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 About Volcanoes

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Most kids are fascinated with volcanoes.  When teaching about them, it is important to let kids make a volcano, have good pictures of real volcanoes, and if possible, a video, since most students are not able to take a field trip to actually see one.  If you are fortunate to be on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, then you can hike up to the top of Diamond Head, an extinct volcano.  We did this, and it was quite impressive.  Or you can visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, which we also did, and you might get to see an actual lava flow.  We didn’t get close enough to see a lava flow, but we did walk through the Thurston Lava Tube which was very interesting.

Here is a book we own that has many great pictures of volcanoes:


MAKE YOUR OWN VOLCANO:

  1. Use a large pan,  9 x 13.   Place an empty 16 ounce bottle in the middle of it with the top off.
  2. Using either papier mache, modeling clay, or salt play dough, make a mountain with vertical ridges around the bottle.  Do not cover the top of the bottle.  Paint brown and let dry.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap and 1 tablespoon baking soda in a cup and carefully pour into the bottle in the middle of the mountain.  (If you’re brave, you can add a few drops of red or orange food coloring in with the soap and baking soda.)
  4. Place the pan with the mountain outside.  Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to the bottle and stand back.  Your volcano will erupt!
  • For ESL students, be sure and label everything.
  • For Gifted students, ask higher level questions.  There is a chemical reaction when the baking soda and vinegar are mixed.  It produces a carbon dioxide gas (a chemical reaction) which is the same gas that a real volcano produces.

VOLCANO KITS:

  • Kit:  Volcano Island – Discovery Extreme Light and Sound Rumbling Volcano  by  Poof Slinky
  • Our Amazing Volcanoes / Earth Science Kit by Poof Slinky

by Schylling

CHILDREN’S VIDEOS:

CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

  • Dk Readers:  Eruption–The Story of Volcanoes (Level 2) by Anita Ganeri
  • National Geographic Readers Volcanoes! by Anne Schreiber
  • The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top:  A Book About Volcanoes by Gail Herman and Bob Ostrom.  Good for PreK-1.  Not your typical Magic School Bus book.
  • Volcanoes by Jacques Durieux and Philippe Bourseiller.Spectacular photos!
  • Volcanoes (All Aboard Science Reader) by Nicholas Nirgiotis.  Go0d for K-2.  Pictures look like clay.
  • Volcanoes (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Franklyn Mansfield Branley and Megan Lloyd.  Good for PreK-2 and older.
  • Volcanoes!  Mountains of Fire (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) by Eric Arnold.  Good for 4th grade.



 

How to Teach Gifted Children in a Regular Classroom

When I taught Gifted and Talented students, they were in a regular classroom (first or second grade).  I had a mix of regular students, gifted and talented students, ESL students (sometimes students starting the year speaking no English), and children with learning disabilities or physical handicaps.  How is a teacher able to meet the needs of gifted students?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Stretch every lesson where possible with Higher Level Thinking Skills.
  • Teacher’s manuals will often have suggestions for gifted students.
  • Have the gifted students work on projects they can do by themselves.
  • Just because a student is a gifted student does not mean they are an independent worker or a self-motivator.   Pair these students up with a partner who is an independent worker.
  • Utilize resources.   I had one exceptionally bright first grader who would go to the library and do research on topics of his choosing with minimal supervision from the librarian.   He would either write about it or illustrate and make a poster about his research.
  • Encourage students to enter extra activities offered by your district such as Science Fair, History Fair, Invention Convention, Art Contests, etc.   One year, I had a gifted second grader (an ESL student) who excelled in art and entered a district contest.  He won an award!
  • Have students work on a class newspaper that they publish once a week or once a month.
  • A lot of times, you can see where certain students excel in one or more of the Seven Areas of Giftedness.   Develop centers or projects for these areas.