Video

Your Mommy Was Just Like You - A Celebration of the Spirit of Mother's Day

I began making guides for folks before the Common Core was cool. Even then, I was creating hands-on, project-based content that is entertaining, yet academically sound - the kind of stuff that both the kids and the folks that care for them would appreciate, and have been enjoying every minute of doing so for a long, long time.

Recently, author Kelly Bennett asked if I would go back and align all of the guides I previously made for her with the Common Core State Standards. I was glad for this opportunity as I would be able to revisit the work I had done almost three years ago in the light of present-day standards. That's kind of exciting, in a nerdy sort of way.

Kelly's Your Mommy was Just like You is just as charming as I remember it being. I love the way it celebrates humanity, in all it's messy forms. In it, tales of a mother's childhood are told to a child. The grown up is presented as an awkward, fantasy-loving, mistake-making kid. This book brings the "nobody's perfect, everybody has an off day" message home, loud and clear.

I encourage you to read this delightful book. Review the guide, too, if you'd like. There are a couple activities in there that will make your Saturday simply delightful, on being creating a Daisy Chain, as demonstrated in the video below.

ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE by Anne Bustard

Anywhere but Paradise.jpg

Below is a Simple Saturday video describing how to create a gum-wrapper chain. This project was inspired by a particular plot line in ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE.  In the book, the chain serves as a way for protagonist Peggy Sue to link aspects of her life together. You’ll have to read the book to find out how and why. To download a gum-wrapper chain template access author Anne Bustard’s website at www.annebustard.com.

Title: Anywhere but Paradise

Author: Anne Bustard

Publisher: Egmont USA

ISBN:978-1-60684-585-1

Download the CCSS-Aligned Educator's Guide HERE!

From IndieboundMoving from Texas to Hawaii in 1960,12-year-old Peggy Sue faces a difficult transition when she is bulled as one of the few haole (white) students in her school. This lyrical debut novel is perfect for Common Core classroom connections.

It's 1960 and Peggy Sue has just been transplanted from Texas to Hawaii for her father's new job. Her cat, Howdy, is stuck in animal quarantine, and she's baffled by Hawaiian customs and words. Worst of all, eighth grader Kiki Kahana targets Peggy Sue because she is haole--white--warning her that unless she does what Kiki wants, she will be a victim on "kill haole day," the last day of school. Peggy Sue's home ec teacher insists that she help Kiki with her sewing project or risk failing. Life looks bleak until Peggy Sue meets Malina, whose mother gives hula lessons. But when her parents take a trip to Hilo, leaving Peggy Sue at Malina's, life takes an unexpected twist in the form of a tsunami. Peggy Sue is knocked unconscious and wakes to learn that her parents safety and whereabouts are unknown. Peggy Sue has to summon all her courage to have hope that they will return safely.

DebbieG_AppleLogoForSmall.png

Folks, the guide is now available! Download it and enjoy!

SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP by Eileen Meyers

Below is a video showing how to make a Hibernating Bear Craft which is part of a CCSS-Aligned Discussion & Activity guide created for Eileen Meyer’s SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP.  The book guide can be downloaded at the author’s website at www.eileenmeyerbooks.com or right here!!!!

Synopsis: Fourteen animals, including the cuddly koala, the hairy anteater, and the wise owl, are featured in this lyrical bedtime story about the unusual ways that animals sleep. Natural history notes explain how each animal sleeps, from the magnificent frigate bird, which naps while flying hundreds of feet above the sea, to the walrus, which sleeps with its tusks anchored in floating ice. Whimsical watercolors of dozing animals will help any weary child fall to sleep with a smile.

Book Title: SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP

Written by: Eileen Meyer

Website: www.eileenmeyerbooks.com   

Illustrated by: Laurie Caple

Website: www.lauriecaple.com      

Published by: Mountain Press Publishing Company

ISBN: 978-0670012855

 

A Celebration of Color - My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood (a re-posting)

Cold Plum Book Jacket.jpg

This will be my second Michigan autumn. The vivid colors of the changing leaves, brilliant sunsets, and the rosy-red cheeked children continue to make me smile. Everyday is a celebration of change and color. So, this week, I'd like to focus on a guide I made for Tameka Fryer Brown's charming my cold plum lemon pie bluesy mood. The story explores the connection of the change of mood and its corresponding color. This book is a tribute to sibling rival survival and the tenacity it takes to do so.

 Folks, let me say that the story is lively, entertaining, and very clever. However, if you take a close look at the connection of theme and art, there is a whole lot of shaking going on. It's deep. Really deep. That being said, the guide consists of discussion questions, writing prompts, and basic color theory lessons that lead the reader to an intimate awareness of how color affects and/or reflects emotions.

Purple, orange and green water.jpg

One of the most rudimentary-yet-satisfactory activities presented in the guide is Color Mixing. In it, the child experiences the joy of transposing primary colors into secondary and tertiary just by the drip of an eye dropper. It's a very simple activity that lends itself to some profound results.

I encourage you, on this blustery autumn weekend, to take a look at this guide. Better yet, check outmy cold plum lemon pie bluesy mood, the book that inspired the lessons within.

A CCSS/STEM Activity Guide for THE INVENTOR'S SECRET: WHAT THOMAS EDISON TOLD HENRY FORD

 Click on image to purchase book.

Click on image to purchase book.

It is a shame that this great book won't hit the market until September, 2015. I'm just dying to show you the projects, games, and experiments included in the guide.  I must have been channeling my inner Edison, because ideas for activities never stopped coming. This was one of those guides I had to force myself to quit creating projects for! Wait till September and you'll see what I mean.

Not to worry, though. Access the you tube video below to get a sense of the energy, inspiration, and  just plain fun that this great book offers to young readers. 

Title: The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford

Author: Suzanne Slade

Illustrator: Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Synopsis:  Both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford started off as insatiably curious tinkerers. That curiosity led them to become inventors—with very different results. As Edison invented hit after commercial hit, gaining fame and fortune, Henry struggled to make a single invention (an affordable car) work. Witnessing Thomas's glorious career from afar, a frustrated Henry wondered about the secret to his success.

This little-known story is a fresh, kid-friendly way to show how Thomas Edison and Henry Ford grew up to be the most famous inventors in the world—and best friends, too.

How to Make a Constellation in 3 Easy Steps (An activity inspired by The Great Good Summer)

One of the many intriguing plot threads in this incredible novel is a metaphorical juxtaposition of protagonist Ivy Green's longing to be with her absent mother and the mythological story behind the constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Y'all, that is just one of the literary gems laced and layered in the storyline. Seriously, I cannot recommend that you read this novel more highly. It's truly one of the finest that I've read - EVER! Mark my words...we have a Newbery contender here.

In the Educator's Guide, you will find a super easy, step-by-step constellation creation project. If you can gather up some black construction paper, tape, and a thumb tack you, my friends, can create a little corner of the galaxy to enjoy for days and to day to come. Just watch the video below and see what I mean!

 

Book Title: The Great Good Summer

Author: Liz Garton Scanlon

ISBN: 9781481411479

Synopsis: Ivy Green's mama has gone off with a charismatic preacher called Hallelujah Dave to The Great Good Bible Church of Panhandle Florida. At least that's where Ivy and her dad "think" Mama is. But since the church has no website or phone number and Mama left no forwarding address, Ivy's not entirely sure. She "does "know she's missing Mama. And she's starting to get just a little worried about her, too.

Paul Dobbs, one of Ivy's schoolmates, is also having a crummy summer. Paul has always wanted to be an astronaut, and now that NASA's space shuttle program has been scrapped, it looks like his dream will never get off the ground.

Although Ivy and Paul are an unlikely pair, it turns out they are the perfect allies for a runaway road trip to Florida--to look for Mama, to kiss the Space Shuttle good-bye, and maybe, "just maybe," regain their faith in the things in life that are most important.

Educator's Guide Overview: This in-depth guide consists of discussion questions, a study of the scientific method, writing exercises, a study of point-of-view, a thematic study, a lesson involving the creation and observation of a paper airplane,  and the creation of a constellation.

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE DOWNLOADABLE COPY.

How to Make a Robotic Hand in 10 Easy Steps

Simple Saturday has returned - new and improved!

Check out this video inspired by Kersten Hamilton's most awesome Gadgets and Gears series. The robotic hand activity featured in the video below is part of the guide created for her newest book in the series, Ire of Iron Claw,  which will hit the market in July.  In the meantime, start reading the book that started all the buzz, The Mesmer Menace. While you're at it, check out the cool educator's guide that was created to compliment that book!

Y'all, this series is PERFECT for the bright child who owns a love of language, suspense, drama, and science! Just thinking about it makes me want to do a little hand jive!