We just love strawberries and who doesn’t.  Even the deer and rabbits nibble away at our patch.  That is why we picked up two flats at our local Strawberry Fest.  We love making homemade strawberry jam and of course eating the strawberries.

Some of the steps involved in making jam include:IMG_3383

  1. Purchase or grow your own strawberries (7 quarts)
  2. Core or cut the tops off




IMG_33933. Channel your inner Hulk and smash them






IMG_33964. Add sugar, pectin, lemon

5.Boil and skim off the form

6. Using canning safety scoop jam into jars





IMG_33987. Boil jars

8. Cool






IMG_33979. Enjoy the jam!




Christy Berry

Strawberry by Christy Berry

We also made some art to go along with strawberry fest.  Last year my summer school program drew strawberries. You can find the lesson here.





19149275_1765904050093319_1857692042435905487_nThis year I painted my marker rock and put a finish on it.





Strawberry example

My seven year old daughter did her “S” page for her ABC book.  Our goal this summer is to finish her book. You can purchase the full lesson from my Teachers Pay Teachers page.  She had lots of fun drawing her strawberry and writing her own story.




Strawberry and the Giant by Gwendolyn

Once upon a time there was a giant that loved strawberries. And, one day the giant was going along to picked some strawberries. He picked up a strawberry and the strawberry said, “Please don’t eat me. I’m a little strawberry. And you need to look at a strawberry to see if there is white still on them. That means they are not ready to be picked or eaten.  Please look at every strawberry.” And the giant said, “Well, I don’t look at strawberries, I just eat them.” It will taste bad if they are not ready so maybe look at the strawberries you are going to pick first for bugs or teeth marks. Plus, never ever pick somebody else’s garden.” “Well, I do that all the time,” said the giant. “That mean,” said the strawberry.  Maybe you can make your own garden. And probably don’t eat from somebody else’s garden. Don’t do it.   “Ok, I will make my own garden it will take a couple of days for the strawberries to grow,” said the giant.  And that’s how they came friends. That’s a magic strawberry plant. And he made his own. The End.


Mrs. Berry


What is Culture?

Bird HouseI am working on setting up my classes for the fall.  I took an online class this summer on using the 5E Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, & Evaluate).  I’m now incorporating this new knowledge into my lessons because it will help my students go deeper into the lessons and not sit on the surface of a really cool art project.

This is paired with my new knowledge of the term DOK (Depth of Knowledge). The art class naturally lends itself to higher levels of knowledge, because art is just cool like that.  My students cover DOK1 and DOK4 very well.  It is 2 and 3 that sometimes gets skipped over in the process of making art. There is a limited time in the classroom; however, these steps are important for students to understand why they are making the art and how to explain their thinking and what steps are needed for a project. In the long run, it will make them independent artists and problem solvers. So, it is a change in my mindset on how lessons should be run.

As I am setting up a brand new class I’m incorporating these ideas into my lessons.  My first lesson for my Culture Art class will be looking at: What is culture? This covers a Common Core Standard in Writing: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.2.d: Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

My students will be probably be confused because there is no making of artwork associated with this lesson; however, it sets up the premise of the whole class.  Sometimes middle school students don’t always have a sensitivity button installed and will say the first thing that comes to their mind. I’m installing the button at the beginning so that when we look at artwork from other cultures they have a common terminology and respect for others.

My three day lesson will have students bring in an object that represents their culture; it is a show and tell. Which by making it about them; I’ve just engaged the middle school brain.  It loves attention. I also get to know my students on another level. The following day students will use technology to explore culture topics and explain their results with others.

Finally, students discuss an extending question: “If you were to work at the United Nations (there are 193 different countries); why would understanding somebody else’s culture be important?

Throughout the lesson students self-evaluate on their level of participation. I will also evaluate them with my handy dandy clipboard and tally sheet.

My shameless plug (if you worked on a killer lesson for four days you would want to sell it too): If you are interested in purchasing the lesson click here to be brought to my page on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Other websites to check out on Depth of Knowledge and the 5E model:


Mrs. Berry

Differentiated Instruction using Schoology

Screenshot 2016-01-17 at 10.43.15 PMWell, it is a new year.  I have been very busy with family and working.  Mostly, my comics class has taken a ton time.  But now that I’m pretty much done building the content I can focus on the other teacher stuff.  Tomorrow I am presenting a portion of what I have been doing in my classroom the first half of the year for our school’s PD technology day.  I used Screencastify to record my presentation on using differentiated instruction.  I also wanted to practice before getting in front of the other teachers.  There is a difference between being in front of your students and being in front of your peers.

I’m not going to lie, what I did took a ton of work.  But it is beneficial to my students.  It’s also not 100% free from errors.  I’m going to tackle those this summer.  I have two videos here; part A is 10 minutes and part B is around 6.  It’s a 45 minute presentation. What am I going to do with the rest of the time? I’m going to add a bit of stuff, like practice.  Yep, practice.

Anyways, for those who have not used Schoology in the classroom it’s a great tool.  I use it in all my classes.  For my comics class I use it for reading articles, watching videos, and discussions.  I also have a link of approved comic websites, games, etc. for my students to utilize.

Without further ado here are the two videos.

If you have any questions or comments about using differentiated instruction or how it could be applied to other content areas write me below.


Mrs. Berry

Ships Ahoy

USS Von Steuben by Christy Berry

USS Von Steuben by Christy Berry


Well, now that school is done and I’ve set sail for my summer vacation I have time to actually write a post. Since my last post I had my fourth child; thus, the lack of time for posts. So my goal this summer is to write many posts, lesson plans, and have fun with my children.

Summer is also a time to reflect on the past school year. One of the best lessons that many of my students like was the final. This year the spring music program for the middle school had a theme of nautical music. I have student artwork that is hung with the music evening so the final project each trimester was to have the students create whatever they wanted with the idea that somehow it tied to the nautical theme. There were three main stages in the lesson: research/brainstorm, creating the art piece, and then final the essay/presentation.

It was really impressive when students were presenting their work. After the presentation classmates could ask questions about the artwork. They asked wonderful questions of the artist and the artist handled themselves beautifully in their responses. They were using art terminology and were able to describe their own process.   There were a couple of ways that I set up a “safe” environment for presentations. Here are a few tips:

  1. Explain/Discuss what an audience should do while somebody is presenting
    • Paying attention
    • Keeping their hands off of their own project
    • Keeping their bodies quiet
  2. Give the option to have a buddy/friend up there with them (they hold the artwork)
  3. Demonstrate how to present
    • Use a loud voice
    • Look at the audience
    • List all of the requirements for the essay
  4. Explain helpful and supportive questions/comments
    • Why did you choose the color blue?
    • What is this figure/object represent?
    • I like how you used a line to show movement, it really brings attention to that area.
  5. Invite students to ask questions of your artwork (be ready for some wild questions)
  6. Have everybody clap when students are done

While we were working on the final one sixth grade student told me that this was the easiest final he has ever taken. Students liked this lesson because they were able to choose whatever they liked. While students were working on their piece I created one of my own. I explained that the reason why I chose this piece is because my dad served on this sub when I was little and I remember seeing the pin he had when I was little. The materials I used were acrylic paint, a canvas and frame from Goodwill, and brushes.

If you would like the full lesson please click here the link to my teacher pay teachers.


Mrs. Berry

6th Grade Students Look At Word Choice In Different Documents

Preamble by Mrs. BerryThis last week our sixth grade reading class was very busy with celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, the U.S. Constitution Day, and Talk Like a Pirate Day. We focused on word choice in those documents. We collaborated with the seventh and eighth grade band to be inspired by the song and look at the meaning in the words of the poem. The sixth grade students helped with the seventh and eighth grade students understand the definition of symbolism. The next day we looked at the U.S. Constitution, specifically the Preamble and Amendments 1-10. We analyzed the words with a partner and then took those words the next day and created a wax resist drawing with words. Students then created a wash over the words with watercolor paint. Finally, the day came to talk like a pirate day and we took children’s nursery rhymes and turned them into pirate rhymes. It was a hoot! Sixth grade students are brilliant when coming up with new ideas. I will do this lesson again! Please enjoy our video of our week. 

Here are links to my lesson plans on teachers pay teachers if you would like the details on the lesson.


Mrs. Berry

6th Grade Agents in Training

My sixth grade students were troopers this week with heat in my room ranging from 80 to 95 degrees or better we also had fire drills during each class this week.  This was our first week back and we created our own agent profiles.  We only spent three days on the profiles.  This is a bit short for my normal art projects; however, this is my reading class and I was having the students focus on reading goals and information rather than how the portrait looked.  When I have those same students for my art class I will already know what they do as far as adding color or shading to an image and where to push and stretch them.

Here is a link to my agent in training profile post.

Enjoy the video of my students working through the process.



Mrs. Berry

Agent in Training Profile

Agent BlueAs I am getting ready for my upcoming school year and my reading class I was thinking how I can make the first few days interesting and fun. I will need to go over fire, tornado, and lockdown drills with my students in the first few days. I also want to get to know my students and have them write a reading goal for the semester. I decided that wouldn’t it be great if I also added a bit of art in there. I put those ideas in a blender and came up with an Agent Profile. Not only will these hang in the hall (there is no art the first trimester and the walls will be lonely) but I will also get to know my students a bit before we dig into reading strategies.

Students fill out an “agent” survey and then using an actual profile of themselves they will blend them together. I have this lesson on my teachers pay teachers page if you want the whole lesson.   Here is a description of my Agent in Training Profile lesson:

Shhh.. It is top secret. Your students are about to enter the world of CSI Training. This lesson is my introductory lesson to my sixth grade Reading Essentials class with a CSI theme. I spend the first three days going over safety procedures (not included because every school is unique) and getting to know who the students are (lesson included in this file.) Students fill out an agent profile and write what their reading goal will be. This is combined into an actual profile of the student. This lesson includes: National Art Standard, objectives, assessment, material list, day by day lesson, agent survey worksheet, rubric worksheet, and teacher example. So if you are ready to take on the role of a CSI trainee this lesson is for you.


Mrs. Berry

P.S. This lesson could be used for any subject, just change it to your class content area.

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