use these four interactive notebook components to explore the concept of effective group discussion with students.

The first note allows students to explore how they want to be treated by others in a group discussion, and what they need to give in return. The second has them brainstorm encouraging vs discouraging words when providing feedback to others. In the third note students decide wether statements are an example of effective or ineffective communication, and and in the final note they brainstorm statements they can use to agree, disagree, ask for clarification, and more.

 

Effective Group Discussion Lesson 

The perfect lesson for the beginning of the school year to introduce effective group discussion. Students learn about effective communication by comparing a group discussion scenario written two different ways. In the first example, the characters do not demonstrate effective communication. Students analyze the passage to see where more effective communication could be used. They then read the second example to see how the discussion could have been improved. For both passages, students reflect on how the discussion would make each character feel.

After this introduction, students brainstorm how they would personally like to be treated during group discussions. This leads to the introduction of the TALK method (Trust, Appreciate, Listen, Be Kind), in the form of a foldable note. Students use the knowledge they have gained to debate a topic in a small group, and reflect on their group dynamics and communication.

 

Sentence Frames For Effective Group Discussion

 

Use a sentence frame fan to support clear and respectful student communication during group discussions.

Each category includes five sentence frame prompts. Students can use the sentence frames to create responses that promote effective classroom discussions.

 

Effective Group Communication Task Cards 

In this activity students read examples and decide whether they demonstrate effective or ineffective communication. This is a great activity to use for SCOOT and to introduce effective group discussion to students.

 

Effective Group Discussion Bundle 

If you like the sound of all of these resources you can also buy them as a bundle for a discounted price!

How do you promote effective group discussion in your classroom? Let me know in the comments or at lifelonglearning1234@gmail.com

 

Washi Tape Paperclip Hack For Spinners

Spinners are a great tool to use in the classroom. They make math and language arts activities more fun, and add a dynamic touch to lessons. But give a student a paperclip and it will soon be bent, poking another student, or lost. Washi tape comes to the rescue once again!

Wrap all but the ends of the paperlclips (where the pencil will go) in a bright washi tape. The paperclips are still useable, but can’t be bent and are easy to identify as belonging to a spinner activity.

Make Creative Writing Fun With Writing Prompt Spinners

Are you tired of your students complaining that they don’t have any good ideas for their creative writing journals? Are you tired of printing off one-use writing prompts that may work well, but aren’t handy when you’re in a hurry? Why not try writing prompt spinners during your lessons?

Simply provide students with a spinner and hand out paperclips. Students use their pencil and the paperclip to spin three times. The first spin gives them a character, the second gives them a setting, and the third will gives them a plot element to use in their story. Your students then use their creative license to write a fun story!

For example: a cowboy (spin 1), in a submarine (2), where someone is surprised (3). Might turn into a story about a startled cowboy who is beamed into a submarine full of surprised soldiers to broker an alien peace treaty.

There is a worksheet provided for students to write their stories, or you can choose to have students write their stories in their journals.

If you would like students to have their own personal spinner, a fun extension is to have them color a space once they have spun it. When creating future prompts, if they hit a colored space, they must re-spin. This process continues until the spinner is fully colored in, and eight stories have been written!

This product is a bundle of 8 spinners with the themes of Sci-Fi, Adventure, Fairytale, Science, Mystery, School, Fantasy, and Spooky. They can be purchased individually, however by buying as a bundle you save 50%.

Earth Day Interactive Notebook

Earth Day is just around the corner. It can be challenging to talk to students about the environment in a way that doesn’t discourage them. The lessons I created for this interactive notebook are designed with a variety of activities that help students explore key ideas surrounding how they can help the environment not just on a personal level, but as part of a community.

It includes:

  • A KWL Chart for students to track their learning and questions
  • Two reading passages and fold over responses:
    • Schoolyard Clean-Up: This fictional passage emphasizes the importance of community for helping the environment.
    • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!: non-fiction reading passage discussing the 3 R’s for reducing waste.
  • ‘I Can…’ Foldable Note
  • Reduce Reuse Recycle Foldable Note
  • ‘The Earth Is Everyone’s Home & Everyone’s Responsibility’: foldable note or bullitain board display exploring where positive environmental changes can be made.
  • Teaching guides for each activity and visual foldable instructions.

Solar System Expedition: An Immersive Space Explorers Unit

Welcome to Shuttle One! I hope you’re ready to pin on your badge and take your seat in the Captain’s chair as you and your students explore the solar system.
Space has always been one of my favorite topics to explore. It is such an awe inspiring subject to get students excited about learning, and I had so much fun designing this unit! There is nothing better than students that show up to class excited to learn more, and engaged in the subject material, it is my hope that this unit helps you bring out this passion through an immersive learning experience.

So what makes this unit different from any other? Each day students undertake a reader’s theatre ‘mission’ to learn about a specific planet, and complete a related note in their notebook. Each mission has 5 roles (Commander, Ground Control, Pilot, Copilot, and Science Officer) of different reading levels (noted in the teaching guide for each day). The reading levels do not correspand with the role, and switch every ‘mission’ so that students of all reading levels can feel like an equal part of the mission team! The mission information is supported by a fun related note. 
On the teacher’s side of things, each mission comes with a lesson guide and at least one recommended video incase you would like an additional resource to show students. The immrsive atmosphere is very important to me, so I have included a variety of ideas for creating an immersive classroom, from decorations, playing space scenes on the projector, and providing links to ‘space ship music’ to play while students work.

There is also a selection of supplemental resources you can use at your discretion. These resources include a book list, writing activities, bookmarks, extra foldable notes, and more. 

You can see a full preview and purchase this unit here. Be sure to say hi to any aliens you meet on your journey!

Elizabeth

A Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway

spooktacular-giveaway

I love Halloween! A time for carving pumpkins, spending evenings planning out costume ideas, and eating too many sweet treats shaped like (ew) eyeballs!

This is also a time of year when students are very antsy and distracted in the classroom. Well, if you can’t beat them, join in! Help curb the collective sugar high by meeting their excitement with fun and engaging Halloween themed activities.

I want to make this your best Halloween yet. So I’ve teamed up with 9 amazing teacher-authors to bring you a (cue creepy narration voice) SPOOKTACULAR HALLOWEEN GIVEAWAY. Mwahahahaha.

Well, there’s actually nothing scary about this sweet event! Take a look at the 10 awesome Halloween products below that you could win, in addition to a $50 TPT Gift Card!

Enter using the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. The giveaway opens on October 18th and the winner will be chosen on October 22nd.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Fact and Opinion Scoot
Students reinforce their understanding of fact vs. opinion statements in this fun, fast paced activity. Students scoot from one card to the next as they determine whether the Halloween themed statement is a fact or an opinion.
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Halloween Word Wall Words
Post these Halloween word wall words in your classroom to help encourage students with their writing either before or after Halloween as a reflection activity!
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Parts Of Speech Silly Sentences
These task cards will have the children laughing and engaging in a fun activity as they practice using parts of speech.
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Halloween Math Scavenger Hunt Task Card Bundle
Have some Halloween fun, all while consolidating some math skills with my Halloween Math Scavenger Hunt Task Cards! 3 hidden messages to be found.
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Halloween Reading & Writing Activities
These Halloween themed activities include reading, writing and logic puzzlers.  It’s great for a day of excitement to keep your students busy between the costumes and candy.original-1479989-1

 

 

 

 

 

 


Halloween Centers
Have your kids got a case of the Halloween crazies? Engage and excite them with these Halloween Center activities!
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Halloween Multiple Intelligence Stations
This resource includes 8 fun and engaging Multiple Intelligence Stations to help students celebrate Halloween. Each station is designed to let their strengths shine.

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Frankenstein Activity Pack
This math and literacy pack includes a fun and spooky way to brush up on those tally skills by counting the scars on Frankenstein’s face. It also includes a writing component where students can haunt up your hallway with these Frankenstein page toppers!
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Halloween Pattern Pack
This Halloween themed pack is filled with a variety of patterning activities. Centers, printables and more!
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Halloween
These low prep activities are perfect for getting your students into the Halloween mood! Thinking, writing, and creating are a breeze with this pack!original-1483904-1

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Spooktacular Halloween Books For Kids

5 Halloween Books

Halloween is a great time to engage reluctant readers with creepy crawly stories, tales of witches and goblins, and dress-up dramas.

Here are some of my favorite Halloween reads to add to your classroom library.

It’s Raining Bats & Frogs
When Delia the witch decides to change the rain… chaos ensues!

The Perfectly Imperfect Pumpkin
A great story about being unique.

I’m Trying To Love Spiders
Informational fun narrated by an arachnophobe!

Little Boo
The story about a little seed that can’t wait to grow up.

The Witches’ Supermarket
What happens when you accidentally wander into a supermarket for witches? A delightfully funny tale…

What are your favorite books to read at Halloween? Let me know in the comments below.