Civil Rights Leaders

A collection of ideas and activities to teach students about civil rights.

In January we celebrate the birthday of  Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King worked his whole life trying to make the world a place where we all lived in harmony and peace.  His work isn't finished, we need to continue spreading the word about acceptance and tolerance. 

January is the perfect time to learn about civil rights leaders from throughout the world.  I've gathered several resources to help you share these important ideas with your students.

Books to Share
Books about Civil Rights Leaders, Picture books are the perfect way to introduce students to these important concepts. The books are about Cesar Chavez, Ida B. Wells, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony and many more.


A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez by David Adler
Ida B. Wells by Dennis B. Fradin
Friends for Freedom by Suzanne Slade
Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi
Marching with Aunt Susan by Clare Rudolph Murphy
Gandhi; A March to the Sea by Alice McGinty
Sit-In by Andrea Davis Pinkney
A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman by David Adler
When Harriet Met Sojourner by Catherine Clinton
Minty, a Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder 
Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds
Boycott Blues by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Harvesting Hope by Kathleen Krull

Activity Ideas from Pinterest (Click on each picture for the link)


 How would you change the world?  idea for MLK day

How would you change the world? I love the painting to create the world and then the child's hand print with their hopes for making the world a better place.
 I Have a Dream bulletin board idea.

This bulletin board image is so powerful.  It will be a great display for older students to write about their dream for the world.
 Free "I Have a Dream" play for kids, from Scholastic
You can download this free play to read with your class. The Scholastic website also has before and after reading discussion ideas.

For a month-long project you can have your students learn about several civil rights leaders with my packet, They Led the Way. (Click on any image to purchase this packet.)
 They Led the Way, Civil Rights leaders activity folder


They Led the Way, Civil Rights leaders activity folder

They Led the Way, Civil Rights leaders activity folder
 There are activities for six civil rights leaders: Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr. Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman.  The activities can be kept in a student-made folder, or added to an interactive notebook.

For a closer look at these informative activities you can download this free sample about Harriet Tubman. 
 Civil Rights Leaders- Harriet Tubman free sample from Crockett's Classroom

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Cozy Geometry Quilts

Cozy up with this engaging activity that helps your students  review geometry concepts.

Brrrr!  It's cold outside!  Time to get out the quilt and have a little fun with geometry.  I have a great project that can be done with any geometry unit.  

A few weeks ago I spent a couple of afternoons with a super class of second graders and helped them review some geometry concepts as we put together paper quilt calendars for the new year.

Before I started the lesson I cut 4 inch squares from some holiday scrapbook paper.  We did this project in December so I chose red and green paper, but you can do this with any scrapbook paper you have on hand. 
Getting the pieces ready for our class geometry quilt.

Let each student choose 4 squares, 2 of one color/pattern, 2 of another color/pattern.  Then we cut the squares into rectangles and then the rectangles into smaller squares.  Each student should end up with 16 small squares.  While we were cutting I was reviewing geometry terms.

Now,  let them explore making patters.  I was arranging my own pieces on the board so they begin by making my pattern.  But, they soon began creating their own patterns.  

After a little while I asked them to choose one pattern they liked the best and glue it onto the quilt back.  The results were beautiful!
The kids had so much fun making these paper quilts.It was also a great way to review geometry.

 The next day I returned to their class and went through the same procedures but we used triangles cut from the squares.  The kids made some amazing quilts!


The kids had so much fun making these paper quilts.It was also a great way to review geometry.

Since the students had created 2 quilts they got to choose one to turn into a 2016 calendar.  The second one was put into a class display.



Make a paper quilt with your class, fun way to review geometry.

You can download the directions for making the quilt with the square pieces here: 


 Make a cozy quilt with your students to review geometry concepts.

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Favorite Things for your Classroom Holidays

Hello everyone!!!


Favorite Things Graphic

Today we are throwing a big, humongous bash to celebrate YOU!
Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things, this year we have decided that we will share with you our favorite school things! So here we go:


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My favorite website for my classroom is ...


I am so in love with this web site!  Reading aloud was always my favorite time of the day with my kids and this web site is all about reading books aloud.  There are so many books on dozens of topics that I can always find one to go along with my lesson.  It's also a great last minute time filler when the days before the holidays get a little crazy!  http://www.storylineonline.net/


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My favorite organizational tip is . . . 
Zipper baggies are an excellent way to keep all your holiday crafts and projects organized.  Store your patterns and directions in gallon baggies so you'll have all the pieces when you pull out that file next year!

More than once a zipper baggie has saved my life!  I used to keep project ideas and patterns in file folders.  Then when I got the file folder out the next year there was always a missing piece!  But with zipper baggies you can put all the pattern pieces in the bag, zip it closed and never lose another vital piece to a project!



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My favorite class holiday activity is ...
During the holiday season I loved read books by Patricia Polacco to my class. She has so many wonderful books for the holidays that it's impossible to pick a favorite.  Her holiday books come from her own family experiences so they are about Christmas, Hanukkah and Epiphany.  All the stories are about the love shared by families and friends at this special time of year.

Books to share with your class for the holidays,  All by the wonderful author/illustrator Patricia Polacco

An Orange for Frankie is my favorite holiday story because it reminds me of our holiday tradition of finding an orange in the toe of our Christmas stockings.  My dad told me that when he was growing up oranges were very precious.  It was a very special holiday treat to have oranges for Christmas.  
To pass on this holiday tradition with your class you can read the book about Frankie and his special orange.  Then you kids can make these little spice oranges to have in their homes for the holidays. (Click on the image to download the activity.)

 An Orange for Frankie Free Activity



Once again we want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!


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Enter the Rafflecopter to win this prizes!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway




Come and visit my other teacher friends' blogs for their favorite websites, organization tips and much more!


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Fifth Grade Literacy Centers, Free Sample!


Finally!  Literacy centers written specifically for fifth grade! Crockett's Classroom

Calling all 5th grade teachers!  I've just finished my first set of literacy centers written specifically for 5th grade.  I know it's the middle of the school year, but you can try the centers right now because I wrote set 4 for weeks 16-20 first!  I know it's a little crazy, but I wanted teachers to be able to use them right away.  I'll write units 5 and 6 to finish out the school year and then have units 1, 2, 3 for the beginning of next school year.  

I've tried to make the centers flexible so teachers everywhere will be able to adapt them to meet the needs of their students and their curriculum.

There are six centers. 

Read About It, read independently, reading skills
Students read independently and practice reading skills.

Chat About It, read with partner or small group, reading strategies
Students read with a partner or small group and discuss reading strategies.

Listen to It, read with a partner, fluency
Students read with a partner while they practice fluency skills.

Just a Word About It, independent work, word study
Independent practice for students to practice word study skills.

Be Right About It , independent work, grammar skills
Independent practice for students to practice grammar skills.

Write About It, independent work, writing skills  
Independent practice as students go through the writing process to produce different genres of writing.


You can use them all, or choose just the ones that work well with your schedule.

I hope you'll download free set of centers and give them a try with your class this year. (click on the cover image to download Week 16 from Set 4)
 5th Grade Literacy Centers, Week 16 Free Sample

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More Tips for using Informational Text

Are your students struggling with informational texts?   Ways to easily start using more informational text during your reading lessons.

On the blog Hello Sunshine I wrote about using informational text in your classroom. (5 Tips for using Informational Text)  I've come up with a few more tips that will help you incorporate informational text into your reading instruction.

1.  Give students a chance to read the text independently or with a partner

      Most reading lessons that have informational text begin with a whole-class lesson.  In that whole-class lesson you'll be teaching specific skills or strategies.  Later in the week, though, give your students a chance to read part of the text on their own or with a partner. This gives them time to practice the skills and strategies taught earlier in the week. You can have them reread the section read with the whole class or you can choose a new section. They can use the same graphic organizer you used earlier in the week. (See my blog post on Hello Sunshine for 3 free graphic organizers you can use.  


2  Pair informational text with literary text.
     We're seeing more and more resources that pair informational text with literary text.  If you're read a fiction story about pioneers, find some nonfiction books about the westward expansion. Students will be excited to read factual information that goes with the fictional characters and events from the literary text.
Here are a few links to articles with suggested book lists:
     I loved going with my class to the school library.  They were naturally drawn to the nonfiction section.  When we returned to class I always gave the kids time to share what they'd just checked out from the library.  They love showing their friends the treasures they'd just found at the school library!  Another way to tap into their natural love of informational texts was with book projects.  We had quarterly book projects, like a book report, but much more fun and engaging!  I made sure that two of the projects through the year were with informational text.

4.  Use informational text in your literacy centers
When you set up your literacy centers, make sure you include informational text.  Many of the centers you already use can probably be adapted for informational text without much work. One way to use informational text is in a center for partner reading. You can have a selection of informational picture books set out along with sets of discussion cards.  Students read the text and stop along the way to chat about the text using the discussion cards.
Sometimes I have the stop and chat spots already marked and sometimes I let them choose the spots to stop and talk about the text.

Freebie!  Click on the image to download a free sample of these Reading Chat Cards.  You'll get 16 chat cards for informational text and 16 cards for literary text.
Reading and discussing informational text just got a whole lot easier!  These chat cards are perfect to use in literacy centers, with partner reading or as journal starters. They are an easy way to encourage kids to read informational text.  Give your students a set of these discussion cards and watch the love of reading grow! Freebie Alert!



5.  Plan activities that require research with the informational text.
Kids at all grade levels love projects!  They love searching through books, gathering information and then creating a project.  
For book project ideas, check out my newest Pinterest board:

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Daily Reading Routine

Wonderful way to keep our reading instruction organized and on schedule.  Create power point presentations so everything you need is right at your fingertips.

How do you fit everything into your reading block?  There are so many skills to cover and very little time.  What you need is everything right at your fingertips!  Well, I have an idea to share that will make your reading lessons run smoothly and keep you on schedule. 

First you need to decide what areas you want to include in your opening routine.  I've created an opening routine that includes these areas:

  • Warm Up to get everyone thinking
  • Phonemic Awareness
  • High Frequency Words
  • Vocabulary practice
  • Phonics skills
  • Editing (spelling and grammar skills) 
Now take those areas and create a Power Point presentation with one slide for each area.  Here are my slides.  (I thought of a catchy title for each one to make them a little more interesting.)
You can keep your reading lesson on track by creating Power Point slides that guide your through your daily routine.

 Now you can add the content.  Add as many interactive elements as you wish, or keep the slides super simple with just the basic skill and a few practice items to read through.

Keep your students involved in the skills your present or review every day with interactive Power Point slides.

In class it is so easy to click through the slides as you go through your opening routine.  Everything is right there!  No more flipping through your teacher's manual or stopping to write things on the board.  You can speed up or slow down, depending on your kids.  The goal is to get through this routine in 10-15 minutes so you can move on to the other parts of your reading lesson.

To see what the finished presentation looks like you can download a set I created to go along with a 2nd grade lesson for Journeys, published by *Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  This Power Point slide show is fully functional and goes with Unit 3, lesson 11, Day 1 for the story Click, Clack, Moo  Cows that Type.  When you download this file be sure to save it to your computer and then open it with Power Point.  (The fonts may not look the right size if you view it only from the Google Docs location.) 

(click on this image to download the free sample)
 Free sample of 2nd grade Power Point slide show for Lesson 11, Day 1 of daily routines

These materials were prepared by Debra Crockett (Crockett's Classroom)  and have neither been developed, reviewed nor endorsed byHoughton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, publisher of the original Journeys Common Core Reading on which this material is based.



If you like what you see, all of the 2nd grade units are available in my TPT store- Journeys 2nd Grade in Crockett's Classroom.

I hope this idea helps you keep your reading block on schedule!
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Storage Bins, a new way to organize materials

You can use these storage bins for team, class and lesson materials instead of assigning one to each student.  Much more efficient use of the space and materials.



This is one of the best ways I've seen to use these storage bins. I know many classrooms use them for individual students. They may be used as individual mail boxes or like a portable desk with scissors, crayons, glue, etc. stored in the bin.

In the second grade classroom of Mrs. Q the bins are not used for individual students. She has them set up for team materials (white bins), class supplies (red and yellow bins) and lesson materials (blue bins).  

Here's how the bins are organized:
White Bins
Each team has a bin with materials they share and use throughout the day.  I love this idea, especially if your students work at tables or have small desks.

Each team had a white bin in which materials used every day are kept. They have access to this bin all day.  It is often brought to the team table so everyone can share the supplies.  At the end of the activity or the day, the materials are put away neatly and returned to the storage shelf.  Did you notice the scissors?  They're kept in a little dollar store sliding box.  Love it! Now they aren't scattered throughout the bin.  I also love having the scissors kept in the bin, not student desks.  No more tiny cut up pieces of paper ready to fall on the floor or students going home missing a lock of hair!

Blue Bins
Prepping materials for a lesson can be simple and organized with these bins.  Put everything your students will need in these bins and then pass them out during the lesson.  Saves a lot of class time.

The lesson bins are my favorite!  This is where you can work smarter, not harder.  Let's say you'll be teaching a lesson about place value this afternoon.  That morning you take out all the lesson bins and place them on a table or counter.  Next get you place value blocks.  In just a few minutes you can put the blocks each group will need for the lesson into the blue bins.  You're all prepped for the lesson!  When the lesson begins you can ask the team leader to go get their blue bin.  Quick and easy!

Red and Yellow Bins
Store all your materials and supplies in the color coordinated bins.
 The rest of the bins are used to store supplies needed for the rest of the year.  This is where she keeps all those pencils and glue sticks that come in at the beginning of the year and keep your fingers crossed that they last through the year? You can also keep the materials that are not used very often, like rulers, glue bottles, protractors, compasses, etc.

Do you have a classroom idea you'd like to share?  Link up with us on Hello Sunshine!
 Sharing Sunshine September 2015

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A Grand idea for Spelling

I have a Grand Idea to share with you.  It's a fun and engaging way to get your students excited about their spelling words! 

Spelling Addition, a fun way to get kids to practice their spelling words.  The activity can be used for homework, in a literacy center or as part of your weekly spelling routine.

Spelling Addition is so simple. Students work in pairs.  One student says a word. The other student writes the word.  The word is checked and written again.  Then the letters from the word are given a number value and added up.  

You can add another element to the practice by letting the players move a piece around a game board using the total from the value from each word. (click on this image for the free download)
 Fun and engaging activity for spelling or word work centers.


You use this activity in a literacy center, as a homework assignment or as part of your weekly spelling routine.
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Quick and Easy Season Partners

End the chaos of choosing student progress with this simple and quick student cards.

Throughout the year you’re going to need students to pair up. I have a way to get that organized at the beginning of the year and then you’re all set.  You may have heard of clock partners.  I did that for a few years, but it was a long process to set it up.   But, season partners is much quicker because there are only four seasons! 
Here’s how you set it up.

1.  Give each student a Seasons Partner card. (two sizes are included in the free download.)  Have them write their own name in the center.
2.  Tell your students that Fall is the time for new beginnings at school.  We meet new friends and have a new classroom and teacher. Ask them to find a new friend, someone they didn’t know at all or not very well last year. Students exchange cards and write their name on their partner’s card.
3.  Next comes winter.  We’ll be learning all kinds of new things through the winter season.  The teacher will pair up students for the Winter partners. Or, you can let students have free choice again.
4. Spring is next. So we can spring forward with new learning activities boys will choose a girl partner and girls will choose a boy partner.

5. The final season is Summer.  Summer friends are special.  Students can choose any friend for this season.

Click on this image to download the free Season Partners cards.

 Here's a quick and easy way to get your students into pairs.  At the beginning of the year set them up with 4 other partners, these will be their fall, winter, spring or summer partner.

I usually have students choose new partners in January.  You can change the criteria to meet the needs of your classroom.  Also, make sure you keep a cheat sheet so you remember the criteria you set for each season.
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