Maker Space STEAM: 3D Printing Camp

Maker Space STEAM: 3D Printing Camp

PickyKidPix joined her brother at computer camp this summer. This was her first introduction to the computer camp that he has been going to for the past three years. They picked 3D Printing this year which struck me as the perfect partnership of ART in STEM or STEAM.

3d Printing Camp is Art in STEM

PickyKidPix, now 14 years old, would be the first to tell you that she doesn’t think of herself as arty (more crafty), nor computer science oriented although she does like math and science. She called this camp nerd camp and we wondered how she would fare since she wasn’t able to get any of her friends to join her.

how to get girls interested in STEM and STEAM

It turns out that she does have an interest in Industrial Design. All her designs were practical applications of 3D printing. She made dog tags for her dog because she has long complained that the current dog tag is inadequate. She attempted to design retainer cases which took the 3D printer 7 hours to print (each), and were all failures.

3D printing camp projects

Read more…

Multicultural Children's Book Bundle Giveaway

Multicultural Children’s Book Giveaway!

It’s time for the 2nd Annual Multicultural Children’s Book Giveaway and KidLit TV is teaming up with Pragmatic MomJump into a BookFranticmommyThe Educators Spin On ItWhat We Do All Day and Multicultural Children’s Book Day to give parents, teachers, and librarians in need, a chance to win a multicultural book bundle for their school library.

Libraries play an important role in everyone’s life. The library is a place where knowledge and the love of reading shine!  However, budgets for school programs are being cut, and school libraries have been heavily affected. Hours for library time have been shortened in some schools, and even non-existent in others.

Up until September 30th you can enter to win a curated bundle of multicultural books featuring StoryMakers guests and additional kid lit authors.

Multicultural Children's Book Bundle Giveaway

Read more…

Picture Books for Toddlers About Being a Good Friend

Picture Books for Toddlers About Being a Good Friend & GIVEAWAY!

Maria Ashworth is my guest blogger today with a list of ten picture books to help toddlers and preschoolers learn how to be a good friend. Her picture book is called My Big Tree and introduces counting to 10. Animals in North America join a blue bird in a tree but must reorganize into segregated groups in order to make the bird happy.


10 Great Picture Books for Toddlers About Being A Good Friend

10. It’s Mine by Leo Lionni
Selfish frogs bicker about everything until a disaster strikes their pond. Then do they learn the value of friendship. The book is a perfect story for any child who needs a little reminder on why it is important to learn to share.

Read more…

Sleepaway Camp and Why Dangerous Activities are Good for Kids

Sleepaway Camp and Why Dangerous Activities are Good for Kids

It probably won’t surprise you that my two daughters refused to do the easy thing for their parents: go to the same sleepaway camp. No, they chose YMCA sleepaway camps on the other side of the state. My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, went to the Berkshires at Chimney Corners where the camp culture emphasizes being yourself and accepting others.Sleepaway Camp and Why Dangerous Activities are Good for Kids

My middle daughter, PickyKidPix, chose Cape Cod, Camp Hayward for girls because the sessions were only two weeks versus four weeks at Chimney Corners. The culture is also different. Camp Hayward has daily interaction with their boys’ camp (unlike Chimney Corners), so there is a sense of competition of boys versus girls. For example, my daughter’s sailing class included a game of pirates where the point was to jump onto a boy’s sailboard, and take down the sail to capsize it. The boys at Burgess retaliated by removing the girls’ rudder. Good fun was had by all.

Read more…

10 Great Picture Books to Learn About Mexico

10 Great Picture Books to Learn About Mexico

My kids studied Mexico in 2nd grade, a unit that was filled with crafts and excitement, including a Mexico Day Party. One of the student’s mother who teaches Spanish at the high school, even participated by dressing up as Frida Kahlo to teach the kids Spanish. At the end of fifth grade, some kids still talked about Mexico Day. Apparently making guacamole was a highlight of their elementary school experience!

Mexico 2nd grade unit

This collection of picture books is meant for all years of elementary school. I noticed that our 5th graders studied the Ancient Mayans.

10 Great Picture Books to Learn About Mexico

10.  Rain Player by David Wisniewski

This reads like a folk tale but it’s actually an original story set in Maya civilization. A drought been foretold. Chac, the god of rain, is displeased when a boy, Pik, speaks disrespectfully. To earn the god’s favor, Pik must win pok-a-tok, sending a five-pound ball of rubber through stone hoops on a walled court. If Pik is defeated, he and his teammates will be turned into frogs. Pik appeals to the Jaguar, the Quetzal, and the sacred cenote, who are persuaded to join his team. Will Pik be able to make the rains fall? [picture book, ages 6 and up]

Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

Join Us for #diversekidlit

Looking for #DiverseKidLit?

I’ve been making very, very short videos of picture books like this one, Mama the Alien by Rene Colato Lainez.

The confusion of being a legal alien versus an alien from outer space makes its bilingual Spanish picture book the perfect conversation starter about the naturalization process.

Mama the Alien by Rene Colato Lainez, illustrated by Laura Lacamara

♫ Background song, Englishman In New York, by Sting.

Here’s more…

Get #diversekidlit Recommendations on Pinterest!

We’ve started a new group board on Pinterest to highlight all the amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Diverse Books for Back to School. Please consider writing and sharing your favorite books either about school / back to school or that might make a great read aloud during those first few weeks of school. (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are still always welcome.)

What’s Is #diversekidlit?


Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit
164 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal

166 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal

Please welcome my guest blogger today, Kerry Cerra. She’s the author of Just a Drop of Water (9/11 and Religious Intolerance), but she’s here today with author friends –Shannon Wiersbitzky of What Flowers Remember (Alzheimer’s),Kathleen Burkinshaw of The Last Cherry Blossom (Hiroshima), Joyce Moyer Hostetter of Comfort (War Trauma), and Shannon Hitchcock of Ruby Lee & Me (School Integration) — to create a comprehensive list of realistic fiction for middle grade (ages 9 and up).

This list of 165 chapter books covers a plethora of topics. Let me know if you need a category that isn’t listed. I hope you find this list as useful and I do!

  • Chapter Books with Abandonment
  • Chapter Books with Verbal or Physical Abuse
  • Chapter Books with ADD/ADHD
  • Chapter Books with Adoption/Foster Care
  • Chapter Books with Substance Abuse
  • Chapter Books with Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Chapter Books Covering Anxiety
  • Chapter Books with Autism/Asperger’s
  • Chapter Books with Blended Families
  • Chapter Books with Body Image Issues
  • Chapter Books with Bullying
  • Chapter Books with Civil Rights/Integration
  • Books for Tweens with Deaf/Hearing Loss
  • Chapter Books with Death of a Parent/Grandparent
  • Chapter Books with Death of a Sibling
  • Chapter Books with Depression and Mental Illness
  • Chapter Books with Discrimination & Prejudices (religious, ethnic, etc.)
  • Chapter Books with Divorce
  • Chapter Books with Dyslexia
  • Diverse Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books with Eyesight/Blindness
  • Feeling like You’re a Bad Friend Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books About Following Your Dreams Despite Odds
  • Chapter Books with Gifted Characters
  • Chapter Books on Homelessness
  • Chapter Books Dealing with Illness
  • Chapter Books on Immigration
  • Books with LGBTQ
  • Chapter Books with Physical Disability/Disfiguration
  • Chapter Books with Self-Doubt
  • Chapter Books with Stepfamilies
  • Chapter Books with Suicide
  • Chapter Books with Survivor’s Guilt
  • Chapter Books About Wanting to Fit In
  • Chapter Books with War Trauma

——————–

Hands down my favorite thing about visiting schools as an author is the ability to recommend books to readers. Of course I speak about my own novel, but I always bring others with me. Lots of them. Why? Because I wholeheartedly believe it’s important for kids to be able see themselves in a story, and I know my book may not be that book for everyone. So I’m thrilled to be part of an exciting campaign, #MGGetsReal, with four other awesome authors. Our goal is simple: to highlight books which kids can relate to on a personal level—so they don’t feel so alone, afraid, or different.

All most of us have to do is remember back to our pre-teen years to know that kids long to feel one with the masses. To be accepted. To fit in. The recent video of a young girl, Emma, from Texas who wears a prosthetic leg is proof of this. With videotape rolling, Emma’s excitement is palpable as she realizes she’s getting an amazing gift, an American Girl doll. And lucky for myself and the millions (yes, millions) of viewers who have now seen the footage, we witness Emma’s genuine happy-shock reaction when she opens the box to discover that the doll is actually sporting a prosthetic leg just like her own. Seriously? Can you imagine anything better for this girl? Go ahead and view it here, but be careful, for Emma’s tears are infectious!

My own middle-grade novel, Just a Drop of Water, is the story of two thirteen-year-old boys—one Christian, one Muslim—and how their friendship is tested in the wake of September 11, 2001. It has strong themes of friendship, loyalty, bullying, and peace. Every so often at a school visit, I’ll encounter a Muslim student who pulls me aside to say how much the book, particularly the character of Sam, resonates with them and to thank me for writing it.

A handful of times, I’ve had kids tell me they are like the main character Jake. They too only see the world in black and white. With no gray. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. They are Jake! And like Jake, they sometimes get in trouble for it. I feel like the luckiest author in the world when I get to have these important discussions with them about how it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in, but to do so peacefully. And to know that sometimes my book is one that a kid connects to in such a personal way, well, it’s singlehandedly the reason why I write!

Read more…

Easy Sun Catcher Craft

Easy Sun Catcher Craft for Kids

This Sun Catcher Craft is easy and fun. I like it because it uses things you find around the house (with the exception of Epson Salt which I had to purchase).

Supplies on Hand:

Suncatcher Craft

  • spoon
  • 1/4 size measuring cup
  • bowl
  • clear, plastic lid; I used the lid from a takeout container
  • string
  • knife or scissors to punch hole in lid

Supplies You Might Have to Buy:

  • Epsom Salt. I bought this Espon Salt, $5.21, at my local drug store. You don’t need much but you can use the leftovers in a relaxing bath. It’s lavender scented too!

Suncatcher CraftRead more…

Big Fat Notebooks Middle School Study Guides

#BigFatNotebooks Giveaway

Big Fat Notebook

Are you starting to think about school yet? Are your kids in school already? Yikes! We have a few more weeks to go before school starts. Our school system has stuck to the “After Labor Day” start day, but then we get out very late, during the third week of June.

Big Fat Notebooks for Those Who Don’t Know Much About History …

Today, I wanted to talk about Big Fat Notebooks, a study guide series for middle school students from the folks behind Brain Quest. There are five books in all that cover comprehensively all the material covered in Middle School: Math, Science, American History, English Language Arts, and World History. Whew! That’s a lot of material, right?

Read more…