• Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College

    My book list of Top 10 Books to Teach Kids to Be More Responsible made me start to think about life skills that kids need before going off to college. That and the fact that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, will be starting high school next fall so we have only 4 years to tackle this […]

  • Today I am on the Front Page of The Boston Globe

    Today I am on the front page of The Boston Globe for the past week of posts that I wrote on my microblog, I Love Newton, about the anti-Asian racism in the local high school musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie. School play’s stereotypes bring outcry and apology. “Millie” touches nerve in Newton by Ellen Ishkanian, Globe […]

  • Get Kids Reading Strategies: 12 Surefire Ways

    I searched five years of digital photographs looking for photos of my kids reading and I only came up with the handful here. Why? It’s not easy getting kids reading, especially to love reading enough that they choose it over more exciting things like screens, playdates or sports! I started my blog after my oldest […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade

    I had the great fortune to meet The Nerdy Book Club founders at a dinner for Anne Ursu hosted by Walden Pond Press to celebrate her latest chapter book, The Real Boy. (It’s wonderful. I put it on my  Newbery 2014 Contenders list! And it just won a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdie). Colby Sharp, one of […]

  • Best Beginning Chapter Books for 2nd and 3rd Grade

    Best books for beginning readers from my library. This list is perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade.

  • How To: Create a Great Kids’ Book Club (Activity and Book Suggestions)

    Some ideas on how to set up a book club for your child with examples of successful book club meetings.

  • Top 10: Best Dragon Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

    The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog has a great post on dragons that preempted this post but I actually had been working on this for several weeks. There is something magical about dragons and I’m glad that some kids can keep the magic alive. I’ve gathered my favorite dragon books that range in age from picture books to young adult. What is your favorite dragon book? Please share!

  • Best Science Apps for Kids (ages 4-21)

    I am starting to buy into this idea of teaching and really connecting material through games and apps. I was sort of on board with this concept, but since playing around with The Elements (a Harry Potter version of the Periodic Table) that my brother-in-law turned me on to, I am now a believer as I saw, with my own eyes, how captivated my kids were with the Periodic Table, an otherwise dull chart.

  • Newbery Winners by Grade Appropriateness!

    Thank you to Hubpages for this information. There are additional book suggestions by grade if click here to see their post. I have added an asterisk to the books that I’ve read and loved (and two astericks for must reads!).

  • Best Picture Books That Teach Math Concepts

    Picture books can be a visual and fun way to introduce math concepts. I think it makes math less intimidating when it’s part of a story. For those kids who love math, it’s another way to eat it up!

Mr Avila Miss Nelson is Back video

Mr. Avila’s Kindergarteners Act Out Miss Nelson is Back!

Last year, Mr. Avina’s kindergarte class from Los Angles United School District acted out Miss Nelson is Missing. It was adorable!

Do you know about the Miss Nelson picture book series? I had a copy but didn’t really read it until my babysitter, Kate, said that it was her favorite book of all time as a child. Read more…

Plimoth Plantation Native Americans

Plimoth Plantation: Learning About Native Americans

I went for the first time to Plimoth Plantation as a chaperone for my son’s third grade field trip. I somehow managed to avoid it for my girls. It was really a great trip and the kids were very well prepared. My son said that he preferred learning about the Native American (and Wampanoags specifically) over the Pilgrim story.

Plimoth Plantation Native Americans, three sisters

The Three Sisters: Corn, Squash and Beans. They are planted together and each helps the other to grow. Read more…

healthy essentials from johnson & johnson

Healthy Essentials for Summer Play

My son’s elementary school spent the whole year fundraising in order to build a new playground because the old one was nearing the end of its life.

new peirce elementary school playground in newton ma

The new playground is wonderful and just opened this past week. PickyPidPix, now in middle school, came to the playround opening with her friend right after soccer practice.

Healthy Essentials, new mobius playground structure is tricky Read more…

reading and imagining exercises for kids

Reading and Imagining Writing Exercise For Kids

My guest blogger today is Jeffrey Pfaum, an inner-city schoolteacher, who is sharing his creative ideas for reading, writing, imaginning and drawing exercises.

 

Reading-and-Imagining Writing Exercise

You can develop the imagination with simple exercises, where the mind changes words into pictures. Ask your child to close her eyes and picture—or visualize—words in her mind. For example, have her read the word dog, and say:

  • “Picture the word ‘dog’ in your mind.”
  • “What are you looking at?”
  • What picture(s) do you imagine?”
  • “Describe the mind-picture(s).”
  • Draw or pencil-sketch what you imagine.”
  • “What thoughts, feelings, and experiences are triggered by the mind-picture(s)?”

Read more…

Best graphic novels for kids the Eisner awards

Best Graphic Novels and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

There aren’t many children’s book awards for graphic novels or comic books so I was excited to learn about The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, commonly shortened to the Eisner Awards. It awards prizes for creative achievement in American comic books, sometimes referred to as the Comics Industry’s equivalent of the Oscar Awards.

The Cybils also has a graphic novel award but only in middle grade and young adult categories so it was nice to see graphic novels for young children awarded as well! There is very little overlap between the two awards: The Cybils vs the Eisner. The lone overlapping graphic novel is The Lost Boy.

Read more…

10 books to expose kids to foreign language giveaway

10 Books to Expose Kids to a Foreign Language: HUGE GIVEAWAY

The summer is a great time to expose kids to a foreign language. I received a huge box of books from Tuttle Publishing that are perfect for this and I am giving most of them away. Please see the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

What languages would your kids be interested in? Are you using any great sites, books or videos? Please share! Read more…

Our Father's Day Tradition

Our Father’s Day Tradition: Happy Father’s Day!

This year is first year we are breaking with our tradition of strawberry picking for Father’s Day.

strawberry picking, Father's Day traditions,

My husband came up with this idea years ago and every year we hold our breath that the strawberries will be ready for Father’s Day picking. Read more…

Social Media Sunday

Welcome to the 3rd week of the Social Media Mixer, a brand new social media link-up started when the Weekday Mixer and Social Media Sunday joined forces. Thank you to everyone who joined us for Week 2 – we had 118 blogs and numerous social media link-ups!

Social Media Mixer-2Read more…

Starting Kindergarten Picture Book of the Day giveaway and other starting Kindergarten resources

Starting Kindergarten Picture Book of the Day GIVEAWAY

Do you have an incoming Kindergarten? Do you need ideas of getting your child ready for Kindergarten? I have six ideas for you!

What will you do with your son or daughter to get ready for Kindergarten? Please share!

1) Free Kindergarten Readiness Printable Book

I made this book for my son’s preschool both as a Kindergarten readiness book and as a special keepsake. I hope you have fun using it too!

Download my FREE printable book: My Book About Me Read more…