Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Little Pink Princess Purse

by Stephen T. Johnson

Out of Sight

Thursday, February 10, 2011

George Washington: Give Bigotry No Sanction

Two phrases form the foundation for this thought-provoking video:



Watch the video and talk with your children about what these phrases mean to them, how they relate to Black History Month and how they can live out George Washington's words in their daily lives!

Goodnight Moon (read-aloud)

Listen to a read-aloud of one of the best bedtime books ever written! The flawless rhythm of this book is inimitable.

The Snowy Day (read-aloud)

A fellow Reading Specialist reads "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Madame CJ Walker & "Good Hair"

The topic of "good" or "bad" hair can be a contentious one for African Americans. Madame CJ Walker, an inventor & icon, worked to make hair (and beauty) products specifically for Black women.

What do you think of your own hair? Do you wear your hair in its natural state or do you curl it, straighten it, perm it, dye it?  How do you feel about this issue?

Choose some of the following books to read with your children and talk about this sometimes emotionally-charged topic...
If you're having trouble getting discussion started, watch this preview of Chris Rock's "Good Hair" movie...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Origins of Black History Month

If your students are curious about why we celebrate Black History Month, here is their answer from the History Channel! The video is succinct at ~2:20 minutes. Enjoy...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Montgomery Bus Boycott & MLK


"First They Came for the Jews"
By Pastor Niemoller

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Through verse, Karen Hesse's book reveals actual events surrounding the Klu Klux Klan's presence in Vermont. This book will give students a new perspective on racism and can be used to talk with them about what it means to stand by when others are being persecuted or bullied.

Orbis Pictus Awards: African-American Stories & Leaders

In this post I highlight more winners of the Orbis Pictus Award for the best nonfiction children's books.  I have also included part 3 of episode 1 of "Eyes on the Prize" for classroom use at your discretion. Part 3 documents the trial of Emmett Till's murderers and Rosa Park's legendary civil disobedience.

Civil Rights: Eyes on the Prize (ep 1 pt 2)

This part of episode 1 contains references to the murder of Emmett Till, including some very graphic images. If you are unfamiliar with this event, be forewarned: it is not for the faint of heart and may be considered inappropriate for students under middle school age.

Civil Rights: Eyes on the Prize & Orbis Pictus books

Watch Part 1 of "Eyes on the Prize", a PBS documentary about the Civil Rights Movement, then select some nonfiction books to read with your students to further their understanding of Civil Rights leaders and events. The books I have presented below are winners of the Orbis Pictus Award for outstanding nonfiction children's books, presented annually at the NCTE convention.

Warriors Don't Cry

This month I will be posting some books in honor of Black History Month. To get us started, I offer Melba Pattillo Beals' account of racism, identity & justice in Little Rock as Central High was being integrated. Facing History & Ourselves has published a guide for Beals' book, which can be found here.

Choices in Little Rock is a teaching unit produced by Facing History & Ourselves which explores the civic choices & democratic decisions that shaped history in Little Rock. These two books could be used separately or in tandem with one another for students & teachers learning about civil rights.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Teaching Reading K-2: A Library of Classroom Practices

Resource: Teaching Reading K-2: A Library of Classroom Practices

Teachers & administrators, here you have a wealth of FREE resources for yourselves and your staff to professionally develop in a range of subject matter. I am posting the link to the video series on teaching reading to K-2 students, but there is a great deal more available from Annenberg at

And I repeat: IT'S FREE!


A Virtual Spelling Bee

Interactives . Spelling Bee . Intro

It's exactly what the title says - a virtual spelling bee! Students in grades 1-12, enjoy!

Elements of a Story

Interactives . Elements of a Story

This website offers an interactive way for students to independently learn & apply their knowledge about story elements!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Max & Ruby series

by Rosemary Wells

An adorable collection of books showcasing the sibling relationship (and occasional rivalry) of Max & Ruby!

Pickle Things

by Marc Brown

Pickles are used for juggling, for decorating and...wait for it...even for eating! This is a great rhyming book for little ones who will be amused by the silly uses for pickles as well as an imaginative text for older readers who will be inspired by its creativity.