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


Personal Identity Portfolio

Front of Quality Folder

Personal Identity Portfolio by Christy Berry


I am continuing to set up my Cultural Art class.  The second week my students will be looking at what personal identity, family, and community mean to them.  The students will continue to use the 5E Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, & Evaluate).  I am also having students use the same format presented last week with the 4 boxes for Depth of Knowledge type questions.

I reworked this lesson from before. My original lesson was called: My Quality World.  My lesson was a good lesson and it was effective; however, it was not focused on the 5E model and that is what I’m working towards. It is a direction my school is headed.

So a short synapses of the lesson:

  • Engage: Students tell each other why an artist uses a portfolio
  • Explore: Students discuss the meaning of personal identity, family, and community
  • Explain: Students explain their neighbor’s response and to me the steps that they need to edit
  • Extend: Students answer the following question about their own artwork:  How do different characteristics in this artwork work together to express your personal identity?
  • Evaluate: Students use a rubric that looks like a hamburger in different stages of completeness, Students evaluate themselves along the way and I will also evaluate them throughout and then give a final grade when they are done.

My shameless plug: 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

Folders and Cups

My row of table baskets.

My row of table baskets.

I spent most of my day putting together my table folders and supplies. Something that I am using this year is setting up groups. Something that I have struggled against is time. Not enough time to set up clean up and then have the next group come in and be ready. Even though I am at a middle school; I’m using a technique I used as an elementary art teacher:

I will have a folder for each table group for each class. I have a large poster board paper that I folded in half and then taped the size. I have used teacher rolled paper (very thin) before and it doesn’t last as long (one about a year). Each folder will have a smaller folder for each middle school student (they make their own.) six classes x 8 table groups = 48 folders (these will last a while and I won’t need to do this many next year). Each class is labeled by their hour and then their table name.

I also went to the Dollar store and picked up baskets for each table group. What is slick about this year is that I labeled everything with the table name. I also included fun facts about the artist on the glass to hold the markers, and quotes from three quotes from artist on the crayon holder. This took some time. I did use a black sharpie marker. If I made a mistake I would just use a dry erase marker to fix it.

IMG_9405Here are the artists I used for my table groups. I picked these because they are my favorites.

  • Stan Lee
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Ansel Adams
  • Chuck Close
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Sandy Skoglund

IMG_9404Then on each cup I included the following:

  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Country
  • Death (If they had died I put a date; otherwise, it is blank.)
  • 3-4 fun facts about the artist

I am going to be using these cups as time fillers. For example, if I have two extra minutes (which is rarity, we work up to the last second)I will ask the class questions about an artist and say…”which artist was born on….?” That group will get to line up first. I’m in the basement and they want to be first up those stairs. It’s a big deal.

A couple of reasons to put fun facts on the cups:

  • Student will read about their artist and not even know they are finding out information
  • Students will be reading (a sneaky way to incorporate literacy)
  • Students will learn something new
  • It is something different

It took a good three hours to put together the folders and table supplies. By having the baskets it will save time for set up and clean up.


Mrs. Berry

So it begins…..


My view when I first opened my classroom door.

Well, I’ve started to set up my classroom. It will take about two weeks to get it set. This fall, I am teaching six art classes to 6th-8th grade students. I have a nice normal schedule and I am very happy. I am teaching two Art 1 classes, two Comics classes, and 2 Design classes. This is the first time that I’m not pregnant at the beginning of the school year for this school. I am able to a lot more than what I have done in the past. Each time I go into my room, I’m spending around 4-6 hours organizing and setting up. The first day, I moved furniture. I am going with groups of four this year because I plan on having a lot more group work due to the training this summer. I had two great days of PD that were actually helpful to my class. Students will be going one to one devices sometime this fall. All my students will have Chromebooks. I have also router in my room, remember I’m in the basement. There is no signal.


After I moved furniture.

So after moving the desks where I wanted them I moved the old library shelves (pretty much all the stuff in my room has been pieced together from everywhere in the district). On the first day I cut cardboard to fit across the shelves. I save the boxes that paper comes in every year. You never know when it will come in handy. And on that day it did.

IMG_9395 IMG_9397 IMG_9398I also updated my set of classroom expectations and turned it into a painting. I painted two saying above my sink to help remind students what to do while at the sink. I painted them on my whiteboards with acrylic paint. (I picked this up at Home Depot. It’s a shower backing that they cut into 12” by 12” boards.) That way if I ever want to change it I can.


Picture sorting. So many to choose from.

The second day that I went in I started to hang posters. Something that I did last year, that made hanging artwork up easier this year was Velcro. This is slicker than snot. It costs a bit up front but then I don’t worry about putting holes into my walls or stuff falling down. I also don’t need to worry about tape on the front and back. I just put it up. It works well as long as I can remember which poster goes where.IMG_9390IMG_9391

I still have much to do to get my room ready. Enjoy the rest of your summer!


Mrs. Berry

Artist Trading Cards

front of cardWell, it’s has been a busy summer.  I have been having many adventures with my family.  I know I said, I would write posts.  It’s been a very busy summer.  As school is just right around the corner I have started to write lesson plans.  Yes, I know it’s a month away.  It will be here soon than you know.  One of the lessons that I plan on using this fall is one called artist trading cards.  A couple of years ago I participated in the first Grumbacher trading cards. Click here link to the post about it. I won and received some cool stuff.  They are currently on their 39th swap.

So I thought way not have a swap with another school.  I asked a fellow art teacher and she agreed to swap cards for our sixth grade students.  Rock on!  So I sat down a wrote my lesson.  I wanted to change my element of art lesson up a bit and have students do a bit of investigating line.  I also went to a 2 day PD where the focus was having students transition from teacher led student led. It was a great workshop. Since this is one of the first lessons of the year there is a bit more teacher guidance to help students develop anatomy.

So here is the simple version of my lesson

  1. Students find images 15-20 with line as the focus asking questions about their finds
    1. Is this a line and how to I know it’s a line?
    2. How do I know it is different from other lines that I have found?
  2. Students create a plan and receive feedback from classmates
    1. How does my artist trading card use lines?
    2. Do I have enough lines (10 or more)?
    3. Did I use neatness and craftsmanship?
  3.  Student create card
  4. Students receive feedback from classmates
    1. How does my artist trading card use lines?
    2. Do I have enough lines (10 or more)?
    3. Did I use neatness and craftsmanship?
  5. Turn in the project

I have the full version on my Artist Trading Cards: Line.  Here is a description of the lesson.

Students are always showing off their artwork and creating drawings for each other. This lesson uses that motivation by having students create artist trading cards. Specifically, this lesson has students use line in their trading card. The assessments and objectives are geared towards grade 6. However, this could be used at any grade level.

When you purchase this lesson you will receive an electronic file that includes National/Michigan/Common Core benchmarks addressed in the lesson, assessment, materials list, teacher example, step-by-step instructions, accommodation suggestions, vocabulary word cut outs, and student handout with directions/rubric.

If anybody is interested in trading cards with seventh or eighth grade students please let me know.


Mrs. Berry

JMS 6th Grade Reading Essentials works with the James Dyson Engineering Box

IMG_9484My sixth grade Reading Essentials class used the Dyson Engineering Box. There was no cost to the school for the box. It’s provided by the James Dyson Foundation. All I did was ask if I could use the box. I put down my choice for which month I would like the box to arrive. We were very excited to receive the box. After four weeks we send it back. This is something that fits into my budget. The box came with directions and information along with posters. Along with a DC26 and heads to dismantle it also came with screw drivers. For more information please visit:

By far this was my students’ favorite lesson this trimester. There are several things that we did to use reading even though the students were mostly excited about dismantling the vacuum heads.

Reading Essentials DysonHere are some of our reading things:

  • We used looked at 10 vocabulary words relating to the box.
  • We analyzed and evaluated the text about James Dyson using several reading strategies week prior to dismantling the vacuum heads.
  • We worked in groups where each member took one of the five steps and either, verbally read the directions and questions, wrote the group answer, or dismantled the head.
  • Students also analyzed the design process and created their own inventions on paper. Some of the answers were pretty wacky and wonderfully thought out. My favorite was the teacher transporter so students wouldn’t start school so early.
  • Not only did this lesson cover common core standards for English Language Arts and Next Generation Science standards is also was engaging and lots of fun.

IMG_9529Feedback from my students:

  • Favorite lesson all trimester
  • The vacuum cord to plug into the wall is too short for my classroom.
  • Fascinated by the amount of dirt the Dyson vacuum cleaner could pick up vs the custodians vacuum cleaner he uses in my room. The custodian does not have a Dyson; his is a bag vacuum with only one wheel that pretty much only picks up paper.
  • Fascinated by the cyclone technology and watching stuff spin around.
  • The directions were not always clear on how to dismantle the vacuum or what part was what.

My feedback:

  • This was a fabulous lesson!
  • Students were engaged throughout the lesson.
  • It was fun to watch the students try to figure out the instructions and work well with their team mates.
  • This is a repeat lesson.

Please enjoy our video!


Mrs. Berry

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