If I could take my students anywhere…

Today’s topic for Big Time Literacy’s July Blogging Challenge is….If money were no object, what experiences would you give your students?

When Michelle first showed me the topics, this one immediately became my favorite!

This last year we studied many different continents and countries in Social Studies.  We started with a study of Canada.  The kids were so interested in this country that was so close, yet they knew almost nothing about.  One of their favorite parts was Niagara Falls.  One girls asked me if I would take them to Niagra Falls for a field trip.  I said, “If I ever win the lottery, I will take the whole class!”  And that became the question…

We were studying Mexico…  “Ms. Bless, if you win the lottery, will you take us on a field trip to Mexico?”

Studying U.S.A… “Ms. Bless, if you win the lottery, will you take us on a field trip to the Grand Canyon?”

Studying South America…”Ms. Bless, if you win the lottery, will you take us on a field trip to the Galapagos Islands?”

With this post I have to decide where I would want decide to take the kids if this day every really came.  After my family’s road trip this summer, I would have to say it would definitely be a road trip  across our beautiful country.


I would rent a bus and take them west through Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota. We would be able to learn about landforms, plants, history, and more!  We would visit Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, do some hiking, see some animals up close…





FYI I do not know the lady that got out of her car and way to close to this elk!

I really need to start playing the lottery!

Road Trip Reading

In our family, a road trip doesn’t mean a lull in reading.   My brother is reading the first Harry Potter and my son is reading the Lego Movie junior novel. I have finished multiple books including Sure Signs of Crazy. 


I won this book with Two Writing Teachers March SOL Challenge, but I haven’t had time to read it until now.  It was a great YA read.  The narrator is going through all of the normal chaos of growing up with the added concern that she may be crazy like her mother.  The book takes you through the summer leading up to her seventh grade year with an entertaining and relatable voice – perfect for middle school girls.

When I saw this book in the gift shop I had to get it.

It is a collection of stories and we have been reading it around the campfire and  in the tent before going to bed.  As my brother says, “These stories aren’t scary, they are just interesting.” He is disappointed, but this means no nightmares for my eight year old!  The stories contain historical facts of Yellowstone that relate to ghosts or spirits.  Perfect family read for our trip! 

I also found two books that I HAVE to buy for our classroom library.



Science (Sort Of) Over the Campfire

Camping in Yellowstone, we saw this popcorn at the general store.  I wanted to see how it worked.



Too cool!  It started popping and then it slowed before all of the tin foil had popped up. Since we didn’t want it to burn we took it off of the fire.  Would it be done?


Sort of…a good number of kernels hadn’t popped.  (And according to my son, it didn’t taste that good.) But it wasn’t a total loss because this brought  about an impromptu science experiment.   It started with a question: Would the kernels pop if we put it back over the fire? 



It worked!  This experimenting and redesigning of the tin foil contraptions kept the boys busy for quite a while. 

Five for Friday

We are currently on an amazing road trip across this beautiful country of ours.  I have learned so much in the last week, so today I will share five things…

5. People on the Oregon Trail used bison scat for their fires. Those fires must have smelled fantastic!

4. Horses are one of the few animals that can’t burp or vomit.  Everything that goes in must come out the other end.  (This is a fun fact we learned on a horseback ride yesterday.)

3.    When Andrew says, “Look at that view!” while driving… he means, “Jennie, stop whatever you are doing and take a picture of this! Pronto!”

2.  When you have two boys constantly fighting,  take them on a 2.9 mile hike and you will get some peace.  (Until they get back in the car.)

1.  Finally, roasters really do make a cock-a-doodle-do sort of sound in the morning. The place we are staying has chickens running around outside and this is morning two of waking up to a rooster’s call. (I know this may not be a huge revelation for some of you, but I grew up and live in the suburbs of Chicago. No chickens around!)

Five for Friday

My randomness today will be linked up with Big Time Literacy‘s July Challenge and Doodlebugs Five for Friday.

1. Extreme Cheapskates
Have you seen this show on TLC? My son watches it on Netflix and he LOVES it! Yesterday, when he couldn’t get toothpaste out of the tube he remembered something he had seen on one of the episodes. So, he cut off the end of the toothpaste tube to get out what was left. Oh, my little cheapskate!

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2.  Summer Road Trip

We are going on a two week road trip out west beginning on Sunday, so there is a lot of preparing the last few days.  Will we survive? I just don’t know.  Over two weeks together when both of us usually work?  Hmmm?

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3. New Year, New Theme

Even though it is summer, I am still thinking about the coming year.  Another year co-teaching third grade and I couldn’t be more excited.  Last year’s theme was Hollywood, but we wanted a new theme that would work with our classroom library.  Since there are lots of superhero movies, we decided to go with Superheros.  The pinning began the last day of school.  So far I have only made one DIY for the birthdays – I’m trying to restrain myself.

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My last two will go with Big Time Literacy’s topic today:  my favorite subjects to teach.

4.  Reading!

I love reading.  I am a book hoarder.  I give books as gifts.

By using reading workshop in our classroom this year and not using AR, we were able to create a classroom full of students who loved books! (My hatred for AR is enough for many blog posts, which I will save for another day.)  The kids truly loved to read and were angry if they didn’t get all of their independent reading time due to an assembly.

And the best part:  the kids enjoyed the new book smell as much as I do!  They will forever be readers and book sniffers! 🙂


5.  Science

One of the reasons that I asked to move to the classroom was because I wanted to teach all of the subjects.  Science was not my favorite in school, but I loved teaching it this year! Scientific Method, Experiments, Life Cycles, Energy…

This is a thermometer the students made.