Complete Nebraska State Study Interactive Notebook Unit

I am really excited to share my newest product, Complete Nebraska State Study Interactive Notebook Unit! I've been working on it for almost 3 months and I am really proud of how it has turned out!

I moved to Omaha, NE, for my first teaching job back in 1995. My assignment was 4th grade. The biggest part of the Social Studies curriculum for 4th grade is to teach Nebraska History.  I had just moved to Nebraska, living here for only 2 months. Omaha was the only part of Nebraska I had ever been in! If you are familiar with a Nebraska map you will see that Omaha is on the extreme east side of the state, you don't even need to drive through other areas of Nebraska to arrive in Omaha. You head over the Missouri River (Iowa border) on I-80 or I-29 and go directly into Omaha. So needless to say I did not have one bit of background knowledge of the state of Nebraska or its history!

In addition to a lack of personal experience the district gave me ZERO resources to use to teach this curriculum, no textbooks, no informational books, no teachers manuals, nothing, zero, zip! So to say I really was not qualified or prepared to teach this required Social Studies curriculum is an understatement!

I made it through that first year, how I'm not quite sure! I learned about Nebraska right along with my students. Second year I was able to start to refine resources that I created and by the third year it was looking even better. The silver lining of the experience is that by being given nothing I was able refine my creating skills and have been able to utilize those skills with my The Teaching Bank adventures!

Over the past couple years a hot topic in educational resources has been the use of Interactive Notebooks. I have watched other sellers create some fantastic resources on TpT and have had a great deal of success doing so. I love the idea of the Interactive Notebook and have been wanting to create something of my own. I had no interest in copying what other sellers were doing and wanted my work to be original.

Earlier this spring my 4th grade son's teacher contacted me asking if I had any resources to help with her Nebraska Unit. I enjoy sharing my resources with my childrens' teachers, but sadly I had nothing to share in this case as I had never formally created anything for Social Studies to offer. Her email sparked an idea. Why not create the Interactive Notebook product that I've wanted to make using the Nebraska State Study curriculum as my subject! It's original and it is definitely needed! I would have been in heaven to have something like this available my first year teaching! So with that my Complete Nebraska State Study Interactive Notebook Unit, was born!

I do understand that this product doesn't have the widest audience, mainly Nebraska teachers! I created it with 11 distinct sections so that can be used in isolation or all together so that teachers can pick and choose to fit their needs. This also gave me the opportunity to offer the Lewis & Clark section and The Oregon Trail section as separate, stand-alone items to market to the wider US audience. You don't have to be a Nebraska teacher to use either of those!

The unit/INB is broken into the following sections:

Section 1 covers Nebraska's location within the United States, surrounding states, populous cities, regions, waterways/aquifer, and weather.

Section 2 covers Nebraska's flag, seal, state symbols (bird, tree, etc), federal government representatives, state representatives, introduction to the Unicameral Legislature, and the steps of how a Bill becomes a law.

Section 3 covers Nebraska's notable people, places of interest, and fun
facts about the state.

Section 4 covers Nebraska during the Prehistoric times. Activities include: vocabulary, Ashfall Fossil Beds, animals in Nebraska during the Ice Age, and first humans in Nebraska.

Section 5 covers the tribes of Nebraska, study of an Earthlodge, Earthlodge vs. Tipi comparison, and investigate the many uses of the bison.

Section 6 covers the location and exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, map the journey of Lewis & Clark, investigate supplies needed for the journey, timeline of the journey, journal the journey, and impact of the exploration.
*This section is not Nebraska specific and can be used nationwide!


Section 7 covers the first pioneer settlers, mapping the Oregon Trail, investigate reasons for traveling the Oregon Trail, research supplies needed for the journey, hardships endured, journal the journey, and the Mormon Trail.
*This section is not Nebraska specific and can be used nationwide!

Section 8 covers Nebraska's road to statehood, including activities for the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Homestead Act, housing on the prairie, life of a pioneer child, impact of the railroad to NE, and NE becomes a state.

Section 9 covers how the issues (suffrage, prohibition, race relations, Native Americans, child labor, worker's rights, election reforms, political reforms, and anti-monopoly reforms) during this time period affected the people of Nebraska.

Section 10 includes 2 informational articles along with activities touching on Nebraska's role in World War II, the Cold War and the role of SAC and STRATCOM.

Section 11 includes activities dealing with Nebraska's major industries: crops, livestock, and other important NE industries.

All of these sections are available on their own so you can tailor it to your own classroom needs. You can also buy the entire unit together as one bundle at a reduced cost. 

This can save you money and it includes everything you need to teach your entire state study for Nebraska. The alignment to the Nebraska 4th Grade Social Studies State Standards is included with every section to make planning even easier!

I hope this product can be the lifesaver for you that it would have been for me back in that first year of teaching! This covers everything that you need for the Nebraska study in the format of an Interactive Notebook. Your students will be motivated, involved, and at the end have their very own Nebraska State Guide!

Goals for 2015!

While surfing through Facebook I came across Erica Bohrer's Linky Party on her blog, Erica's Ed-Ventures, for 2015 goals. I'm not a huge New Year's Resolution person, mainly because I am a bit of a realist/perfectionist and know that I will break them! Hate to fail! :)  After reading Erica's post and the other linked posts, I decided this wouldn't be too overreaching for me so I decided to join in!

I am very fortunate that I am a cheapskate to some degree. It helps that I don't accrue unneeded debt and keeps me in line financially. My kids would not describe it as a favorable trait of mine, but that leads me to my biggest goal: help my children become more financially literate and smart. My oldest son, Joey, is 15 now and just got his driver's license. He's hoping for a car in his future. I am trying to instill the earning and saving habit in him so he can better handle the responsibility of keeping up on the costs of a car. He is at an age where he is going places socially with friends, out to eat, etc. He is quickly learning how expensive these things can be and how he needs to monitor his budget and decide on "wants" versus "needs". He has a teen checking account with a debit card and he's really done well with it. He doesn't do his chores quite at the rate that I would like, but he does learn that when he doesn't do them his bank account stays smaller! His big goal is to get a real job so he can earn "real" money versus the "peanuts" I pay in in allowance!

My middle child, Ally, is a middle-schooler and the "in" thing to do is shop and hit Starbucks. Again, not cheap entertainment. She recently got the teen checking account with a debit card also and is budgeting well.  She's more fortunate than her brother in that the neighbors are hiring her for babysitting and pet sitting so she's able to make "real" money a little easier at this age than a boy. Her wants are more expensive than her brothers though so she can burn through that money. She's a little more responsible in the fact that she will actively seek out extra chores for extra cash when needed. Nice for me!

My youngest son, Sam, is only in 4th grade and the thing we are working on most with him is not acting on impulse. He doesn't need every cool thing or sweet treat he sees! This is a tough lesson for him, but I am sure it will come as he matures.

My professional goals for 2015 are to expand The Teaching Bank. I am very interested in Interactive Notebooks and am working on some products along those lines. The key for me is there are so many wonderful products out there and I don't want to be a copycat. I want to utilize the methods in a unique way, so that's my big challenge.

I enjoyed attending the 2014 TpT Conference and hope to attend again this year. Hoping to learn even more that will help on the goal of expansion of my store.

I am not a huge believer in diets. First, they don't work that well for me, and second, the results generally aren't long term.  I really try and follow an 80/20 philosophy all the time where 80% I eat right and 20% I splurge. For the most part this works well for me as long as I can keep my thyroid counts within a good range. My thyroid works like a roller coaster though so that is always a challenge!

I am a pretty faithful walker when the weather cooperates. I have 2 golden retrievers and they are a huge motivator for me to get out there and walk. They stay healthier which means they will hopefully live longer and that keeps me going!

In my personal life my main goal would be to keep my kids on a happy, healthy path. I want to help them grow and develop into decent, kind adults that are open minded thinkers and are independent enough to take on the world! They are on that path, but as they hit the teen years it is becoming harder to control that path. As they go down this path as teens I hope I can weather the behaviors and attitudes that all teens have without too much drama!

Thank you to Erica at Erica's Ed-Ventures for the idea to write out these goals and the opportunity to link up. Do you have goals to share? Write them up and head over to Erica's Ed-Ventures and link up too!

Happy 2015 everyone and good luck with all that you hope and dream for the upcoming year!