Author Archive for Mahindra

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: A Picture of Abraham Lincoln

A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln (Picture Book Biography)

Are you looking for a simple introduction to a discussion about Abraham Lincoln? Look no further!  Before your next U.S History lesson about our famous president, Abraham Lincoln, read A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln, written by David A. Adler and illustrated by John & Alexandra Wallner, to learn all about America's 16th President.

This wonderful book follows the life of the popular president, from his childhood on the frontier to his assassination after the end of the Civil War.  Adler uses simple pictures and writing to engage young readers in a short biography about Abraham Lincoln. Adler(1989) writes, “Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky”(pg 1).  So begin a discussion about honest Abe in your class room today!

Curriculum Connections:  In the area of U.S History and Social Studies, the Virginia SOL’s for grades K-1 stresses the importance of introducing students to Americans in history whose lives demonstrated the virtues of patriotism, courage, and kindness.  A Picture book of Abraham Lincoln is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s K.1, K.2, 1.1 and 1.2.
If you would like to create some American history sense in your classroom here are a few suggestions for grades K-3:

  • Read the book out loud and ask questions throughout.
  • Begin a discussion about past events and explain that history describes these events.
  • Ask opinions of your students:  What did Abraham Lincoln contribute to our country?

Additional Resources:  Try these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and free online games to aid in your U.S history education quest.

Book:A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln
Author: David A. Adler 
Illustrator:  John & Alexandra Wallner
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date:  1989
Pages:  26 pages
Grade Range:  K-1
ISBN-13:  978-0823408016

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: We the Kids

Are you looking for a great introductory civics book? Look no further!  Before your next civics lesson, read We the Kids:  The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, written and illustrated by David Catrow, to learn all about America's ideals.

A long time ago some smart guys had some smart ideas, and they wrote them down in the Preamble to the Constitution.  You have probably read it before, but do you know what it means?  And did it ever make you laugh?  Now it will!  With David Catrow's hilarious art, this fun-filled look at the Preamble provides an accessible look at America's founding ideals for citizens of all ages.  Catrow (2005) writes, “For me, the Constitution is simply a list of rules and promises written down by people just like you and me”(pg 1).  So begin a discussion today  in your classroom!

Curriculum Connections:  In the area of civics, the  Virginia History and Social Studies SOL’s for grades K-3 stresses the importance of  understanding basic civics concepts and that we are united as Americans by common principles.  We the People:  The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s 1.10a, 1.12c, 2.12b, 3.11a, and 3.12.

If you would like to create some civics sense in your classroom and find out more about the basics of being a good citizen,  here are a few suggestions for grades K-3:

  • Read the book out loud and ask questions throughout
  • Begin a discussion about the rules of the classroom
  • Ask opinions of your students:  What does it mean to be a good citizen?

Additional Resources:  Try these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and free online games to aid in your civic education quest.

  • Education World -  a link that takes you directly to ideas for teaching citizenship,  for K-1
  • PBSKids - a link that takes you directly to a civics activity for older kids,for 5th grade.
  • Edible Map – also from PBSKids – an acivity where you create an edible map to learn about the location of their local government buildings.

Book:  We the Kids:  The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States
Author:  David Catrow
Illustrator:  David Catrow
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date:  2005
Pages:  32 pages
Grade Range:  K-3
ISBN-13:  978-0142472064

Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Land Ho! Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration

 

Are you exploring for a good geography book? Look no further!  Before your next geography lesson, read Land Ho!  Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration, written and illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker, to learn all about twelve famous explorers.

Did you know that Columbus was not actually searching for America when he found it?  Or that many of the explorers after him were looking for a sea route to China instead?  During the golden age of exploration, men set sail with hopes of finding different travel routes, treasures, and spices.  The fact that they came ashore on uncharted land was not only one of the greatest accidents of all time, it also led to one of the greatest discoveries – the New World!  From Columbus to Cabrillo, this book follows the adventures and misadventures of twelve famous explorers from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  Nancy Winslow Parker has mapped out a truly enjoyable and educational journey filled with dozens of detailed and colorful illustrations depicting the explorers’ ships, equipment, and travel routes.  Parker (2001) writes, “In fifty years, the explorers discovered countless Indian tribes, a new ocean (the Pacific), rivers, plants, animals, and geographical wonders”(pg 3).  So set sail and explore this book!

Curriculum Connections
In the area of geography, the  Virginia History and Social Studies SOL’s for grades 3-5  stresses the importance of  understanding basic geographic maps and concepts.  Land Ho!  Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s 3.3a, 3.3b, 3.5d.

If you would like to create some geography sense in your classroom and find out more about the basics of exploration,  here are a few suggestions for grades 3-5:

  • Play “Who am I”?  Have students draw explorers out of a hat and give out clues.  The rest of the class will guess.  This game can also be played by drawing countries and having the students give directional map clues.   
  • Shower curtain Map – Take a shower curtain and draw a map of the world.  You can use an overhead to project the map onto the shower curtain.  Have the children draw cards from a bowl.  On each card will be a country, or a river, or a compass rose etc…and the students should then take turns labeling the map.  You can also use just a US map and have them take turns labeling the 50 states. 

Additional Resources
Try these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and free online games to aid in your geographic education quest.

  • National Geographic- a link that takes you directly to a free online education resource for exploring countries of the world
  • King Tut’s Treasure – an exploration lesson plan for K-2
  • Lewis & Clark - an exploration lesson plan for 3rd-5th
  • National Geographic - a link that takes you directly to a geography game.  Kids can do this at home!
  • Owl & Mouse – a website that offers free maps & free software!
  • TLS Books - a website that offers loads of free printable geography worksheets

Book: Land Ho!  Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration
Author:  Nancy Winslow Parker
Illustrator:  Nancy Winslow Parker
Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date:  2001
Pages:  40 pages
Grade Range:  3-5
ISBN-13:  978-0060277598

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent

 

Need help learning about money honey? Before your next economics lesson, grab One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent by Bonnie Worth & illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu to learn all about money!

THE CAT IN the Hat puts to rest any notion that money grows on trees in this super simple look at numismatics, the study of money and its history. Beginning with the ancient practice of bartering, the Cat explains various forms of money used in different cultures, from shells, feathers, leather, and jade to metal ingots to coins (including the smallest€”the BB-like Indian fanam€”and the largest€”the 8-foot-wide, ship-sinking limestone ones from the Islands of Yap!), to the current king of currency, paper. Also included is a look at banking, from the use of temples as the first banks to the concept of gaining or paying interest, and a step-by-step guide to minting coins.  Ashworth (2008) writes, “Seashells were used to barter and trade.  A handful of shells and you had it made”(pg 11).  A fascinating introduction is bound to change your young reader’s appreciation for change!

Curriculum Connections
In the area of economics, the  Virginia History and Social Studies SOL’s for grades K-3  stresses the importance of  understanding basic economic concepts.  One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s K.7b, 1.9, and 2.8.

If you would like to create some dollar sense in your classroom and find out more about the basics of economics,  here are a few suggestions for grades K-3:

  • Read the story aloud with the students and talk about what is going on in each picture.  Ask questions throughout the story. 
  • Plan a trip to the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, VA – Call the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va to request a tour for your class.  You can also request a Fed Speaker for your classroom.  Contact Lisa Turner @ 804-697-8135.
  • Junior Achievement - Request a speaker from Junior Achievement Achievement of Central, Va.  Professionals from all economic fields all over Virginia volunteer their time in classrooms by helping to educate students on all areas of economics.  You must submit an application through their website:  www.jatoday.org or use the above link which takes you directly to the application.

Additional Resources
Try these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and free online games to aid in your economic education quest.

  • Lizardpoint- a link that takes you directly to a free online game for kids called “Buy it with little farmer”
  • hbschool.com - a link that takes you directly to a free online game that teaches kids about money
  • pppst.com - a website all about economics. Gives free PowerPoint presentations for teachers and games for kids
  • Federal Reserve Publications- free economics comic books for teachers provided by the federal reserve
  • aplusmath.com - an online interactive money system for teachers where you can create your very own worksheets

Book:  One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent
Author:  Bonnie Worth
Illustrator:  Aristides Ruiz  and Joe Mathieu
Publisher:  Random House
Publication Date:  2008
Pages:  45 pages
Grade Range:  K-3
ISBN-13:  978-0375828812

Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll

Flash!  Crash! Before the next thunderstorm, grab this book, Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll by Franklyn M. Branley & illustrated by True Kelley and learn what makes storms so awe inspiring.
The sky lights up and thunder booms.  Learn why lightning strikes and how to be safe in a storm. Did you know that lightning bolts can be over a mile long? Or that they may come from clouds that are ten miles high? Branley(1999) writes, “People used to think that lightning was the fiery fingers of an angry god.  They thought the god made thunder when he scolded and roared”(pg. 28).  Lightning and thunder can seem scary-so scary that people used to think that angry gods sent thunderstorms to Earth to punish them.  Now when we see storms coming, we know not to be afraid and know what to do.  We know that lightning is actually a huge spark caused by electricity inside a cloud. Storms can be scary, but not if you know what causes them. Grab this book by veteran science team Franklyn Branley and True Kelley and learn what causes the flash, crash, rumble, and roll of thunderstorms!

Curriculum Connections
In the area of earth science, the  Virginia Science SOL’s for grades K-3  stresses the importance of  understanding the basic weather patterns, the relationship between the sun and the earth,  and phases of the moon.  Flash, Crash, Rumble , and Roll is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s K.8a, 2.6a, and 2.6b.

If you would like to create a rumble in your classroom and find out more about thunderstorms,  here are a few suggestions for grades K-3:

  • Read the story aloud with the students and talk about what is going on in each picture.  Ask questions throughout the story. 
  • Make a rain gauge:  1.  You will need a clear plastic bottle, scissors, a ruler, a permanent marker, and paper.  2.  Using the ruler and marker, make several marks at the quarter-inch intervals going up the bottle.  3.  Next time there is a storm, place your rain gauge in the open (not near a building or under a tree).  To keep it from blowing away, you might attach it to a stake.  After the storm is over, record how much water is in your rain gauge.  Then empty the container.  4.  Repeat step three after each storm for a month.  Compare your findings with the average monthly rainfall for your area or the recorded rainfall for a particular storm.
  • Make a cloud:  You will need a few ice cubes, a dash of salt, a saucer, a glass jar, and some hot water.  1.  Place the ice cubes and salt in the saucer. (The salt helps the ice melt quickly, so the saucer becomes very cold).  2.  Rinse the jar in hot water.  Then fill it halfway with hot water.  3.  Place the saucer over the mouth of the jar.  You will see a misty cloud quickly form between the water and the saucer as the warm water evaporates, then meets the cool air near the ice cubes and condenses.  After a minute or so, lift up the saucer and look at the bottom.  You’ll notice it is covered with drops of water.  If they fell, they would be just like raindrops.

Additional Resources
Try these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and coloring pages to aid your earth science education quest.

Book:  Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll
Author:  Franklyn M. Branley
Illustrator:  True Kelley
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Publication Date:  1999 (Revised)
Pages:  32 pages
Grade Range:  K-3
ISBN-13:  978-0064451796

Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: A Tree Is a Plant

 A Tree Is a Plant (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science)

What is a tree and how does it grow?   Clyde Robert Bulla’s simple and concise text and Stacey Schuett’s lush illustrations follow an apple tree’s continuous life cycle through spring, summer, winter, and fall in the book, A Tree Is a Plant.  Trees can live for a very long time, and they are alive all year long, even when they look dead in winter.  In this newly illustrated book, A Tree Is a Plant,  you will learn how a tree grows and how it gets food and water.  You can also find out what happens to water after it travels through a tree’s roots, branches, leaves, and how to figure a tree’s age.

From the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, this reillustrated book on the science of trees is well designed for early-primary-grade children. The text, from the 1960 edition of the book, follows an apple plant from seed to sprout to tree, including the development of blossoms, leaves, and fruit. The functions of roots, trunk, branches, and leaves are also discussed, as well as the seasonal changes in the tree.  Schuett’s colorful paintings clearly illustrate topics explained in the text, while their pleasing colors, rounded forms, and small, playful animals will help keep young children involved in the topic. Bulla discusses the parts of the tree and their functions without complex explanations of the mechanisms involved in fruit formation and photosynthesis.  Bulla (1960) writes, “The blossoms last only a few days.  The apples are where the blossoms were before”(pg. 13).  Concepts such as water intake are emphasized with arrows indicating its route within the plant.  The last page includes a simple activity– a way of estimating the age of a tree–and a few suggested books on trees and plants. A good starting place for understanding trees.

Curriculum ConnectionsIn the area of life science, the  Virginia Science SOL’s for grades K-2  stresses the importance of  understanding the basic  needs and life processes of plants and animals, life cycles, and seasonal changes.  A Tree Is a Plant is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s K.8b, K.8c, 1.4a, 1.4b, and 2.4b.If you would like to find out more about trees, here are a few suggestions for grades K-2:

  • Read the story aloud with the students and talk about what is going on in each picture.
  • Ask questions about  the story, such as:  ” What helps the seed to grow?”   Or “Is the tree still alive in the wintertime?
  • Give the Leaf experiment as a homework assignment to older students: (See the back of the book for details on the experiment).  The experiment allows children to record observations of water after it reaches the leaves of tree over a period of one week.
  • Find the age of a tree with your class or give it as a homework assignment:  To find the age of tree, wrap a tape measure around the trunk about three feet above the ground.  The distance that you are measuring around the middle of a tree is called the girth.  Every inch in the girth equals about one year in a tree’s growth.  How old is your tree?  Is it younger or older than you are?  By how many years?

Additional ResourcesTry these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and coloring pages to aid your life science education quest.

  • Spring Has Sprung - An activity that teaches students about water flow in plants
  • Learn About Trees - A guide for teachers that includes: worksheets, activities, field trip ideas – for K-6.
  • Coillte - several worksheets for labeling parts of a tree  - for 1st & 2nd grade
  • Let’s Grow Plants - a lesson plan on how seeds grow into plants

Book:  A Tree Is a Plant
Author:  Clyde Robert Bulla
Illustrator:  Stacey Schuett
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Publication Date:  2001
Pages:  40 pages
Grade Range:  K-2
ISBN-13:  978-0064451963

Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Day Light, Night Light: Where Light Comes From

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So where does light come from any way?  Teach your students about the properties of light and its source of heat in a fun and easy way.  Day Light, Night Light:  Where Light Comes From by Franklyn M. Branley & illustrated by Stacey Schuett  beautifully illustrates and simply teaches the reader how the sun, the stars, and light bulbs make light so we can see.

Turn off the light!  Suddenly it’s dark.  But soon you’ll be able to see the things in your room, like your desk or your teddy bear.  They might look fuzzy, but when your eyes get used to the dark, you can see them.  Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series originator Franklyn M. Branley and Stacey Schuett have teamed up to shed some light on the question of how we can see even when it’s dark.  Read this book and you’ll learn how the sun’s light reaches us, and how your night light works.   Branley (1998) writes, “Almost everything we see-books, trees, houses, cars, people, bugs, and birds-reflects light to us.  Without light we could see nothing at all”(pg. 32).  For this Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science entry, originally published in 1975, Schuett brings an artistic spirit to Branley’s facts about the origins of light: A child perched in a treehouse discovers light from a luminous jar of fireflies; candles on a birthday cake illustrate the concept of light coming from sources that are hot.

Curriculum Connections
In the area of physical science, the  Virginia Science SOL’s for grades K-3  stresses the importance of  understanding the basic relationship between the sun and the earth, where shadows come from and the basics of energy and matter.  Day Light, Night Light:  Where Light Comes From is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s K.7a, K.7 b, 1.6a,  and 1.6b specifically.

If you would like to shed more light on the properties that were discussed  in Day Light, Night Light:  Where Light Comes From, here are a few suggestions for grades K-3:

  • Read the story aloud with the students and talk about what is going on in each picture.
  • Ask questions throughout the story, such as:  “Does a nail make light?”  “Would there be any way that we could make the nail produce light?”
  • Give the white dish experiment as a homework assignment to older students:   Take a white dish into a room and put it down.  Then turn out the light.  At first you won’t see the dish.  Your eyes have to adjust to the darkness.  That means your pupils open wider so they can let in more light.  Then your eyes can use other light sources, like the streetlight outside.  Pretty soon you may see the white dish.  Have the students make predictions about the experitment and then write down their observations.
  • You may also try:  “Look around you.”  “How many things do you see that send out their own light?”  Discuss different things that you might see during the day and different things that you might see at night.

Additional Resources
Try these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and coloring pages to aid your physical science education quest.

  • Fun with the Sun- physical science lesson plan on energy classification.  Includes a teacher’s activity guide.
  • Light & Shadows -  Explore science through the categories of air, light, microbes, mixtures, and force. This site makes extensive use of Flash and Shockwave to create an entertaining and informative experience.  Includes an online activity that teachers can use in a computer lab or directly in the class room.
  • Electric Gelatin – an activity that shows electric energy!
  • Light Unit – for older kids a unit on light that inlcudes suggested activities and assessments.

Book:  Day Light, Night Light:  Where Light Comes From
Author:  Franklyn M. Branley
Illustrator:  Stacey Schuett
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Pulication Date:  1998
Pages:  32 pages
Grade Range:  K-3
ISBN-13:  978-0064451710

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Room for Ripley

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So you’re wondering how in the world are you going to be able to teach your students about capacity and liquid measurement in a fun and easy way.  Room for Ripley by Stuart J. Murphy & illustrated by Sylvie Wickstrom playfully & simply teaches readers how to  measure cups, pints, quarts, half gallons, and gallons.

Carlos is getting a fish of his own – a lively guppy named Ripley.  But first he has to make sure there’s enough water in Ripley’s new fish bowl.  How much water will it take before there’s room for Ripley?  Readers can count cups, pints, quarts, half gallons, and gallons as they learn about capacity and liquid measurement.  Murphy (1999) writes, “Carlos added two more cups-another pint.  Now there was a quart of water in the bowl”(pg. 14).  Stuart J. Murphy and Sylvie Wickstrom’s story combines math and science with the fun of getting a new pet.  There’s even a fun surprise for Carlos at the end- and one for Ripley too!

Curriculum Connections -  The Virginia Science SOL’s for grades K-3  stresses the importance of  posing simple questions in relation to measurement, and understanding both English and metric unit measurement.  Room for Ripley is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s K.1 f, K.1 g,  and 2.1 e specifically.

 If you would like to have more fun with the concepts presented in Room for Ripley, here are a few suggestions for grades K-3:

  • Read the story aloud with the students and talk about what is going on in each picture.

  • Ask questions throughout the story, such as:  “How much water is in the tank now?”  “Do you think that will be enough for Ripley, or will Carlos have to add more?”  Which is more, a pint or a quart?  Why?

  • Try the fish bowl example in your classroom:  Bring in a large container & give the students measuring cups.  Have the students estimate how many cups of water it will take to fill the container, and keep track of the cups as he or she fills the container with water.  After the container is filled, help the students figure out the capacity of the container.  Is it approximately a pint?  a quart? a half gallon? a gallon?

  • Look in your kitchen and identify items like a milk, water, cottage cheese that come in different containers of different capacities.  Bring these in to your classroom to show the differences in these units. Slowly introduce metric measurements as well by using other containers in your kitchen or local supermarket. For older children, use this as a way to begin a discussion about volume, mass,  & length.  This will also begin to address SOL’s 3.1 a, 3.1 d, 3.1 e, and  3.1 f.

 Additional Resources -Try these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and coloring pages to aid your measurement education quest:

  • The Science Spot - metric mania lesson plans, worksheets, powerpoints, lab ideas, videos and more links to more cool metric websites!

  • EdHelper - oodles of  measurement worksheets, puzzles, coloring pages – English & metric systems

  • Education World - lesson plans and worksheets plus links to other subjects

Book:  Room for Ripley
Author:  Stuart J. Murphy
Illustrator:  Sylvie Wickstrom
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Pulication Date:  1999
Pages:  40 pages
Grade Range:  K-3
ISBN-13:  978-0064467247