Author Archive for David L

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: O is for Old Dominion


O is for Old Dominion was written by Pamela Duncan Edwards and illustrated by Troy Howell. This book is an excellent resource for teachers that are introducing children to Virginia’s history. Pamela Duncan Edwards does an extraordinary job discussing everything from the Arlington National Cemetery to the magnificent Monticello to Zachary Taylor. She discusses Virginia history in a simple alphabetical manner that even the youngest of readers can understand. Troy Howell also does an excellent job painting Virginia’s history in a vivid and lifelike manner. The child will turn each page to discover something new and exciting about the great state of Virginia. Pamela Duncan Edward also includes an easy to read yet challenging quiz at the end of the alphabet.

Curriculum Connection
Teachers that are introducing students to Virginia history in the first grade (VA SOL History 1.2) would use this book as an excellent reference to the many great individuals that were born in the great state of Virginia. When children are discussing the social and economic contributions (VA SOL VS.9d) of many great Virginians, this book could be used as an excellent resource for finding out more information on these individuals.

Additional Resources

  • Virginia Trivia Quiz is an interesting and fun trivia game asking children questions about Virginia in a very user-friendly manner.
  • Battleship is simple yet challenging game of Battleship where when the child guesses the right square then they must answer a question about Virginia history to receive an official “hit”.
  • Matching is a simple game that challenges the students to guess the right definitions of Virginia terms.


Book: O is for Old Dominion
Author: Pamela Duncan Edwards
Illustrator: Troy Howell
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 36
Grade Range: 1-5
ISBN-10: 1585361615
ISBN-13: 978-1585361618

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Thomas Jefferson


Introduction As the main author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson not only created the single most important piece of American literature, he also served as a United States secretary of state, vice president and eventually president. Victoria Sherrow did an outstanding job of writing this book based on Thomas Jefferson’s accomplishments and life journey. This book will educate all of those who read it on everything from Thomas Jefferson’s birthplace; Shadwell, to Thomas Jefferson “devoting many hours to his garden and acquiring a green thumb” (p. 40). Victoria Sherrow does an excellent job using easy to read language mixed with a colorful mixture of pictures and photos.

Curriculum Connections
This book would be an excellent source when introducing Thomas Jefferson into the curriculum. SOL 3.11 B discusses the contributions of many important individuals related to the foundation of America including Thomas Jefferson. This book could also be utilized when children are assigned to a reading station and are to answer questions about Thomas Jefferson.

Additional Resources

  • Puzzle is a fun game for younger children who are to rearrange the tiles to form a picture of Thomas Jefferson.
  • Trivia is a fun trivia game that is focused on Thomas Jefferson fun facts.
  • Meet TJ is an excellent online source for a child to learn everything there is to know about Thomas Jefferson.

Book: Thomas Jefferson
Victoria Sherrow
Tim Parlin
Lerner Publications Company
Publication Date:
48 pages
Grade Range:

Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Virginia: Facts and Symbols


Virginia: Facts and Symbols is a fact book all about the great state of Virginia. Bill McAuliffe does a wonderful job presenting children with all the knowledge they need to know. about Virginia. From learning Virginia’s nickname; Old Dominion, to learning that the state dog is the Foxhound, this book describes everything that a person may want to know about Virginia. With the turn of every page the reader learns a fun fact about Virginia. Children may need to know that the “state shell is the oyster shell”, or maybe they wanted to find out that the “state fish is the brook trout”(21). The photography inside the book is bright and colorful and a new picture is displayed with almost every page.

Curriculum Connections
This book would be best utilized for teachers who are studying the Geography SOL 1.4. Teachers can present this book when talking about the state’s capital. Since the book has plenty of pictures of Virginia inside of it, it could also be an excellent resource when teachers ask the students to identify the state by it’s shape. This book could also be presented by teachers who are discussing Geography SOL 1.6; the location of his/her community.

Additional Resources

  • FunTrivia: This website could be used as a fun introduction to studying the state of Virginia. It’s a fun quiz that is based on Virginia.
  • Printables: This is specifically made for teachers. It includes quite a few printables that are all based on the state of Virginia, including games, puzzles and quizzes.
  • Old Dominion: This would be a fun game to play that would challenge the students who have successfully completed all their other assignments. A fun crossword puzzle.

Book: Virginia: Facts and Symbols
Author: Bill McAuliffe
Publisher: Hilltop Books
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 24
Grade Range: 1-4
ISBN: 978-0736802215

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: A Kid’s Guide to Earning Money


A Kid’s Guide to Earning Money, written by Tamra Orr, follows a class of fifth-graders as they learn different ways of earning cash. This book not only informs grade-age children on what jobs they can get but it also educates them on how to invest and save.

The book begins with Mr. Franks, the fifth grade teacher, informing his class that if they each earn $3.50 then together they could raise enough money for a trip to the brand new science museum before it opens to the public. They begin by suggesting different things that the class could do to raise money. However, since the class is not old enough to earn a paycheck, they all suggest odd jobs around their own homes or neighborhood to earn money. By the end of the book the class has raised enough money to not only go to the museum but also a class trip to the local pizza restaurant.

Curriculum Connections
A Kid’s Guide to Earning Money can be used  when introducing the concept of saving and investing. One grade in particular would be the second grade SOL 2.8 – using money in exchange for goods and services.

Additional Resources

  • Planet Orange – This website is directed towards children in grades 1 – 6 and is aimed at teaching them all earning, investing, spending, and saving.
  • Diving for Dollars – This game is designed for younger children in earlier grades to grab change and save up to $20 worth before the sea monster gets to them.
  • Winter Olympics – This game could be used as a differentiated learning experiment to challenge children that learn coins and what they are worth quicker than other students.

Book: A Kid’s Guide to Earning Money
: Tamra Orr
r: Mitchell Lane Publishers
Date: 2009
s: 48
Grade Range
: 3-6
ISBN: 978-1-58415-643-7

Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: Weather


Weather written by Jim Pipe is an excellent science resource for younger elementary students. Jim Pipe uses language that is easy for the student to understand and photographs that are beautifully arranged. This book describes everything from describing atmosphere as “the mixture of gases that surrounds any planet”(p. 30) to a thunderstorm “that produces thunder and lightning”(p. 31). This book even has a few examples on how students can experiment with weather themselves.

Curriculum Connections
 Jim Pipe uses not only vivid pictures but excellent information to describe each and every type of weather. Weather is appropriate when teaching elementary school students the different types of weather (SOL 4.6b). This book could be used as an excellent introduction or as an excellent resource to any topic related to weather.

Additional Resources
Hurricanes is a wonderful website that has questions and answers designated to learning all about hurricanes.

Forecast is a great website where children can create their own forecast.

Weather station  is a very useful site that is designated to demonstrating to kids on how to actually create their very own weather station.

General Info:
Book: Weather
Author: Jim Pipe
Illustrator: Brian Smart
Publisher: Aladdin Books Ltd
Pages: 32
Grade Range: 3-5
ISBN: 1-932799-47-8

Teaching Life Science With Children’s Literature: My First Book of Nature: How Living Things Grow


My First Book of Nature: How Living Things Grow will help small children discover the many different paths living things take from birth to maturity. The book clearly presents the life cycles of a wide variety of plants and animals. More than 30 kinds of plants and animals are covered in simple language and vivid photographs. Dwight Kuhn provides explanations for animals such as “turtles, lizards, and snakes” and as well as “grasses, dandelions, and potatoes” when discussing plants.

Curriculum Connections:
This book is aimed at children aged 4 to 8. Teachers could use this book up to second grade when describing different types of animals and plants. My First Book of Nature would probably be too easy of a read for any students in the third grade or older. When kindergarten teachers begin to discuss life processes (K.6), this would be an excellent book to share pictures and descriptions from. When students reach first grade and are discussing a lesson on life processes (1.4, and 1.5) this book would come in handy when showing children that plants and animals both have different characterstics when talking about both of their life needs.

Additional Resources:
BrainPop is a wonderful site dedicated to teaching children all about living things and how diverse they really are. There are over 40 different living things to look at.

Infrared Zoo is a website that shows students the different of warm and cold blooded animals.

Grow a Plant is a game that allows students to give a plant water or light to see if they can make it grow to its maximum height.

General Information:
My First Book of Nature: How Living Things Grow
Author: Dwight Kuhn
Illustrator: photographs
Publisher: Cartwheel Books
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 61
Grade Range:K-2
ISBN: 0-590-45502-8

Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Tires, Spokes, and Sprockets: A Book About Wheels and Axles


Michael Dahl and Denise Shea use a colorful array of pictures and colors to illustrate the use of wheels and axles. Not only does Michael Dahl thoroughly describe the wheel and axle, he also describes what belts, cranks and gears are for as well. This book is full of bright and vivid pictures that would be sure to capture a children’s eye. Also included in this book is an experiment that allows the child to fully see how a wheel and axle work.

Curriculum Connection:
This book is aimed students in the second, third, or fourth grade. The use of the colors and pictures could be considered a little childish yet it is highly useful when acquiring the attention of a child. When studying SOL 3.2, the teacher could begin a class with this book followed by a hands-on experiment to further educate the children on how simple machines work.

Additional Resources:
Simple Machines: This is a fun activity aimed at educating 3rd graders by teaching them what machines on farms are considered simple machines.
Groupwork: This site could be used as an additional activity for children to work together to further grasp the idea of simple machines.
Glossary: This website offers a simple and easy to understand list of words that comprise simple machines. Some definitions contain activities as well.

General Information
Book:  Tires, Spokes and Sprockets
Author:  Michael Dahl
Publisher:  Picture Window Books
Publication Date:  2006
Pages:  24
Grade Range: 3rd grade
ISBN: 1-4048-1308-X

Buy this book.

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Hands Can


Hands Can
written by Cheryl Willis Hudson and photographs taken by John-Francis Bourke is a rhyming children’s book that teaches children to learn with a hands-on approach. This book uses bright and colorful photos of children using their own hands to do many different things from waving “to say hello” to touching “things high and low”. Every page is a different color with a different child in each photo showing the reader that hands can say “I love you” as well as “tie a shoe”.

Curriculum Connection
This book should be introduced at the kindergarten level when helping children understand their five senses and also when introducing the physical properties of an object. Teachers could introduce this book when discussing SOL’s K.2 and K.4.  This book is an excellent source for children to look at things that they can differentiate between textures using their senses.

Additional Resources

  • Clapping Games – This website introduces teachers to a number of different songs that can be sang while the children learn to clap to the rhythm.
  • Healthy Hands – An effective website for teachers that want to teach their children how to wash their hands effectively.
  • Hands On – A website generated that helps teachers come up with different ideas on how to teach science which allows kids to be hands on.

Book: Hands Can
Author: Cheryl Willis Hudson
Illustrator/Photographer: John-Francis Bourke
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 26
Grade Range: K-1
ISBN: 0-7636-1667-2

5th Graders and Cash


To most fifth graders the concept of money involves mommy and daddy’s pockets. This blog will introduce the reader to incorporating consumer math to fifth graders.


1. A Kid’s Guide to Earning Money. Written by Tamra Orr. This book is intended to teach students the value of earning money. It does not tell the student what job they should get, instead it guides them on how to go about earning money.
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2. The Everything Kids’ Money Book. Written by Diane Mayr. A book that not only teaches kids about money it also teaches kids where money came from.
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3. Money Sense for Kids. Written by Hollis Page Harman. This book informs students on how money travels from the mint to their pockets. Also, very informative on how to save their allowances.
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4. The Kids’ Allowance Book. Written by Amy Nathan, with help from Debbie Palen. A comprehensive book containing over a 150 responses from actual kids on the pros and cons of allowances.
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5. The New Totally Awesome Money Book for Kids, Revised and Updated Edition. Written by Author Bochner and his kid sister, Rose Bochner. Author teams up with his kid sister to give a child’s perspective of everything from saving to credit cards.
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  1. Count Coins
    This website starts by giving the student the chance to pick their own difficulty level and character to play with. After that, they are asked to find a certain amount of change and can drag and drop them onto the table to see if they chose the correct amount. Good introduction to the lesson.
  2. Lemonade Stand
    An interactive game that allows the student to pick and choose how much money should be spent on things such as advertising and lemons.
  3. Counting money
    Same idea as the first website listed here, but the amounts of money are quite a bit larger. Gives students opportunity to play with larger bills such as 20’s, 50’s and 100’s.
  4. Making Change
    This website allows the student to choose between currencies. The student can choose from US money to Mexican money to Australian money. Once type of currency is chosen, student must make change using that particular countries currency.
  5. Add it up
    The student must count the money shown and correctly type that amount in the box provided. Students can check their work.

Additional resources:

  1. Board Games
    This is an excellent website to purchase board games involving play money. The board games are at a discounted price and their are plenty to choose from.
  2. Money Worksheets
    This free website allows the teacher to pick and choose what the worksheet should contain. Student count each side of coins up and compare on which one has more. Very user-friendly.
  3. Online Money Activities
    If computers are easily accessible than this is a great website. Offers a few different lessons that kids can learn sitting at the computer.

**Updated on 1-31-12**

Thanks to Jessie at the  Amorita Charter School in Amorita, Oklahoma for finding and recommending this site.

Interbank fx – All About Money
This site has links to games, activities, lessons and additional resources for identifying and counting money, using and spending money, earning and saving money, and much more!