Thursday, December 14, 2017

K-1 Characters: David, Olivia, Cat in the Hat, and Lilly

For even more information about these characters and the books they are in, check out the following links:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

K-1 Characters: Clifford, Max, Big Anthony, and Strega Nona

For more information about Clifford, Max, Big Anthony, and Strega Nona, check out the following links: 

K-1 Characters: Froggy, Biscuit, Arthur, and Pete the Cat

For more information about each character and their books, check out the following links: 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The One and Only Ivan Information

I planned to use an old post about Ivan for today's lesson, but most of the links are dead. Ah! So here are some updated links to use for your reading today.

Story #1 - Ivan the Gorilla Statue Unveiled

Story #2 - Gorilla in Our Midst

Story #3 - Ivan Dies at 50

Story #4 - The Real Ivan from author Katherine Applegate's website

Monday, February 16, 2015

Communication Today

We're read about a lot of different ways to communicate throughout history, and the first one that was mentioned is still in use today. Writing a letter. When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not an email, not a note left on the kitchen counter, not a secret message passed to your friend in the next desk, but a real, honest letter sent in the mail?

Now we have things like Facetime and Skype that allow us to talk face to face with people who are far away.

We can send texts with our phones.

We can send mail electronically.

But maybe, just maybe, we should write more letters. What do you think?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Your Parents: 1975

There isn't a lot new in today's reading. It talks about many of the same ways to communicate in 1975 that were used in the past, ways we have already read about, like letters sent in the mail and telephone calls.

One big change is that most people now had a TV and most of those TVs were in color. The first coast-to-coast TV broadcast in the United States was in 1954 and color was used more and more through the 1960s until it became more used than black and white TV. So by 1975 color TV had been used in the United States for over 20 years already.

From what I could find, the following video from 1958 is the oldest color TV broadcast that was recorded. (Sorry it's not a Super Bowl or baseball game or SpongeBob or something more exciting.) You may want to jump ahead to 1:10. Then when it switches to color, imagine people seeing it for the first time being completely amazed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Why Are Rain Forests Important?

Even though we don't live in one, rain forests are still important to us in our daily lives. Many medicines come from plants in the rain forest. Our reading says that half of all plants and animals live in rain forests.

Think of all the food that comes from rain forests. The reading mentions oranges and nuts, but what about all the other fruit? And cocoa beans grow in rain forests. Without cocoa beans there'd be no - gulp! - chocolate!

The sap from the rubber tree is used to make rubber. Think about your life with no tires or balls or other things made form rubber.

Take a look at these amazing rain forest facts from

This video also has a bunch of great facts about rain forests.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Your Grandparents: 1945

The next reading on communication moves to the 1940s. We will read about the pens used at that time (people didn't need to use quill pens or fountain pens anymore). The reading also includes how mail delivery had changed and how people used telephones,

The most interesting part of the reading might be how people got some of their news. Today we can look on the Internet for news or choose from a variety of TV news shows and 24-hour cable news channels. But at that time, television was just beginning to be used and many people didn't have a TV in their house. How did they get their news?

Here is a major news story from 1941. This is from YouTube, but how did people hear it then? Did they watch it? (Look at the title.)

The Toucan's Bill

Today's reading first mentions the parrot, a bird that lives in the rain forest, and talks about its green, yellow, and red feathers. Then the reading changes to the toucan whose feathers have fewer colors. However, the toucan has a really large and brightly colored bill.

Scientists think the toucan's bill might be that big to help protect it from other birds. The bill also helps it reach food from farther away. Scientists have also discovered that the large bill helps regulate the bird's body temperature.

Here's some footage of toucans in their natural habitat.

Did you know toucans can be pets?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Your Great-Grandparents: 1915

Fountain pens are similar to quill pens in that they both have a metal nib that lets ink flow down to the paper. But fountain pens are different because you don't have to dip the nib into ink after every one or two words. Fountain pens store ink inside them.

Here is an example of writing with a fountain pen. Notice that the harder the writer presses down, the wider the line. Also look how long the ink stays wet.

Next, here is a demonstration of filling and cleaning a modern fountain pen.