Monday, April 30, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Cinco de Mayo Learning Fun!

Are you planning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with any special learning activities this week?  I was surprised to find in my research and class prep that many people mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is the same as Mexican Independence.  And some of us believe Cinco de Mayo is just one more great reason to eat Mexican, which is also incorrect! ;-) 

Today in my class we began by reading a comprehension checkpoint about Napoleon III and his plans to take over Mexican territory. 
We also watched a great United Streaming video found at the following link:
My kids loved the reenactment on this streaming clip, and they were really able to understand the conflict that brewed in 1862.

We also completed a variety of classroom learning experiences and enrichment activities, including critical thinking puzzles like Logic and Sudoku...
and learning games like this Pinata Dice Game and Cinco de Mayo Code Cracking!
The week holds a lot more Cinco de Mayo learning, including crafts, science experiments, creative writing activities, more learning games, etc., and I can't wait!

If you are interested adding more learning fun to your own Cinco de Mayo repertoire, then follow the link below to my Cinco de Mayo enrichment unit.  Also, if you have previously purchased and downloaded this pack, visit TpT and download a new and improved revision. Shannon :-)


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ministry Minute and the Parenting Place--Bible Verse Letter S

For those of you that are new to my blog, each week my kiddoes in children's church have been learning about a different Bible verse based upon the letters of the alphabet.  We use a more traditional Bible story series for our Wednesday night study, so focusing on Scripture memory has been a fun approach on Sunday mornings.  We have learned some great verses along the way, such as "Pray without ceasing" and "Rejoice in the Lord always."  Today's verse centered on the letter S.  

Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God."    After prayer and worship time, our lesson began with a very sad visit from Spot the Dog.  Poor Spot!  He lost his favorite doggy bone and had spent all morning looking for it!
The kids and I encouraged Spot not to give up--to keep looking for his bone.  Sure enough, with a little more help and encouragement from us, Spot retrieved his bone and all was well!
 We also played a quick game of "Hide and Seek" to ensure that the kids understood the meaning of the word seek. 

Then it was time for the "meat" of the lesson.  We talked about what it means to seek after God and his will for our lives.  While waiting for their parents, the children colored one of the Bible verse review pages.  As usual, I mounted a color copy of the verse on scrapbook paper and hung it up for classroom reference.
As an adult, the significance of this verse it not lost on me.  Often I find myself seeking after other, friendship, approval, recipes on Pinterest...  I needed to be reminded of this verse for my own life as well.  Seeking FIRST the kingdom of God...that is my prayer for this week and the weeks to come!  Blessings, Shannon :-)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--"Let's Go" State Fair!

This past week our school held its annual state fair at which students present their research on one of the 50 states.  Students complete triboards...
bring in "extras" such as these models of the Rocky Mountains for Colorado and the Grand Canyon for Arizona...
creatively illustrate important historical events, such as this model of the Alamo for Texas...
and demonstrate their creativity with written reports and additional art projects, such as the state transformation shown here.  Can you see the state outline which has been transformed into an illustration of their neighborhood? 
My colleague and friend, shown here with me, does a beautiful job with the state t-shirts which students later paint with craft paint and wear on their project days.
Some students even give away goodies at their stations.  Can you see my daughter here with her chocolate stash from the Pennsylvania booth? 
All of the classes at our school are invited to tour and visit the state project booths.  Even my little Tate came by with his 3rd grade class.  Of course, Mom had to sneak in a hug and a photo while he was there.
Interested in hosting your own state fair?  I would invite you to check out my "Let's Go--Travelling across the 50 States Social Studies Unit" at my TpT store.  Simply click the link below:

I also have a World Tour Project Pack there as well:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--More 7 Wonders Fun and an Economics Update!

Today we took a trip to Alexandria, Egypt to visit the Lighthouse of Alexandria.  After studying about this impressive ancient structure on the Island of Pharos, my students used empty 2 liter bottles to make lighthouse models.  This was the perfect activity to do today, since we were able to apply what we have learned over the past week about reusing and recycling. 
We simply used white paint to coat the plastic bottles.  Students made construction paper flames and glued them to the bottle caps.  Then we hot glued on plastic cups to form the top of the lighthouse.  Students also glued facts from today's study on the back sides of their structures as well.
One word of warning...this is what my shirt looked like after today's class, so be prepared to get a little messy with this lesson extension. :-)
In conclusion, students generated a list of information they found interesting about today's lesson, and we recorded these facts on our classroom flip chart. 
Students also wrote about our lesson in their 7 Wonders Learning Logs.
We also took a trip inside a modern lighthouse through a Reading Rainbow resource on United Streaming.  Here is the link to that video clip:
If you are interested in more 7 Wonders of the Ancient World learning fun and enrichment, my entire unit is available at the link below:
Just one more bit of info, I have recently added even more learning fun to my 178 page Classroom Economics resource.  If you have already purchased this unit, simply revisit my TpT site to download your revised copy.  If you are interested in adding exciting economics instruction into your own classroom, follow the link below:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ministry Minute and the Parenting Place--Bible Verse Letter R...

"Rejoice in the Lord always!"  Psalm 33:1 was our memory verse focus in Children's Church this week.  We learned a new chorus to accompany this verse and sang together during our Kidz Praise and Worship Time.  The link to this chorus may be found at if you are not already familiar with this song.  Mrs. Cullen does a great job teaching it here on You Tube in a kid-friendly way.

Today we were paid a visit by Spotty the Dog during Puppet Time.  We "rejoiced" to meet a new friend and to have the chance to tell Spotty about the Lord. 

The kids and I discussed what it means to "rejoice always."  I asked my little ones to share a few reasons that we can rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.  Below are just a few of their responses:
1) He made us!
2) He died on the cross for us!
3) He can come and live in our hearts!

After saying our verse and singing our version of the ABC Song, the children were off to color their letter R coloring page.  On the back each child drew a reason that they could rejoice in the Lord today.  For example, one little boy drew his parents and said, "I am so glad the Lord gave me my mom and dad.  Having them gives me joy!"  

This lesson was a great reminder to me as an adult to praise continuously the Lord and rejoice in Him.  Despite my stress or momentary circumstances, I should be mindful to take joy in the God of my salvation.  Rejoicing in Him and praying you have a great week, everyone!  God bless!  Shannon :-) 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Classroom Giveaway!

Hi, just a note to let you know that there is a great 10 day giveaway going on at  I entered to win today and know that you will want to as well.  Hope you are having a great week!  Shannon :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Earth/Arbor Day Freebies

Recycle Bin Earth Day Clip Art
Hi!  Happy Tax Day!  Just wanted to let you know about 2 FREEBIES for you in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day, special days which will take place later on this month.  I hope you enjoy! 


I am also excited to let you know that I am trying to get my Teacher's Notebook store also up and running.  Links to both that store and my complete TpT store are included for your reference below.  There are tons of seasonal resources for you there, including "Awesome April Activities for Your Classroom" and "Let's Celebrate Cinco de Mayo."  I hope these enrichment resources make your April and May even more awesome!  Have a wonderful week!  Shannon :-)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ministry Minute and the Parenting Place--What Really Counts...

Hi!  A bit of happy news to share--our baby girl turned 5 yesterday!  I can hardly believe it...where does the time go?!  At 11 days old, she was in the hospital with a profound kidney infection and anxious parents; now she is the light of our family and the apple of her big brothers' eyes.  God is truly good, and His mercies are new every morning!

The older my children get, the more I find myself wanting to make the most of every moment and trying to squeeze the best out of every second!  Unfortunately, the busy-ness of life and school and church can crowd out the quality time I also need to be spending with my children and husband.  A precious teacher that I work with shared the following article with me from  I hope it blesses and encourages you--it certainly did me! 

If you have time, please follow the link provided to the article "Your Children Want YOU!" I think you will be glad you did!  My favorite takeaway from this post by April Perry was, "At the end of the day, our children don’t want a discouraged, stressed-out mom who is wishing she were someone else. If you ever find yourself looking in the mirror at a woman who feels badly that she hasn’t yet made flower-shaped soap, please offer her this helpful reminder: 'Your children want you!'”  Hope you have a very Happy Friday!!!!  Blessings!  Shannon :-)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--More 7 Wonders Fun!

Shannon Lyles Bryant   
Hi!  I hope you had a wonderful Easter!  These are a few pictures of my little ones on Easter Sunday.  I sure do love these Bryant kiddoes and am so thankful for the time we were able to spend as a family over this past week.

Today was our first day back at school after Spring Break, and all in all, it was a great Monday!  Sure, waking up was definitely tough this morning, but my students and I had a blast continuing our 7 Wonders of the Ancient World study in class.  Today's Wonder was the marble monument built for Mausolus in Halicarnassus, Turkey.  Perhaps one of the most intriguing things about this Wonder was that each of the 4 sides of this monument was carved by a different Greek sculptor.
In order to make class models of this monument, each student "carved" 4 foam cups with paper clips and thumb tacks.  Then, I hot glued these onto a paper plate, which served as a roof of the structure.  The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was carved to honor Mausolus, however my students designed their monuments to tell about their own lives.  Carvings included pictures of family, favorite vacations, and even Justin Beiber. ;-) 
On top of Mausolus' monument, there were statues of 4 horse-driven chariots.  I asked my students to draw 4 items on their "roofs" to also represent them.  For example, I drew 4 flowers on mine in order to represent my love of Spring!  Brook drew 4 pictures of her puppy that she loves!
We charted the information we learned in class, and students recorded their observations in their 7 Wonders Learning Logs.
We also played a round of Halicarnassus Battleship, conducted "marble" science experiments, and illustrated pages for our 7 Wonders Learning Logs.  For even more great ideas and classroom projects, simply click the link below to navigate to my complete 7 Wonders unit.

Also, from now until Thursday, there will be several April/May items on sale at my TpT store.  They are listed here for your convenience.  Have a wonderful week!  Shannon :-)