Teaching About President Donald Trump (Free Printables)

If you are teaching a lesson about our current president, this will give you some book suggestions and free printables at the end.

President Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States and is a member of the Republican Party.  As president, he is the head of the U.S. government.  He won the presidential election on November 8, 2016.  His inauguration ceremony was January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C., and that is when he assumed office and moved into the White House.

President Trump is married to Melania Trump.  She became the First Lady of the United States when he assumed office.  The First Lady is what you call the wife of the president.

President Trump was born in 1946 in Queens, New York.  He is the oldest person to become president.   Melania Trump was born in 1970 in Slovenia which was a part of Yugoslavia.  She became a United States citizen in 2006.  A citizen is a person who legally belongs to a country.  She is the second First Lady to be born in a foreign country.


Donald Trump America’s 45th President

The Amazing Story of Donald Trump

Who is Donald J Trump An Introduction to the 45th US President

45 Presidents and US Government – Rock ‘n Learn (New – Audio CD)


President Donald Trump Story

Vocabulary Words for President Trump Story

Fill in the Blank: President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump Word Search

President Donald Trump Word Search – Answer Key

President Trump Crossword Puzzle

President Trump Crossword Puzzle – Answer Key

Wordle Website

Wordle is a fun website to create what’s called “word clouds.”  It’s free, and a great tool for students to use which can reinforce vocabulary words, be used to make graphics for projects, etc.  You can check the Wordle Gallery on their website for more examples.

The principal at my school presented it at one of our teacher’s meetings.  She had it set up where each teacher voted for their favorite one-word topic from a given list made by the principal on Wordle.  All the votes went into the making of the “Wordle.”  The words which received more votes automatically were in a larger font.  If a word only received one vote then it was displayed in the smallest font.  It was a good visual to display which words received more votes and which ones received less votes.  You can use your imagination and use Wordle all sorts of ways to make learning fun!

Online Education

This is a guest post by Owen Smith from eCertified Learning.

Education is considered to be a stepping stone in increasing knowledge for both professional and personal development. The practical application of education in a certain field of study can give way to obtaining a professional career or even establish a great foundation to begin a very promising business venture. However, many professionals feel that because of the job and time constraints, going to a school or attending a college is quite impossible to do, thus, coming up the wonderful idea of distance learning or online education.

Creating an investment in education can be one of the most compelling and clever decision that you could ever make in your life because it bring forth immediate impact to your future. Basically, online education plays a vital role with regards to connecting student with various colleges through online classes around the world, despite of the location, time, distance or any other barricade. Online education courses are being offered by open institutions to acknowledge the call for internationally recognized quality training and education.

Whether you are a student who is just starting with their road to learning, a successful professional who wishes to further their education through specialized and advanced programs, or simply a person who is bound by health or travel concerns, online education courses are definitely the answers to your problems.

Here are a few of the many benefits that you can be able to obtain in an online education:

• Firstly, students are provided with the opportunity to pick out from different courses, programs and schools which cannot be taken in the area or place they are living in. This is a huge advantage especially for those people who are living in rural areas that usually include only two or even just one educational facility which most only give out limited program and course options for students.

• Another benefit and apparently the most popular one of all is that it provides flexibility. Since they can be able to attend classes wherever and whenever they want as long as they have a computer and an access to the Internet, they can easily come out with a schedule or set up that would work perfectly for them.

• Learning through online can enable a more centered to the students’ approach of teaching. Since every student has their own way or technique of learning that works great for them, having an online education might aid in making sure that each and every material or lesson is totally understood before going on to the next level. This could definitely result to a much better learning for anyone.

• Online education courses materials are available 24 hours every day. This simply means that the students can get access and review discussions, lectures and other more materials that are related to their course. There are other students out there that are finding it hard to apprehend spoken discussion that is usually done in a traditional classroom setting because of too much distraction or because of boredom.

• In an online setting, a student will only be marked as present if he or she is actually participating in the classroom discussion. Thus, encouraging the students to mingle and interact, heightening the variance of opinion as every single student is provided with the chance to speak out and share their thoughts.

• This method of learning brings forth a number of savings due to the fact that there is no longer need for accommodation, as well as transportation costs. In addition, online education courses and programs are much affordable compared to courses that are taken in a typical school.

• There are also several online courses that provide the chance to interact and learn things from the most renowned and outstanding lecturers and professors all over the world.

• Since most of the online instructors come from various locations around the world, students are exposed to knowledge from the online teachers which cannot be acquired in books.

• Students of online education are also provided with the chance to communicate with their teachers whenever they wish to. This can be done through email, online chat and newsgroup discussions. Both teachers and students can be able to discuss with each other their concerns related to their course or material without the need to wait for office hours.

The Internet has truly changed the way in which education is being delivered with the focus that still remains the same and that is for the students to obtain a good environment for learning.

Earth Day Bulletin Board

This is an extra long bulletin board:



We started with a long poster from $1 Tree: “It’s Easy Being Green”



Students completed an Earth Day Superhero worksheet about recycling (the Superhero figure was enlarged on the SMART Board, traced, and colored in):



Recycle color pages were stapled around a recycling bin made from a shoe box:



Calendars were made on Word with clip art and then stapled onto a newspaper mounting:



Here are some good links for Earth Day:


Book Review: “Carly’s Voice”

Carly’s Voice:  Breaking Though Autism

by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann

I highly recommend this recently published book to anyone who works with children or adults with non-verbal autism and to anyone who would like to have a better understanding.  My friend, who has a ten year old granddaughter with this type of autism, recommended this book to me.  I’m so glad she did!  It gives insights into non-verbal autism in a way that a therapist or doctor cannot do, through the “voice” of Carly.  The book begins with Carly’s early years, her struggles with her severe autism, and the struggles of her family.  But with undying persistence for many years, Carly was finally able to communicate through typing her responses at age ten.

If you read the book, be sure to read “A Conversation with Carly:  The Truths and Myths About Autism” at the very end of the book.  But don’t read it until you’ve read the whole story so that you have insight into Carly’s personality and character.  Through reading the book, the reader gets a better understanding of just how hard it is to overcome the difficulties that accompany autism and also gets a glimpse into the day-to-day life, year-after-year.

Here are some tips that Carly gives, along with my opinions, that are useful to me in the classroom:

  • Medications can cause mood changes for no reason.  This could result in crying or feeling angry.
  • Carly was around nine years old when she was able to “audio filter” all the sounds around her.  She took in many sounds at once, some sounds that most people couldn’t hear, some sounds being louder than others.  (headphones are helpful for some to do audio filtering in the classroom )
  • Make sure kids with autism are around words all the time so they can develop their ability to spell. (label everything you can in the classroom)  Work on simple words at first.  They just need someone to give them a push and encourage them.
  • Even when it may appear they are not paying attention, they usually are.  They are looking at things all the time, and they are probably looking out of the corner of their eyes.
  • In the very early years, use pictures to help communication.
  • It takes a lot of concentration to be able to type words.
  • Carly said, “Flapping and humming and rocking does not calm me down(.) it helps me cope with stuff around me.”  All the sensory input can be overwhelming to those with autism – sensory overload.
  • Some, like Carly, have a photographic memory that allows them to memorize a page of a book in seconds.
  • Here’s insight to what it feels like for some like Carly:  “…you don’t know what it’s like to be me.  You don’t (know) what it feels like when you can’t sit still because your legs feel like they are on fire or it feels like a hundred ants are crawling up your arms.  How can you help me when you don’t know?”
  • Carly said once, “I act up because I feel so trapped inside myself.”
  • “When I look at someone I take over a thousand images of that person’s face in less than a minute.  The more I look…the more pictures I take…my brain…gets full.  I am no longer able to process…and I am forced to turn away.”  (Carly’s experience)
  • Many with non-verbal autism have an inner voice but don’t know how to express themselves.  Don’t give up on them!
  • You can visit Carly on Facebook @ Carly Fleischmann.  

Teaching Money: “Coins in My Hands!” Song

Sometimes, the concept of money is difficult for children. Learning the values and representations on the different coins is not easy.  Sometimes, children just need a catchy tune, poem, or rap song to help them remember.  There’s a “cool” song to help remember the values of the coins, the presidents on the coins, and the representations on the back sides of the coins.  My students really enjoyed the song, “Coins in My Hands,” however, the version we used is no longer on YouTube.  There are other versions of it, though not as good as the one we used. There are also several other good coin songs on YouTube which my students enjoyed as well.

ABC Song Video from KidsTV123

This is the classic ABC song that many of us know.  Here it is with visuals of the alphabet which I think is the best way to sing this song.  Some children can sing the song, but when it gets to “l, m, n, o, p” then they get mixed up because that part of the song goes so fast. They might not know the letters or realize that section contains five separate lettersl

This video of the song is great because it incorporates auditory and visual senses together.  The children are seeing each letter as they sing it, and hopefully they will put the auditory name with the visual letter.


Compare ACT, SAT, and Composite Scores in 50 States

Maps are great visuals to help us see information at a glance.  One such map showing ACT and SAT Scores Composite is available to compare scores in all 50 states.  It’s really interesting to look at and study this map.  Since I’m from Texas, I will use my home state as an example.  According to the map, Texas scores are higher for the ACT than the SAT.   However, all of the states bordering Texas score higher on the SAT than the ACT.   Like Texas, both the east and west coasts score better on the ACT than the SAT.

It’s interesting to note individual states and regions of the country as well.  Maybe the scores for the ACT Test and the SAT Test reveal some possibilities as to which tests are stressed in school.   Which test does your home state score higher on according to the composite scores?

Software for School Satisfaction Survey

How does a college, university, or school know how they’re doing unless they get feedback?  I wonder if they utilize a customer satisfaction survey to keep a check on how they’re doing in this area.  It’s important to keep parents and students satisfied with the students’ education and to see if they believe they are getting a quality education for their money.

This online software survey could be used in each department to see where improvements need to made.  The survey could also include buying textbooks and supplies, handicap access to all facilities, meal choices, sufficient number of restrooms, etc.   The use of a satisfaction survey can cover every facet of the learning experience.

There are solutions for academic areas that can transform a school campus.  Here are some examples of how online software can be a great help to a school performing efficiently:

  • Benchmarks for courses
  • Benchmarks for departments
  • Benchmarks for teachers
  • Course evaluations for classes
  • Course evaluations for curriculum
  • Course evaluations for teachers
  • Course improvement tracking from semester to semester
  • Feedback from faculty and staff
  • Feedback from parents
  • Feedback from students (know what they’re really thinking)
  • Feedback from the surrounding community
  • Forms for application (and also filter applicants by predetermined criteria)
  • Forms for registration
  • PowerPoint presentations made quickly with custom reports
  • Research experiments  (research that took hours to program can be designed, tested and distributed very quickly)
  • Research for a class project (encourages collaboration)
  • Research for a Dissertation
  • Research for a Thesis
  • Students receive instant feedback on grades and scores
  • Students upload and submit papers or assignments
  • Test hypotheses
  • Tests & quizzes administered online (surveys can easily be administered as tests or quizzes)
  • Training, support, online helps and tutorials available
  • Upload resumes or writing samples

Getting the most out of online surveys is the goal of having a research tool such as this.  It can foster communication, sharing of opinions, and collaboration.   This can transform any campus.

Khan Academy – Free Online Educational Videos

Here is a great resource for teachers and students!  Khan Academy, a global classroom for anyone in the world who has access to a computer, has a library of over 3,200 videos online that are free.   This provides quality instruction to areas all over the world, no matter where they are located. They also offer Teacher Resources as well.  Here is an example of some of the topics they cover:

ALGEBRA (many lessons in each of these subtopics):

  • Algebra Intro
  • Linear Equations
  • Inequalities
  • Rations & Proportions
  • Absolute Value
  • Exponents and Radicals
  • Logarithms
  • Polynomials
  • Quadratics
  • Functions
  • Conic Sections
  • Complex Numbers
  • Matrices

It’s easy to see by this listing that there are many lessons from which to choose.  Here is a partial list of more topics without subtopics listed:

  • American Civics
  • Arithmetic & Pre-Algebra
  • Art History (for many different eras)
  • Astrology
  • Banking & Money
  • Biology
  • Brain Teasers
  • Cryptography
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Differential Equations
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Geometry
  • Healthcare & Medicine
  • History
  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • Trigonometry
  • Computer Science

Khan Academy is a global classroom of students who learn at their own rate and choose what they want to study.  Here are reviews and stories of the academy so you can read first hand from teachers and students all over the world.

Frontier Texas

Frontier Texas in Abilene, Texas, is a great educational experience. In fact, it has even made the New York Times. When our family visited it, I thought it would probably be the average historical type of museum but I was mistaken. It’s an impressive museum where one can experience state-of-the-art technology. I won’t tell you too much so you can discover it for yourself.

Abilene, Texas, is located in west Texas and has a charm all its own.  Not only is it home to Frontier Texas but Abilene is also the Children’s Storybook Capital of Texas as designated by the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas and was designated in 2019 as the Children’s Storybook Capital of America.  This west Texas town is off I-20 and is definitely worth visiting!

Full Time MBA

In today’s market, many people believe that a Master’s Degree is really a good thing to have in a challenging business world, but not just a degree at any college or university.  AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accredited schools are known across the country and globally to have higher quality programs and faculty, as well as graduates.  So if one wants a full time MBA, it makes sense to look for a college or university that has this high accreditation and hallmark of academic quality.  Having a degree from an AACSB accredited school is valuable in a competitive corporate environment, and this type of degree is known nationwide for being one of excellence.

Students who want to not only advance their business careers but also make a meaningful difference in their companies and in the communities where they live and work are the ethical business leaders needed in today’s world.  Market-relevant programs and research help students learn to solve issues in the business world and foster an atmosphere of entrepreneurship.  In a changing global marketplace, ethical business leaders who display collaboration, professionalism, integrity, and excellence are needed to make a truly positive impact and meet the challenges of our ever changing business world today.

This is a sponsored post for the University of Denver, however, all the points and views are my own.

App for Teacher/Parent Communication

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of StartSomeGood for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

As a teacher, wouldn’t it be great to communicate often with parents of your students and also track and manage communication with parents?  I teach a small special ed class and am able to do that, but I can imagine what a difficult time teachers of large classes and multiple classes have keeping track of who they called and who needs to be called.

Parent engagement is very important in the success of students and helps motivate students which raises their grades.  Because of this, communication with parents is a high priority for teachers. However, with teachers’ heavy work loads it’s hard to accomplish sometimes.  Having a Dash app available on iPhones would allow teachers to be organized (very important for teachers), and teachers could create a daily speed dial to keep up with families.  This would make positive calls home to parents possible with only the click of a button and would allow for more frequent calls to parents. 

Dash is working on an app, currently for the iPhone and later for Android, that will allow teachers to actually track and manage communication with parents easily. The app has already raised $3,000 on StartSomeGood and hopes to raise an additional $7,000 to make the product even better.  Go to Launch Dash to learn more.  This could ultimately revolutionize the future of parent-teacher communications.

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Printable STAAR Alternate Student Checklist

The STAAR is the new test in Texas this year. For those of you who are special ed teachers, here is a free, printable student checklist which shows at a glance exactly which students have been tested, which have done the generalization section, which students have their data recorded, and which students have their information put in their pdf files. (We made a pdf file for each student, for each question.)
The directions are at the bottom of the checklist. There is room in each box to write the dates the tests and the generalizations were done.
Hope this helps:

STAAR ALTERNATE blank student checklist

LCU Degree Online

Take your professional career to the next level with an Organizational Management Degree Online from Lubbock Christian University (LCU).  Stay solid in your current position while also staying up-to-date with family and personal obligations.  Being able to get this degree online removes all excuses for not returning to college.  LCU is a Christian-based university that is fully accredited and well trusted since 1957.

Constitution Day




Constitution Day is required by Federal law (Public Law 108-447) to be celebrated by all publicly funded educational institutions on September 17th, the day that the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.  Before this law was enacted in 2004, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day”.  Now, it’s known as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” to be exact, and this holiday also recognizes those who have become U.S. citizens.

Here is a great assortment of activities and links to videos, lesson plans, games, words to rap, a slide show, a timeline, and informational sites:

Phonics Song from KidsTV123

I am an advocate of teaching phonics to children, and I think a variety of methods to teach phonics is useful. Music is one way, and this Phonics Song is a great video to teach skills to kids in a fun way. This makes it an effective learning tool. It utilizes the visual and auditory modes of learning to appeal to both the visual learners and the auditory learners.

Book Review: “EMERGENCE: Labeled Autistic”

This is a partial review of Grandin’s book with key ideas that impressed me and ideas I want to remember in teaching.  I recommend reading the whole book.

Emergence Labeled Autistic by Temple Grandin is available on Amazon.

Emergence: Labeled Autistic

by Temple Grandin, PhD, & Margaret M. Scariano

Having seen the movie “Temple Grandin” three times, I was excited to read about her early years since those were barely touched on in the movie.  She did not speak until age 3 ½ (movie says age 4), but I was surprised to find out that she was very destructive as a child. However, her mom especially loved, supported, and encouraged her, as well as her aunt and a teacher, which made a huge difference in her life.

She loved to spin in circles, was extremely sensitive to certain noises (the sound of a fog horn was actually painful to her), and she had a hard time keeping rhythm which not only affected being able to clap in rhythm but also hearing the rhythm in poetry. She often reacted in a fixated behavior pattern to offset her overly stimulated nervous system.  Grandin had many nerve attacks as a child and as a teenager, and she would alternate between impulsive behavior and then withdrawing into herself.  Uncontrollable laughter, constant questioning and talking, and a strong obsession with a certain topic are some common characteristics of many children with autism which are characteristics Grandin possessed.

Here are some ideas that Dr. Grandin presents that help in understanding and working with autistic children:

  • Autistic children have fixations, so utilize their fixations. In other words, use those fixations to motivate learning, reading, math, etc. If a child likes dinosaurs, for instance, then do math problems with dinosaurs and read books about dinosaurs.
  • More emphasis needs to be placed on developing a child’s talents instead of concentrating only on their weaknesses. Their talents can be developed into skills that they can use later in a job situation or maybe an enjoyable hobby.
  • People’s thinking styles, according to Grandin, an be divided into three basic thinking patterns: visual thinking (common in those with high functioning autism), music and math thinking, and verbal logic thinking (common in those with mild Asperger’s Syndrome). There are combinations of these three types as well. All three types are usually rigid thinkers and need to become more flexible in how they think.
  • Good jobs for visual thinkers are graphic arts, photography, drafting, computer network troubleshooting, computer repair, auto mechanics, industrial equipment design, animal care, and science research.
  • Good jobs for music and math thinkers are music related fields, mathematics, engineering, physics, chemistry, and technical fields.
  • Good jobs for verbal logic thinkers are translators, journalists, accountants, special education teachers, speech therapists, and librarians.
  • To encourage flexibility, show the child how an object can fit into different categories. For example, an apple goes in the fruit category, the color red category, and the round objects category. (This will be a good activity to do in the classroom.)
  • Albert Einstein, Mozart, Vincent van Gogh and many other scientists, musicians, and artists had either autism or Asperger traits. According to Grandin, today there are engineers, computer nerds, equipment designers, draftsmen, etc., who are undiagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. So, individuals can range from severely handicapped to brilliant.
  • Mentors are great to help with learning social skills. There are many good books and teaching materials on the market which are valuable for teaching social skills.
  • Anxiety and sensory sensibility can make functioning at social events or on the job very uncomfortable. Grandin herself had trouble hearing auditory detail. Her speech teacher helped her hear the consonants by enunciating them clearly. Grandin understood when an adult spoke to her, but when two adults talked quickly to each other it sounded like a foreign language to her.
  • For many people, there is a problem with the flicker on computer screens. A flat panel screen that doesn’t have fluorescent lamps is best. There are other things available to help those who are bothered by the flicker or the print vibrating.

Looking back, Grandin wishes that more time had been spent with speech therapists while she was growing up so that her speech wasn’t so different from the norm. Her speech was awkward and “flat” with no emotion.

One part that was very touching was when Grandin’s mother had taken her to a boarding school. When her mother was ready to leave, she said, “I’ll miss you, Temple.” Grandin says, “She walked quickly to my side and kissed my cheek. I ached to be enfolded in her arms, but how could she know? I stood rigid as a pole trapped by the approach/avoidance syndrome of autism. I drew back from her kiss, not able to endure tactile stimulation – not even loving, tactile stimulation.” Grandin actually designed and constructed a “squeeze machine” to simulate the hugs she desperately longed for but could not endure.

Dr. Grandin has been blessed in that she has been able to analyze herself through the years, and she has worked and is still working to improve the areas in her life that need improving. She has gone out of her comfort zone so many times and that has helped her to become the person she is today.  Grandin does public speaking worldwide, has written several books, is a professor at Colorado State University, has a very successful career as a livestock-handling equipment designer which is one of very few in the world, and has opened the eyes of the world to autism in a way never known before.


Dr. Grandin writes, “People treating autistic children should avoid falling into the trap of using just one type of treatment. A variety of methods used together would probably be the most successful…. The most successful programs start treatment by age three or four and provide contact with normal children. They are also very intense. Passive approaches do not work. A good program should also have flexible non-aversive behavior modification, sensory treatment (by an occupational therapist), speech therapy, exercise, and music therapy…. The most important component of the treatment plan is the presence of loving people to work with the child.”

Emergence: Labeled Autisticis an enlightening book that gives insight into autism from someone who is autistic, and the author has revealed more about the autistic world than just about anyone else.

* NOTE:  Dr. Grandin is listed in TIME Magazine as one of twenty-five “Heroes” of 2010.

Autism Awareness & Tips

Along with April 2nd being World Autism Awareness Day, the U.S. is using the whole month of April as Autism Awareness Month to educate the public about issues within the autistic community. There has been a huge increase in the number of children diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) the past several years. For whatever reasons this has happened, there are certain things that we as teachers &/or parents can do to help.

I am still learning, but here are a few things I have learned:

  • Give commands in short phrases such as, “Mouth quiet, hands down, stop feet,” etc.
  • Use music to help in learning reading skills. Use the Leapfrog: Letter Factory video to help teach letter sounds. Students may be singing the songs for different letters at various times during the day. They love this video!
  • Use music to help in learning math skills. Use the Leapfrog: Math Adventure to the Moon to teach counting skills, patterns, skip counting, sorting, and problem solving. Again, students love this video!
  • WordWorld is an awesome program on PBS for children, even very young children, to learn their alphabet letters, sounds, and how to blend words together. I highly recommend WordWorld for ages one and up.  They also have DVDs available on Amazon.
  • WordWorld.com is an excellent, free site to use at home or in a school setting. Their eBooks capture children’s attention, as well as the video and games on their site. They also have free printables.
  • Starfall.com is another excellent free site for learning alphabet letters, sounds, and learning to read. I highly recommend this site also that teaches children to read with phonics.
  • Use music for transitional times. Sing, “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.”
  • Some students need a light compression such as gently squeezing each of their fingers or maybe sitting behind them and placing your hands gently on their stomach, gently massaging when they start to get upset.
  • Some students might need “brushing” on their arms with a soft vinyl fingernail brush to help calm them down.
  • Students with autism are affected by schedule changes so plan ahead and try to foresee any problems and make adjustments where possible.
  • If you have access to a computer, the Edmark Reading Program has been successful with students. However, this has to be purchased in order to use it and it’s pricey. We used the first edition and had success with it, however, now they have come out with the second edition which I have not used.
  • For those who are visual thinkers, make flashcards with the vocabulary word and a picture. It must have a picture. Flashcards can be purchased at Dollar Tree, the dollar section at Target, etc., that have the word and picture on each card. Then make flashcards with just the words to use after they have learned the words with the picture flashcards.
  • Use “Instant Learning Centers” and lots of various manipulatives for hands-on learning.

Here are some sites about autism:

Teaching Money: Coin Songs

I have used several different money songs that my students enjoyed and that helped them remember the values of the coins. Some of the songs I used in the past are not available online in 2020. However, the Sesame Street Songs are still online.

Here are some other videos for teaching about money:

These are some of the concepts that can be taught through money songs:

  • Values of a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, & dollar
  • How many pennies in a dollar
  • How many nickels in a dollar
  • How many dimes in a dollar
  • How many quarters in a dollar
  • How many dimes & nickels in a quarter
  • How many nickels in a dime
  • How many pennies in a dime
  • How many pennies in a nickel
  • Counting by fives
  • Counting by tens
  • Counting by twenty-fives

Happy Valentine’s Day from WordWorld

Our whole family loves WordWorld! We were first introduced to it when our daughter and son-in-law let their baby start watching it when he was a year old. WordWorld was the only show or video he would watch. He loved it! And the great thing is that he started learning his alphabet, letter sounds, and started reading words from watching this excellent children’s educational programming.

WordWorld is wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!  Here is their Valentine for you. Watch “My Fuzzy Valentine” on Monday, February 14th, on PBS KIDS.  Check your local listings.

Now Featuring: Make “Valentine’s Day Pouches” to Hold Cards & Treats

Christi at The Frugal Novice developed a simple craft for her young children.   Check out her easy directions for making homemade Valentine’s Day pouches that are adorable!   By the way, the cute little boy in the picture just happens to be our grandson!

Need more Valentine’s Day ideas?  Check out these:

Valentine’s Day: Origin, Activities & Books for Children

Engage Students With Online Classroom Discussion Platform

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Collaborize Classroom. All opinions are 100% mine.

Collaborize Classroom: How would you like a free online learning platform for your students that is secure and safe?  Collaborize Classroom offers just that!  Teachers can extend classroom discussions in a private online community of students.  The online platform is safely structured to continue discussions, facilitate online learning groups, and allow students to share resources and engage in collaborative learning.

This online collaborative learning provides deeper participation inside and outside the classroom as students are engaged in online discussions, activities, and assignments.  Students can share resources and engage in discussions that will result in a richer educational experience.

What’s great is that teachers can set up their Collaborize Classroom site in just minutes.  They just need an email address to utilize this free online learning platform that complements classroom discussions and encourages discussion, participation, and engagement.  Teachers can also create online lesson plans using free resources.  Here are some of the free resources available:

  • Do’s and Don’ts for Student Forums
  • Rethinking Your Role
  • Art of Asking Questions
  • 5 Activities with Collaborize Classroom

The platform is not meant to replace traditional instruction but helps to facilitate learning groups in a safe environment.  All of the sites are secure and have a password protected process.  The password is known only by teachers, students, and those who are invited to join the site.  All information and data is protected and safe!

Collaborize Classroom is free, allowing teachers to accomplish more than they could otherwise, and the free resources are a valuable addition to using this online learning tool.  The web-based technology provides endless possibilities for student learning.  In my opinion, this is a great way to encourage student engagement, especially those who are shy and don’t talk in class.  Most students are online at home anyway using social networking.  This platform fits right in with the way they communicate online socially.  And with the current economic crisis, the fact that this is free enables any teacher to use this platform.

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Online Colleges and Universities

There are many online colleges nowadays and finding the one that is right may take some time. Students want one that allows them to meet their educational and career goals as well as their personal goals. There are online universities that can help people meet these goals. With an online college or university, students can achieve their goals and still keep their jobs and still have quality time with their families.

For those wanting to earn a doctoral degree and not sacrifice their job or family, they can earn an online phd.  Online degrees have grown in popularity the past ten years, and many people are opting to get a degree online because of the convenience and possible savings in the cost of the degree. They can also earn a degree faster than at a traditional college campus and can work at their own pace. It’s a win-win.

Note: This is a sponsored post.

ABC Phonics Song/Sounds Plus American Sign Language

This is a great video for a classroom or home schooling. It teaches the alphabet and phonetic sounds along with sign language for the alphabet.

See It, Say It, Sign It | Letter Sounds | ASL Alphabet

I had a couple of students in my classroom one year who needed and were learning sign language. My whole class, including myself, learned along with them. It’s a great skill for all students to have.

Science Fact: Difference Between Sweet Potatoes & Yams

Although sweet potatoes and yams are both flowering plants (angiosperms), they do not have a botanical relationship.  Here are some facts from the Library of Congress:

  • Sweet potatoes have two embryonic seed leaves (dicot).
  • Yams have one embryonic seed leaf (monocot).
  • Sweet potatoes come from the Morning Glory family (Convolvulacea).
  • Yams come from the Yam family (Dioscoreaceae).
  • Sweet potatoes can be either firm or soft.  The soft variety is what we call “yams” in the United States.
  • Yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes and are native to Africa and Asia.

Firm sweet potatoes were introduced in the U.S. before the soft variety.  When the soft variety became available, they were called “yams” to differentiate between the two types.  Today, the USDA requires that potatoes with the label of “yam” also have “sweet potato” on the label because they are really sweet potatoes and not yams.

Master of Arts in Teaching Degree

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of 2tor. All opinions are 100% mine.

The USC Rossier School of Education’s MAT@USC offers teachers and those wanting to become teachers the opportunity to take online courses taught by prominent USC faculty who are known for their contributions to modern education.  Their School of Education has been ranked # 9 among private universities and  #22 in the United States according to US News and World Report.  Rossier and the MAT@USC were also awarded for their cutting-edge use of technology in education by the AACTE. A Master of Arts in Teaching degree earned from this world renown research university, with 100 years of educating teachers, enables teachers to make a difference in the lives of their students.

Their are benefits to earning your degree online through USC:

  • Flexibility and convenience of studying online
  • Accelerated degree program that can be completed in 12 months
  • Highly interactive online learning
  • Local field based experiences
  • Full USC student status
  • Full USC student benefits
  • Available scholarships
  • Innovative tuition reimbursement program
  • Participation in commencement ceremonies
  • Free lifetime Alumni Association memberships.

USC’s web site has more program information and has a technology video that presents the interactivity of the program to students.  They can also hear information about the program from actual students on the Student Blog.

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The Water Cycle

I enjoyed teaching my students about the water cycle. Here are some great videos with songs and visuals. This is good for different types of learning modalities, auditory and visual.

There are activities to teach this as well:

Museum: National Mining Hall of Fame

The National Mining Hall of Fame which is located in Leadville, Colorado, is a museum that educates the public about mining and the history of mining.  It commemorates miners and those that work with natural resources.  This is a great museum for kids with lots of hands-on exhibits along with lots of interesting history lessons.

We visited this museum while on vacation, and I was surprised how much we enjoyed it.  It takes a minimum of an hour to go through it, and I’m sure we spent much longer than that. You get to walk through several old mining replicas that are realistic and fun for kids of all ages.  They have a huge rock collection, and those who collect rocks would enjoy this section.  The museum is located in an old mining town in an absolutely beautiful part of Colorado and is well worth the drive to get there!

For those who are interested, you can take a quick online tour of the museum.   You can also read a biography of each of the inductees to the Mining Hall of Fame.

The Value of a High School Diploma

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ashworth College. All opinions are 100% mine.

A high school diploma is important in the eyes of employers, colleges and universities, and even in the eyes of students themselves.  It is valued over a GED.   For those parents wanting to help their children not drop out of high school, there are alternatives.  There are several reasons why a traditional high school setting might not work for a student, and many families are opting for alternative schooling for their children.  Homeschooling and independent study are becoming more widespread as parents play a large part in the education of their children.

Ashworth provides students with the opportunity to complete High School Online.  They have three regionally accredited program tracks:

  1. General Track
  2. College Preparatory Track
  3. Vocational Track

Ashworth College Featured by National Education Report has contributed greatly to distance education.   Their flexible, self-paced curriculum allows students to work at their own pace, around work schedules, and  wherever they want.  Students needing to make up one or two classes can have the credits transferred to their current school.  This is great for students who either don’t want to go to summer school or need a class in order to graduate.

Compared to the average accredited online school, Ashworth tuition is considerably cheaper according to research.  Tuition includes all books and materials, and they offer zero interest, low monthly payment plans.  As with any big decision a person makes, I suggest doing your “homework” and researching Ashworth yourself.  You can also visit the Ashworth Video Gallery for more information.

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Now Featuring: Make a Candy Corn Wreath

Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com
Christi at Frugal Novice made the cutest Candy Corn Wreath with her two little boys.  She found this project  from Women’s Day.  This is an excellent craft project for a family or for a class. If this is done with a class, two or three students could come up at a time and glue on their candy corn. Be sure and have extra candy corn for nibbling!

(By the way, Christi just happens to be our daughter, and the two little boys just happen to be our adorable grandsons!)

New WordWorld Library

The new library from WordWorld has five great, fun, and educational stories for children.  Linda Labbo, Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia, has great things to say about these books.  She says, “Words come to life on screens in unique ways that invite children to interact with stories, characters, and language. The interactivity scaffolds children’s attention and provides age appropriate prompts that ensure an entertaining and educational experience.”   Scaffolding is very important in the learning process, and WordWorld utilizes that specialized teaching strategy.

In my opinion as an educator, I think Word World is one of the best children’s educational programming available. The literacy lessons presented in the WordWorld television series are extended in these books.  Kids can either read them on their own, have someone read to them, or have the stories read to them by the narrator.  A Guide providing strategies is also available to maximize learning.

These are the five books:

  • A Smile for Crocodile
  • Duck’s First Sleepover
  • Snug as a Bug
  • The Big Race
  • Totally Terrific Duck

Teaching Kids About Columbus Day

Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com

Christopher Columbus and three ships named the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, are well known and studied by students every year in October in remembrance of Columbus Day.  Columbus made four voyages in search of a western route to the Orient and to discover new territories, and it was the first voyage in which the three famous ships sailed the Atlantic.  Columbus was not the first European to reach America but was actually second, and he miscalculated the longitude in getting to the Orient.  However, he did have beneficial information about the trade winds which greatly helped traveling the Atlantic Ocean, and his travels were the beginning of American colonization.



  • Christopher Columbus:  The Voyage That Changed the World (Sterling Biographies Series) by Emma Carlson Berne.  Good for ages 10-12.  Reveals the thoughts and emotions of Columbus.

  • Columbus Day by Vicki Liestman.  Good for ages 6-8.  Presents basic facts in a simple yet very informative way.
  • Junie B., First Grader:  Shipwrecked (Junie B. Jones Series #23) by Barbara Park & Denise Brunkus.  Good for ages 6-9.
  • What Columbus Found:  It Was Orange, It Was Round by Jane Kurtz


  • Magnificent Voyage of Christopher Columbus (as seen on Public Television).  Educational and entertaining.

Pictured below is the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain at Union Station:

Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com

Hap Palmer CD: Learning Basic Skills Through Music

This is one of my favorites and a favorite of nearly everyone who has used it according to the Hap Palmer website.   If you are interested in ordering this, you can go to Hap Palmer’s website by clicking on this link: Learning Basic Skills Through Music.  I used this in my Early Childhood class, and I enjoyed it as much as the children.  These learning songs are great action songs as well that help get out the wiggles out of restless students.   Here is a list of the songs:

  • 1. Colors
  • 2. Put Your Hands Up In The Air
  • 3. The Elephant
  • 4. The Number March
  • 5. Marching Around The Alphabet
  • 6. Growing
  • 7. This Is The Way We Get Up In The Morning
  • 8. Birds
  • 9. What Are You Wearing?
  • 10. What Is Your Name?

By the way, Hap Palmer’s first recording of this was in 1969, but it is still as catchy and enjoyable today as it was back then.   Hap Palmer’s songs are timeless!  The songs are easy to learn and help with retention of skills in a musical way.

School Project: Royal Gorge Bridge

We visited the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado with our teenage son a few years ago, and he was so impressed with the bridge that a couple of years later he chose it for a school project.  It is truly an awesome experience to walk across the lengthy bridge, look across towards the majestic mountains, look down into the immense canyon, and then ride the “world’s steepest incline railway” deep down into the canyon and look up at the tiny strand of a bridge that you have just walked across.  Pictures do not do it justice!  It is one of those “Wow!” experiences.


I wish I had taken pictures throughout all the steps of this project, but time was a factor and I didn’t.   Here are some of the few pictures I did take.   I am so glad I took these pictures beforehand because his project disappeared from the classroom and we never got it back.  It got thrown out with the trash by the janitor along with 20 other projects.   Our son received a high grade on this project so at least the teacher did see it!


SUPPLIES NEEDED:  (and these can vary…be creative)

  • A large, very sturdy foam (or wood) sheet to form the base for the project
  • Large empty cereal boxes to form the brown walls on either side of the canyon
  • Newspapers to make paper mache slopes and texture for the inside of the canyon
  • Brown craft paint to cover the paper mache slopes
  • Brown construction paper to cover the outside portions of the cereal boxes that are not in the canyon (and any part of the cereal boxes showing that are not part of the canyon) OR brown paint.  We found it easier and quicker to use brown construction paper.
  • Popsicle sticks to glue together to make the base for the road part of the bridge
  • Flat toothpicks to make the bridge slats over the top of the Popsicle sticks
  • Wooden dowel rods and other small wooden pieces from a craft store
  • Lightweight craft wire to make the cable wires for the bridge
  • Silver Sharpie Permanent Marker or silver spray paint  (for the wooden pieces)
  • Heavy duty tape such as duct tape
  • Newspapers to make paper mache
  • Glue


  • If you have never visited Royal Gorge, then I suggest watching the Online Video to give you a better idea of what the bridge looks like.
  • Using duct tape or something similar, tape the cereal boxes in place along the two long edges of the thick foam or wooden base.  This forms the canyon.
  • Make paper mache out of newspapers, glue and water.  Use paper mache to make the slopes on the inside of the cereal boxes to make the canyon walls.
  • Paint the paper mache canyon walls and floor of the canyon with brown craft paint.
  • Paint the outside of the cereal boxes with brown paint or cover with brown construction paper.  (we used construction paper)
  • Use blue craft paint or blue plastic wrap to form the river at the bottom of the canyon.
  • Depending on what wooden pieces you find at the craft or hobby store, look at the picture of the bridge and use your creativity to use items from the hobby shop to approximate the dimensions to scale in your model.  Color the wood with silver to represent the metal parts of the bridge.
  • Glue the Popsicle sticks end to end and then lay “slats” made from flat toothpicks (cut in half or thirds) across the sticks to form the part of the bridge that cars drive across.  (This is very time consuming and you might come up with a different idea.)
  • Use the craft wire to form the cables on the bridge.


  • Royal Gorge Bridge, “Building World Landmarks” Series, by Margaret Yuan.  Good for ages 7-14.  Describes the techniques and difficulties in building the bridge.
  • America’s Top 10 Bridges by Edward Ricciuti.  Good for ages 7-12.  The Royal Gorge Bridge is included in the 10.

How to Choose a Guitar for a Child

Guest Post by Tony, an experienced guitar teacher:

If you are thinking of giving your child lessons on an instrument, make certain that your young one knows that lessons require practice, and not just a little. In guitar instruction, this will mean sore fingers and tired arms and hands from reaching for and holding fingers down on the proper strings and frets with enough force to create a clear sound for
the duration of each note. Notes can last a long time, especially to a child, and that can cause little fingers some discomfort.

Discuss this with your little one and when they are insistent that they can handle it, go looking for their instrument. Be prepared to pay from $200 for a well-constructed guitar.  Why pay half that for a nominal instrument that also will warp easily from changes in humidity and temperature, when that extra money spent will also help them play clearer,
more in-tune, and thereby help them learn more easily? Shop around, but don’t trade down.  Make sure that the guitar you choose tunes well enough to play many different chords (A through G) in tune, as well as chords played high up on the fingerboard toward the sound hole.  Your child must have a guitar that is the correct size for his/her arms and hands for a lifetime of learning and enjoying guitar. Violins are sized as small as 1/16 and move up through full size, but guitars are not built in size increments; one must find one approximately the right size by simple searching. A good music store will measure your child and help you find one the right size.

How to Teach Kids to Write a Paragraph

Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com

Writing can sometimes be a difficult subject to teach young students.  I have found that when teaching a new concept, it’s good to break it down into several steps.  I taught ESL students plus Gifted & Talented students in the same classroom for many years, and I found that most of them benefited from this.  There will be some students who grasp the concept easily or may already have the concept in place, and those students need to move on to enrichment activities.  But for those struggling with the concept of writing a paragraph, I have broken the concept down into smaller steps:

  • PREREQUISITE: The students need to know how to write a sentence.
  • DEFINITION: First, a child needs to understand the definition of a paragraph.  When we say that we’re going to write a paragraph, they may have no concept of that.  So, the first step is to explain and give examples of paragraphs.  Here is how I might explain it: “Today, we’re going to learn about paragraphs.   Can anyone tell me what a paragraph is? (I would say “good try” if they totally missed it, and if they got part of the answer then I would incorporate the correct part of their answer into my explanation.)   A paragraph is a group of sentences that tell about one thing.”
  • EXAMPLE: Let me share some paragraphs with you.
  1. Example of one paragraph:  “Kim’s favorite thing was to spend time with her dog. She played with her dog every day after school.  She fed her dog two times a day.  In the afternoons, they would go for a walk together. Kim liked her dog a lot! Questions: What did Kim like? (her dog)  What did she do with her dog? (played with it, fed it, went for a walk with it)  What is the paragraph about?  (Kim spending time with her dog)  This is a paragraph with a group of sentences that tell about Kim and her dog.”
  2. Give example of a non-paragraph:  “Now listen to this:  Luke liked to play sports.  The tree was green.  The clock stopped working.  Lions like to roar real loud. Questions: What is this about?  (Luke, a tree, a clock, and lions)   Is it a paragraph? (wait for answers)  No, because it’s not about one thing.  It’s about completely different things.”
  • WRITE A PARAGRAPH TOGETHER: “Let’s write a paragraph together about our classroom.” Have students tell facts about the classroom and formulate a paragraph on the board using their answers.
  • STUDENTS WRITE THEIR OWN PARAGRAPH: Have students pick something of interest to them and write a paragraph about just that one topic.  Make suggestions for those students having trouble thinking of a topic.  Walk around the room and help those students who are getting off topic.

Praise their work and find something positive to say about it.  Make them feel proud and take ownership of their work.   Those who are fearful of writing should eventually get to the point where they can write their own paragraph.

National Punctuation Day, September 24

Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com

National Punctuation Day was founded by Jeff Rubin back in 2004.  It brings awareness to this important but sometimes overlooked skill.  Knowing how to use correct punctuation is a skill that students need and will use their entire life, but sometimes teaching about it can be a little boring to students.  Here are some ideas to help make teaching about punctuation fun:

A Listing of the Most Used Punctuation Marks:

Fun Activities:

  1. The Punctuation Relay
  2. Wynken, Blyken, and Nod Poetry Punctuation Game
  3. Pin the Punctuation Mark on the Sentence

More Information:

Constitution Day, September 17

Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com
The Constitution begins with three famous words, “We the people,”  and was signed on September 17, 1787  in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It was signed by the Founding Fathers and because of the Constitution, we enjoy many of the rights and freedoms we have today.  Here are some interesting facts:

  1. The first national Thanksgiving Day was originally created by George Washington to give thanks for the Constitution.
  2. The U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest of all the national constitutions.
  3. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate.  He was 81 years old at the time.
  4. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Constitution was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.  Now it is at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
  5. There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution out of the more than 11,000 that have been introduced in Congress.


Free Online Game:

Now Featuring: Homemade “Book of Colors”

Jami, the writer at Ain’t She Crazy, made a great homemade book about colors for their young son.  She used puff paint to write the names of the colors which is a great tactile sensation for little hands.  There are no pictures of objects with a particular color, just simply the colors hidden under flaps. It is well-made and invites children to discover each hidden color and then trace the name of the color with their fingers. Good job, Jami!

Free Unit on Texas Weather

Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com
Here is an excellent free resource for teachers.  This is written to go with exhibits at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, however, it can be modified to use in the classroom without visiting the museum.  If you live close enough to Austin, Texas, to take a field trip then I highly recommend this excellent museum.

The “Wild Texas Weather” Educator Guide (from the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum) includes free printable worksheets for students covering weather in Texas:

  • Weather changes (temperatures & precipitation)
  • Air masses
  • How weather impacts people
  • Droughts
  • Floods
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Forecasting weather
  • Additional Web Sites
  • TEKS objective

Special Exhibit at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin

A special exhibit called the Tango Alpha Charlie: Texas Aviation Celebration will be at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum from September 12, 2010, through January 9, 2011. There are educator resources available to go with this exhibit. In the educator’s guide below, there are 11 lessons that tell about the history and science of aviation in Texas.  These lessons are aligned with STEAM and TEKS objectives.  There is also a student log book available too.

Here is a link for more information about the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Also, here are great free printable Wright Brothers worksheets along with an easy-t0-read story, pictures, and games.

Sources of Free Printable Worksheets

Here are some great sites with free printable worksheets:

Here are more sites with free printable word webs:

Dallas Museum of Nature and Science – Dinosaur Exhibit

We went to the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas during summer break this year and had a wonderful time!  Our whole family was impressed and highly recommends this museum.  On the first weekend of the month,  Bank of America offers “Museums on Us,” and so all three of us got in free since we each have our own Bank of America card (our son just finished his freshman year of college).

If you notice on the building below, it says the “Dallas Museum of Natural History,”  and that’s because the Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children’s Museum merged together to form the Museum of Nature and Science.  This museum has a lot of hands-on activities and is great for children of all ages, even those of us who are still young at heart and enjoy learning.

The exhibits are both educational and entertaining.  The dinosaur exhibits are fantastic! I would like to go back and spend more time in this section of the museum.

It was so amazing to learn that these creatures once roamed the area where we live (the Metroplex area of north Texas). If I were standing right up next to the dinosaur in the picture below, my head would be even with its knee joint. That’s how tall this creature was when it was alive!

Here are the bones of another huge dinosaur in the picture below.

On the bottom basement level, there is an active paleontologists’ lab.  Visitors can view their work through windows and see first-hand what goes on in the lab.  This would be a great experience for young, would-be paleontologists or anyone with a scientific mind to observe as paleontologists work with real fossils.

Here are some bones the paleontologists were working with in their lab.

If you have a smartphone, you can get more information that’s available only through your handheld phone as you tour the dinosaur exhibits.  For those without a smartphone, you can access printed information through your computer when you get home.


Have your own “Dig the Dinosaurs” at home or school.

Dig the Dinosaurs

Many children and adults as well are fascinated with dinosaurs.  This is an exciting way for students to learn about them in a fun way!  Set up an interest center with dinosaur books and dinosaur figures.  Choose two or three dinosaur books to read before doing the “dig.”


  • Materials needed:
  1. Cheap, tiny little dinosaurs from a dollar store, enough for each child to have three or four dinosaurs
  2. Plastic containers such as Cool Whip containers, one container per child
  3. Plaster of Paris mix to be used by an adult
  4. Tools such as small screwdrivers, small hammers, etc., for each child
  5. Optional:  Buy safari hats at a party supply store, one per child  (we can get them for 89 cents each)  Let each “paleontologist” wear a hat while excavating their “dinosaur dig.”
  6. One online site has safari hats for $9.99/dozen.

  • Make one “dinosaur dig” for each child beforehand:   Cut each dinosaur apart into several pieces, keeping the pieces for each dinosaur together.  Place three or four cut-apart dinosaurs in each plastic container and mix up the pieces, one container per child. Have an adult carefully mix up some Plaster of Paris according to directions and pour about an inch onto the dinosaur pieces in the plastic containers. After it hardens, take out of the container.  These “paleontological sites” are now ready for the student “paleontologists.”  While wearing their hats, let the students use their tools to chip away at the Plastic of Paris, slowly discovering pieces of their dinosaur.  As they discover the pieces, they can put them together like a puzzle until they have all the missing pieces.

DINOSAUR EXHIBIT  (Dallas Museum of Nature and Science)


  • Danny and the Dinosaur (I Can Read Book Series: Level 1) by Syd Hoff.  Cute story about the friendship between a dinosaur and a boy.
  • Dinosaur Hunters by Kate McMullan.  (Scholastic Step Into Reading, Step 4)  Good for ages 7-10.
  • Dinosaurs by Roger Priddy.  Activity book with 50 stickers.
  • Dinosaurs by Tracy Christopher (Scholastic – A Smart Start Reader)  Good for ages 6-8.
  • Dinosaurs Before Dark (Majestic Tree House Series #1) by Mary Pope Osborne.  Kids find a magic tree that takes them back to an ancient time zone where they see live dinosaurs.  Good for ages 5-9.
  • Dinosaurs (DK Pockets Series) by DK Publishing & William Lindsay.  Highly comprehensive visual guide for ages 8+.
  • Dinosaurs (Encyclopedia Prehistorica Series) by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart.  Great pop-up book.
  • Dinosaurs: Sticker Encyclopedia by DK Publishing.  Good for ages 5+.
  • Dinosaurs:  The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages by Luis V. Rey.  Written by a paleontologist.  Covers 800+ species of Mesozoic dinosaurs.  Good for ages 12+.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague.   Great for ages 2-5.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague.  Great for ages 2-5.
  • The Very Dizzy Dinosaur by Jack Tickle.  A pop-up book good for teaching names of dinosaurs.

HOME SCHOOL DAY @ Space Center Houston on October 6, 2010

Space Center Houston, the Official Visitors Center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, is closed to the public on October 6 for Home School Day.   Home School families only will have a day of educational fun!   Here are some of the fun experiences:

  • New Blast Off – experience the effects of a shuttle launch
  • Martian Matrix – climb over five stories
  • NASA Tram Tour – see behind the scenes
  • Space Center Theater – the largest giant screen in Texas
  • The Feel of Space
  • Starlab Planetarium
  • Great Wall of Physics
  • Rad Rhonda’s Ultimate Science Lab
  • Combustion Show

Order and pay by September 27 to get special ticket prices of $9.95 per person.   Tickets are $11.95 after that.   They have the schedule and an Informaton Packet online also.

If you can’t make it on Home School Day, there is a coupon worth $5 off general admission on regular price admission of $19.95 for adults and $15.95 for children ages 4-11.   This coupon expires on December 31, 2010.

Five Little Monkeys Book with Sign Language DVD

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed is a classic children’s book. Our children were raised with this story and finger play, as well as the first grade classes I taught in public school. This book also comes with a DVD featuring an adult telling the story in sign language. There is voice narration as the illustrations from the book are also shown. This book and DVD set is available on the Scholastic site as well as Amazon.



There are nine stories on the DVD, ending with There’s Something in My Attic” by Mercer Mayer. The DVD also has vocabulary for each story, ASL demonstration of the signs for some of the nouns and verbs, mini-quizzes for comprehension, and a presentation of the American Sign Language alphabet.
Here’s where to order the book with sign language DVD: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed… and More Favorite Children’s Stories (Scholastic Storybook Treasures)

Student Computer Desks from CSN



If you are looking for a computer desk for your home classroom, CSN offers a good selection of student computer desks at very good prices.  Many have free shipping.  For example, the desk pictured lists for $99.99, but CSN’s price is $70.99 plus free shipping.  (Recently, we ordered a contemporary computer desk from them and are very pleased with it and were surprised at how fast we received the desk.)

New Samsung WordWorld Apps

WordWorld has three new WordWorld mobile applications for Samsung’s new bada platform.  They are available in most international countries, however, not in the United States.  Hopefully, these apps will extend literacy lessons which are seen on the WordWorld television series by using children-friendly media.  These are the new apps available:

  • BEAR’s Skateboard Park Game
  • DOG’s Letter Pit Game
  • Snug as a BUG eBook

Alphabet Letter Party

Celebrate when a child learns a letter of the alphabet that has been hard for them to learn.  Make a cookie cake either from scratch or buy a roll of the child’s favorite refrigerated cookie dough and spread it out on a pizza pan to bake.  If the child enjoys decorating, then let them decorate the cookie cake, or if they really enjoy being surprised then surprise them with it.  The main thing is to celebrate the learning that has taken place and encourage them to learn more things that might be difficult for them.

Enter to Win a Free SAT Prep Course

Knewton is having a Back-to-School Facebook Giveaway sweepstakes, and you can enter for a chance to win their SAT Prep Course.  The contest ends September 10, 2010. You can also go to Knewton.com for a free SAT Prep trial and diagnostic practice test.
Here’s a little more info on their course: 

  • Live and interactive web-based classes
  • One-on-one attention from world-class SAT instructors
  • Weekly parent reporting via email or text messages to track the progress of the student
  • Live office hours and 24/7 academic support from SAT experts
  • Flexible 1-year membership
  • Guaranteed 150-point score increase

WordWorld “Build a Word” App for iPhone

The immensely popular WordWorld “Build a Word” app is now even better! In response to feedback, they installed the following upgrades:

· Re-programming the app to be compatible with the 4.0 iPhone operating system.

· Randomizing the presentation of the WordFriends for more WordBuilding fun!

· Decreasing the price. You can now purchase the app for the low, low cost of only $0.99.

“The “Build a Word” app is based on the WordWorld television show. Children will shake up this “WordBuilder” to watch letters float across the screen. They can then place letters in the outline provided to build words one letter at a time. By pushing the letters of each word together, words will magically “morph” into WordFriends! DOG, DUCK, PIG, ANT, FROG, SHEEP, BUG, COW, CAT and BEE come to life and help children build early literacy skills.”

You can download the WordWorld “Build a Word” app from iTunes.

FREE Site: Starfall – A Fun Way to Help Teach Reading

Many of you already know about Starfall.  For those who don’t, it’s an excellent free site to encourage children to learn to read while having fun.  This site is great for children learning their alphabet letters, learning the sounds of letters, and learning how to read words or short stories.

Knewton Review & SAT Test Prep Course Giveaway

If your son or daughter (or maybe a grandchild, niece, or nephew) is going to be attending college and is interested in trying to get a SAT scholarship, then Knewton’s Test Prep Course may be just what they need to sharpen their skills.   This Knewton Review will give you information about the course itself and how to enter the giveaway for a free course, valued at $490.  The deadline for entering this giveaway is June 30, 2010.

Nursing Scrubs – Great to Wear When Working With Young Children

Many people who work with young children like to wear Nursing Scrubs on the job at school.  Although I have worked many years as a full-time teacher, I have been doing substitute teaching this past year and have seen many of the Para-Educators in elementary schools wear scrubs nearly every day of the week.  The great thing is that someone can dress for comfort and still be stylish at the same time.  If looking for style and affordability, Nursing Uniforms has the largest selection of nursing uniforms online and offer the quality, style, and durability that people want with brands such as Medcouture, Katherine Heigl, Stat Wear, Peaches Uniforms, and Izzy Scrubs.  They offer many stylish Scrub Tops as pictured, and they have comfortable Scrub Pants as well.  The owners come from medical professional families, and they know what type of durability people want along with style and affordability.  With their quality products, they offer free shipping on orders over $100.

Nursing Uniforms states that they will answer inquiries within 24 hours plus they have a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee, so they offer great customer service along with being able to shop 24-7 online.  With the style, quality and guarantee they offer, no wonder they are called an online superstore.

Easter Activities for Children

It’s easy and fun to make cupcakes that are inviting to eat. Just make your favorite cupcake recipe and frosting (or use canned). Start with white frosting and color part of it green for a “grass” effect since not everyone likes coconut (which can be dyed green for a real grass effect). Then top with your favorite Easter candies such as jelly beans, decorative marshmallow flowers on toothpicks, Easter sprinkles, etc.

Go here for more information about Easter: Origin, Activities and Books for Children on this site.

Valentine Books & Activities for Children

Here are a couple of reviews on Valentine’s Day books. For more info about Valentine’s Day on this site, go to Valentine’s Day: Origin, Activities & Books for Children


  • Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli.  Good for ages 3-8.  Story about how an anonymous Valentine card changes an unsociable man into a friend who wants to help his neighbors and also who appreciates them.
  • Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat.  Gilbert gives two not-so-nice Valentine cards and learns something about forgiveness.


Book for Parents & Teachers: The Five Love Languages of Children

Children need to feel loved and cared for in order to thrive.  But as you know, children are different in a lot of ways such as the way they learn, how they react to different situations, and also in the way they feel loved.  What makes one child feel loved might not be what makes another child feel loved and valued.  This book gives a lot of usable suggestions for learning how children interpret love and security.

If you are interested in winning a free copy of The Five Love Languages of Children, leave a brief comment at Healthy Home Blog to enter your name in the drawing.  Deadline for entering is February 10, 2010.  CONTEST CLOSED

Science Project: Recycled Paper





On the left side of the project board is the “Procedure” with drawings underneath illustrating the experiment. (Photos could have been used here.)  In the middle of the board is the title, “Purpose,” and “Hypothesis.” On the left side are the “Results” and “Conclusion.”

How to Teach Main Idea to First Graders

With any skill I teach in the classroom, I model the skill, have the students work on the skill with guided practice, and then observe them as they work on the skill independently.   Using these steps, this is how I would teach “main idea.”

First, write a short paragraph on the board or overhead such as this one: Michael had fun at the school carnival with his friends.  They ate pizza and then played a lot of games.  They had their faces painted.  They ate popcorn.  Then it was time to go home.

Explain that main idea tells what the whole story is about.  Explain how the first sentence tells the main idea in this story, Michael had fun at the carnival.  Then proceed with the following sentences to show how they support the main idea.

  • “Is eating pizza and playing a lot of games fun?”  “Yes.”
  • “Do most kids think getting their faces painted is fun?”  “Yes.”
  • “Is it fun to eat popcorn?”  “Yes.”

Now show how the supporting sentences would not be the main idea:

  • “Is the main idea (the whole story) about eating pizza?”  “No, because they played games, had their faces painted, and ate popcorn, too.”
  • “Is the main idea about playing games?”  “No, because they ate pizza and popcorn, and they had their faces painted, too.”
  • “Is the main idea about having their faces painted?”  “No, because they played games, and they ate pizza and popcorn, too.”
  • Reinforce how the main idea, the whole story, is about Michael having fun at the school carnival with his friends.  And all of these things (eating pizza, playing games, having faces painted, and eating popcorn) are ways to have fun.

Next, give the students a worksheet with no more than four short stories on it.  Make sure the stories are separated with lines so it will not cause any student to be confused.  Make sure the stories are numbered so you can easily refer to a certain story.

  • Read the first story together orally with the class and also all of the choices for main idea.  Work through the process in the same way as the above story.  Have the students underline the main idea in the story with a crayon or colored marker.  Then have them mark the answer.
  • Read the second story and answers orally with the class, but this time have them choose the answer by themselves.  After they have marked their answers, talk about the correct answer and why it is correct.  Allow students to change their answer, if necessary.  Make sure they underline the main idea in the story.
  • Have students complete the third story independently.  Again, after they have marked their answer, talk about the correct answer and why it is correct.  Let them correct their answer.  Make sure they underline the main idea in the story.
  • Complete the fourth story in the same manner as the third one.

Give students a similar worksheet in the same format and have them complete the worksheet independently.  Then you can assess how well each student understood the concept of main idea.

Easy Science Fair Projects

Science Fair Projects are a great way for students to learn outside the classroom as well as in the classroom.  Our own children worked on various projects through the years, and we were involved to some extent in each project.   Projects are a great way to encourage parental involvement as parents help gather materials and give advice from time to time.  But sometimes finding the time to work on an extended project is hard. The Internet is a great source to search for ideas.

Making Math More Fun

Would you use a math games package that has ideas for making math more fun? If so, this package has print and play math games to enhance learning.   Print and play math board games, print and play game sheets, or print and play math card games can make learning more fun.  If you’re interested, just simply download these e-books for a fast and efficient way to make math games that are interesting and stimulating.

Kids’ Recipe: “Silly” Muffins

Here is an easy and fun recipe for kids to make. It’s also a great time to teach measuring.

  • 1 cup of your favorite ice cream (not ice milk)
  • 1 cup self rising flour

Let the ice cream sit out at room temperature until completely melted but still cold.  Stir in the flour.  Do not overstir.   Spoon into greased muffin tin.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.  Makes 6 muffins.

Thanksgiving: Activities & Books for Children

We made the turkey pictured below when our son was in kindergarten.   His “homework” was a family project where everyone in the family had to contribute to the making of this turkey.   Well, as you can imagine, we  have used it to decorate for Thanksgiving as part of our family tradition for over a dozen years now.  Amazingly, the cereal is still in great shape.



The colonists celebrated their first Thanksgiving in 1621 to give thanks to God for their harvest, and the Wampanoag tribe were the native Americans who celebrated with the colonists.  This took place at Plymouth Plantation.

Abraham Lincoln is the president who decided that Thanksgiving would fall on the last Thursday of November.


  • Have student work with their family to decorate a turkey picture such as the one pictured above.  Glue the turkey onto poster board and cut out the turkey shape, or better yet, print the turkey out on card stock.  Color and decorate with ribbon, buttons, cereal, etc.  Make sure every family member adds something to the turkey. This turkey will probably be used by the family for many years to decorate for Thanksgiving.    A great addition to this family fun project would be to write what each family member is thankful for along the feathers of the turkey.
  • Have student trace their hand to make a turkey.  The thumb is the head of the turkey.  The four fingers are the feathers.  Draw turkey legs on the bottom and finish adding the details of the turkey.  In the middle of the palm, write “I am thankful for…” and then on each finger name something the student is thankful for.
  • Trace students hands on red, orange, and yellow pieces of construction paper.  Cut them out.  Curl the fingers just a little bit on the ends.  Overlap the hands to form the body of a turkey and glue onto cardboard.  Draw a turkey head and turkey feet to go with the body.  This can be a small turkey to fit onto a piece of construction paper, a medium size turkey to fit onto a piece of poster board, or a very large turkey to fit onto a long sheet of bulletin board paper.
  • Have students decorate Pillsbury Turkey Sugar Cookies for a fun turkey project.  Use icing for the “glue.”  Glue 6-8 pieces of Candy Corn along the top edge of the cookie with the candy pointing downward.  Glue 2 M&Ms in the middle of the cookie for the eyes.  Use a small tube of icing to form the beak underneath the eyes (a small v-shape).  Use the icing to make turkey feet at the bottom of the cookie.


  • The turkey was first domesticated in Mexico and Central America.
  • A female turkey is called a hen.
  • The sound a female turkey makes is called a cluck.
  • A male turkey is called a tom.
  • The sound a male turkey makes is called a gobble.
  • The skin that hangs from a turkey’s neck is called a wattle.
  • A mature turkey has 3,500 feathers.
  • Wild turkeys can run 25 miles per hour.
  • Wild turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour.
  • Minnesota produces the most turkeys annually.
  • Benjamin Franklin lobbied to make the turkey the national symbol.
  • Approximately 90% of American homes eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
  • The best way to defrost a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator.


  • Thanksgiving by Miriam Nerlove.  Good for ages 3-6.  Has not only a brief overview of the first Thanksgiving feast but also a modern-day family’s visit to Grandma’s house for a celebration.
  • Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks (Reading Railroad Book Series) by Margaret Sutherland.  Good for ages 3-6.   A child tells everything he is thankful for.
  • Dora’s Thanksgiving (Dora the Explorer Series) by Sarah Willson.  Good for ages 3-7.  Find out what Dora is thankful for.
  • Just So Thankful (Little Critter Series)  by Mercer Mayer.  Good for ages 3-7.  Little Critter is jealous of things his rich friend has but then learns what to truly be thankful for.
  • Thanksgiving:  A Harvest Celebration by Julie Stiegemeyer.  Good for ages 4-10.  This is a book with beautiful illustrations.  It emphasizes the faith of the characters.
  • Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes.   Good for ages 4-7.   Children tell about the people and things they are thankful for.  Beautiful illustrations.
  • The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing.  Good for ages 4-8.   “Twas the night before Thanksgiving when…”
  • Thanksgiving on Thursday (Magic Tree House Series #27) by Mary Pope Osborne.  Good for ages 6-9.  Jack and Annie experience the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Indians.

Teaching Phonemic Awareness to First Graders

There are several components to teaching phonemic awareness to children.

  • Isolating phonemes – Student can identify the individual sounds of letters.  Example: Teacher says, “What is the first sound in man?” or “What sound do you hear at the end of man?”  Student answers, “/m/” or “/n/” accordingly.
  • Matching phonemes – Student identifies the words with the same beginning sound in a short list of words.   Example: Teacher says, “Listen to these words and tell me which ones begin with the same sound: ball, bell, cat, book.”  Student answers, “ball, bell, book.”
  • Blending phonemes – Student listens to individual sounds and blends them together to form a word.  Example:  Teacher says, “Listen to these sounds and tell me the word, /m/-/a-/-/n/.”  Student answers, “Man.”
  • Segmenting phonemes – Student hears a word and makes the individual sounds for that word.  Example:  Teacher says, “Tell me the sounds you hear in man.”  Student answers, “/m/-/a/-/n/.”
  • Deleting phonemes – Teacher removes the beginning phoneme and student tells the new word.  Example:  Teacher says, “Listen to ‘grow,’ then take away the /g/ sound at the beginning.  What is the new word?”  Student answers, “Row.”
  • Adding phonemes – Teacher adds a phoneme to a word.  Example:  Teacher says, ” Listen to ‘row.’   Now add /g/ to the beginning of row.  What is the new word?”  Student answers, “Grow.”

Free Online U.S. Geography Games

Sheppard Software.com is a wonderful site with FREE online geography games to teach students of all ages the following:

  • Names of the 50 United States
  • Location of each state on the map
  • Capital of each state
  • Geographic regions of the U.S.
  • Lakes of the U.S.
  • Rivers of the U.S.
  • Bays, seas, & other ocean features surrounding the U.S.

A  helpful tip: Their site mentions at the top what to do if a game is not working.  The game did not work for me, and so I used their tip to use the Mac version even though I have a PC.   It worked!

Mobile Learning – Learning on the Go With iPhones

Our two year old grandson loves to play educational games on our daughter’s iPhone.  It’s perfect to keep him occupied when they’re in the car, at the doctor’s office, or up in her office at work.  His favorite game right now is Toddler Teasers.  The games include letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, and it’s available at the iTunes App Store.

It’s amazing to me that our grandson, who is two years and two months old, knows how to play games on an iPhone.   Technology is amazing and such a wonderful tool for learning!.

Project: How Type of Light Affects Evaporation Rate




How does the type of light affect water’s evaporation rate?


I think that  (place your own hypothesis here).


(Your materials might be a little different.  Use what you have.)

  • Eleven 9 ounce Solo cups
  • Water
  • Weight Scale
  • One Sharpie marker


  1. Fill five cups with an equal amount of water, labeling the cups A-E.
  2. Place cups in different places around the house.
  3. Wait four days and then mark the water level.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 using five different cups labeled A2-E2.  Put cups in the exact same places as the first five cups.   Place A2 cup where A had been, etc.
  5. After four more days, weigh each of the ten cups with the water in them, including a control cup with the original amount of water.
  6. Average the two trials for each cup (A & A2, etc.) and calculate the percentages to see how much water evaporated.


(Fill in the blanks with the percentages you got from your calculations.)

  1. Cup A:  ____% evaporated
  2. Cup B:  ____% evaporated
  3. Cup C:  ____% evaporated
  4. Cup D:  ____% evaporated
  5. Cup E:  ____% evaporated


My hypothesis was supported by my experiment:  (Place your own conclusion here.)


Type out the Problem, Hypothesis, and Experiment, etc., and display on left side of board.  In the middle section, have the title of the project and photos or sketches of the cups of water and where they were placed.  Also, graphs can be made on the computer displaying the results of the experiment.  On the right side of the board, display the Results and your Conclusion.

Teaching Older Kids About 9-11

This site, National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center, contains the following  information:

  • 9-11 History
  • Exploring 9-11:  The World Before & After
  • Timeline of Events
  • Origins & Impacts
  • Explore the designs and learn about the planning of the museum
  • Photo Albums of the Memorial & Museum
  • Growing collection of artifacts & oral histories
  • Education Resources (see below)

This site, Education Resources for Teachers & Students, contains the following information:

  • For high school educators:  a discussion guide and activities to download
  • 9-11:  Stories of Survival and loss
  • The Spirit of Volunteerism:  9-11 and Beyond  (a short film)
  • Teaching Guide with take-home pages to download
  • Scholastic Kid Reporter Articles

Video: September 11 Memorial Video Tribute

Teaching Kids About Fall / Autumn

Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com
The words “fall” (the fall of the leaf) and “autumn” became common words around the 16th century to name the season that comes after summer.  Before that, people referred to the season as “harvest.”  But with fewer people farming and more people moving into town, autumn and fall became the popular names for the season.

Whether you call the season “fall” or “autumn,” the coolness and crispness of the air after hot summertime is refreshing.  Here are some activities, books, and DVD’s to help in teaching children about this season.


  • Have children collect pretty fall leaves (real ones).  Make a huge tree trunk with limbs out of pieces of brown construction paper or poster board and secure to a bulletin board or to the wall.  Attach the fall leaves onto the tree and around the base of the tree.
  • Have children cut out shapes of leaves in different colors of construction paper (green, red, orange, yellow, and brown).  Make a large tree trunk with limbs out of brown construction paper or poster board.  Use the leaves in various ways, as a reward for good behavior, for completing a goal or assignment, etc.  Let the child write their name on the leaf and attach it to the tree each time they accomplish something.
  • Have children collect acorns.  Glue on eyes, mouth, hair, etc., to make acorn people.
  • Leaf rub:  Collect fall leaves and place on white sheet of paper with the vein side up.  Place another sheet of white paper on top.  Peel paper off crayons to be used.  Rub the side of the crayon over the top sheet of paper to make a design.
  • Pressed leaves in wax paper mosaic:  Place fall leaves between two sheets of wax paper.  Place heavy book on top of wax paper to flatten the leaves.  Cut two pieces of brown paper out of a paper bag.  Place wax paper on top of brown paper, then a layer of leaves, then wax paper, and last another sheet of brown paper.  Have an adult iron on top of the brown paper with the iron set on the medium setting.  Make sure the wax paper has stuck to the leaves.  Cool.  Trim edges of wax paper if necessary.
  • Make a Candy Corn Wreath


  • Welcome Fall by Jill Ackerman.  Good for ages 1-4.  Tactile board book.
  • Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky.  Good for ages 3-5.  Watercolor paintings and simple text reveal the changing seasons.
  • Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell.  Good for ages 3-6.  Story about pumpkin and apple picking.
  • Blue’s Fall Day, Blue’s Clues Series by Lauryn Silverhardt.  Good for ages 3-6.  Blue picks apples and pumpkins.
  • Little Red’s Autumn Adventure by Sarah Ferguson.  Good for ages 3-6.  Little Red and her friends’ adventure on their way to the Great Harvest Festival.
  • Arthur Jumps Into Fall by Marc Brown.  Good for ages 4-6.  Arthur’s leaf raking job turns into a leaf party.
  • When Autumn Falls by Kelli Nidey.  Good for ages 4-6.  Making caramel apples, bobbing for apples, Jack-o-lanterns, and leaves are part of autumn.
  • Leaf Trouble by Jonathan Emmett.  Good for ages 3-7.  Little squirrels are scared when leaves start falling off their home and try to stick them back on until mama explains about autumn.
  • I Know It’s Autumn by Eileen Spinelli.  Good for ages 4-7.  Delightful book about autumn with rhyming text.
  • Fall by Nuria Roca.  Good for ages 3-8.  Beautiful illustrations.
  • Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert.  Good for ages 4-8.  The travels of a man made of leaves.
  • Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger.  Good for ages 4-8.  Yellow Leaf is not ready to fall off the tree and float away.  Story is good for someone who is afraid to face the unknown.
  • The Fall Festival by Mercer Mayer.  Good for ages 4-8.   A fun adventure of picking apples, going on a hayride, and picking out the perfect pumpkin.
  • Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson.  Good for ages 5-8.  Anna and the town pick apples during the fall apple harvest.  Some  American history is given.
  • Autumn:  An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur.  Good for ages 5-8.  A brief poem for each letter of the alphabet with rich descriptions.
  • The Fairest of the Fall by Disney.  Good for ages 5-8.  Two stories about Ariel and Sleeping Beauty during the fall season.


  • Let’s Explore Autumn and Winter, Levels 1-3. DVD approx. 30 min. Produced by One Smart Cookie. Distributed by Library Video Co.
  • Tractor Ted in Autumn Time, Children’s DVD.  Good through age 6 or 7.  Experience life on a real farm.
  • Weather for Children:  All About Climate and Seasons by Schlessinger Media.  Good for grades K-4.

“Word World” – Excellent Children’s TV Program

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I highly recommend the TV Program called “World World.”  Our grandson just turned two years old, and he knows his alphabet and is making sounds of the letters on his own.  He has watched World Word for the past year, and for a long time that was the only thing on TV that kept his attention.  He loved it!  And he was absorbing reading skills effortlessly.  (By the way, our daughter and s-i-l did not let him watch much TV, especially when younger.  Word World was the only show he watched.)

ABOVE, you will notice our grandson’s World World toys that you can buy at Target and other places.  These toys reinforce the skills learned on the program.

Cinco de Mayo: Origin, Activities, & Books for Children


Although many people have this misconception, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day which is in September.  Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over the French army at the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862.  It is a significant victory because the French had not been defeated for almost 50 years and the Mexicans were outnumbered almost two-to-one, so the battle was not in favor of the Mexican army.  Also, it is a significant battle because it was the last time a foreign country invaded the Americas.


  • Have an activity center with Mexican dresses, pinatas, and other items.  Place books about Cinco de Mayo in the center.
  • Have a pinata party where the children take turns trying to break the pinata and release all the candy.  Pinatas can be bought at some Mexican restaurants such as Pulidos or at a party supply store.
  • Make a pinata with paper mache.
  • Let kids make bean burritos.  Have soft flour tortillas already warmed.  Mix water with a can of refried beans to make an easily spread consistency.  Let kids spread refried beans on their tortilla, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and roll up.  Enjoy eating!
  • Have kids learn how to count to ten in Spanish.  Play Spanish Bingo by called out numbers in Spanish and having numbers 1-10 on Bingo cards.


  • Cinco de Mayo by Kate Torpie.  Full color photographs, history & customs, directions for making a pinata, and a recipe.
  • Cinco de Mayo:  Celebrating the Traditions of Mexico by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith.  Great book with nice, large illustrations.  Book explains history, traditional dances, dress, and food of this celebration.
  • Cinco de Mayo (Holidays and Festivals) by Alice K. Flanagan.  Covers the history, symbols, and customs of the holiday.  Beautiful illustrations, interesting facts, and additional resources are included in this book.
  • Cinco de Mayo (Read About Holidays) by Mary Dodson Wade and Nanci R. Vargus.  Scholastic.
  • Cinco de Mayo:  Yesterday and Today by Maria Christina Urrutia.  Beautiful illustrations.  Historical references.

Workbooks Help Teach Skills


Colorful, creative workbooks that interest children are a great teaching tool.  For younger children who need a lot of repetition learning certain skills, workbooks with stickers and fun learning activities are very helpful.  If there are pages that involve tracing and the child is tired of tracing with a pencil, try using a washable marker.  Let the child choose what color to use, and the activity will be more enjoyable.

Earth Day: Origin, Activities & Books for Children

Earth Day was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 as a day to teach about the environment.  It is celebrated on April 22 in the U.S., and many countries around the world now celebrate Earth Day.  It occurs in the spring in the northern hemisphere and in the fall in the southern hemisphere.  In 1990, 200 million people around the world participated in Earth Day which boosted awareness about recycling.


  • Plant a small tree sapling at school or in the yard at home.
  • Have children plant seeds in Styrofoam cups and water them as needed.  When plants get big enough, tranplant outdoors.
  • Have a newspaper drive and have children bring newspapers.  Class or student that brings the most gets a certificate or some reward.
  • Have an aluminum can drive and have children bring soda cans that have been rinsed out with water.
  • Take a field trip to a recycling center.
  • Have a guest speaker from a recycling center.
  • Have children sign a pledge that they will turn off the water while brushing their teeth so they won’t waste water.
  • Collect used clothing to donate to a charity.
  • Have children bring items from home that aren’t used anymore (and might be thrown away).  Have a brainstorming session for ideas of ways to reuse the item in a different way.  Think “out of the box.”
  • Decorate a large box to use as a recycling container for paper.
  • Earth Day Birthday by Pattie Schnetzler contains activities for kids.
  • Earth Day Crafts by Carol Gnojewski.


  • Earth Day by Margaret McNamara.  Good for ages 4-6.  Child learns that even small ideas can help a lot.
  • Earth Day by Trudi Strain Trueit.  Good for ages 6-7.  Scholastic Books.
  • Earth Day by Linda Lowery.  Good for ages 7-9.  Tells about Earth Day in 1970 & 1990.  Discusses pollution, environmental destruction, and wasting of natural resources.
  • Earth Day – Hooray! by Stuart J. Murphy.  Good for ages 7-12.  Teaches how important it is to take care of the earth, whether by recycling cans or planting flowers.
  • Dora Celebrates Earth Day! (Dora the Explorer Series) by Emily Sollinger.  Good for ages 3-7.  Dora finds simple things to do at home that helps the planet.
  • Earth Day Birthday by Pattie Schnetzler.  Good for ages 4-10.  Can be read or sung to the “Twelve Days of Christmas” as it tells about 12 North American species in their natural habitats.  Includes suggestions for Earth Day activities.  Great illustrations!


  • RECYCLING / The Earth at Risk by Schlessinger Media.  Good for grades 5 and up.

TEACHING ABOUT EARTH DAY – The Three “R’s”: Recycle, Reuse, & Reduce

* RECYCLE – use a recycling bin which is placed out by the curb on trash day or check on locations of recycling stations in your area

  1. Plastics – Look on the bottom of the plastic container and find the triangle with a number inside of it (check with your area to see what numbers they recycle).
  2. Glass – Clear glass (some areas take colored glass)
  3. Paper – Newspapers, phone books, etc. (some areas take cardboard)
  4. Plastic grocery bags – Usually have to be taken to a grocery store

* REUSE – some things can be used again

  1. Donate – Give things to charity.
  2. Hand-me-downs – Give good clothes to someone who can use them.
  3. Reuse paper grocery bags
  4. Reuse plastic cereal bags – Line the bottom of paper trash bags so they doesn’t leak. Use them for chicken bones, etc., to help contain the smell.
  5. Reuse gift bags – Just make sure you don’t give a bag to the person who gave it to you.

* REDUCEReduce the amount of natural resources that you use.

  1. Reduce paper – Read the newspaper online and help save trees.
  2. Reduce gasoline – Plan errands efficiently so that the least amount of gasoline is used.   Walk, ride a bike, or car pool when possible.
  3. Reduce wattage – Use fluorescent light bulbs that are energy efficient.
  4. Reduce heating & cooling – Set the thermostat a few degrees warmer in the summer and use fans.  Set the thermostat a few degrees cooler in the winter and wear a sweater if you need to.
  5. Reduce water – Use water-efficient shower heads and take shorter showers.  Only use the dishwasher or clothes washer when you have a full load.  A full dishwasher saves water versus washing by hand.  TURN OFF THE WATER WHILE BRUSHING TEETH.  A lot of water is wasted just from this habit alone.

Teaching About Easter: Origin, Activities and Books for Children


Easter is a Christian celebration and originated as a feast day.  Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion, and many Christians celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday.  Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon which is the first full moon on or after March 21.  The egg is a symbol for rebirth, specifically the rebirth of man.

The Easter bunny probably originated in Germany where it was part of a pagan celebration and first mentioned in German writings in the 1600’s.  The Easter bunny was brought to America by German settlers in the 1700’s and was eventually combined with the celebration of Easter.  According to their tradition, if children were good then the Easter bunny would lay brightly colored eggs in nests for the children.  The nests were replaced by Easter baskets as the tradition spread.


  • How to save dyed easter eggs
  • Decorate Easter cupcakes
  • Make little Easter baskets out of decorated Easter party cups.  Punch two holes at the very top on either side.  To make a handle, use a long, colored pipe cleaner and secure on either side of the cup at the top by inserting the end of the pipe cleaner into the punched hole.  Twist both ends of the pipe cleaner onto the cup.  Fill with Easter basket grass.
  • Play Easter Egg Toss by trying to toss plastic Easter eggs (ones that stay closed) into an empty Easter egg basket that is several feet away.
  • Sing “The Bunny Hop” song.


  • Berenstain Bears and the Real Easter Eggs by Berenstain.  Mama Bear teaches the bear cubs about rebirth and life.
  • Easter by Gail Gibbons.  Explains the significance and traditions of Easter.
  • Easter Bugs by David A. Carter.  Discover much more than eggs on an Easter egg hunt.  Discover all sorts of bugs!
  • The Easter Story by Patricia Pingry.  Explains the reason for celebrating Easter.
  • The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing.   Written in the style of Clement Moore’s classic poem.
  • The Story of the Easter Bunny by Catherine Tegen.   A legend about how the easter bunny got his job of painting eggs.   According to the story, the job originally belonged to an older couple.
  • Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs? by Karen Katz.   Preschoolers and toddlers will enjoy lifting the flaps to find the eggs.


  • The Easter Story Read-A-Long Sing-A-Long DVD by Nest Learning System.  Spanish version available.  (Good for ESL)

Teaching Kids: Getting Kids Ready to Read

Tips for helping a child get ready to read:

  • Hopefully, the child will have been read to on a several-times-a-week basis starting during their baby years.  If not, parents should begin now reading to their child every day.
  • Help develop a love for reading in the child.  Make story time special and in a special place.  It should be fun, with books that interest the child.
  • Visit the library every week during children’s story time.  While at the library, let the child choose a couple of books to check out and take home.
  • Play alphabet games with the child.
  • Play games of what happened  “first, next and last.”  (Ex:  First, you brush your teeth.  Next, you put on your pajamas.  Last, you go to bed.)  You can do this with any activity the child does.
  • Have the child watch “Word World” on TV.  It teaches alphabet letters and words in a cute, colorful format.  Our grandson absolutely loves that program and started watching it when he was a baby.  He’s 19 months old now, and it is the only show that will keep his attention the entire time.  He already knows most of his uppercase letters.  If you’ve never watched Word World, I highly recommend it.  It’s one of the best children’s shows on television.

When reading a book to the child:

(You will have to adjust the questions according to the age of the child.)

  • Talk about the picture on each page first before reading the page.
  • Run your finger under words as you read them.
  • Play a guessing game of “What do you think will happen next?” as you are reading the story to the child.
  • Ask, “Why do you think this happened?” when appropriate.  Accept their answer as valid and never put down a child’s answer.  If they don’t know why, suggest a possibility.
  • Share what you like and what you don’t like about a story.
  • Ask child what they liked and what they didn’t like about the story.
  • Talk about what happened first, next, and last.
  • Talk about what the story is mainly about.
  • Have child draw pictures about the story.

Teaching Kids About Spring


When I think of springtime, I think of pretty flowers blooming, lots of rain showers, rainbows, and all of the things associated with spring.  But I guess flowers are what I think of the most.   Pictured above are flowers that originally came from the parent plant in my grandmother’s garden.  Bulbs were passed on to my mother, then to me, then hopefully soon to our daughter.  When our two grandbabies get old enough, I plan to explain to them that these flowers came from the parent plant that was their great, great grandmother’s.  So with the coming of spring also comes a blooming remembrance for many families of their loved ones.  What a lovely tradition that appears every spring!


  • Flowers: Have each child plant flower seeds in potting soil in a plastic cup.  Have each child water their own plant.  Great to incorporate with science.
  • Flowers:  Art activity – use paper cupcake liners to use as the middle for construction paper  flowers.
  • Flowers:  Art activity- using different colors of construction paper, have children trace around their hands and cut out the hand shapes.  Curl the fingers forward to make “flower petals.”   Add a green paper stem and leaves.
  • Flowers: Art activity – cut colored gift tissue into long strips about 10-12 inches long and 3 inches wide.  Fold accordion style the length of the tissue.  Secure in the middle with a green pipe cleaner to make the stem.  Fluff out the tissue paper to make the flower.
  • Rainbow:  Art Activity – using the construction paper the colors of the rainbow, have children trace around their hands and cut out the hand shapes.  Using the hands, make a large rainbow on the wall by stapling the same colors together to make each color band of the rainbow.
  • Wall mural:  Art activity – have the class make a wall mural filled with different kinds of paper flowers that they have made.  Add the cut-out hands rainbow in the sky above the flowers.
  • Rainbow:  Make a 9 x 13 cake.  Top with light blue icing.  Using M&M’s, make a large rainbow on top of the cake.


  • Caterpillar Spring, Butterfly Summer by Susan Hood.  Good for ages 2-5.  Charming story in rhyme about a caterpillar’s day.
  • Spring is Here!  Fisher-Price Little People Lift the Flap Series by Carol Monica.  Good for ages 2-6 and early ESL.  Concepts include “spring,” colors, action words, counting, shapes, etc.  Enforces vocabulary building.
  • Spring Peeps! (Peeps Series) by Cindy Eng.  Good for ages 2-5.  Has a yellow PEEPS candy chick as one of the characters – have the candy to eat after reading the book.
  • Splish, Splash, Spring by Jan Carr.  Good for ages 2-6.
  • Spring is Here, Corduroy! by Don Freeman.  Good for ages 3-6.
  • That’s What Happens When It’s Spring! by Elaine W. Good.  Great for ages 3-6.  Spring seen through the eyes of a rural child.
  • Oh, Yes!  Oh, Yes!  It’s Springtime!  (Little Einsteins Series) by Susan Ring.  Good for ages 4-6.
  • Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson.  Good for ages 4-6.
  • Spring is Here by Lois Benski.  Good for ages 4-6.  Has an old-fashioned charm to it.
  • Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow:  A Book About Color (Magic School Bus Series) by Joanna Cole, George Arthur Bloom and Bruce Degen.  Good for ages 4-8.
  • Spring is Here, Grumpy Bunny! by Justine Korman.  Good for ages 4-8.  Reinforces the idea of early literacy by reading to babies from an early age.
  • Spring by Nuria Roca, Dimitry.  Good for ages 4-8.  Beautiful illustrations.  Fun crafts and projects are provided at the end of the book.
  • It’s Spring! by Linda Glaser.  Good for ages 5-8.  Includes suggestions for nature study projects.
  • Poppleton in Spring (Scholastic Reader) by Cynthia Rylant.  Good for ages 5-8.  Easy chapter book.  Humorous story, beautiful illustrations.
  • The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring by Lucille Clifton.  Good for ages 5-8.  About two city boys who discover spring.


  • Children’s Favorites:  Spring Into Fun.   Features Barney, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, and Kipper.
  • Spring for Strawberry Shortcake.  Good for grades PreK-1.
  • Rain Showers and Spring Flowers.  Good for grades PreK-2.
  • Nick Jr. Celebrates Spring.  Good for grades PreK-3.
  • Stanley: Spring Fever (Stanley DVD Series).  Good for grades PreK-3.  About all the animals that come out in spring.
  • Let’s Explore…Spring and Summer  (Let’s Explore DVD Series).  Good for ages PreK-5.  An activity guide is available online to with this.
  • Weather for Children:  All About Climate and Seasons by Schlessinger Media.  Good for grades K-4.

St. Patrick’s Day: Origin, Activities & Books for Children


Actually, “St. Patrick’s Blue,” a dark blue, was the original color associated with St. Patrick for a long time.  The phrase “the wearing of the green” became popular and was associated with wearing a green shamrock.  Also, green is the color associated with Ireland.  The popular phrase and showing allegiance to Ireland probably influenced the change from wearing blue to wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day which occurred around the 1750’s.  Today, if you are caught not wearing green, you will most likely be pinched!

As I was growing up, I would always try to remember to wear green to school so I wouldn’t be pinched!  I forgot one year, and the teacher pinned a piece of green paper on me.  When I got a little older, I realized, “Hey, I have green eyes so I always have on green!”  I was rarely pinched after that!  So…all of us who have green eyes can point to them if someone tries to pinch us!


St. Patrick’s Day originated somewhere around the 400’s as a religious holiday in Ireland.  Nowadays, it is celebrated as a public holiday in the United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, and New Zealand to a large extent.  There are many parades associated with the celebration.  In the United States, the first public celebration took place in Boston in the 1700’s.


  • Have children cut out 3 green hearts, all the same size.  Glue the hearts together to make a shamrock.  Cut out a simple green stem and glue to the shamrock.
  • Have children trace their hands on different colors of construction paper to make a large rainbow on a wall in the classroom.
  • Have children use colored circle stickers to make a rainbow.
  • Have each child paint a smooth stone with green paint and glue green felt on the bottom to make a Blarney Stone paper weight.
  • Buy medium-large sized, plain sugar cookies or bake them.  Let kids decorate their cookie with a rainbow by using tubes of colored icing.  Or put a solid color of icing such as light blue to make the sky and then let kids make a rainbow out of M&Ms.
  • Serve Rainbow Jello Dessert (actually called Ribbon Jello Dessert).  You could add another layer or two of color to make it look like a rainbow.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Crafts by Carol Gnojewski.  Good for ages 8-9.  (10 easy crafts with pictures, directions, and traceable patterns)


  • Good Luck!:  A St. Patrick’s Day Story by Joan Holub.  Good for toddlers and preschoolers.  (illustrates concept of parades)
  • St. Patrick’s Day Countdown by Saline Yoon.  Good for toddlers and preschoolers.
  • It’s St. Patrick’s Day by Rebecca Gomez.  Good for ages 4-6 and ESL.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Alphabet by Beverly Barras Vidrine.  Good for ages 4-8.
  • Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever! by Teddy Slater.  Good for ages 4-8.  (illustrates concept of parades)
  • Shamrock Scare (Scooby-Doo!) by Courtney Tyo.  Good for ages 4-8.  (“Picture Clue” book that uses a rebus to teach words)
  • St. Patrick’s Day by Mari C. Schuh.  Good for ages 4-8.
  • That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting.  Good for ages 4-12.  (great illustrations by award winning illustrator, Emily Arnold McCully)
  • Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski.  Good for ages 5-8.  (great story of generosity versus greed)
  • Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing.  Good for ages 5-8.  (story is in verse like Twas the Night Before Christmas)
  • St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons.  Good for ages 5-8.  (the story of Patrick’s life, how this day is celebrated, and six legends)
  • St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting.  Good for ages 5-8.  (illustrates concept of parades)
  • St. Patrick’s Day by Carmen Bredeson & Don L. Curry.  Good for ages 6-7.  (Scholastic – gives a little history of St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Green Gravy by Beverly Lewis.  Good for ages 7-10.  (great author)
  • Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs by Edna Barth.  Good for ages 8-12.  (explains the legends and historical facts of St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Let’s Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by Peter & Connie Roop.  Good for ages 8-11.  (question and answer format about the history and how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated)


  • American Cultures for Children:  Irish-American Heritage by Schlessinger Media .  Good for grades K-4.  Presents Irish immigration to America, history and customs,  how to say some Gaelic words, Irish dances, how to make a Celtic harp, a folktale, a folk song for children to sing.  Features Phylicia Rashad (from the Cosby Show).
  • Holidays for Children: St. Patrick’s Day by Schlessinger Media.  Good for grades K-4.   Gives history, brief biography on St. Patrick,  info on leprechauns and how to make a hand puppet, and festive celebrations.  A teacher’s guide comes with it and is also available online.

FREE Online / Computer Graded Tests for Children’s Biographies of U.S. Presidents

Want to make test time easier for the teacher?  Here is a great way with FREE online tests for children’s biographies of U.S. presidents.  Students read the easy-to-read biography online and then take the online test.  These tests are graded by the computer for free, are also printable, and the grades can be printed out by the teacher.  Here are the biographies that have tests available at this time:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Barack Obama
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • George Washington
  • James Madison
  • James Monroe
  • John Adams
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Thomas Jefferson

Teachers will need to log in and register their class so students can take the online tests.  Remember there is no cost for anything!

School Project or Interest Center: Pearl Harbor & World War II



This is a very interesting project!  I imagine most people know someone who lived through WWII and have heard stories of what life was like during that  period in history.   What made this particular project interesting was that the student (actually my son) interviewed several people who lived during this time period.  He received first hand information about what life was like and how so many people pulled together for the good of our country, even though they had to ration items and do without some items.  Interviewing these people helped make this project come alive for him.  We knew someone whose best friend was killed at Pearl Harbor on the USS Arizona.  It was such a sad time in history for all those involved!

Another interesting factor was that we had actually been to Pearl Harbor, saw the short movie (which made it seem like we were really there and brought tears to my eyes), went through the museum, and bought memorabilia such as a copy of the newspaper which showed the headline “WAR!”


  • Interview people who lived through WWII and get a first hand account of what it was like.
  • Get copies of pictures of people who served in the war to add to the project.
  • Read children’s books about Pearl Harbor.  See list below.



  • Pearl Harbor: A Primary Source History by Jacqueline Laks Gorman. Good for ages 8-12.
  • The Attack on Pearl Harbor (Cornerstones of Freedom Series) by Tom McGowen.  Good for ages 9-11.
  • Attack on Pearl Harbor by Shelley Tanaka.  Good for ages 10+.
  • Air Raid – Pearl Harbor!:  The Story of December 7, 1941 by Theodore Taylor.  Good for ages 12 and up.
  • Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer & Triston Elwell.  Good for ages 12 and up.
  • Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy by Stephanie Fitzgerald.  Good for ages 12 and up.

Make Simple Flashcard Games


This game was made very quickly as you can probably tell, but children don’t usually notice that.  (I try to make the games neat.)  The student decorated the game with Batman stickers.  I wrote the words on index cards.  If the word was read correctly then the student got to advance to the next space.

These easy gameboards can be decorated by the student so they take ownership of the game and enjoy playing it.   If several students will be playing the game, take a whole sheet of poster board and draw the basic path with “Start” and “End.”  Let the students decorate it.

Bottle caps make good playing pieces to move along the path.

Teaching Kids About the Universe

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This is a great “big book” (or “board book” as some may call them) that is made by Funfax.  It’s great for teaching different levels:

  • Young children – just talk about the basics
  • ESL students – pictures and visuals are great for teaching them
  • Gifted students – deeper material in the book can be used with them and higher level questions can be presented
  • Science lesson – pick and choose the material in the book you need for your lesson

I’ve had my book for a while, but they are still available through Amazon.

Teaching Kids About Shapes


When teaching children about shapes, they need to do various activities to learn the differences between the shapes.  Some students may need much repetition, and some may learn them quickly.  Adjust the activities according to the student.  Here are some activities:

  • Compare the shapes to objects: “A circle is round like a ball.”  “A square is like a window (square shaped).”  “A rectangle is like a door.”   “A triangle is shaped like pizza or an ice cream cone.”
  • Have actual shapes for the student to feel. For teaching about a circle, you could use lids, tops to bottles, a ball, a plastic cup (the top and bottom), and any objects you see that have a circle in them.  In the picture below, you will even see a round, Spider-Man wipe-off board.   For teaching about a square, you could use a square box, a square book, a square cake pan, etc.  Count the four sides on all the squares.  For teaching about a rectangle, you could use a rectangular shaped box or book, an oblong cake pan, a Kleenex box, a notebook, etc.  Count the four sides on all the rectangles, two longs sides and two short sides.  For teaching about a triangle, you could use an ice cream cone, a piece of pizza (or a picture of one slice of pizza), a party hat, etc.  Count the three sides on all the triangles.
  • Use simple workbooks like the ones pictured above that have stickers and/or activities.  Count the sides on the squares, rectangles, and triangles when working with them.
  • Having students trace the shapes is an excellent activity.
  • Have students cut out the shapes. You can draw large shapes for the students to cut out first and then later progress to smaller and smaller shapes.


Teaching Science to ESL & First Grade Students: COMPARING & GROUPING OBJECTS (Same & Different)

Following the lesson on The Five Senses, students can compare and group objects.   Here are some activities:

  • Make sure students understand “same” and “different.” Have two objects that are exactly the same and one that is different (such as two math books and an English book, or two identical balls and one that is different, etc.)  Show the two objects that are the same and talk about how they are alike.  Then show two objects that are different and talk about the ways they are different.
  • Show two flowers that are not completely alike and talk about the ways they are the same (both are pretty, both smell good, both have stems, both have leaves, etc.) and ways they are different (one is shorter, they are different colors, etc.)  Talk about how we use our senses of look, smell, and touch when we’re comparing the flowers.
  • Explain to students there are different ways to compare things. Have a group of objects such as shells that the students can practice comparing and putting into groups such as big shells/little shells and then white shells/colored shells.  Other objects that you could use to compare and group would be different sizes and colors of seeds, various rocks, or different sizes and colors of marbles.
  • Have students compare their pencils.  Remind students there are different ways to compare things.  Have students with pencils longer than six inches line up on one side of the room.  Have students with pencils shorter than six inches line up on the other side.  Another comparison would be to have yellow pencils on one side and colored pencils on the other side.  Or pencils with erasers on one side and those without erasers on the other.