Author Archive for Sarah H

The American Revolution

The resources listed below are great to use when teaching a unit on the Revolutionary War in social studies (VS.5, USI.6).  You will find appropriate literature for students related to the American Revolution, websites for students to explore as well as sites for teachers and parents to supplement teaching about the Revolutionary War.

Recommended literature for students:

The Fighting Ground by Avi

 The Fighting Ground

This historical fiction novel tells the story of a 13-year-old boy named Jonathan who decides to involve himself in a Revolutionary War battle.  The entire book takes place over a 24-hour time period with the chapters divided by the time of day, making for a quickly paced story full of adventure.  This article provides great classroom activities to do in conjunction with reading this book.  Author, Avi, also has a wonderful website with resources for teachers and further information on his books.  The Fighting Ground is most appropriate for upper elementary or middle school students.

George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen by Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer

 George vs. George

This beautifully illustrated narrative tells the story of the Revolutionary War from both the British and American perspectives.  It compares and contrasts King George III and George Washington while at the same time recounting the events of the war.  From the trouble with taxes to the Boston Tea Party, from the “shot heard round the world” at Lexington to the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the British surrender, this book provides a wealth of information in a very kid-friendly fashion. It also includes a helpful index in the back of the book for easy reference.

…If You Lived At the Time of American Revolution by Kay Moore, Illustrated by Daniel O’Leary

If you Lived At the Time of the American Revolution

What was life like before the Revolution?  What did colonial people look like?  What were colonial houses like?  This book uses a question-and-answer-format to help children think about what their life would have been like if they had lived at the time of the American Revolution.  It provides both the Patriot and Loyalist perspectives on the Revolutionary War. There a clear illustrations and easy to comprehend text, making this book a wonderful resource for students studying the American Revolution.

George Washington’s Socks: A Time Travel Adventure by Elvira Woodruff

George Washington's Socks

This historical fantasy novel tells the story of five adventurous kids who experience the American Revolution firsthand as they travel back in time to the eve of the Battle of Trenton in their magical rowboat.  They encounter Hessian soldiers, revolutionaries and even George Washington himself in their journey through time.  This book is historically accurate and provides wonderful information from the time period embedded in a story full of excitement and adventure.

The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart by Kristiana Gregory

The Winter of Red Snow

This fictional diary from Scholastic’s Dear America series recounts the Revolutionary War during the difficult winter of 1777-1778 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania through the eyes of 11-year-old Abby Stewart.  History comes alive with vivid description and details in Abby’s account of life during the American Revolution as she and her family do their part to help the soldiers, sewing, visiting the sick, and even doing laundry for George Washington.  Check out this discussion guide on the book from Scholastic!

Websites for students:

PBS: Liberty! The American Revolution – This site provides great kid-friendly information on the American Revolution based on the PBS documentary series Liberty!  There are newspaper chronicles, a Revolutionary War time line, as well as interactive activities on daily life in the colonies, military perspectives, and global expansion.  In the interactive “Road to Revolution” game, you can test your knowledge about the American Revolution and every correct answer gets you a step closer to gaining independence.

Liberty’s Kids – This website is based around the TV series Liberty’s Kids which gives students a perspective on the American Revolution through the eyes of two young apprentice reporters, Sarah and James.  The “Liberty Archive” section of the site has great information on people, places, events, and objects of the Revolutionary War.   In the “Now & Then” section, kids can watch current and past episodes of the show.

Colonial Williamsburg: Kids Zone –  This website has wonderful interactive games and activities relating to the Colonial time period including Mr. Jefferson’s Magical Maze, Name that Founding Father, and Zoom in on the Declaration of Independence.  These games are fun and educational at the same time!

The American Revolution for Kids – This site is created by kids for kids.  It provides a Revolutionary War timeline, information on important battles, leaders of the war, and interesting facts.  There are also several activities students can do to test their knowledge on the causes and effects of the war and compare and contrast the British and American actions during the war.

American Revolution Resource Page – This is a great site for resources on the Revolutionary War including helpful links on the people, events, and battles of the American Revolution.

Websites for educators:

Road to Revolution – This website provides several resources for teachers planning a unit on the American Revolution and specifically the causes of the Revolution.

Liberty! Teacher’s Guide – PBS provides six lesson plans for teacher’s to accompany its series Liberty! The American Revolution.  Lessons include “Reluctant Revolutionaries,” “The Declaration of Independence: An Analytical View,”  and “Revolutionary War Music.”

Scholastic: Teach Dear America – This site provides great resources for teachers in collaboration with the Library of Congress which are based around the series of historical novels, Dear America.

Teacher Planet: American Revolution Resource Page – This page provides lesson plans, worksheets, and clipart for teacher who are planning a unit on the Revolutionary War.

National Park Service: Revolutionary Teaching Resources – This website includes five lessons on the Revolutionary War from Honored Places: The National Park Service Teacher’s Guide to the American Revolution.

Revolutionary War Unit – This site provides a timeline of the major events of the American Revolution as well as key terms, important people, and books on the time period.

Under the Sea… Teaching Ocean Ecology

The resources listed below are great to use in a 5th grade classroom for a unit on ecological characteristics of the ocean (VA Science SOL 5.6).  You will find appropriate children's literature related to the ocean environment, websites for students to explore as well as websites for teachers and parents to supplement teaching about ocean ecology.

Recommended children's books:

Ocean Seasons by Ron Hirschi, Illustrated by Kirsten Carlson

 Ocean Seasons

This beautifully illustrated book focuses on the seasonal changes in marine life in the Pacific Ocean.  The back of the book includes food web cards on each of the plants and animals mentioned throughout the book, serving as a great resource for teaching about ocean food webs and predator and prey relationships.  These cards and additional resources for teaching with this book can be downloaded from the Ocean Seasons homepage.

Prowling the Seas: Exploring the Hidden World of Ocean Predators by Pamela S. Turner

Prowling the Seas

This book presents research done by the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) Project, an organization created in 2000 by a group of scientists to study ocean predators and find ways to save them.  The book focuses on four species studies by the TOPP project: loggerhead turtles, great white sharks, bluefin tuna, and sooty shearwater seabirds.  Click here for more information on the author, Pamela S. Turner, as well as video clips on the TOPP project.

The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole, Illustrated by Bruce Degen

Magic School Bus On  the Ocean Floor

This book from the popular Magic School Bus series is filled with a wealth of information on the ocean and the creatures that live in it.  Mrs. Frizzle and her class explore the various levels of the ocean floor and the different plant and animal life first hand as their school bus transforms into a submarine.  The illustrations are filled with facts and labeled wildlife, providing great information in an entertaining and exciting fashion.

Down Down Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins

  Down Down Down

Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins uses his beautiful paper collage illustrations to provide a top to bottom look at the ocean, from surface to the sea floor.  Jenkins does a great job of explaining the many ocean ecosystems with kid-friendly text and labeled illustrations to help the reader identify the different forms of marine life.  The back of the book contains more information about the animals in the book including diagrams to show the size of each of the creatures compared to an adult human’s body or hand.

Eye Wonder: Ocean by Samantha Gray


This book from the Eye Wonder series focuses on the different plant and animal life in the ocean.  Beautiful photographs and information on various marine life is presented in an way that is appealing and easy to understand.  A glossary of important ocean vocabulary and an animal alphabet is included in the back of the book for quick reference.

Websites for students:

OLogy: The Museum’s Science Website for Kids – This site is a great way for students to learn more about marine biology.  It includes online games, directions for hands-on experiments, and much more!

Ocean Life & Ecosystems: Ocean Portal by the Smithsonian Institute – This site contains feature stories on various ocean life and ecosystems such as the great white shark and coral reefs in addition to an “Encylopedia of Life” which specific information on a wide variety of marine plants and animals.

Gould League: Food Webs –  This website is a great way for students to explore the plants and animals that make up the marine food chain, from the producers to the herbivores to the carnivores.

Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures – This site provides several interactive web games for kids to further examine marine life and the role certain species play in the ocean ecosystem.

National Geographic: Great Barrier Reef – This site provides students the opportunity to explore the virtual word of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Additional Resources for Teachers and Parents:

Ocean Planet: Interdisciplinary Marine Science Activities – This site from the Smithsonian contains ideas for lesson plans on a variety of ocean topics including  “Sea Connections,” which looks at plants and animals that live in different marine ecosystems.

Scholastic Explorers: Ocean Life – This Scholastic site provides detailed instruction and resources for planning lessons on the impact of human activities on sea turtles of Costa Rica and dolphins in New Zealand.

SeaWorld: Just for Teachers – This is a great site with a wealth of materials and resources for teachers on various marine life including sharks, whales, seals, penguins and endangered species.

Treasures@Sea: Exploring the Ocean through Literature –  This website includes a variety of book, writing, art and other interactive activities relating to the study of oceans.

Cha-Ching! Teaching Money to 3rd grade students

The resources listed below are great to use in a 3rd grade classroom for a unit on money.  You will find appropriate children’s literature related to money, websites for kids to practice their money skills, and websites for teachers and parents to supplement teaching about money.

Recommended children’s books:

Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz

Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday

Alexander returns from the popular Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to teach a lesson on spending money.  Alexander is given a dollar by his grandparents and the story chronicles Alexander as he spends this money on various items, and then as he tries to earn some of his money back in the end.  Students can keep track of how much money Alexander is spending throughout the book to help reinforce money skills.

Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money by Amy Axelrod, Illustrated by Sharon McGinley-Nally

Pigs Will Be Pigs

In this story, the hungry Pig family learns about money and buying power as they turn the house upside down hunting for money to buy dinner at their favorite restaurant, the Enchanted Enchilada. They find coins in closets and drawers, under the carpet, even in the washing machine, and combine their money in the end to go out to eat.  Students can calculate how much money the pigs find and  spend in the book to practice adding and subtracting money.

If You made A Million by David M. Schwartz, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

If You Made A Million

In this follow up to How Much Is A Million?, students follow Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician and his team of kids as they earn money for various jobs.  This book shows realistic pictures of dollars and cents and reinforces the concept of money equivalencies.  It also touches on the concepts of savings and interest in a fun and exciting way, through funny and interesting illustrations.

You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime by Harriet Ziefert, Illustrated by Amanda Haley

You Can't Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime

This rhyming book full of colorful illustrations tells the story of Pete as he spends his money on a toy dinosaur, works to save more money, and strategizes about his future purchases.  Students can count the coins in Pete’s bank to figure out how much money he has, and look at the tags at the store to figure out what he can afford to buy and if he will get any change.   At the end of the story, there is a bonus section entitled “Money Fun” that offers additional suggestions for class activities with money and spending as well as interesting facts about money and its history.

The Penny Pot by Stuart J. Murphy, Illustrated by Lynne Cravath

The Penny Pot

This story tells the tale of Jessie, a little girl who wants nothing more than to get her face painted at the school fair.  However, when she falls short of  the 50 cent price, she must wait as children contribute to the “penny pot” in hopes of accumulating the missing cents.  Using authentic-looking coins and bright illustrations, this story does a great job of teaching basic money values and the importance of saving pennies.  It also includes some helpful tips for parents and teachers at the end to extend the concepts of money from the story.

Websites for students:

CA$H OUT – This site is a wonderful way to give students practice with making change.  The site is designed so students can make it easier or harder depending on their level of comfort with this concept.

Count the Money – This site by the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives allows students to practice counting various denominations of bills and coins to find the total amount.

PBS 3rd Grade Money Game – Students must determine the correct combination of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and  dollars necessary to purchase food items in this interactive game.

Houghton-Mifflin Extra Practice – Here under “Chapter 3: Money” there are several links to games that correspond with money lessons.  Students can practice a variety of concepts involving money, including making change, greater than or less than, and rounding to the nearest dollar.

Math Matching – This site by Harcourt School Publishers is a matching game where students must match dollar amounts to equivalent combinations of coins.

Additional Resources for Teachers and Parents:

The United States Mint – This site contains a wide range of resources, from lesson plans to class activities and games for students.  It also contains great up-to-date printables and information on the most recent US coins.

Mathwire: Money Activities and Strategies – This is a wonderful website with numerous ideas for teaching money concepts including strategies for teaching money, connections to children’s literature, and games and activities for use in the classroom.

Math Worksheet Wizard: Third Grade Money – This website includes an easy worksheet generator for money concepts that creates worksheets which use practical, real-world examples such as shopping for food and buying stamps to help students practice their money skills.