Cross-Curriculum Mystery Pictures

Learning about the United States in History? Learning about the different mountain ranges in Science? Studying types of poems in Language Arts? Historic songs in Music class? Graphing in Math?

We all want to incorporate other content areas with the one that we teach. In middle school, it can feel extremely difficult to plan big units that have standards tied together from all four subjects (or more!). I love to create coordinate graphing mystery pictures and I have a really fun and easy way to integrate all the subject areas with each other.

My cross-curriculum mystery pictures can be used for ALL these classes! If you have lower-level students or students in the early stages of learning about the coordinate plane, then use the Quadrant One version. If you have advanced students or you are working with all four quadrants and integers, then the version with all four Quadrants is perfect! Graph paper is included as well as a version with fractional grid lines for even more differentiation. These can be used from about 5th grade all the way to Seniors in high school! 

The following is an example of how you could use the FREE version of the United States Coordinate Graphing Mystery Picture in your classroom!
Students could graph the ordered pairs in Math class and take it with them to their other classes to continue the integration. In Language Arts, the students could write a poem about what they have learned in their History class. The students could use the outline of their Mystery Picture, they have graphed in their Math class, as a template for their poems.

Students may be studying about historic songs and their backgrounds in music class and learning about poems in Language Arts. Here is an example of how the Pledge of Allegiance could be used for the United States Mystery Picture. 
FREE United States Coordinate Graphing Mystery Picture
These also make a great template for writing thank you letters to veterans! You can realy allow students to express their creativity with completing these mystery pictures. They will make a great bulletin board display!

Georgia Mystery Picture Quadrant One
Georgia Mystery Picture All 4 Quadrants
I will be completing each state as a Mystery Picture. The State of Georgia was first on the list to be finished! Click here to get Georgia for yourstudents! What state do you call home? Let me know and I'll start working on it next! You can email me at

I hope your students enjoy these Mystery Pictures as much as I love creating them! 

Easy tutorial on making DIY paper rosettes

If you are here from my previous post about making an awesome bulletin board for your school, I promise I will be quick! If you missed the post on the bulletin board click here!

How to make paper rosettes:
Step 1: Get some paper. I found many tutorials that said you need a square size, but that is wrong. I used regular copy paper. It would probably be sturdier if you used cardstock but that gets expensive....
I think the best way is for there to be multiple sizes and layers so it is dimensional. It draws your attention! I used the same color paper that I used for my bulletin board letters. It takes three pieces of paper to make a "tighter" rosette but for some of the smaller version I only used two pieces.

Step 2:
If you are starting with a rectangular piece of paper you will fold up the long side. If it's a square, it doesn't matter which side you start on. Flip the paper over and continue folding on top of the previous fold until you have finished the entire piece of paper.

Step 3: 
Fold that paper in half. You will need three of these.

Step 4:
You have now made V shapes with your three pieces. You will tape the inside pieces together. You could also use a dab of hot glue, glue dots, double-sided tape, a stapler, etc. You get the point. I couldn't find my hot glue gun so tape it was. :)

Step 5:
Now take two pieces and tape their outside edges together. You are almost finished! Grab that third piece and tape those outside edges together connecting and making a circle! 

Since I used regular paper and not cardstock, they seemed a little flimsy. I did hot-glue an index card on the back in the center to help stabilize it when I put them together for the bulletin board. I just did a quick layout on my dining room floor of how I wanted them to look and snapped a quick picture so when I am hot-gluing them up on my bulletin board I can have a reference. I've also seen where you can get poster board and have that as your starting point for gluing onto. 

If you'd like to have the Hashtag Bulletin Board Kit click here! 

That's it! You are finished! Now go make tons more so you can have a collage of paper rosettes that make a great backdrop! I'd love to see your versions if you make a bulletin board! Please tag me on Instagram @hcain11 

How to Make an AWESOME #Hashtag bulletin board!

There are some great back to school signs out there for those #firstdayofschool moments with your children and/or students. I thought why can't we make these for our middle school students? I can't say I have a first day of my eighth grade year picture anywhere(nor do I think I even want to see one! Yikes!). This is a great way to use a bulletin board in the hallway or commons area for students to use as a backdrop for their pictures! Get one of each of your students and let them take some pictures with their friends! This will be up for Open House night so my students can even have their parents take their picture with them!

I printed these letters out on gorgeous Astrobrights paper. I like that it was already a theme of colors that are coordinated. I couldn't go wrong here. I alternated colors because I like the way it looks. You could do one solid color paper. We do not have color printers and I don't want to spend the money to get them made so this is a cheaper alternative!   

The next step is to cut out those letters! Take your time. Trust me. You don't want to cut too much off. I like to leave a small sliver of colored paper on the outside of the black lines.
Next is to laminate! *This is also optional! I sometimes don't have time to laminate so I simply staple the letters right up knowing I won't be able to use them again next year. If you want it to last-laminate the letters! 

Be sure to lay out your letters on your floor or a counter to be sure you have everything spelled out (correctly!) and it looks how you want.

I am using a navy fabric to back my bulletin board. This will prevent fading from the sun or students writing something on the butcher paper. Be sure to measure your bulletin board's length before you shop. Most bulletin boards are 4 feet tall. Fabric is usually 45 inches wide. You can see that the edges of the fabric at the top are jagged. This works because you will cover the gaps with your border. I did a double layer of border to add dimension. I simply hot glued the solid border to the silver edge of the bulletin board! *Forgive the bad lighting!

Staple your letters up high enough so if students are standing in front of the board it will still show in the picture.

Staple your letters onto the top portion of the board! Add a side decoration and that is it!

I chose to do lots of paper rosettes in the same paper I printed the letters on to match and have a large decoration off to the side. I have seen these online and in craft stores already made. I took the long route and made my own. Click here for the EASYtutorial on how I made my paper rosettes. 

That’s it! You are done! I’ve made a hashtag for each grade level as well as a few others. Click here for the Hashtag Bulletin Board Kit. 

I'd love to see your completed bulletin boards! Tag me on Instagram! @hcain11

Back to School!

It is that time of year again! We are all getting back into the swing of a schedule (which means lots of coffee for me)!

From my experience, those first few days of middle school can be tough for some students. I have tried many things for those first days. I always give a quick overview of my Rules and Procedures just so they know "how I roll" in my classroom. I use my First Day PowerPoint (which is editable!) to quickly explain. The students will learn about these more in depth as the days come.

I really like getting to know my students and I think that building relationships is one of the most important things for teachers to remember! From my experience, my students do not want to be called out to “tell me something about yourself”. You are definitely going to get a look from your students. (Think a Deer in Headlights!) My students want to catch up with friends they may not have seen or talked to over the summer.

Math All About Me First Day Activity

I use interactive notebooks in my classroom so I give my students a Math All About Me organizer! I print these 2 to a page so they can easily be cut in half and glued as their first page in their notebooks. If you use a 3-ring binder, you could also print these and they can be hole-punched and placed as the first page. You could also have student slide them into the protective sleeve. Students will basically come up with math facts about themselves. Some examples are: I have 3 dogs, My favorite number is 11, I am 12 years old, My football number is 8, I have visited 10 states, I’ve killed 4 deer, etc. You’d be surprised what students will come up with! 
If you feel your students may struggle coming up with what to write, I have included a version with prompts! There is a black and white version as well as in color. 
I love having students complete this on day 1 while giving them the opportunity to talk quietly with their peers. I always do one with my students as well. It’s fun to see what changes you have in your own life! Stay tuned for a post about how I use my Back to School Task Cards to get to know my students better. 

Math All About Me

Love from the Middle!

It's HUMP DAY! I wanted to share the love and link up to some awesome middle school sellers from Teachers Pay Teachers! Check them out below!


I wanted to share with you a New Year's FREEBIE! I plan to do one of these for each upcoming year for you to have an activity to help ease back into math in your secondary classroom. I love how practicing graphing is applicable to so many math standards. Our entire second semester consists of graphing equations, finding slope, systems of equations, rate of change, transformations, and the list goes on. This gives your students great practice and they love to color it at the end. I always hang them up in the hallway. Kids love to see their work hanging up!

You could even have students write New Year's resolutions inside the numbers before hanging up!

I have, Who Has..?

I am so excited about this new game! I wanted to engage all my students in an activity where they were finding the slope of a linear equation from a graph. I remembered playing "I have, Who has..." games with my elementary students back in student teaching. I am starting a new line in my TPT store of these games!  Here is the first one!

I have all my students stand up in the room. This gets them up and out of their seat! I pass out the cards to each student. There are 36 cards total. If you have less than 36 students give some students two cards. I tell the students to go ahead and look at their graph on their card and find the slope of the given line. Each graph already has two points given so this helps as well! 

You can start at any card because they all loop back to each other. You can start with a card or have a student start the game. 
I set the stopwatch on my phone to time the students or you can Click here for a free Google stopwatch. 
As the teacher, find the card that you are going to start with, on the Answer Key. You can follow along on the key to make sure the students are correct. If the question doesn't match the answer key then that student is incorrect. 

They love competing with other classes to see who can get through the loop the fastest. You really have to pay attention and know your card's slope! Our first run took about 7 minutes. The second run was only 3 minutes! You can also write the times from each class on the board and give a small incentive to the class who can do it the fastest! Have fun!