Thursday, July 29

Where Does Coffee Come From?

If you were to ask a child where coffee comes from, you might get an answer like Starbucks, Dunkin,' or... my personal favorite place... Tim Hortons.  But... if you were to follow up that question and ask where the coffee comes before it gets to Starbucks, Dunkin', or Tim Hortons... you may get a blank stare.  Have you ever wondered where coffee comes from?  Keep reading to find out!

Learn where coffee comes from with the children's book Slothee Wants Coffee by Nikki Pezzopane and Cameron Fica. Geography minilesson included.

The inspiration for this blog post came from the children's book Slothee Wants Coffee by Nikki Pezzopane and her son Cameron Fica.  Slothee Wants Coffee is about a sloth named Slothee who travels the world in search of the perfect cup of coffee.  

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Monday, July 26

Fun Facts About Mountain Lions and P22

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about the children's book The Cat That Changed America by Tony Lee MoralThe Cat That Changed America tells a fictionalized account of the mountain lion P22 that lives in Griffith Park in downtown Los Angeles.  Even though P22 is a bit of a celebrity in the Los Angeles area, people outside of Los Angeles were surprised to learn there really is a mountain lion living in the middle of the city!  They wanted to learn more about P22 and mountain lions in general.  In this blog post, I'll be sharing five fun facts about mountain lions and relating them to P22.  Keep reading to learn more!

Five fun facts about mountain lions and P22, the mountain lion that lives in Griffith Park, downtown Los Angeles, California. #kellysclassroomonline

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.
 

Sunday, July 25

How to Make Seed Paper Hearts

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about Love Grows Love, a children's book by Lauren Fischer.  Love Grows Love teaches children about emotions and empathy.  Making seed paper is a fun craft that can be used as a follow-up enrichment activity to reading Love Grows Love, as a standalone craft for Earth Day, or as a part of your science lessons about seeds and plants.  

Be warned... making seed paper is is a deceptively simple activity.  It's fun, has very few steps to follow, and won't cost much when you buy the supplies at the store.  Sounds great, yes?  Making seed paper in the classroom, however, can be messy and a time-consuming process.  It can take several days from start to finish to make seed paper.  This craft isn't for everyone.  Keep reading to learn what you will need to make seed paper and the directions.  Then let us know in the comments if you think you might give this craft a try!

Learn how to make seed paper from tissue paper, white glue, seeds, and glitter. Fun Earth Day activity or addition to your science lessons about seeds

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Friday, July 23

Back-to-School Crafts for Kids

It's almost time to head back to school!  Celebrate the beginning of the school year with some of the crafts in this post.  The crafts featured in this round-up were created by moms and teachers from all over the internet.  If you see a craft in this post that you'd like to try, click on its link and head to its original website for material lists, directions, photos, etc.  There are lots of cute activities in this post, so let's dive right in!

A round up of 10 children's back-to-school crafts. Apples, pencils, school buses, photo props. Preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade.

Wednesday, July 21

15 Children's Books for the First Day of School

Are you looking for some children's books to read with your students during the first week of school?  Here is a collection of 15 of my favorite back-to-school books you should check out.  Some of these are classics I read with my students back in the 90s.  Others are 'new favorites' I recently discovered.  

15 children's books to read at the beginning of the school year. Back-to-school. Preschool, preK, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Tuesday, July 20

Pumpkin Life Cycle STEM Activity

Autumn is the perfect time of year to learn about pumpkin life cycles.  You can find pumpkins at farmer's markets, grocery stores, and roadside stands.  And... you can even find them in coffees, teas, bread, pies, soups, muffins, and more!  Since pumpkins seem to be everywhere and in everything during this time of year, it makes sense to incorporate pumpkin life cycles into your science lessons in the fall instead of waiting until spring when other plant concepts are taught.

Blakely Kantor... an elementary school teacher in North Dakota... starts teaching pumpkin life cycles as soon as school starts in September.  She has her students conduct this  year-long science and STEM experiment in which they watch a pumpkin decompose and new seedlings grow from it.  This would be a terrific activity to integrate with your own science lessons.  Keep reading to learn more!

Decomposing Pumpkins Science and STEM Experiment: A STEM and science experiment inspired by the children's book Pumpkin Jack. Learn about the pumpkin life cycles/decomposition. #kellysclassroomonline

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.
All photos were used with the permission of Blakeley Kantor.

Monday, July 19

Grouchy Goose by Betina Baptist

Grouchy Goose by Betina Baptist is a children's book about two geese... Grouchy Goose and Gossipy Goose... who learn about manners, making good choices, and friendship.  In today's guest post, Betina Baptist describes the inspiration for Grouchy Goose and how you can integrate it into your lessons about emotions and facial expressions.  Keep reading to learn more! 

Learn about emotions, facial expressions, & friendship with the children's book Grouchy Goose by Betina Baptist. Guest post. Minilesson. Animal story.

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.
The following is a guest post written by Betina Baptist. To learn more about guest posts, please visit the Authors, Publishers, and Sponsors page.

Sunday, July 18

Managing Test Anxiety

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about helping children with generalized anxiety and worry.  In that post, I described the symptoms of childhood anxiety that parents and teachers need to be aware of and keep an eye on.  Today's guest post by college student Allyson Gott talks about one of the specific causes of anxiety in children... test anxiety.  Test anxiety is something that used to be associated with high school and college, but now more and more students in elementary school are feeling it too.  Keep reading to learn more about test anxiety and for some simple strategies you can use to help your students at home and at school.

Managing Test Taking Anxiety: Learn about test anxiety in children. Post includes strategies to use at home or school to help children manage stress. Guest post by Allyson Gott. #kellysclassroomonline

The following is a guest post written by Allyson Gott. To learn more about guest posts, please visit the Authors, Publishers, and Sponsors page.

Friday, July 16

Talking to Children About Race

It’s normal and natural for children to observe and point out differences. It’s our responsibility to help them celebrate these differences and understand how they may affect our lives.
-Alanna Ekua Nzoma, M.D., University of Michigan Health

Aditi Wardhan Singh is an avid writer and has written several books for children and adults.  She is known for writing the Sparkling Me series of books for children and Raising the Global Mindset and Strong Roots Have No Fear for parents and teachers.  Aditi Wardhan Singh is passionate about multicultural education and promoting mindfulness, empathy, and community.  In today's guest post, Aditi Wardhan Singh writes about strategies parents and teachers can use when talking to children about race.  She also gives us a quick peek at her children's book How Our Skin Sparkles.  Enjoy!


Author Aditi Wardhan Singh provides strategies parents and teachers can use while talking about race with children. Guest post. Mindfulness. Empathy.

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.
The following is a guest post written by Aditi Wardhan Singh. To learn more about guest posts, please visit the Authors, Publishers, and Sponsors page.
 

Wednesday, July 14

It Smells Like Tuesday by Amy Provinzono-Thomas

Children's author Amy Provinzono-Thomas released her first children's book It Smells Like Tuesday a couple of months ago. It Smells Like Tuesday is a fantasy book about a little boy who takes his favorite scents and bottles them up so he can smell them whenever he wants to remember something special. In this guest post, Amy Provinzono-Thomas tells us more about her new book and shares some of her favorite illustrations with us. Enjoy!
 
Learn more about the children's book It Smells Like Tuesday by Amy Provinzono-Thomas in this guest post by the author.  Fiction. Grades K-2nd.

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.
The following is a guest post written by Amy Provinzono-Thomas. To learn more about guest posts, please visit the Authors, Publishers, and Sponsors page.  

Tuesday, July 13

School is More Than a Building by Kelley Donner

Are you looking for a new children's book to read to your students during the first week of school? A book to make them feel positive about coming back to school? A book to make them feel like a valued member of the school community? Children's author and illustrator Kelley Donner published her children's book School is More Than a Building in May and it would be an excellent read for that first week. In this blog post, Kelley Donner writes about her new book, where the inspiration for the book came from, and the resources you can download to go with it. Keep reading to learn more about School is More Than a Building!

School is More Than a Building by Kelley Donner

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.
This is a guest post written by Kelley Donner. To learn more about guest posts, please visit the Authors, Publishers, and Sponsors page.

Monday, July 12

How to Grow Radishes from Scraps

Children in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade learn about the parts of plants and food that come from plants.  They learn about the roots, stems, leaves, seeds, and flowers and the function of each of these parts.  Quite often children... and sometimes adults... are surprised to find out that the radishes we eat don't just come from a plant... they are actually a part of the plant!  This quick blog post will give you the directions you need to plant a radish in the classroom and watch it transform into a full plant.

Learn how to grow radishes from scraps at home or in the classroom. You only need a radish, toothpicks, a glass and some water. #kellysclassroomonline

Tuesday, July 6

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Summertime is here and lots of families are getting excited about going camping.  Some families will camp in tents.  Some will camp in RVs.  And... some brave families will camp under the stars.  Fun times for all!  

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd is a wordless book about a child who goes camping, wanders around in the dark, and gets lost.  Oh no!  How will the child get back to the tent?  Keep reading to find out what happens to the child, to learn more about Flashlight and the importance of wordless books, and to find the directions for a fun, book-inspired art activity!

Art enrichment activity. Create a nighttime scene inspired by the wordless book Flashlight by Lizi Boyd. Camping theme. Story elements. Illustrations.

This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2014.
Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Monday, July 5

10 Children's Books About Residential Schools

Conversations have been happening in homes and classrooms across Canada and the United States since the remains of 215 Indigenous children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School were found.  At the time of this post, nearly 1,000 bodies have been found and that number is expected to rise as the grounds of more residential schools in Canada and the United States get searched.  Parents and teachers are finding themselves fielding some hard questions from their children...  Why were these children taken from their homes?  Why were they forced to go to these schools?  Why were they treated so badly there?  Why didn't they all get to go home?

Explaining that Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and put into residential schools where they were abused and prohibited from speaking their languages or expressing their culture requires both delicacy and honesty, according to experts.

Listed below are 10 children's books and Youtube videos written specifically to help children answer some of these difficult questions.  Many of these books are written by residential school survivors or their descendants.  All of these books were written before 2021... long before the remains of the original 215 children were found.

10 Children's Books About Residential Schools

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Thursday, July 1

The Hoopstar by Chavon D. White

I usually write about books and activities for early childhood and early elementary students, but every once in a while I find a book for the upper elementary grades that teachers and parents should know about.  The Hoopstar by Chavon D. White is one of them.  The Hoopstar is a realistic fiction children's book inspired by real life.  It is about a 12-year-old girl named Brylane who loves to play basketball.  On the basketball court, she is confident and fearless... a true champion!  But on the inside, there is something making Brylane feel less confident, something most of the people around her don't know about...  she has dyslexia.  What is dyslexia?  How does it affect Brylane's life?  How does Brylane overcome having dyslexia to achieve her dreams?  Keep reading to learn about dyslexia and to learn more about The Hoopstar!

The Hoopstar by Chavon D. White: Learn about dyslexia and character traits with The Hoopstar by Chavon D. White. A girl has dyslexia but it doesn't stop her from doing well at school and from playing basketball! #kellysclassroomonline

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.