Saturday, September 19, 2020

10 Children's Books about Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last night, and many Americans...including myself...are feeling heartbroken.  Justice Ginsburg was a strong, powerful woman on the Supreme Court of the United States and a champion of the people.  Throughout her life, she was a strong advocate for the civil rights of women, people of color, the LGBT community, and people with disabilities.  Keep reading to learn more about Justice Greenburg and to discover 10 children's books about her.

10 Children's Books about Ruth Bader Ginsburg

(Affiliate links and descriptions from Amazon included)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Harvest Sprites

Call me silly, but I believe there is something wonderful and magical about autumn.  I love the colors in the trees, the crispness in the air, wearing my warm sweaters and socks, wrapping myself in a blanket, and snuggling in with a good book.  I love the tastes and smells of freshly made apple cider and cinnamon doughnuts.  And I especially love the big bonfires and making s'mores with my family and friends.  Autumn is my favorite time of the year!

I recently found The Harvest Sprites (affiliate link) by Hayley Nystrom.  I fell in love with it right away!  It's a fun book with beautiful illustrations of everything autumn has to offer.  Read on to learn more about The Harvest Sprites and how you can integrate it with your lessons at school.

The Harvest Sprites by Hayley Nystrom

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Grow! How We Get Food from Our Garden

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post called Where Does Celery Come From?  In that post, I talked about the disconnect children have about their food and described a science activity you can do with them.  Since then, I learned about a new book hitting the market in October 2020.  It's called Grow!  How We Get Food from Our Garden (affiliate link to Amazon) by Karl Beckstrand.  Grow! would be a good book to read with your students to help them realize where their food comes from.  Yes, food does come from the grocery store.  But before it gets to the grocery store, it was grown in someone's garden.  Read on to learn more about Grow! and to get ideas on how to use it in your classroom.

GROW: How We Get Food from Our Garden by Karl Beckstrand

Monday, September 14, 2020

Lucy's Mask

The school year has started and things are looking different than they had in the past.  One of the most obvious changes is that teachers and students must wear facemasks when they are in close proximity to other people.  In some school districts, they are required to wear them at all times besides lunch and break.  By now, most people are used to wearing facemasks.  They may not always want to wear masks, but they do so because they know it's the right thing to do.  

There will be days when students... and teachers... will feel frustrated by having to wear masks for so long.  They may take off their masks and not want to put them back on.  It's normal for them to have those feelings, but not OK to act on them.  If this happens and tensions start to rise because of it, sometimes taking a break and reading a story can help.  Lucy's Mask (affiliate link to Amazon) by Lisa Sirkis Thompson is a fun, lighthearted story that reminds children why it's important to wear their facemasks and even lets them know they can be superheroes when they wear them!  How fun is that?

Lucy's Mask by Lisa Sirkis Thompson

Saturday, September 12, 2020

10 Children's Books about the Chinese Moon Festival

xī wàng míng yuè néng bǎ wǒ mén dě zhù fú hé huān lè dōu dài gěi nǐ.
希 望 明 月 能 把 我 们 的 祝 福 和 欢 乐 都 带 给 你。

May the full moon bring blessings and happiness from our home to yours!

It is almost time for the Chinese Moon Festival, also known as the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.  This festival is always celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month when there is a full moon.  On this special day, people gather with friends and family, give thanks for bountiful harvests, and say prayers for a good future.  It's also a time filled with colorful lanterns, music, games, and... of course... mooncakes!  Read on to discover 10 children's books about this joyous occasion.
10 Children's Books about the Chinese Moon Festival
(contains affiliate links and book descriptions from Amazon)

Friday, September 11, 2020

Does Halloween Candy Sink or Float?

It's only September and the stores are already gearing up for Halloween.  Shelf after shelf after shelf is loaded up with bags of Halloween candy waiting for you to buy it and take it home.  Of course, we can eat the Halloween candy or pass it out to trick-or-treaters, but we can also use it to teach little ones about one of the basic fundamentals of science...

Does It Sink or Float?

Halloween Candy Sink or Float

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

How to Make a Paper Bag Pumpkin

 When I was little, my father taught me and my brother how to make paper bag pumpkins.  They were fun and easy to make.  We used them as a centerpiece for our dining room table, as decorations for autumn and Halloween, and as simple toys to play with.  Read on to learn the three steps to make your own paper bag pumpkin!

Kellys Classroom How to Make a Paper Bag Pumpkin

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Where Does Celery Come From?

I live in an area of the country that is well-known for its chicken wings.  When we order chicken wings, they are traditionally served with a side of carrots, celery, and blue cheese dressing.  (Yum!)  The celery on the plate looks like short little sticks and looks nothing like the plant they come from.  Not only are children surprised these little green sticks are vegetables that come from a plant... they are also surprised when they find out celery is actually the stem of a plant.  Whoa!  This blog post describes a simple science activity you can do with your students to help them answer the question:

Where does celery come from?

Is Celery Really a Plant?

Friday, September 4, 2020

Fun Facts about the Rhinoceros

September 22 is World Rhino Day. World Rhino Day was started in 2010 by the World Wildlife Fund as a way to celebrate the rhinoceros and to teach people around the world about them.  Several species of rhinoceros are critically endangered and need our help.  Read on to learn about these amazing gentle giants and how we can help them.

World Rhino Day by Kelly's Classroom Online

Thursday, September 3, 2020

10 Children's Books About Rosh Hashanah

Shanah Tovah!  It is almost time for Rosh Hashanah... the Jewish New Year!  Rosh Hashanah will begin this year on September 18th (on the eve of Tishrei 1) and will last until September 20 (after nightfall on Tishrei 2).  It is a time of celebration and introspection for the Jewish people.  Listed below are 10 fiction and non-fiction books about Rosh Hashanah that your students may enjoy.

10 Children's Books About Rosh Hashanah
(contains affiliate links and book descriptions from Amazon)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Word Spree: What and Why

One of the first writing assignments I have my students do at the beginning of the school year is something called a word spree.  A word spree is a short, 10-minute assessment that checks students' abilities to recall words they already know by heart. . . or in more professional terms. . . how many words they can control with automaticity.  (Automaticity comes from the word automatic and refers to the ability to do things without occupying the mind, without thinking about them.)  To do a word spree, all you need is a blank piece of paper and something to write with.

Monday, August 31, 2020

How Do Seeds Travel?

In an earlier post (What Happens When You Plant Birdseed?), I described a science experiment in which some children in the neighborhood and I grew plants from birdseed this summer.  The children 'discovered' that birdseed can produce plants and those plants are able to grow and thrive.  In this blog post, I will describe another science experiment involving seeds.  This time we are going to learn about how seeds can travel!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Mindfulness for Children

There is a lot of talk these days about mindfulness.  It's the latest craze in health and wellness.  We see memes about it on social media, books about it in stores and libraries, videos about it on YouTube, etc.  We often told to be more mindful and to help our students and children become more mindful.  But what does that mean?  What is mindfulness?  Why is it important?  How do we do that?

Germs vs. Soap

Handwashing is a vital skill for children to learn.  Their hands come into contact with countless germs each day.  This is especially problematic when children put their hands in their mouths or touch their eyes.  Handwashing is the best defense against spreading germs.

Children Washing Hands

Thursday, August 27, 2020

10 Children's Books About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The beginning of the school year is here and, for the first time in recent history, students and teachers are going back to school in the midst of a global pandemic.  No one really knows what to expect this school year and everyone feels anxiety on some level.  Listed below are 10 children's books about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and some of the issues children have to deal with.  

(contains affiliate links and book descriptions from Amazon)

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Recognizing Anxiety in Children

It is normal for children to feel anxious at times.  Examples of 'normal stress' include the beginning of the school year, having to stand up to present a report, or getting called on to answer questions in class.

However, 'bad stress' occurs when children feel anxious for prolonged periods of time and aren't able to effectively manage what they are feeling.  When this happens, the anxiety they feel can interfere with their school work, social interactions, class behavior, and self-esteem.  As teachers, we need to know what the symptoms of anxiety in children are, recognize when the children become anxious, and help them manage how they feel.

Childhood Anxiety

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

What Happens When You Plant Birdseed?

Earlier this summer, I had an interesting conversation with one of the children in my neighborhood.  She wondered out loud if birdseed were 'real seeds' and if they could be planted the same way 'real seeds' could be.  This set the stage for a fun, month-long science experiment in which we tried to answer the question...

What happens when you plant birdseed?

What happens when you plant birdseed?

Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah starts on September 18th this year and it's never to early to start making plans for how you'll celebrate.  Little kids can help with the festivities too.  They can make cards for the people in their families. Check out this cute, little card made by Jeremy.

Rosh Hashanah Cards

Monday, August 24, 2020

When the Chickens Went on Strike: A Rosh Hashanah Tale

Rosh Hashanah... the Jewish New year... will begin on September 18th of this year and will last until September 20th.  During Rosh Hashanah people will sound the shofar each morning, light candles in the evenings, enjoy festive meals with friends and family, and attend services at a synagogue.  Traditional Rosh Hashanah foods include apples dipped in honey, round challah bread, pomegranates, and the head of a fish.

When the Chickens Went on Strike

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Science Materials to Keep in Your Kitchen

You don't have to have expensive science equipment to engage children in meaningful science activities at home.  In fact, you don't have to spend much money at all.  In this blog post, I'll share with you five items that you may already have in your kitchen.  If you don't have them already, you can find them in grocery stores and dollar stores near you.

Top 5 Science Materials to Keep in Your Kitchen

Saturday, August 22, 2020

What is Labor Day?

Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September.  It honors American workers who contribute to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  It is also a federal holiday that marks the unofficial end of summer.  Here are five fun facts about Labor Day for you.

What Is Labor Day

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Five Fun Facts About Honey Bees

August 18 is National Honey Bee Day.  This day was designed to bring awareness to these little insects who do a big job.  Did you know that these insects are responsible for pollinating up to 1/3 of the world's food supply?  Without them, we could have a critical food shortage around the globe.  Read on to learn more about honey bees and what they can do!

National Honey Bee Day: Five Fun Facts about Bees

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Keko and the Lost Bananas

Keko and the Lost Bananas by Cynthia Pilcher (affiliate link to Amazon) is a sweet story about friendship and sharing.  It features two animal friends who have a problem to work out: Dilly, a small fruit bat, has taken Keko's beloved bananas without permission.  Keko is a monkey... and we all know how much monkeys love bananas!

Keko and the Lost Bananas

Saturday, August 15, 2020

How to Make Your Own Playdough

When I taught preschool years ago, making my own playdough was something I did on a regular basis.  The children loved playing with it and we probably went through a batch every other week.  I'm not sure where the recipe I used came from; it hung faithfully on the school's kitchen wall ever since I could remember.  The one thing that made this recipe different from the others I tried was the secret ingredient... Kool-Aid packets.

How to Make Your Own Playdough

Friday, August 14, 2020

Types of Clouds

Many 2nd and 3rd grade students learn about clouds in their science classes.  They learn about how clouds are formed in the atmosphere, what the different types are, and what each type forecasts.  If your students need to learn about clouds in your class, keep reading.  In this blog post, I'll introduce you to The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola and a twist on a traditional cloud craft.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Helping Your Left-Handed Students

Today is August 13th... did you know it is also International Lefthanders Day?  An estimated seven to ten percent of the world's population are left-handed and International Lefthanders Day brings attention to the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominately right-handed world.

Chances are you have a student or two in your class who is left-handed.  Here are three simple strategies you can use in the classroom to support his/her writing efforts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

What is STEM Education?

STEM education is becoming increasingly popular in our school systems.  Students often take STEM classes and participate in STEM activities at school.  What is STEM and why is it so important?  Read on to find out!

What is STEM?

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Chalk Box Kid

The Chalk Box Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla (affiliate link to Amazon) is a terrific book to use when introducing chapter books to second-grade students.  It's not terribly long. . . only 64 pages. . . and has clear cut characters, settings, problems, and solution.

Clyde Robert Bulla

Friday, August 7, 2020

How to Play Mum-ball

Have you ever played mum-ball with your students?  It's a terrific game to play during recess or when your students need a quick brain break.  It gets the children up and moving and is super easy.  There are very few rules you need to remember and only one item you need. . . a big, bouncy, beach ball from your local department store.

How to Play Mum-ball

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Pirates, Pirates, and More Pirates!

It's August and we're in the midst of pirate season.  All over the country, there are pirate festivals and celebrations.  Children enjoy dressing up as pirates, singing songs about pirates, and playing pirate games this time of year.  Are you looking for a fun activity to try with your children and students?  Try painting rocks to make pirate gold and going on a treasure hunt!

Treasure Map

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

F is for Flag

On July 4th, people all over the United States celebrated Independence Day.  Many people attended picnics, parades, and carnivals.  Many people dressed up in red, white, and blue and many more enjoyed watching firework displays in their communities.  Even though the festivities of July 4th are over, this is a terrific time for small children to learn more about the American flag.  What colors are on the flag?  (red, white and blue)  How many stripes are on the flag?  (thirteen)  How many stars are on the flag?  (fifty)  When we look at the flag, what should we think about and remember?  (America!)

F is for Flag

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Creative Ways to Practice Spelling

Are you tired of the same old, same old when it comes to spelling practice?  Are you tired of having your students write their spelling words five times each or having them write their spelling words in sentences?  If so, keep reading.  In this post, I present to you four strategies that have helped my students with spelling over the years.  I didn't invent these strategies... these strategies have been around for years.  But these are the strategies my students have enjoyed the most and have gotten the most benefit from.  I hope they'll help your students too.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Let's Make a Pizza Busy Bag!

Busy bags have become hugely popular among parents and teachers of young children in recent years. "What are busy bags," you may be wondering? Busy bags are activities that can be slipped into a Ziploc bag and stored in a purse, diaper bag, glove compartment, or math center. They keep children busy while quietly engaging them in learning.

Parents love to give busy bags to their children while they are waiting for their food in a restaurant or sitting in the waiting room at a doctor's office. Teachers use busy bags in math centers to reinforce skills taught in class. In this blog post, you will learn how to make a simple, pizza busy bag out of felt. Enjoy!