All posts in 4) Grade 3-5

Picture Book about Autism for Typicals in Elementary School

Picture Book Teaches Kids Compassion

The Friendship Puzzle (about Autism) by Julie L. Coe.  This is a great book to teach children how to relate to their classmates with special needs.  In this picture book, MacKenzie Macabee meets Dylan, the new boy at school who seems a little different.  When he has trouble fitting in, she puts the pieces of the puzzle together of why and learns about autism, but, even more importantly, she learns how to connect with him.  Her friendship with Dylan helps to bring her classmates around and he becomes a sought after soccer player.

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Science Project: How a Knock on the Head Causes a Concussion

Science Project for High School

Take the hockey-puck-on-a-rod test a Michigan high school kid cobbled together to help figure out if a knock on the head has caused a concussion. Sports medicine specialists are increasingly worried about the long-term implications of mild, repeated head trauma. Read more…

Pippi Longstocking meets Anne of Green Gables

Strong Role Models for Girls in Chapter Books

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is Pippi Longstocking meets Anne of Green Gables combined with a Newbery Honor Award full of entertaining characters living in a small fishing village in Canada. Everyone in Coal Harbor, British Columbia is convinced that  11-year-old Primrose Squarp is an orphan after her mother sets sail after her fisherman  father during a big storm and both don’t return except Primrose who knows they will return deep inside her heart.  Her uncle Jack is recruited to take care of her and he is convinced that Coal Harbor can be converted from a dying fishing village to a tourist destination.  Primrose’s faith in her parents’ return tests the patience of those around her as she fails to accept their “death” by asking the doubters, “Didn’t you ever believe anything just because you knew it was true?” Read more…

Immigrant Story: In The Year of the Boar

Immigration Books for 4th Grade

My 4th grader is doing a unit on immigration at school and everyone in her grade is reading one of four books. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson is not one of the books, but, nevertheless, it’s also a story about immigration and adjustment from an 8-year-old perspective. Granted, Shirley Temple Wong who emigrates with her mother to join her engineer father in Brooklyn, New York, has the “white-collar, educated Asian” immigrant experience. This includes a graduate degree in science or math for the father, a place to live, food to eat, and, sometimes, a loving, intact family. Read more…

Teaching Tolerance to Kids for Their Special Needs Classmates

How Do You Teach Compassion for Special Needs Classmates?

My elementary school children switch tables every month and this is always a topic at the dinner table because it’s a really big deal to them.  Each month there is either wild  elation or grave disappointment depending on the seating chart.  Over time, I realized that when my kids are most upset about their new table mates, it is not necessarily that they are not sitting near their friends, but it’s because there is someone at the table who is disruptive. Read more…

teaching kids charity, teaching kids compassion, haiti,

Haiti and Teaching My Kids About Charity

Teach Kids Compassion through Charity Work

A mom in my yoga class made a nice plea for donations yesterday.  Her cleaning lady is Haitian and her family in Haiti is, of course, personally devastated by the earthquake.  Yoga mom offered to run over and pick up any clothing and shoe donations from any of us and ship to Haiti.  She said that UPS was shipping free of charge for a while so she was rounding up donations all week. Read more…

Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale … and Mary Breckenridge (ages 9-12)

Female Role Models: Extraordinary Nurses in History

Mary on Horseback: Three Mountain Stories by Rosemary Wells

If you hear Rosemary Wells and think Max and Ruby , Yoko and Friends or McDuff, you have the right author. She is an author, like Cynthia Rylant, who has incredible range and also have ties to the Appalachians. I had read biographies in 5th grade about Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale but I was not familiar with Mary Breckenridge until I happened upon this book and it turns out that she deserves the same recognition, if not more so. Read more…

Harry Potter + Greek Mythology = Percy Jackson Series (ages 8-14)

Greek Mythology Chapter Book Series for Kids

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

I took a day off the computer yesterday and just read books 2 through 5 of the Percy Jackson series. I have to say it was the best day ever! This is a really wonderful series with wide appeal both in age and in gender and the range is ages 8-adult. There is also no weak link in the series and every book stands on its own, though I do suggest reading them in order. I’ve included my previous book review of the first book, The Lightening Thief, below, and can add that I stayed up way past my bedtime, AGAIN, to finish the last book. They Are Simply That Good!

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Best Asian American Children’s Authors

Grace Lin is the children’s literature version of Amy Tan. Her latest chapter book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, is her best yet.  She weaves Chinese folk tales into a tapestry of stories where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.   There is always a  sweetness and  innocence to her writing; there are always loving parents and children learning to believe in themselves and their culture. Read more…