Tag Archives: Books

Growing Food, Growing Bodies


The birds are singing, the frogs are chirping and the plants are beginning to grow. It’s the perfect time to get students outside and try some truly hands-on learning. Use the warm days and the itch to get outside to teach students the basics of food production and nutrition through an inquiry unit that combines explores gardening and nutrition. The best part is that the inquiry unit can be modified for any age group and used year after year.

Here are three ideas to get help get you started:

1) Plant a school garden. If there isn’t space for a larger garden, plant a classroom windowsill herb garden instead.





2) Visit a local farm or farmer’s market. Discuss how food production and distribution are managed.


3) Create and prepare a meal (or full menu) based on local food availability and nutritional guidelines.



Resources from Big Universe


Where Does Our Food Come From?
Bobbie Kalman (Author)
ISBN: 9781427196729

Grains, vegetables and fruits, meat, eggs, and dairy foods-where do these different food groups come from? Children will discover such things as how grains are grown in fields, which vegetables are really fruits, where certain fruits grow, and the importance of pollination. A special section gives children suggestions for eating healthy foods.

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Growing Good Food
Ann Flounders (author)
ISBN: 9781939656315

Have you thought about where your food comes from? Do you know the difference between organic and nonorganic foods, and is organic always a more healthful choice? Some farmers have opened their farms to the local community to help grow and pick crops. In this book, you’ll read why community-supported agriculture is growing fast and how the choices you make at the grocery store can make a big difference in Earth’s health as well as your own. Book features: Table of Contents; Glossary; For More Information including books and web sites; Index; photos and captions; charts and graphs; source notes.

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Fabulous Food
Jo Cleland (author)
ISBN: 9781618103482

Sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell, this book emphasizes the different food groups and how important they are for healthy teeth and bones.


Comer Bien (Eating Right)
Dona Herweck Rice (author)
ISBN: 9780743992268

Do you have healthy eating habits? Learn the importance of portion control and eating healthy foods. This book introduces readers to the different food groups and the appropriate quantities of each. Important vocabulary related to food and health is also provided.

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STEM Jobs in Food and Nutrition
Jane Katirgis (author)
ISBN: 9781627179393

What great STEM job may be waiting for you? How about a job in food and nutrition? Have you ever looked at your dinner and thought about all the people who helped get it to your table? Learn all about food chemists, dieticians, and the farmers who grow the food we eat. How and what animals eat to ensure our meat is healthy, how fertilizers play a part in the safety of our fruits and vegetables, and how what you eat plays an important role in your health. So, count your calories and read along to find out all about this exciting STEM career! This book will allow students to understand how systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

Other Resources

Take the Common Core Outdoors                                                                             http://hepg.org/hel-home/issues/28_6/helarticle/take-the-common-core-outdoors_554

Lesson plans for math, language arts, science, and social studies as well as evaluation tools  http://collaboratingclassrooms.ath.cx/?garden=/nutrition&section=curriculum

Team Nutrition MyPlate campaign from the USDA featuring posters, songs and more!  http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/myplate

Nutrition in the Garden Workbook (Douglas County, NE)


Tips For Getting Kids Hooked On Reading…For Life!

A Reading Specialist Talks About Strategies That Create Lifelong Readers


Creating avid readers is one of the best ways to produce a well educated student. Kids that start reading at a young age do better in their academic career and are more likely to attend college. Reading is one of the best ways to acquire new vocabulary. In addition, students are exposed to multiple genres of literature. The more reading one does, the more knowledge they can gain. People that read 65 minutes per day read over five million words per year!

Look at the research data shown on this table (adapted from Adams, 2006).

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 7.27.24 AM

Surround Children with Books and Written Words


Get children used to seeing and reading books! Books from the bookstore, books from garage sales (a bargain), books from the library, books they make, books made with their families, books made at school, electronic books. Books made out of tin foil and permanent markers. All types of books!

Use Technology to Make Reading Fun

Families can enjoy literature with the use of technology. They can use i-pads, phones, laptops or other electronic devices to record reading. Children and teens can wear funny hats and make video recordings of them reading books that families can cherish forever. People can read to each other from different geographical locations using Skype. Imagine how much fun your family will have reading to family in another state! Kids will be elated to read!

Use Comprehension Strategies

  • Talk about the book
  • Act out parts of the story
  • Discuss new words and key points
  • Summarize the plot and main idea
  • Have each person share their favorite part

Spark Children’s Interest in Books

Children should have the opportunity to read books that they are interested in. Kids like the ability to choose so it benefits younger children to choose what they would like to have read aloud. If they need help selecting a book, guide them to select an age appropriate book on a subject they might like.

Designate Family Reading Night

Designate one night per week as Book Night. Turn off the television and talk about and read books. Let children make their own books and share them with friends and family. Create a funny family book where each family member writes one page and then puts the book together. This family book is guaranteed to create giggles and put a smile on children’s faces. Self-created books create fond memories. Families will have a book they created together that they can save for a lifetime.

Become a Vocabulary Master

Point out words everywhere. Find words on the side of Starbucks cups, on billboards, in magazines at the doctor’s office, in papers sent in the mail, anywhere words are! Identify new words and make them exciting. Kids can circle the words with crayons, cut them out, highlight them and talk about the words. Look them up in the dictionary or in an online dictionary.

Model Reading

Children need to see adults reading. Adults can read the newspaper, books, and magazines. They can read on their i-Phones, Droids, i-Pads, Kindles, and other electronic devices. This sparks interest in reading! Let your child see you read. Kids especially need to see men reading. In most cases, young children mostly have female teachers and the mother is the one that reads the bedtime stories. Children need to see everyone, at every age, reading!

Read Online Books

In this tech savvy world, online books open up a whole new world for children. Anytime, anywhere, any subject. Utilizing online books helps kids get hooked on books and helps to make them lifelong readers! Visit Big Universe Learning www.biguniverse.com to access thousands of books online. Children love reading online books! Students can even put the books they read on an online bookshelf for everyone to see at www.biguniverse.com. Placing books on the bookshelf builds self-confidence for readers as they create a public display all of the online books they have read.

freeclipart appleConnecting to The Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4a Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4b Read grade-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.5.4b Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.



Teaching Kids While Traveling During The Summer

Traveling Opens A World Of Educational Opportunities


Taking a journey with kids is a wonderful way to enhance a person’s perspective and teach people about unfamiliar places.

Make Vocabulary Acquisition A Goal Of Travel

Expeditions offer new and exciting information about customs, locations, geography and many other things. The brain tends to remember things associated with novel places and experiences. Educators and parents can utilize this by setting educational goals while traveling. Children can create vocabulary books. A good goal might be to learn three to five new vocabulary words per day, while traveling.

Young scholars can create, My Travel Vocabulary Book.

This book may include:




Visual representations


Sentences that include the newly acquired vocabulary word



definition found on http://dictionary.reference.com/


verb (used without object), trav·eled, trav·el·ing or ( especially British ) trav·elled, trav·el·ling.


to go from one place to another, as by car, train, plane, or ship; take a trip; journey: to travel for pleasure.

to move or go from one place or point to another.

to proceed or advance in any way.

to go from place to place as a representative of a business firm.

to associate or consort: He travels in a wealthy crowd.

Vocabulary Builder: Synonyms for travel

Books To Share With Kids About Travel

Find new vocabulary words while reading these literature pieces and add them to the My Travel Vocabulary Book.

thumb-1 Travels with Charlie: Way Out West

by Miles Backer (author), Chuck Nitzberg (illustrator)       © 2013
ISBN: 9781609053543

Part travelogue, part I SPY, part WheresCharlie!
Find a pirate museum. Look for Key West. Then find Miami where the beach is the best!
Is he on a Bourbon Street balcony? Riding the Ferris wheel on Atlantic Citys Steel Pier? Hiding out in a Nevada ghost town?
This three-book series invites kids to take trips with Charlie the traveling pup, who goes to hundreds of places in the American South, West, and Northeast. For each featured state there are rhyming clues to help find Charlie, and all sorts of interesting,historical, and offbeat attractions and locations.
Picture-style maps and sidebars offer cool state-related trivia. From deep in the Grand Canyon, to Elviss mansion, to the field where the Wright brothers took to the skies, this incredibly charming trio of travelogues can be used for:
book reports
beyond-the-backyard exploration
firing up kids to discover all the real,not just the virtual, world has to offer.
Where can these books take kids?
Just ask Charliehell know!

thumb-2I can write a book about countries

by Bobbie Aloian (author)       © 2012
ISBN: 9781427179944

With the help of this book, children can write a book about different countries or concentrate on one country. Children will learn how to draw maps showing the continent on which the country is located, its capital city or cities, important regions, and proximity to oceans, polar regions, or the equator. Creating a book about a country’s land, people, and culture will inspire kids to learn about other places and ignite a love for travel.

More Recommended Reads

Readers have the opportunity to enjoy these titles about travel in multiple languages. These texts can be used to develop children’s knowledge of a topic. In addition, some of the books are offered in multiple languages, which can be used to help readers develop their bilingual language skills. One helpful tip in building bilingual youth is to read the text in the primary language and then to reread it in another language. For example, an English speaking seven-year-old can read the book in English and then reread it in Spanish. Some titles are even available in the read aloud format. Kids can push the icon and the text can be read aloud to them in another language. This is a great opportunity to enrich student’s educational skills by introducing them to another language and new educational content. Big Universe offers hundreds of titles in many different languages on thousands of topics. Find these delightful and engaging texts that teach children about travel and places around the world at www.biguniverse.com

thumb-10 Traveling on a Train

by Suzanne Barchers
ISBN: 9780743908696

Trains take you where you need to go and they move food and other goods from one place to another. Trains are full of shapes, too, which make them fun to look at. You can find circles on the train’s wheels and rectangles on the railroad tracks and railroad signs. There are even shapes at the train station. Some ceilings have circles or triangles and some floors have squares. Look inside. Can you find any more? 32pp.

thumb-12 Traveling on an Airplane

by Suzanne Barchers
ISBN: 9780743908702

Did you know that airports are the perfect place to find shapes? Sometimes shapes are used because they are a good design choice, such as circles and triangles on the ceiling. But other times, shapes are used to offer support and strength to the building. Look inside to see if you can find the many shapes hidden inside airports from around the world. Take a look outside the airport too. What shapes do you see on the runway? 32pp.

thumb-14Shapes in Transportation

by Jennifer Rozines Roy & Gregory Roy (author)       © 2007
ISBN: 9780761442998   AR:   /   /   /

This series reinforces both math and reading skills, stimulates critical thinking, and provides students with an understanding of math in the real world.

thumb-6 Explore Earth’s Seven Continents

by Bobbie Kalman (author)       © 2011
ISBN: 9781427194831   AR:   /   /

This concise overview of the seven continents explains to children what a continent is and what factors make each continent unique, such as landforms, climate, animals, and people. Full-color photographs and age-appropriate maps accompany each brief examination of a continent.

Would you like to learn more about educational games that can be played while traveling? Visit


Activities For Summer

Enjoy Summer With Movement And Exercise

Summer break is a great opportunity to expand kid’s athletic skills. Parents and schools can peak children’s interest in a new hobby by introducing them to easy-to-read descriptive literature. Engaging youngsters in movement at a young age encourages them to develop love of a life-long, healthy habit. Reading and rereading text helps to develop reading skills and builds enthusiasm for the sport.

Recommended Reads

Readers have the opportunity to enjoy these titles about various forms of exercise in multiple languages. One helpful tip in building bilingual youth is to read the text in the primary language and then to reread it in another language. For example, an English speaking five-year-old can read the book in English and then reread it in Spanish. Some titles are even available in the read aloud format. Kids can push the icon and the text can be read aloud to them in another language. This is a great opportunity to enrich student’s educational skills by introducing them to another language. Find these delightful and engaging texts that teach children about athletic hobbies and movement at www.biguniverse.com

thumb Dance

ISBN: 9781606945643
Young readers will learn about dance through simple sentences and highly supportive pictures

thumb-1 Porristas (Cheerleading)

by Holly Karapetkov
ISBN: 9781606945636

Young readers will learn about cheerleading through simple sentences and highly supportive pictures.

thumb-2 Gymnastics

by Anne Wendorff       © 2010
ISBN: 9781600143274   AR:   /   /   /

Gymnastics is a sport requiring strength, flexibility, and agility. Gymnasts perform routines on different pieces of equipment during competitions. Young readers will discover the history and basic rules of this sport, and also how competitions are judged today.

thumb-3 Soccer

by Anne Wendorff       © 2010
ISBN: 9781600143298   AR:   /   /   /

Soccer is one of the world’s most popular team sports and is the fastest growing sport in the United States. A player must kick or hit the ball with their chest or head. Only goalies can use their hands! Children will learn the history, rules, and equipment that make soccer the popular sport it is today.

thumb-4 Swimming

by Anne Wendorff       © 2010
ISBN: 9781600143267   AR:   /   /   /
People swim for many different reasons—recreation, exercise, or competition. The goal of competitive swimming is to be the fastest in a variety of events featuring different strokes. Kids will learn the history, strokes, rules, and much more!

thumb-5 Golf

by Brian Howell (author)       © 2012
ISBN: 9781614787136   AR: /

Best Sport Ever: Golf takes readers from the beginnings of golf to present day with a focus on the legends, the amazing stories, and the unique characteristics that makes the sport great. Discover the early games of golf, the equipment used in the game then and now, the thrill of the first hole-in-one, and the achievements of Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Walter Hagen, Mickey Wright, and so many others in this amazing overview of the Best Sport Ever: Golf! Through colorful descriptions, a glossary, additional resources, engaging sidebars that go “beyond the basics” into advanced skills and health benefits, and more, the Best Sport Ever series is a can’t miss for today’s sports fan. SportsZone is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.

Would you like to learn more about educating kids during summer vacation?


Super Summer Vacations

Setting Up Students For Academic Success

Summer Vacation and Advancing Children’s Studies


Summer vacation is the prime time for fun, sun and a ton of reading! Vacation allows kids and families cherished free time. The much needed R and R, rest and relaxation, is a great opportunity to expand children’s minds. Kids can be found actively playing, reading, and joyously creating art. They can also develop their writing and photography skills by documenting summer memories in journals with photos. Parents and guardians can take advantage of the long recess by motivating toddlers, preschoolers, elementary-aged scholars and adolescents to read for enjoyment.

Tips For Building Lifelong Readers

  • Let youngsters choose the types of books they want to read. Let them pick. Giving kids the freedom to choose excites them. Then they will read, read, read!
  • Visit beautiful places with novels and literature (coffee shops with books, missions, museums, etc.)
  • Take family field trips to libraries in other cities. Children can explore new books and learn geography. Families can even plot their destinations on a map.
  • Peruse books a garage sales and find cheap reads
  • Join summer reading clubs at local bookstores and earn free books, rewards, and even awards!

Recommended Reads

Find these delightful and engaging texts that teach children about the value of reading during their summer holiday at www.biguniverse.com

 What I Did on My Summer Vacationthumb-1

by Bruce Lansky (author), Stephen Carpenter (illustrator)       © 2009
ISBN: 9781416970477

What I Did on My Summer Vacation is the first funny poetry book about summer vacation, with over forty sidesplitting poems covering everything from the much-anticipated last day of school to family road trips, wacky days at summer camp, learning how to swim, dizzying roller coaster rides at amusement parks, fun-filled days at the beach, and finally, the dreaded first day back to school. These hilarious poems, written by “The King of Giggle Poetry” and his all-star gang of Giggle Poets, are sure to make any kid count the days until summer vacation begins!

thumb-4 Lucky Lake Vacation

by Dennis E. Paul
ISBN: 1596390166

It can be difficult to find interesting materials for students who read below grade level, but these hilarious characters and goofy stories will get students reading!

The small amount of text per page and strong visual cues make these stories very reader-friendly. Phonetic skills get a real workout through the repeated use of words with special vowel and letter combinations.

thumb-2 Balloon Toons: It’s Pooltime!

by Ethan Long (author)       © 2012
ISBN: 9781609052010

Elephant, Alligator, and Stork share poolside hijinks as they mix up their towels, tussle over ice cream, and compare diving styles. Best-selling author/illustrator Ethan Long brings his energetic and engaging style to this delightful story of poolside fun and summertime friendship.

thumb-3 Summer

by Emily C. Dawson (author)       © 2013
ISBN: 9781624960277   AR:

This photo-illustrated book for early readers describes how summer weather affects the actions of animals, the growth of plants, and the activities of people. Includes photo glossary and labeled diagram.

Would you like to read about more ideas for summer vacation?






Using Children’s Handcrafted Artwork


Creating Extraordinary Cards And Memorable Presents

Young scholars create weekly art pieces in schools across America each week. Parents can highlight their children’s artwork by framing them and giving them as gifts. Kids are thrilled to see their craft projects valued and given to others. Family and friends adore and appreciate hand-crafted presents and cards. Financial savvy parents love the fact that they are saving money by utilizing their children’s creations instead of purchasing cards and trinkets at the store.



Recommended Reads

Find these delightful and engaging texts that teach children about the value of their own artwork at www.biguniverse.com

thumb Sarah the Artist

by Kathy Gleason (author), Patricia Ondarza (illustrator)       © 2012
ISBN: 9781620467947

This book features illustrations that readers use to interpret information in the text and identify characters and setting. Readers can identify the sequence of events from the text

thumb-1 What Is Color?

by Tea Benduhn (author)       © 2011
ISBN: 9780778792291   AR:

This colorful book introduces young readers to the world of color. Readers will learn how an enormous range of colors can be made from just three primary colors. This title also explains the difference between warm colors and cool colors. The book uses famous works of art to show readers how color can be used to both show a scene and convey a message.

thumb Art’s Supplies

by Chris Tougas (author)       © 2008
ISBN: 9781551439228   AR: /

In this delightful tale of the power of the imagination, Art’s supplies come to life in the studio, creating mayhem and magic — and art! Pastels, pencils and paints, crayons, brushes and markers, everything gets in on the act of creating a mess-terpiece of fun. Chris Tougas’ brilliant illustrations and clever text explore the essence of the creative process in a way that children will understand.

Would you like more information about literacy and art integration?


Teaching and Inspiring Children to Love to Write: Keep a Diary or Journal

Inspire Students to Love to Write

Have Them Keep a Diary

thumb-8Writing in a diary is a powerful, calming, stress relieving activity for both children and adults. Teachers and parents can introduce this lifelong writing skill to children at a young age. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a diary is a book in which you write down your personal experiences and thoughts each day.

Most people love to share their personal experiences and thoughts each day, especially kids! Teachers that instruct students in journal writing can create better writers.

Tips for Teaching Young Scholars to Keep a Diary or a Journal

  • Start at an early age
  • Write daily
  • Integrate art
  • Use sentence or idea starters
  • Read diaries and journals aloud in the classroom (Include books and electronic books by published authors)

Recommended Reads That Help Children Learn About

Keeping a Diary or a Journal

Find these funny and engaging texts that teach children about the value of keeping a diary at www.biguniverse.com


The Secret Diary of a Wolf

by Felicia Law (author), Lesley Danson (illustrator)       © 2013
ISBN: 9781909711600

Humour and comic characters aim to encourage children to write and illustrate their own diaries.


The Secret Diary of a Bear

by Felicia Law (author), Lesley Danson (illustrator) © 2013
ISBN: 9781909711631

Humour and comic characters aim to encourage children to write and illustrate their own diaries.


Turtle Summer: A Journal For My Daughter

by Mary Alice Monroe (author), Barbara J. Bergwerf (illustrator)       © 2007
ISBN: 9781607180166   AR:   /   /   /

This is a companion book to Mary Alice Monroe’s novel, Swimming Lessons, the sequel to The Beach House. In the novel, the readers witness a young mother, Toy, writing a journal for her daughter, Little Lovie. This is the journal Toy is writing. Using original photographs, this scrapbook journal explains the nesting cycle of sea turtles and the natural life along the Southeastern coast, including local shore birds, shells, and the sea turtle hospital. Adults and children will enjoy the images, information and the journal with or without the novel. The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes turtle nesting facts, a shell identification activity, and a make-your-own nature journal.

Connecting to Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards clearly outline what is expected of students at each grade level. The Common Core State Standards can be found at www.corestandards.org/

Writing in a diary or journal addresses the Common Core State Standards.

Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

More Information About Creating Successful Writers Can be Found at:



Engage Students in the Masters

Golf enthusiasts and fans will flock in droves this week to Augusta, Georgia, home of Augusta National and the annual Masters golf tournament. Once there fans will watch players battle for the top spot in the leader board as they try their chance at winning the coveted green jacket.  While the tournament itself only lasts four days, fans have a chance to view the practice rounds both in person and on t.v. throughout the course of the week; it is officially a full week’s worth of golf!

Sports-loving students will certainly know this week and the tradition behind it. And if they don’t, use it as an opportunity to engage your reluctant readers in reading about something that might pique their interests.

Golf e-Books for Grades 3-5:

by Ray McClellan       © 2011
ISBN: 9781600144615   AR: Book Level 3.5  / Points 0.5  / Quiz 139002  / Interest Level LG

Great golfers mainly get eagles and birdies, meaning they shoot under par! This book introduces young readers to the game of golf. It explains the sport’s basic rules, necessary equipment, early beginnings, and how to train to qualify for the professional tour.

Tiger Woods: Famous GolferTiger
by Sarah Tieck (author)       © 2009
ISBN: 9781617858451   AR: / Points 0.5

Tiger Woods is one of the world’s most talented golfers! This book introduces his childhood, family, educational background, rise to fame, and future plans. Readers will learn how Tiger’s early talent and drive led him to win amateur honors, before becoming a professional golfer with the PGA. Also covered are Tiger’s PGA victories and recognitions, as well as his personal life and societal contributions, including the Tiger Woods Learning Center and the Tiger Woods Foundation. Colorful graphics, oversized photographs, and short, engaging sentences draw in reluctant readers. Buddy Books is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.

Golf e-books for Grades 6-8:

by Brian Howell (author)       © 2012
ISBN: 9781614787136   AR: / Points 1.0

Best Sport Ever: Golf takes readers from the beginnings of golf to present day with a focus on the legends, the amazing stories, and the unique characteristics that makes the sport great. Discover the early games of golf, the equipment used in the game then and now, the thrill of the first hole-in-one, and the achievements of Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Walter Hagen, Mickey Wright, and so many others in this amazing overview of the Best Sport Ever: Golf! Through colorful descriptions, a glossary, additional resources, engaging sidebars that go “beyond the basics” into advanced skills and health benefits, and more, the Best Sport Ever series is a can’t miss for today’s sports fan. SportsZone is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.

by Brian Howell (author)       © 2013
ISBN: 9781624010026   AR: / Points 1.0

The Masters is one of Sports’ Greatest Championships! Since the first Masters in 1934, hundreds of thousands of people have attended the three-day tournament. Now, young readers can learn about the tournament’s history, the famous golfers, the spectacular drives, and the future of the sport from in their library. Informative sidebars add to the high impact photographs and easy-to-read text, bringing Sports’ Greatest Championships to readers of all ages. SportsZone is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.

Golf in the Classroom

How will you incorporate these e-books into your classroom?

E-Books to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Luck of the Irish to ya; it’s St. Patrick’s Day! Today is the day to wear green, pick a shamrock, and find a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow. Students are bound to be excited about this fun holiday, so why not indulge their joy a little and choose a Big Universe book for independent, group, or whole-class reading? For younger students, focus on the holiday and traditions, but older ones will appreciate learning about Ireland or even immigration.

Traditions like St. Patrick’s Day open a window of opportunity to learn about and discuss more serious topics with older students. Our country’s history is deep rooted in immigration and debates about such topics still happen today. Involve your students in reading about struggles and triumphs of coming to a new country.

You’re in luck! There’s a little something for everyone.

St. Patrick’s Day Inspired e-Books for Grades K-2:

Fiona’s Luck Fiona
by Teresa Bateman (author), Kelly Murphy (illustrator) (illustrator)       © 2009
ISBN: 9781570916434   AR: Book Level 4.5  / Quiz 112701

The greedy Leprechaun King has locked away all the luck in Ireland and the whole country has fallen in to despair. Through clever charades, Fiona outwits the Leprechaun King and restores luck to the land. Luminous illustrations add to the magic and wonder of this original folktale.

Teacher’s Tip: Older kids love picture books just as much as younger kids. Give your upper elementary and even middle school students a brain break by reading this e-book aloud to them. You’ll captivate their ever-changing attention!

St. Patrick’s Day Inspired e-Books for Grades 3-5:

Ireland Ireland
by Colleen Sexton       © 2011
ISBN: 9781600144837   AR: Book Level 4.7  / Points 0.5  / Quiz 140232  / Interest Level LG

A country of open fields, Ireland is known for its agriculture. It is also known for its unique step dancing and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. This book teaches children about life in a country of lush, green land and lively, laid-back people.


Landing at Ellis IslandEllis
by Holly Karapetkova       © 2010
ISBN: 1606945521   AR: Book Level 4.0  / Points 0.5  / Quiz 132488  / Interest Level MG

Read graphic history to experience immigrating to America through Ellis Island.


Famous Immigrants FamousImigrants
by Debra J. Housel

Many talented and skilled immigrants came to America from various places in the world and brought with them their own cultures and traditions to enrich the American culture and way of life. Among the famous immigrants whose lives have impacted the twentieth century are Elijah McCoy, Irving Berlin, Father Edward Flanagan, and I. M. Pei.

St. Patrick’s Day Inspired e-Books for Grades 6-8:

Irish Potato Famine PotatoFamine
by Joseph R. O’neill (author)       © 2009
ISBN: 9781617851773   AR: / Points 3.0

This title examines an important historic event, the Irish Potato Famine. Readers will learn the history of Ireland leading up to the famine, key players and happenings during the famine, and the event’s effect on society. Color photos and informative sidebars accompany easy-to-read, compelling text. Features include a timeline, facts, additional resources, web sites, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. Essential Events is a series in Essential Library, an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company. Grades 6-9.

St. Patrick’s Day Inspired e-Books for High School:

United KingdomUnitedKingdom
by Kimberly Dillon Summers (author)       © 2012
ISBN: 9781617878299

Explore diverse landscapes, travel back in time, and discover unique populations, all without leaving your chair! Start your international tour in the United Kingdom, land of Buckingham Palace, the Rosetta Stone, Arthur’s Seat, Mount Snowdon, William Shakespeare, the River Thames, Harry Potter, and so much more. This colorful, informative book introduces the history, geography, culture, climate, government, economy, and other significant features of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Sidebars, maps, fact pages, a glossary, a timeline, historic and full-color photos, and well-placed graphs and charts enhance this engaging title. Countries of the World is a series in Essential Library, an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.

St. Patrick’s Day Inspired Books in the Classroom

Make books your pot of gold at the end of a reading rainbow today, and engage students in discussions regarding folktales, traditions, immigration, and even the divide between southern and northern Ireland. Use holidays as a platform for discussion; you never know what golden nugget you might find.

Looking for other books for March? Engage students in reading about famous women in our history in celebration of Women’s History Month!

Different, Not More: Differentiation for Gifted Students in the General Classroom

Teachers feel the pressure to create differentiated instruction for their students. We plan lessons and modify them for our special education students, but often our gifted students are neglected. They are our high-achievers, our brilliant writers, and our awesome project-creators. We love having them in class, but we sometimes forget to extend and enrich our lessons for them.

After three years of gifted experience, if there is one thing that I wholeheartedly agree with regarding gifted education, it’s that gifted students need, demand, and desire different work than those students in a general education setting. Here are a few ways that you can modify your instruction to better serve and meet the needs of your gifted students.

Have students read about the same topic but on their ability level.

Let’s say your 5th grade class is studying plate tectonics, their shifting, and the results of the movement.  You choose for your class to read Tsunamis by Jennifer Swanson. However, you have several gifted students that read above this book’s Lexile level. You might choose for those students to work in a small group, at their own pace, and read 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami by Marcia Amidon, a book that reads at a middle school level. Students will enjoy this extra facet of information as well as learning about a real-world, somewhat recent, example.

Establish a student-centered learning contract.

Students who have vast prior knowledge about a particular concept, or students who work at a quick pace, will appreciate developing a plan to work at their own pace. Make sure your contract has at least three categories: Extension Options (teacher created), Student Option (student created), & Working Conditions (see example below). Allow students to work through a particular unit of study at their own pace and encourage them to create an authentic product at the end of learning. This works especially well for older students and particularly for those classes that have only one or two gifted students in them. (Adapted from Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom by Susan Winebrenner).


Provide opportunities for students to get creative.

Expecting your class to complete a worksheet about a particular topic? Have your gifted student to create one for the class instead, or better yet, ask them to develop a creative review game for the material covered. Put their creative minds to good use and give them an opportunity to shine.

Need more ways to differentiate for students’ instructional needs? Head to the Big Universe YouTube channel for more!