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Picture books in science class

We all love picture books, and hopefully a really good one finds its way into your hands at least once a day. What might happen less frequently is that you use a picture book to help you teach science. I've got a great resource (with a free PDF!) that will hopefully encourage you to use more picture books in science.

Word walls in math

Many elementary teachers use word walls in the classroom. A word wall is an organized collection of words displayed in a classroom. Word walls provide easy access to words students need. The specific organization of the word wall will match the teacher's purpose: sight words organized by alphabet letter, unit-specific words, new vocabulary words, etc. The most helpful word walls grow and change throughout the year and are used as a learning reference.

Inside and outside

I had the chance to spend time with a terrific children's book writer earlier this week. Mary Quattlebaum and I talked about lots of things though our conversations most often came back to children and books.

Through the prism

What do you see when you look through a prism? The scientific explanation is simply that a prism refracts light allowing a spectrum of colors to be seen. Really what you see are different colors, perhaps changing your perspective or the way you view an object.

There's a video for that

Recently my daughter came home really worried about an upcoming math test. They were studying the U.S. and metric systems of measurement, and Molly was really confused! She just couldn't seem to grasp the relationship between meters and yards, or liters and cups. She had a stack of flash cards to study by, but they really didn't make any sense to her.

Danger if history is forgotten?

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders, buses of young adults who went south to challenge a racially segregated interstate bus system which reflected a great deal of what was going on throughout the country. You can learn more about the Freedom Riders from the PBS series "The American Experience."

Many of the freedom riders are now grandparents; their stories continue to be important. Especially for children.

Signs of spring

Winter doesn't seem to want to end. March came in with a roar and seems to be leaving with one, too.

Unlike the month that we're having, Marion Dane Bauer's In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb (Holiday) with Emily Arnold McCully's effervescent wash and line illustrations provides a lively and quite literal look at March's changing weather. You can see the book here.

Will we have an earthquake here?

Will we have an earthquake here? Will we have a tsunami here? I know I'm not the only parent or teacher to be asked those questions this week.

The crisis in Japan is so difficult to comprehend, especially for our young ones. Learning more about a situation can provide opportunities to talk through fears and concerns. Here are some resources that you might find useful to share with kids. Some are designed specifically for children, others are not, so be aware of ads or surrounding content that may not be appropriate for your audience.

Starting early with science and math

Lots of schools are trying to get children ready for standardized tests. Science and math are usually a focus though the skill and drill approach doesn't do much to cultivate lifelong learners.

Science fun

I've written about this before, but just a reminder that we're developing a series of Growing Readers focused on exciting kids about science and math. This means I've been doing a lot more reading and surfing on the topic. Here are some things I've found that I thought teachers, parents and kids might enjoy! I apologize in advance for the giggling and snickering you'll hear when visiting these sites with kids.

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"A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." — Chinese Proverb