Sunday, February 27, 2011

Integrating Culture: Black History Month

As Black History Month comes to a close, I want to take the time to share some books that you can read throughout the year to educate your children of culture and history that schools oftentimes don't have time to teach. There is a month designated as awareness and celebration, but really, we should expose our children to all kinds of people and history.

Here are some books that teach and reach:

Thank you for your images.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Integrating History: President's Day

I find myself without a computer this week, only my iPad. However, I wanted to take this time to explain to my daugher why we had no school. There really is no easy way to explain it to a child, but Helen Frost wrote a book called President's Day that is simple in the explanation. Go to for This book : President's Day.

For a quick activity, hang a white paper on the wall, have your child stand sideways for their profile, and trace the shadow. With the use of a flashlight placed on a table, it offers an easy way to make a shadow.

For older children, have them write a letter to the President thanking him for his service or have them write what they would do if they were President. Either way, you have spent 20 minutes honoring our leaders and can go out to the sales!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Integrating Cooking: Muffin Monday

How many times do you go through the week thinking, I really should do more for breakfast than just cereal? So, why not on Sunday evening, make some yummy muffins for Muffin Monday? Then you have something different at least for Monday and Tuesday and the family has love from the oven.

The kids can read the steps in takes to make the muffins and learn measurements at the same time!

1. Use the good old Jiffy muffin mix

2. Banana Nut (Chocolate) Bread
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking power
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 1/2 bananas)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I use chocolate chips instead)

oven 350

Cream together shortening and sugar; add eggs and beat will. Sift together dry ingredients; add creamed mixture alternately with banana, blending well after each addition. Stir in nuts.
Pour into a well-grease loaf pan, or cupcake pan.
Makes 12 Muffins

3. Apple Praline Bread
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 medium (2 cups) apples, peeled, grated
s; remove from
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low, add all remaining bread ingredients except apples. Beat until well mixed. Stir in grated apples.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 38-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and tops are dark golden brown. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans; place onto wire cooling rack. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil (3 to 4 minutes). Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until well mixed and smooth (2 to 3 minutes) remove from heat; stir in pecans.

Spread topping evenly over each loaf. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Integrating writing: Journals

I have always written in a journal. I regret throwing my early ones away. Now that I have children, I get them to write as often as I can. During the summer, I have my children reflect on the activities they did that week. It is fun and it keeps their writing going as well.

But how early, is too early? The minute a child can pick up and hold a pencil to make a line. I have a journal that I write in each month for our youngest daughter. As she makes milestones, I enter them in the journal. Each month, I have her "write" on the top of the page. We have been doing this for a year. (She is two). I am excited about the progress and growth of her lines. She makes circles thanks to my dad teaching her and other things. She asks me how to spell her name and she will put it on the paper as she "writes" it. The past few months, I have been writing the actual phrase she is saying underneath and as time goes on, I won't be surprised to see letters form. She watches me write everyday, and I know that has a big effect her her writing.

For more information about Early Writing Development, click here: Early Writing Development.

Integrating Art: The Sock Puppet

My 2-year old is always putting her socks on her hands. So, when I was getting ready to throw away my worn out, hole filled socks, an idea struck me. Sock puppets!!

We got out the hot glue and found whatever pieces we could and this is what we made:

Nothing spectacular or art-tastic, but to my daughter, it is amazing. And it should be, she created it. What is even more amazing is the good listening ears my daughter gave that sock puppet. She tried to put him on her arm and when the sock was there she said , "It's not working." Man, to be a child again.

So, sock puppet, continue to do your magic. Read, read, read.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Integrating Vocabulary: Teammates

On February 3, 1920, the Negro Leagues began. During that time, there was segregation and other difficult topics that children need to learn to understand so that they do not repeat them in the future. As the years progressed, integration created another set of issues as people had to learn to accept and love everyone.
To teach about this concept and help students learn about segregation and other difficult terms, the book Teammates is a good teaching tool.

Challenging Vocabulary Words


Questions that you can ask:

1. Was Pee Wee Reese loyal to Jackie Robinson? How do you know?

2. Draw a three-way Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the courageous acts of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and Branch Rickey.

3. Write about it a time when you had to be courageous.

Read more on TeacherVision:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Integrating Culture: The month of February has it all!

If you are looking for reasons to read, February gives you many. There are lots of things to recognize and learn from this month. Let's just check out the top ten that are most discussed in schools.

1. Black History Month (since 1976)
2. Feb. 2nd- Groundhog Day
3. Feb. 3rd- Chinese New Year- begins the year of the Rabbit
4. Feb. 3- Elmo's birthday!!!!
5. The Superbowl
6. Feb. 4 Rosa Park's birthday
7. Feb. 14 Valentine's Day
8. Feb. 21 Presidents' Day (President Lincoln and Washington have birthdays)
9. Depending on the date -100 day of school!
10. Children's Dental health month

So, as you can see those are just the top ten. If you go to February special days there will be even more. Who knew so many things could be crammed into such a short month!?!

Choose what is important to your child and visit your local library for books! Throughout the month, I will share my favorite stories. Enjoy!