Children's Books, Diversity in the Classroom

Children’s Diverse Fairy Tales

No big changes from what you would expect from a telling of The Little Mermaid, but it is set in the Carribean with vibrant island colors and a notably dark-haired and darker-skinned Little Mermaid. I love the illustrations by Nivea Ortiz, they are vibrant and keep little ones who aren’t reading independently yet enthralled.


A funny re-telling of the classic fairy tale Princess and the Pea. Set in Peru and with a dash of Spanish words throughout the rhyming text tells the story of a prince who is being prepped for marriage and his mother who is making sure that only a real princess makes the cut. The queen is absolutely a monster-in-law, but the sweet prince makes up for her and then some. This book is a fantastic read-aloud, and I can’t give it away, but there might be a funny twist at the end too.

There are no twists or changes made to the classic tale and the text is short enough for a circle time read. Children adore the rich colors used in the illustrations and I love that there are no big changes to the story, simply a different lens and location.
A retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears that takes place during Chinese New Year. Goldy Luck is asked to take some food over to her neighbors but when they aren’t home curiosity gets the better of her and she gets into all kinds of trouble.
A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that has a sick Auntie with spots and it’s up to Little Red to get her what she needs. Instead of a wolf, there is a Hungry Lion who has no clue what he’s getting himself into!  Kids love this book, the illustrations are hilarious and the story is fun. I don’t think it’s particularly African, in the way that Rachel Isadora’s books successfully incorporate cultural references in a much deeper way, but this is a fun read that has a brave little heroine and is definitely worth reading and finding a place for it on your bookshelf.
This is a story about respect and how there is a difference between being comfortable in other people’s houses and crossing lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Beautiful book that celebrates these lessons and the West African culture of Ghana.
In this version of Stone Soup a fisherman gets tricked into helping to make soup. This book is told from the point of view of the fisherman but the illustrations show a different point of view. (China)





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Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Children’s Books for End of the School Year

 Each page offers a blessing, beginning with “I wish”.  “I wish you more ups than downs.”  “I wish you more give than take.”  “I wish you more we than me.” It conveys a message of caring. I like the diversity of the children on each page, and the endless opportunities it offers for follow-up activities.  It’s such an incredible way to provide one another with meaningful wishes as you say goodbye.
This book takes the standard fairy tale, and flips it in reverse! The story starts at the end, and works its way backwards to the beginning.  While the book is amazing as a stand alone, It’s a great end of the year trip down memory lane!
This story focuses on James, who decides that he is going to be on his VERY BEST behavior on the last day of school.  He lists all of the the things he WON’T do on the last day of school so he can get the final gold star of the year and impress his teacher.
 It is a fun-filled story about the life of a second grader, Billy Miller.  If you only have time to read part of it, the first section of the book is called “Teacher,” where Billy deals with the insecurities and anxieties of starting a new grade with a new teacher.
Four, three, two, ONE! The last day of school is finally here. For Ivy and her friends it’s time to take down pictures, clean shelves and say good-bye. But there is also time for one last surprise. Your students will enjoy this follow-up to First Day, Hooray!


Are you singing a certain song right now? It’s the last day of school! Gilbert is excited about summer vacation. First there’s a class party, and Mrs. Byrd will give out the end-of-the-year awards. But will Gilbert even get one? Patty’s the best speller. Philip’s the best reader.



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Journal, Wisdom

Feeling Safe

Feeling protected provides us with warmth, confidence and security. Feeling wanted leads to feeling safe. Being safe is the absence of beating yourself up or feeling that all that is good in your life is a moment away from vanishing forever. When you are protected, you know deeply that you deserve to live in a safe space and have the happiness that it brings.

To help us be safe, a part of the brain, the amygdala, monitors the environment. Anything unexpected or unfamiliar causes the amygdala to release stresshormones. Though the amygdala may be reacting to something that is harmless, the hormones cause feelings of alarm and the urge to escape. What happens next depends on whether a person is secure or insecure.

Feeling secure is a basic human need in several ways. Firstly, there is the physical security – we need to be protected from the elements and other dangers. But mental security is just as important – we need to feel that we belong and that we have control of our lives, that we are safe.

Being safe is the state of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes. Feeling safe, which is also called psychological safety, means being self-assured that we are not in danger. Having a sense of well-being can’t fully happen if we don’t feel safe first. A lack of psychological safety is a major trigger for many of our unwanted emotions as fear and anxiety, which can really block the pursuit of a healthy and calm mind. 

Try to notice how your body responds when you start to feel unsafe. You may feel like your heart is racing, you might feel like you are losing control, or even going into a full panic attack. The reality is that most of the time we are not in real threatening danger, and those reactions are only a sensation created by how our minds perceive the environment to be.

  1. Don’t deny your feelings. Awareness is key. If you feel unsafe, afraid, or anxious, don’t try to fight these feelings. Don’t try to convince yourself you are not scared or anxious, instead, accept and calmly plan how you can shift away from those feelings. Avoid those who do not share your values.
  2. When you feel unsafe, speak with someone, seek support, don’t keep your thoughts to yourself. A human voice can help you calm down, organize your thoughts, and think more clearly on an action plan.
  3. Seek out these who lift you up, share your values, and have an overarching spirit of positivity.

Archives:


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Journal, Wisdom

A Little Love

Don’t we all need it right now?

More important than me loving you, is you loving yourself. I’ve been thinking a lot about self-love and how it is not selfish to love and care for yourself. Sadness, loneliness and despair can keep you trapped in a downward spiral. Self-pity can wrap around you like a poisonous vine. I love a quote from Susan David’s book, Emotional Agility: ” Don’t believe everything you think.” Begin each day by saying three things you are grateful for. I can start you off with number one, you woke up to see another day. Be patient with yourself. Get outside even for a few minutes. Take deep breaths and let them out slowly while thinking of who you could help this day, even if it is yourself, and even if you share a smile with someone. Take care, my friend.





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Diversity in the Classroom, Literacy Resources

Diversity in the Classroom

Every Voice Heard — We are a Family

A school culture that promotes diversity in the classroom teaches students something that’s important: how to live and work in a society where every individual is unique. Diversity in the classroom teaches students to appreciate different perspectives and draw stronger conclusions. Challenging students to consider different perspectives can also teach them how to interact with their peers on a social level, and equip them with skills they’ll use for the rest of their life.

*********If it’s difficult to change your existing curriculum, use the opportunity to ask students why different perspectives aren’t included and challenge them to apply critical thinking skills.


  • Shut down discrimination whenever you hear it. Speak out against slurs and derogatory comments.
  • Use language that promotes positivity and doesn’t reinforce existing stereotypes (for example, the phrase “boys will be boys” shouldn’t be used to justify sexism or aggression) .
  • Respond effectively to inappropriate comments or actions. Take infractions seriously and inform parents when necessary.
  • Encourage students to include all of their peers if you see division forming along racial or economic lines. 
  • Remove existing markers of inequality in your school. (For example, make sure students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch programs aren’t singled out and made to feel different.)

Resources:

  1.  https://www.embracerace.org/resources/16-ways-to-help-children-become-thoughtful-informed-and-brave-about-race?gclid=CjwKCAjwhMmEBhBwEiwAXwFoEYMKMfRZlLSr6Mz-KZLe-9Xmjo_XnbUBZR4Z3wNolDKmth–f4kujBoCsecQAvD_BwE  
  2. https://www.embracerace.org/resources/young-kids-racial-injustice
  3. https://www.gcu.edu/blog/teaching-school-administration/4-ways-celebrate-diversity-classroom
  4. https://www.naturespath.com/en-ca/blog/15-activities-kids-learn-different-cultures/
  5. https://blog.brookespublishing.com/8-ways-to-show-young-children-that-diversity-is-a-strength/
  6. Printables:  https://www.teachervision.com/subjects/social-studies-history/culture-diversity
  7. Activities: http://www.sbhihelp.org/files/Diversity88Ways.pd






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Journal

Find Joy in Simple Things

Grandma’s kitchen holds a variety of interesting things.

I had the pleasure of having my grandson spend the night at my house for the first time. I think my son sensed that I could benefit from a break in my routine. It’s obvious that time with my grandson always makes me smile, so when he asked if I would care for Maverick overnight I eagerly said yes. I don’t have many toys that would capture the interest of an almost two year old. At least I didn’t think so.

As I started dinner, I made sure he wasn’t out of my sight. I also wanted to keep him occupied. Drawing on my memory from when his daddy was his age, I began pulling unbreakable items from cupboards. To my delight he found the random objects fascinating. He may be a musician someday because he kept banging things and shaking a maraca while humming. My small kitchen was filled with joy! When he said, “Sing grandma,” I couldn’t resist, but after one chorus of my version of “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, Maverick said, “Don’t sing, Grandma.” So I will leave the musical talent to my grandson who made me laugh all day. He showed me how great it is to find joy in simple things.







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Children's Books, Diversity in the Classroom

Children’s Books on Diversity

Our world is a tapestry and each of us contribute to the whole. These are books that celebrate our unique identities that are more alike than different.

Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Leslie Staub. This book takes the reader around the world, showing how we may all be different in so many ways, but we have so much in common as well. The sweet message is accompanied by vividly colorful illustrations showing diverse people, families and homes
Written by Maria Dismondy and illustrated by Donna Farrell. This book, inspired by a true story, follows a young boy who moves to a new school where everyone speaks a different language. One of the other boys in school doesn’t want to accept him, but he soon learns an important lesson of friendship and kindness from his peers reminding the reader how beautiful cultural diversity can be.
Written by P.K. Hallinan. This sweet story shows why we should strive to gather a rainbow of friends. Diversity is beautiful. The adorable illustrations and simple rhyming text introduce the idea that we have lots of different kinds of friends, and they are all special.
Written by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly. This book uses simple text and colorful photographs to introduce young readers to the many different shades of color that skin can be. This is a great toddler children’s book about diversity.
Written and illustrated by Sheila Hamanaka. This story celebrates the wide range of skin colors in the world, as well as all the beautiful colors found in nature. The lyrical text is combined with beautiful illustrations highlighting all the beautiful colors.
Written and illustrated by Calida Garcia Rawles. Lida and Lisa are first cousins who do everything together. When they play dress up one day, they start to see the differences in their appearances. Their wise grandmother helps them see that they can be different and still the same.


Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Lauren Tobia. This rhyming book shows a diverse group of babies who are all happy in their skin. The sweet illustrations and rhyming text show readers all the ways that our skin is similar.



Written by Carmen Parets Luque. All families are different, but all families are special in their own way. The author introduces readers to the many different types of families in the world through simple text and creative illustrations of stick figures and buttons.

Written by Carmen Parets Luque. All families are different, but all families are special in their own way. The author introduces readers to the many different types of families in the world through simple text and creative illustrations of stick figures and buttons.

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Book Recommendations, Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Children’s Books for The First Day of School

I have put together a list of books for your child’s first day back at school. These books are best for ages 3-8. It’s a good idea to read aloud and discuss with your child their hopes and fears about a new school year. Be proactive and do this before school begins. The books I have on this post are useful, and I have used many myself in various classrooms. They are always a big hit with students. Parents, this is a good opportunity for you to prepare your child for school in the fall.

Another delightful Pigeon adventure from the wonderful author Mo Willems.

. Great for ages 3-5.


Little Critter is a bit nervous about starting school today. There’s a lot to be done before he can even get on the bus—he has to pick out his clothes, find his backpack, pack the perfect lunch, and say good-bye to Mom. Join Little Critter as he gets ready for this exciting day. Lift the flaps and find out what surprises are in store for Little Critter on his first day of school! Ages 3-6


With its heartfelt message and colorfully whimsical illustrations, “Our Class is a Family” is a book that will help build and strengthen the class community. Kids learn that their classroom is a place where it’s safe to be themselves, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to be a friend to others. When hearing this story being read aloud by their teacher or parent, students are sure to feel like they are part of a special family away from home. Great for Ages 4-7


Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

(This book is also available in Spanish, as El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres!) Ages 5-8


Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave? Ages 4-8


The first day of school is right around the corner! And everything is bigger for Bigfoot — especially back to school problems like getting a haircut, trying on new clothes, and finding new shoes that fit! Told from a giant (and very hairy) point of view, Back to School with Bigfoot deftly tackles the worries kids face as that first day of school draws closer, and ends on a colossal high note!

Ages 4-8


This is a humorous book that will calm the jitters of the first day. On the first day of school, new classmates are asked to share what they would most like to happen in the upcoming year. Some kids’ hopes are familiar while others are off-the-wall. Whether it’s looking good on picture day or skateboarding at school, everyone’s wishes are shown in humorously exaggerated illustrations.  Ages 6-8




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Journal

The Ride of my life

Proud owner of a Gordon and Smith surfboard

The palm tree out my window reminds me of my trip to Hawaii almost fourteen years ago. Two weeks before our planned adventure my husband bought me my first surfboard and wetsuit. Being an avid surfer himself, he wanted me to know how thrilling it can be to ride the waves. He made it look easy.

When we got to Oahu, we couldn’t wait to get into the warm water. Here on the Central Coast the water can be numbing. There were already more surfers out than I could count. I did exactly as he said and carried my board like a pro. My husband told me he would be watching me and to remember what he taught me. I didn’t tell him that I forgot it all.

“Go have fun. I’m going to be watching you.” Off he went to join the line up of surfers while I remained close to the shore. I spotted an old man giving lessons to kids and started paddling to get within earshot. I later learned the old man was “Rabbit Kakai” who is a famous surfer. As I paddled, a beautiful Hawaiian girl paddled toward me and shouted, “Howlie, stay in the channel.” I didn’t know what the channel was so I nodded and paddled on. I listen as the old man told the kids what to do. I followed each command from a distance. The people on the sand seemed miles away. When the old man shouted, “Stand up,” I did exactly as he said and I was riding a wave. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was actually upright and surfing. I will never forget the feeling.

The waves would seem to end, yet reform and I was still surfing. It was gloriously exhilarating and I was so proud of myself. I kept thinking, “I hope my husband is seeing this.” I did not remember how to disembark and I saw the shore drawing close, so I jumped off. Later he told me that he saw me surf and our next lesson will be on how to turn around and go back out. He tends to lose all track of time when he is surfing. Now I know why.

This has been a very tough 15 months. The future is looking up. This summer my husband will teach one of our granddaughters to surf. The beat goes on.

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Book Recommendations

The Power of Books

This happens to me all the time. Books ignite the imagination and take us on a journey.

Here are some books I have read recently and recommend. 


A book that grips you and takes you for a mystery tour. A bit of sleuthing is always fun.
Not like any other self-help book I have ever read. reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results. implementing these strategies can be life-changing.
A resource for anyone who has suffered inherited trauma. Full of life-changing stories, powerful insights, and practical tools for personal healing, this book offers hope to heal.
Offers ways to live your best life. An accessible read with a wealth of information, this friendly book will help you keep your brain sharp with easy-to-implement everyday steps we can all take to keep our brains healthy and strong. 





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Book Recommendations, Children's Books, Diversity in the Classroom, Literacy Resources

Childrens’ Books That are Relatable

A good book can spark imagination, teach us, and take us on a journey.

I love to share resources for children by topic. Kindly share with me if you have collections of special interest and I will add them. 😉 Teaching children to read and to Love reading is my passion.


We have all had a lousy day. Relatable text is important for children to make text-to-life connections.


Lucy is teased for being different. She finds courage to be herself.


This book helps children learn our fears are greatly exaggerated.



Kids will learn to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, lend a helping hand, and inspire others to do the same.


A book to teach about emotions and anger management.


Nurturing your child’s creativity might be one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child and to the world.


This is a story about loving yourself and respecting others.


This book introduces children to the practice of using mindful affirmations for support and encouragement when they need it. 

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Journal

A Much Needed Drive

Just south of Big Sur

The sun broke through the clouds turning a dreary morning into a prelude to the perfect spring day. I knew I had to get out into nature. My husband and I have had both vaccinations, so we decided to take a drive up Hwy 1. We were 10 miles from home when we realized that neither of us had a mask. We turned around, went home and made sure we had our masks and water for our Saturday drive. What struck me the most is how much I love the beauty of the California coast. The hills seemed greener, the yellow flowers greeted us around each bend. The lighthouse seemed to signal our return. When we reached Ragged Point, we walked the path to the overlook. We were the only ones there so we removed our masks to breathe the crisp salty air. I offered a silent prayer in gratitude for simplicity and freedom.

I thought about how much our world is changing. I wondered what it would be like for my grandchildren. Would we leave a mess and trust that they would figure it out? Would they speak of us as those who made a difference? Certainly something to think about.







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Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Childrens books on character building


In My Friend is Sad, elephant Gerald is down in the dumps. Piggie is determined to cheer him up by dressing as a cowboy, a clown, and even a robot! But what does it take to make a sad elephant happy? The answer will make even pessimistic elephants smile.


Edward has loads of toys but doesn’t share any of them with his little sister, Claire.

“They’re mine!”he says. That is, until one day when Edward finds himself in a predicament. With a little help from an unlikely ally, he learns that if he can share with others, they’ll share right back with him

Mike Reiss’s wickedly funny verse and David Catrow’s remarkable gift for comic illustration make this one book you’ll want to share—again and again!


Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there’s one little problem: It isn’t hers. 


Listening with my heart reminds us of the importance of being friends to ourselves. It also touches on the universal themes of friendship, empathy and kindness. Includes mindfulness and self-compassion activities.


Help kids develop coping strategies to manage frustration and anger.


8 stories help kids see why telling the truth is so important in developing their integrity, and earning respect.


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Journal

Gifts From The Sea

Most or these were found on the beach here in our little town. Some are from The Shell Shop.


My granddaughter’s name, Kaia, means “Sea.” She loves all things ocean. Of all the books
I have, and two toy boxes of toys, she prefers to sort my seashells. We spent more than an hour deciding how to sort them (color, size, uniqueness). When it was bath time, she insisted on taking some shells into the tub. Why not? She extended her curiosity to include how seashells are home to some tiny creatures and how they travel from one place to another. Bonus: I even got to shampoo her hair.

After bath time there was more sorting to be done. This time she wondered about texture. So many learning opportunities inside Grandma’s box of shells!

My son and daughter-in-law know the importance of outdoor exploration. Kaia is encouraged to seek answers to questions, and check out the beautiful areas around her.

Play hard, sleep hard. That’s how she rolls!!

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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Journal

Books Anyone?


If you are like many people today you use your cell phone, Ipad or laptop to get updates on news and happenings.
I encourage you to make time for reading a book instead. The benefits are worthy of your time and attention. You have heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” Well, it applies to your brain. Reading stimulates your brain and allows new information to get lodged in longterm storage. The physical act of turning pages makes reading tactile, activating an area of your brain. Reading also allows you a break from stressful situations and provides an opportunity to experience places and have adventures in your mind. You gain new information that can be come in handy at some point.

Moreover, reading expands your vocabulary and helps improve critical thinking skills. There is a strong connection between reading and writing. Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. So next time you are inclined to grab your phone or ipad, pick up a good book and enjoy the benefits of turning the pages.

Here are some suggestions:

Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple-yet-powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life. Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these techniques help us identify and express our needs clearly and without apology–and unravel a root problem behind codependency, power struggles, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more.


While there is no such thing as an “Authenticity Expert,” you now have a viable alternative. Morhaf Al Achkar obtained his Ph.D in education and is currently a practicing family physician at the University of Washington. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, his research has focused on the experiences of patients living with cancer. His first book is based on interviews he did with 39 patients who live, like him, with advanced illness. He explored how these patients find meaning, cope, and build resilience. Using his own experiences and deep knowledge of philosophical concepts, Morhaf shares his understanding of authenticity from the perspective of someone aware of his own finitude.

◆ By following along with his fascinating life story, Morhaf invites you on a journey of dialogue and reflection to live a more authentic and purposeful life with integrity.


A Life Without Water can be read as a standalone, but is part of an overarching three book A Life Without Water Series. It is women’s fiction that pulls at your heartstrings from your new favorite author Marci Bolden. If you are seeking awell written, heartbreaking book about forgiveness, and finding peace amidst a tragedy . . . this book is for you! 


The book looks at the most serious issues and helps the reader process them. From the instructions: ”Write about what keeps you awake at night. The emotional upheaval bothering you the most and keeping you awake at night is a good place to start writing.”


A charming, clever, and quietly moving novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.


 A revelatory look at the complexity of Gandhi’s thinking and motives, the book is a luminous portrait of not only the man himself, but also those closest to him—family, friends, and political and social leaders.


Five shots on Saturday morning change their fate forever…

Shurka is a happy young woman who lives a fairy tale life with her beloved husband and their two young children, in a pretty house in a village in Poland.

She believes that nothing can hurt them. Or so she thinks…

Then, World War II breaks out and the happy family quickly understands that their happiness has come to a brutal end. The family is forced to flee their house and find shelter in a neighboring ghetto, where they come to realized that the Gestapo is taking Jews away on trucks every night, never to be seen again.


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Journal, Wisdom

Quit Now

I would add smoking to this list as I watched my mother gasp for air as she died from emphysema.

The time to hit the redo button is now.



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Journal

Tea Time

A child’s imagination is fueled by experiences. Play fosters all kinds of opportunities to engage in cooperative interaction. My granddaughter loves to make tea for me. She started when she was almost two. She would ask me if I wanted some tea, and I would reply that I would love it if she would add a lemon slice and a dash of cinnamon. When she would bring me my tea, she would ask me if I would like something to eat. The teacher in me thought I could slip in a culture lesson, so I told her about how people in England like to add a bit of milk to their tea, and they enjoy having a biscuit with delicious jam. She set about making all kinds of treats for me to enjoy with my tea. From that day forward she has had a keen interest in what her mother is cooking and wants to help out in the kitchen whenever there is baking involved. Such a simple thing, a cup of tea, but the lasting memories and the spark of imagination will live on.







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Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Comprehension Strategies

The following are strategies for understanding what you read.

Visualization is Powerful ●Tell students to form a movie in their head as they read.

●You can lead them into this by having them draw as you read aloud.

●Use think alouds.

However, NONE of these comprehension strategies is taught in a single mini-lesson. It’s impossible to teach visualization in 15 minutes. Rather, plan and deliver numerous mini-lessons across the year that target the array of sub-skills that will prepare students to visualize independently.


LEARN TO MAKE CONNECTIONS

text to self – This reminds me of my own life…

When picking text to self books, it is important to look for books that have a theme that kids can relate to. Family, sibling rivalry, pets, school, or feelings are a great place to start. The characters also need to be realistic, especially for older kids. 


text to text– This reminds me of another book I’ve read/movie I’ve watched…


text to world– This reminds me this time in history/what’s going on in the world right now…

Excellent Resources:

●Harvey, S. & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. Portland, ME: Stenhouse. ●Keene, E. & Zimmerman, S. (1997). Mosaic of Thought. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

●Tovani, C. (2000). I read it, but I don’t get it: Comprehension strategies for adolescent readers. Portland, ME: Steinhouse.

MY FAVORITE:





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Journal

My Baby Girl’s Baby Girl

Katie with Winnie

To me there are indescribable moments in a mother’s life that are forever in her memory. My daughter, Katie, is my youngest. Unlike me, she waited to have children. She was focused on college and a career. She established herself as a lecturer in anthropology and my son-in-law completed his studies as a doctor. After being in secure positions, they were blessed with Winnie. I have watched Katie sing to Winnie from the time she was born. Books and creative play have been a part of family time. My son-in-law, Steven, makes sure the house is filled with laughter. It is a joy to be in their home.

Winnie is 10 years old now, a bright, lovely, avid reader, mathematician with a caring heart and inquisitive mind. I am pleased to say that Winnie has a sister too. Josie is going to be five in August. She is a creative, lovely, inquisitive, adventurous spirit with a love of singing- just like her mum.

It is the greatest joy of my life to watch my children with their children.

It looks like a heart.




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Book Recommendations, Children's Books

Books That Teach Kindness

Monique is all about being different and transforms herself in this book wearing clothes from her mother’s old trunk. It’s a great one to teach about being an individual and finding that thing that makes you unique.  




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Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Children’s Books About Animals

This animal encyclopedia includes 500 amazing animal facts that offer hours of engaging learning. Alongside full-color pictures on every page, you’ll find weird and wonderful details about Magnificent Mammals, Creepy Crawlies, Amazing Amphibians, Feathered Friends, and more. This standout among animal books for kids is ideal for any boy or girl who is wild about animals! 


Enter the ring to witness an epic battle of brawn between an ant and an elephant! A chimp vs. a crow in a showdown of wits! An emporer penguin vs. a pygmy mamoset in a contest for cutest creature! Some of the victors might surprise you and all of these animals will amaze you! Stats, fun facts, photos, and in-depth profiles about each contender will help you pick winners for more than a dozen mighty matchups. A March Madness-style bracket at the end of the book allows readers to choose the ultimate champion! Perfect for sports fans and animal crazy kids ready to go to the mat for their favorite species. Animal Smackdown is the next best thing to actually seeing these animals go head-to-head! 


This beautiful picture book follows the journey of a young gray wolf who garnered nationwide attention when he became the first wild wolf in California in almost a century.


Children are given a well-rounded understanding of these beautiful creatures: their anatomy, feeding habits, and behavior. The following sea turtles are featured: * The herbivorous Green Sea Turtle * The beautiful Hawksbill Sea Turtle * The petite Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle * The king-sized Leatherback Sea Turtle * The unusual Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Get this book at this special price. *** Your child will love it –


If you love kittens and cats, you won’t want to miss this fun cat facts book! It tells you all about some of the strange, odd and weird things wild cats and pet kittens and cats can do. If you’re longing to get a kitten or a cat, or you already have a cat, and even if you’re an experienced pet owner, you’ll get some surprises when you read this book.


The latest exciting title in DK’s popular Where on Earth? series maps out the habitats of the world’s mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and more. Whether it’s plotting the range of a lion, following the flight paths of birds, tracking great white sharks in the oceans, or exploring the migration of the monarch butterfly, you will see exactly where and how more than 100 extraordinary animal species live. 






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Learning Apps, Literacy Resources

Great Ipad Apps For guided Reading

http://commoncoreconnectionusa.blogspot.com/2015/08/reading-comprehension-passages-and-ipad.html?m=1

******Use the above link to access a great resource for early readers. The best part is that it will highlight words as they are read.

Here are GREAT RESOURCES, some have a free trial period.

Bookshare: https://www.bookshare.org/cms/

Lexia: https://www.lexialearning.com/core5

Razkids: https://www.raz-kids.com

Skybrary: https://www.skybrary.org/school

Headsprout: https://www.headsprout.com

Lightsail:https://www.headsprout.com

Newsela: https://newsela.com

Rewordify: https://rewordify.com

Thinkcerca: https://rewordify.com

Activelylearn: https://www.activelylearn.com






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Journal

Making Rock Towers

Who says kids need expensive toys? There’s joy and fun in nature.






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Book Recommendations

Need something to do?

Try Historical Fiction

I have some book recommendations for those who love to learn, explore, escape….


Set in 1920s Mississippi, this debut Southern novel weaves a beautiful and harrowing story of two teenage girls cast in an unlikely partnership through murder—perfect for readers of Where the Crawdads Sing and If the Creek Don’t Rise.


These six strangers are learning that beginnings can be possible at any stage of life. But as they tell their stories, they must navigate what is shared and what is withheld. Which version of the truth will be revealed? Who is prepared to step up when help is needed? This moving, funny and deeply empathic new novel from acclaimed author Frances Itani reminds us that life, with all its twists and turns, never loses its capacity to surprise.


The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams.  Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself – and help other girls like her do the same.  Her spirited determination to find joy and hope in even the most difficult circumstances imaginable will “break your heart and then put it back together again” (Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show) even as Adunni shows us how one courageous young girl can inspire us all to reach for our dreams…and maybe even change the world.


Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.

Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.


Moving, intimate, and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a book for our times: a novel that at once reminds us that the most peaceful and ordinary lives can be utterly upended in unimaginable ways and brings a journey in faraway lands close to home, never to be forgotten.


NESHAMA’S TRUE TALES, a memoir of sorts, are filled with love, warmth, and timeless wisdom. They ground us, and they lift us up. They make us laugh, and they make us cry. And most of all, they connect us more deeply with the grace and meaning of our lives.


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Journal

Grow Things you can eat

I learned many things from the pandemic. I learned that buying groceries would be a dangerous prospect if you are in a vulnerable category. Some of the online “shoppers” were not careful to check expiration dates, leaving me with food that wasn’t fit to eat. Prices were inflated. My ability to buy fresh fruits and vegetables was at the discretion of the shopper regardless of how detailed a list I created.

Coincidently, I have been reading Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. It’s a fictional story of the devastation brought about during The Great Depression when people were starving and dying. I decided to create a mini-garden on my small, and I mean small) deck to provide enough vegetables for myself and my husband. I used old unused pots, organic soil I already had, as well as slices from tomatoes, carrot tops, and celery bottoms. I Googled which plants could withstand full sun. The feeling of accomplishment helped alleviate the dread of the pandemic. I was keeping busy in a healthy way.

The end result would be a sustainable source of vegetables right outside my sliding glass door. Hopefully my efforts will yield tomatoes (several varieties), broccoli, kale, brussell sprouts, yellow peppers and snow peas. I learned that many flowers are edible. From reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah I learned that during World War II the people of Amsterdam used tulips to make flour.

I hope to extend my exploration of edible plants and types of plants will that grow in my area. I am determined not to be deterred by limited space. There are many container plants that do well with care. I hope none of us ever have to experience extreme circumstances that leave us famished or desperate. One sure way to be proactive (ok, maybe reactive) is to grow things you can eat.





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Journal

Breakfast smoothie

Almost every morning I make a breakfast smoothie. I am not on any diet. I just love smoothies, and like to know that I am eating healthy food. One eight ounce glass is enough to give me energy and fill me until afternoon. I use my Vitamix Blender, but I have used a Ninja blender too. Any blender will do. Here’s what I do:

  • One banana
  • A handful of frozen organic cherries
  • A handful of blueberries
  • A handful of frozen strawberries
  • A generous handful of baby spinach
  • Two scoops of Orgain protein powder (I like vanilla, but there is chocolate too)
  • One scoops of chia seeds
  • Almond milk to cover

Blend until it’s smooth. With my Vitamix Blender I use Pulse first, then blend for 30 seconds.

If you try this, please let me know what you think.









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Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Easy Kids Chapter Books

When a child is ready for chapter books it is the beginning of a journey of the imagination.The following are some I have read aloud to students and seen students choose them for independent reading.

16-book collection brings together all the classic children’s novels from the one and only Roald Dahl. Matilda, Going Solo, The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me, George’s Marvellous Medicine, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Magic Finger, Esio Trot, Boy Tales Of Childhood, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, The BFG, The Witches, The Twits, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, James And The Giant Peach, Danny The Champion Of The World, Billy And The Minpins


Boxed set includes books 1-3 in the series:

The Last Kids on Earth
The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade
The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King 


Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.


From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come.


In this fun fantasy, a young dragon gets tricked into drinking enchanted hot chocolate that turns her into a human.


Bad Kitty really needs a bath, and she is forced to take one in this hysterical new illustrated how-to for young readers. 


Unusual characters attend this school where their wacky science teacher has built an interactive, robotic dinosaur exhibit that accidentally come to life.







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Book Reviews, Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Summer Reading For KIds

Keep up your child’s reading skills by encouraging them to engage in summer reading. I have collected some books that are fun and good for a read aloud or independent reading. Keep a record of the books they’ve read to share with their teacher in the fall.


This is part of a series. The books are about two kids who are an apprentice to a vet who treats imaginary creatures. You can imagine all the crazy adventures that follow as they help unicorns, lake monsters, and sasquatch. So much imagination packed into each book.


In this collection, witness unforgettable kids who, against all odds, survived sinking ships, shark attacks, the most destructive hurricane to hit North America, and the bombing that launched the United States into World War II.


When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, Kyle is determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library—it’s getting out. 


Ranger is the kind of dog you want, especially if you are on The Oregon Trail.


In this heartfelt story about change, Kelly Jordan’s lilting text and Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s lush art captures the essence of cherishing a favorite place. This is a story about change.








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Journal

Grandkids

For me there is no greater joy than watching my grandkids grow, learn, laugh. I love their discoveries, the belly laughs and spontaneous kisses. They remind me of how important it is to make good memories.









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Children's Books, Journal, Literacy Resources

Free Little Library

Share the love of reading.

I’ve wanted a free library ever since I saw one a few years ago. It was conveniently placed in a yard near the entrance to the beach parking lot near my home. It inspired me to investigate the cost of making one. Inside that little library there were a variety of paperbacks and several children’s books. I even spotted one that I donated a year ago to the elementary school. I have made a few trips in my golf cart to stock that mini-library with books I have read and exchange them for one that caught my eye. This weekend I will be stocking our own! My husband found a kit online and I ordered it. He is following the directions and waiting for the stain to dry. I hope that children of all ages will stop and take a book with them to enjoy at the beach or the dog park.







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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Wisdom

I Am a Book Lover

A great book feels like a good hug, the kind that lingers awhile.

I have been reading more in the last 14 months than I ever have. Being the owner of at least fifty books that been collecting dust, I kept promising myself I would use the pandemic as an opportunity to catch up on my reading. I am glad to report that I completed almost every book. Some of the books I read were previously cast aside as not worthy of my time. I hastily concluded that if the first few pages failed to capture my interest, then it would make it to the “to be read” shelf.

Lately I have approached each book on my cast off shelf with a new perspective since I realized how grateful I am to have choices of books to read. There have been a few books that brought me on a journey, several brought me to tears, and most became a blessed escape from current events. I will take that “hug” anytime!

Listed below are powerful books that I read during the height of the pandemic. Some offered hope, others offered escape, they all offered me time with a great book.

A true account of life in unimaginable circumstances as told by a Holocaust survivor. A lesson on what is important.

A guide to finding peace and calm in times of trouble. His book is an easy read and has gems of wisdom throughout.

This book will help you break old habits and build habits that will serve you well.

A beautiful tale of a childless couple in the wilderness of Alaska during the 1920s. The imagery alone makes this a beautiful book. The story is one that will stay with you for awhile.

A tribute to the grit of the women who survived during the Dust Bowl era. As fierce as the winds were during that time, a mother’s love and devotion prevails. A great read from an author who can write an epic with incredible power.

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About Me, Journal

To My Grandchildren


Dear Grandchildren,

I see your tiny bodies and I am grateful for every breath you take. Each of you are the greatest joy of my life. Holding you in my arms takes me back to when your parent was my baby. I had no experience or guide, but a heart full of love. I learned that you have your own personality, but love will help shape it. I learned that time with you is more important than anything that takes me away from you. I am grateful for your parents who share you with me. My hope is that I have given you good memories that you can recall at times when you think of me.

This world is in need of people of courage. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you feel you can help make a contribution for the good. Guard yourself from harm by remembering good habits of mind, body and spirit. Dance when you heart feels the urge. You will find music and muses that will make you want to dance. Don’t wait to show sincere appreciation. The time to act from your heart will always be now. Steer clear of anything and anyone who makes you feel less than the great, beautiful, treasure that you are. Instead, wish them happiness, but use your compass to regain true north. Each of us has one life on this earth, so make yours the best it can be. Know that you are loved. So loved.

I can be reached at Caysunset@gmail.com

These children are precious gifts from God. I hope that when they think of me they will smile. They make me smile all the time.





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Journal

Carry On

There have been so many times of uncertainty caused by the global pandemic. Times when it was hard to plan for the future, or even tomorrow. One thing I told myself again and again, ” I will follow guidelines, and I will not put myself or others in danger.” I also worried if I would be able to see love ones, continue my work, plan anything at all. The dread was consuming. I wanted a way to release myself from fear that had a stronghold on me.

l focused on what was important to me. I examined my values. I read books that guided me to align my actions with what would best serve me. Keeping a journal was a valuable tool to chronicle current events as well as my responses to them. I could feel the transformation from hopelessness to resilience. I learned my own strength.

Even five minutes of focusing on a positive affirmation while being mindful of my breathing helped me stay in the moment instead of holding onto beliefs that are in opposition to the kind of life I want. Freedom from fear is not only possible, it is for each of us to choose, work toward and enjoy. I wish you all the very best.






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Journal

Make a Wish

When was the last time you picked a dandelion and blew the seeds while you made a wish? Why is it so easy for children to embrace simple joys, while adults rarely give themselves permission to engage in a nature moment for the soul?

At a friend’s house recently, I noticed a group of red flowers that I’d never seen before. I stopped to admire them and asked her what they were. She said they were poppies, yet my image of a poppy was limited to small, orange, roadside flowers. The flowers I was looking at were tall, red and majestic. I asked if she planted them and she told me the birds carried the seeds. She hadn’t planted any of them. I can’t remember the last time I was so mesmerized by a flower. I was overcome with gratitude for the beauty of the day.

On the way to my car I picked a dandelion, blew the seeds and made a wish.







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Book Recommendations, Children's Books

Childrens Silly Books

With vibrant language, artwork and a wild, silly plot, Too Much Glue is sure to appeal to all children who love to get messy.


When you babysit a grandma, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a sleepover at her house! And with the useful tips found in this book, you’re guaranteed to become an expert grandma-sitter in no time.


It’s time for the little red chicken’s bedtime story — and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt. But the chicken can’t help herself! Whether the tale is Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood or even Chicken Little, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters.


From the creators of Dragons Love Tacos comes the story of what happens when a grumpy old man and some mischievous squirrels match wits—with hilarious results.


If you think Superman vs. Batman would be an exciting matchup, wait until you see Shark vs. Train. In this hilarious and wacky picture book, Shark and Train egg each other on for one competition after another, including burping, bowling, Ping Pong, piano playing, pie eating, and many more! Who do YOU think will win, Shark or Train? 


Really. I mean, how could a book eat people?
So if you’re just dying to know the history of this literary monster, all you have to do is turn the page…






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Journal

A Pilgrimage

All my life I have wanted to visit Lourdes. I grew up hearing of the healing waters and the little girl who saw a vision of The Virgin Mary. I had the opportunity to travel to see my daughter who lived in England, and my son-in-law treated me to a trip by car to Lourdes., France.
It truly was a pilgrimage, as we drove for ages. Just being in The Pyrenees was spectacular. When we arrived we were tired but in awe of the magnificent church built on the site near the miraculous waters. Whatever I planned to receive from going into the holy bath was replaced by an overwhelming need to go in as proxy for my mother who suffered greatly. When I witnessed the people who came with their hopes, their faith and trust that they would be healed, it created in me a deep desire to ask for their healing. For me that was the miracle.

Some might say it is foolish superstition. I respectfully disagree. Go there and see for yourself. You will be changed forever. I was.


https://www.britannica.com/place/Lourdes





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Journal

Happy Birthday to me

Back Camera

Today is my birthday and I am happy and grateful to enjoy another year. Getting older would not be my first choice, but I can kick up a fuss or embrace it.

My goal this year is to eat right, show gratitude, give love more often, smile more, learn more, travel. read, sew, have adventures, and look for the good. I plan to spend lots of time with my beautiful grandchildren.

First on my agenda is breakfast at my favorite cafe, then a walk on the pier. I am off to a good start.






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Journal

I am grateful

I have many reasons to be grateful. It’s been a tough year, but at times I see glimmers of hope that we may all be on the road to living whatever our normal was, only stronger, better, more resilient. A trip to the grocery store, then my favorite cafe took on a new ambiance. I chose to sit outdoors in the sun rather than at my usual booth tucked in the corner. I wanted to see the people walking by, the birds flying past, even the cars on the road. It was affirming to tell the waitress that I appreciate her for serving delicious food. I was happy to shop for my own groceries as I learn to smile with my eyes. Today a lady in the parking lot walked toward me, quickly distanced herself, yet all the while I was happy to be 6 feet from another person. There is no room in my life for taking things for granted. Every day is a gift. I am grateful to wake up, get up, show up, and be ready to give thanks.

8 Ways to Practice Gratitude to Boost Your Wellbeing -

This gratitude journal makes it easy and enjoyable to develop a daily practice through insightful prompts that only take a few minutes to complete. You’ll feel inspired to notice things―big and small―that you might otherwise take for granted and pause to feel grateful for them.





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Book Recommendations, Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Childrens Books on Nature


The bird named Joy promised to come back every year. This brought happiness to the barren, lonely mountain, and over time, many wonderful changes took place.


The reason for a flower is to manufacture seeds, but Ruth Heller shares a lot more about parts of plants and their functions.


A gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father as well as humankind’s close relationship to the natural world. 


Readers follow a beautiful story of life’s journey―a journey that brings change and growth. A journey of a tiny dandelion seed who was afraid to let go.


 Butterflies for Kids answers all your questions with fascinating facts, photos, and illustrations. Learn about the butterfly life cycle, their unusual behaviors, and impressive migrations.


A Nature Book for Kids About Forest Habitats (A Rhyming Counting Book with STEAM Activities)


A sweet adventure story about three intrepid young female explorers who set out to conquer the outdoors in their local forest.






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Book Recommendations, Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Childrens books on bravery

These books are great for teaching bravery and courage in adversity. As part of an affiliate program I may receive a small commission. Thank you for looking.

 I Will Be Fierce is a powerful picture book about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in everyday moments.


“Right Now, I Am Brave” is a mindfully written self-help guide to aid children with facing their fears and living bravely during uncertain times.


 This is a book to inspire young readers to embrace their inner light–no matter what they’re facing–and to be brave.


 You might think of super hero when you hear COURAGE, but all of us can do small and big acts of COURAGE everyday! 


The best book for teaching kindness and confronting bullying.


 What Makes Me Brave? will teach your child about the need to feel brave, even when they feel frightened and alone.


The perfect tool to teach children how to respond to bullies. I Can Stand Up to Bullies provides parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers the opportunity to speak with children about this important topic.





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Journal

Books Kids Would Like

A charismatic clan of chinchillas confronts everyday problems in this humorous story of family life and troubles.


Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. 


In this hilarious book, Richard T. Morris and bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld remind us to dream big and, when we do, to aim for the moon.


There’s a stinky stench in the fridge–and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery! 


 We all know nothing rhymes with orange, but how does that make Orange feel? Well, left out, obviously! 


The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale. 
 


Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving . . . and you’re the main
course. But Turkey has an idea–what if he doesn’t look like a turkey? What if he looks like another animal instead?


When Henry’s beloved stuffed rabbit, Raspberry, goes missing, he enlists his whole family to help him search for the missing toy. 


From the very first GRRRRRR and ROAR of the Super Hungry Dinosaur, kids will be rooting for Hal to save his parents and his dog, Billy, from the huge beast.


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Diversity in the Classroom

Support for Diversity and Inclusion


Supporting and celebrating diversity and inclusion in school works because it gives all children the potential to achieve, and creates an environment where those with additional needs are not segregated and seen as ‘other’; they are part of the same community of learners. Inclusion addresses negative cultural attitudes and misconceptions about people with disabilities, or those who are members of minority communities.

Websites, Blogs, and Media About Inclusive Classrooms:

https://www.readingrockets.org/article/websites-blogs-and-media-about-inclusive-classrooms

 Video 

Is it inclusion?

This chart, developed by inclusion expert Nicole Eredics, can help you understand what inclusion is and isn’t.

YESNO
Child spends the majority of the day in the general education classroom.Child spends the majority of the day in a special education classroom and goes to a general education classroom for one or two periods.
Child’s desk is included with the other groups of desks in the classroom.Child’s desk is away from the other desks in the classroom.
Child has access to and is included in classroom lessons and activities that are adapted or modified to meet his/her special needs.Child works on his/her own curriculum.
Child attends outside activities with the class including assemblies, field trips, enrichment classes, and recess.Child is given alternate activities and options with other special education students.
Child is an independent, valued, and respected classroom member.Child is looked upon as helpless, needy, and dependent.
The child’s paraprofessional facilitates access to the curriculum and classroom activities.The child’s paraprofessional determines access to the curriculum and classroom activities.
The paraprofessional encourages child to complete work as independently as possible, while providing support when needed.The paraprofessional does not provide many opportunities for the child to complete work independently and “hovers.”
Child receives specialist support (therapy, speech, and language) with minimal disruption to the class routine and program.Child is pulled from the classroom lessons and activities for specialist suport without consideration for what the child will miss.
The teacher can identify your child’s strengths and areas for improvement.The teacher refers to the specialists and paraprofessionals to identify child’s development.
Child can name classmates and has many common classroom experiences.Child does not know classmates and does not have many common classroom experiences.





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Children's Books, Diversity in the Classroom, Literacy Resources

Book Videos

Outstanding story about overcoming fear.

 The Emperor’s Egg video

Learn about Emperor penguins in this delightful, informative book.





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Journal

If Only

If only we saw each other’s hearts, minds, souls…… We are one race, human.  We really need to realize that love is infinitely more powerful than hate. Children are not born being prejudiced. They learn what they live. We can change the way things are by keeping mindful of the kind of life we hope for our children. It can start right now.  


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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

The Four Winds Book Review

If you love Historical Fiction, or books that highlight the grit and determination needed to deal with hard times, this is an excellent choice. This is not a “feel good” book. It captures life during the Dust Bowl era with such detail that you can feel bits of dust on your teeth. Kristen Hannah puts you into the scenes with her gift of descriptive narration. The characters are believable, especially Loreda, the typical beligerent teenage daughter. I found myself reading well into the night. This is a heartbreaking look at a time in history that shows the plight of people trying to survive. The parallels to life during a pandemic are staggering. The plight of migrants echoes to this day. Read with wisdom, and an open mind and heart. It is a work of fiction, but it is visceral and timely.

Without giving away too much, this is another big hit for the author of such superb books as The Nightingale and The Great Alone.






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Journal

Free Online Reading Sites for students

free - Miami Payroll Center
These links provide free online reading opportunities for students. The four below are read by astronauts!

http://pardot.eblireads.com/l/835013/2020-03-13/8sfm

https://pebblego.com/

https://www.justbooksreadaloud.com

https://monkeypen.com/pages/free-stories-for-kids





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Journal

Free Online Reading Sites for students

free - Miami Payroll Center
These links provide free online reading opportunities for students. The four below are read by astronauts!

http://pardot.eblireads.com/l/835013/2020-03-13/8sfm

https://pebblego.com/

https://www.justbooksreadaloud.com

https://monkeypen.com/pages/free-stories-for-kids

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Journal

Dreaming of Paris

Paris is my kind of city. The people, the food, the sights live in my memory. When I saw all the locks on the Ponts de Arts Bridge, I thought of all the lovers whose hopes and dreams were placed there, likely with good intent. In my mind I likened the locks to graffiti. While the locks were unique in their symbolism, years later I learned that the weight of the locks caused portions of the linked fencing to collapse. Perhaps simplicity is best.






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Learning Apps

Learning Apps

Due to the pandemic, teachers and parents are scrambling to provide educational opportunities to children. I compiled a list of great learning apps. It is my hope that they help during this difficult time.

I compiled a list of great learning apps:

Learn With Homer

https://webapp.learnwithhomer.com/onboarding

Price: Free 

Grade level: Pre-K, K 

Skill: Comprehension, Phonics 

Device: iPad 

A learn-to-read app for kids ages 3 to 6 that incorporates drawing, voice recording, stories, songs, and more, along with more traditional phonics exercises. 

This app can be helpful for kids who have speech production issues and organization of language issues.

•https://www.getepic.com
Epic provides a plethora of children’s books for all ages. The app asks for parents or teachers to create an account,
and allows for them to create four profiles for children readers. You do need to register an email and a password.
The visuals and music contribute to a fun learning experience.
https://opposites.app

The Opposites

Grade level: 3rd, 4th, 4th and above 

Skill: Comprehension 

Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch 

The Opposites app helps children learn vocabulary and the corresponding antonyms by challenging them to match up pairs of opposing words in increasingly difficult levels. The game also helps children understand the importance of word context, and is an opportunity for them to think about how the words they use oppose other words. The Opposites consists of 10 different levels, each stage with a corresponding level of vocabulary. The app also offers a dictionary option that provides definitions and antonyms in a kid-friendly format.

Articulation Station
http://littlebeespeech.com/articulation_station_pro.php

Price: Free 
Grade level: K, 1st, 2nd 
Skill: Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities, Phonics 
Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch 
Articulation Station provides speech professionals, teachers, and parents with ways to help kids improve pronunciation and articulation. Using very specific exercises, games, and stories that focus on just one letter sound for 22 English language sounds, this app can improve pronunciation and understanding of how letter sounds form words. With more than 1,000 target words, kids will likely not get bored with this app. Adults have easy ways to track kids’ progress and can track up to six kids at once. Note: To get full use of this app, you have to purchase the Pro version or buy individual letters with an in-app purchase option.

The Following Apps are for older students:

AnswerGarden – useful for brainstorming

The Answer Pad

Coggle – collaborative

Edulastic -Formative assessments FREE

Formative – upload content to ask questions

FreeOnlineSurveys

Google Forms 

GoSoapBox   – for upper grades

Lino – sticky note and photo sharing

Nearpod – interactive formative assessments

Obsurvey  – create surveys

Padlet – Sticky notes for responses

Pear Deck  – active learning, formative

Poll Everywhere  – interactive

The Queue  – online survey tool

Remind -communication with parents

Seesaw -ability to write and reflect, sample activities

Spiral -discussions, interact with video

SurveyPlanet

Triventy – for quizzes

Vocaroo -voice recording

Zoho Survey – create surveys

Kindle Kids Edition, a Kindle designed for kids, with parental controls - Rainbow Birds Cover
CLlCK ON THE WORDS “KINDLE KIDS EDITION” TO BUY A KINDLE FOR YOUR CHILD. Kindle Kids Edition, a Kindle designed for kids Disclaimer: I may receive a small commission from the sale of this product.

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Journal

Have Golf Cart, Will Travel

I saw the ad for a used golf cart in my Nextdoor app. There were two available, a red and a blue. The owner was storing them in a horse corral.
I was saving money for a golf cart (even though I don’t golf) because I live in a small beach town with one main street and gorgeous scenery. As a recent retiree, it seemed to be a good idea. I would be one of many golf cart owners in my little town.

I can’t believe I was able to convince my husband to drive out to a horse ranch to take a look. The owner was a gregarious lady who raises thoroughbreds and uses the golf carts to get around her property.
I wanted the red one, but it was out of my budget. The blue one looked like it needed a lot of care, but it was affordable. The owner even delivered it. I couldn’t wait to try it out. It gets plenty of use on weekends and on nice summer days. We have a lot of those.

What joy it brings to take in the often overlooked sights on the way into town. Feeling the air on my face and smelling the salt air while going 22 miles per hour helps me appreciate that I am alive during a pandemic. I realize that a walk would very likely achieve the same results. Yet there was something about saving for a goal, visualizing me riding in it, and then actually finding one.

I know how important it is to slow down. My brain needed to disconnect from the bombardment of negative thoughts that don’t serve me. If a golf cart can remind me to get outdoors, it was worth my small savings. I call it The Bluebird of Happiness.

No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy the sunlight today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it. Do not look back on happiness-or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Image result for quotes about golf carts


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