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Little Museum of BIG Little House Treasures

En route to Mansfield, Missouri, Laura and Almanzo’s final home, we had time to think and talk about the places connected to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family that weren’t on our Little Journey itinerary. Once we reached Mansfield, our mileage for the Little Journey would be more than a thousand miles, so there were some places along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway we just couldn’t include, like:

Laura’s Little Schools

On the Little Journey, both Avery and Janet had a special interest in schools where Laura studied or taught since Avery has always loved to play school and Janet has taught students at all levels — from early elementary to graduate school. Janet writes below about the striking differences and not so surprising similarities we found between the schoolhouses in De Smet and those of today.

"Leap into Learning Differently" Website Debuts with BAM Radio Podcasts for All Educators

"Leap Into Learning Differently," a new website by Sharon LePage Plante, is crafted carefully to include "amazing people who care about learning for all students." She is site founder and also a tireless teacher, tech director, and social-media-in-education aficionado who won a 2014 Bammy Award for her work with special needs students.

El Deafo: Virginia Author-Illustrator Turns Her Use of an Assistive Technology Device into a Strength

Students who use a device to support their access to the curriculum often struggle because assistive technology (AT) can make them feel different from their peers.

Arts impact all year

When our son was young, a special holiday treat was an outing to see a live performance. Theater, dance, symphony — we tried it all. And during his time off from school, we’d visit art museums all over town. It certainly had an impact on our son but far too many children don’t have easy access to the arts or arts programs for any number of reasons.

So let’s integrate the arts into a child’s daily life, and where better to start — with potentially profound outcomes — than in schools.

Shopping for Little House Keepsakes and Gifts

After our trip to the Ingalls’ Homestead, we headed back to the little town on the prairie. With time for a leisurely stroll down Main Street in De Smet, we decided we had to stop in Loftus General Store — where during the Long Winter, Laura and Carrie bought suspenders for Pa for Christmas and the wheat procured for starving De Smet citizens by Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland was sold.

Losing the magic

Ever been amazed by a magic trick? I know I have. After the pure joy of letting the magic wash over me, I often wanted to know how it was done. Sometimes learning how the magic trick worked made me feel like I’d been cheated. Sometimes my appreciation of the magician’s skill increased, making me feel like I was in on a secret.

Claiming Our Own Adventure on the Little Homestead on the Prairie

Five of the Little House books, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years, take place in De Smet, Dakota Territory (later South Dakota). We planned a few days here to get at least a taste of prairie life past and present and to savor the place where so many of Laura’s stories happened.

Final Notes on Complex Text Requirements

Last week I replied to some of the remarks about text complexity that were made on the Valerie Strauss’s Washington Post column. Here are a couple more.

Participant or witness?

What’s the difference between participating and witnessing? And what does this have to do with books and children?

I had lunch with some longtime friends today and as we walked out together, my friend was telling me how she shared books with a group of children, the same group she had the opportunity to observe as they saw the same story read on a “smart board.”

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"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase