Our Lady of Guadalupe Stories and Activities

December 12 is the day we in the Roman Catholic church celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We commemorate the apparition or appearance of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, to a poor Indian in Mexico in 1513. Juan Diego, to whom Our Lady appeared was one of a small group of Aztecs who had taken up the faith of the Franciscan missionaries. The apparitions was the source of several breath-taking miracles and the conversion of over 8 million to Christianity. Here are activities and books to explore. Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Lesson Plan & Celebration Guide

Free Printable Advent, Bible Christmas Crafts

 Advent 2013 began Sunday, December 1. For the next 24 days we will prepare our hearts for the coming (Advent) of Jesus. Here are free printable Advent coloring, puzzles, crafts, calendars, wreaths and activities to celebrate the season. I have been exploring and testing links for free printable Advent activities to keep children busy productive and happy as they prepare for Christmas.Free Printable Advent Games, Crafts and Activities 

'Stone Soup Lesson Plans for Thanksgiving

When I was in kindergarten we did a Thanksgiving activity that has stuck with me all my life. We made Friendship Soup, also called 'Stone Soup' (taken from the old legend retold by Marcia Brown). Perfect for school, scouts, home school and church groups, making Friendship Soup or Stone Soup shows what wonderful things can happen when people share.  Friendship Soup and Stone Soup Classroom Lesson Plan Activities for Thanksgiving

Free Printable Books Kids Can Make and Read

I am all about hands-on lessons for kids. Children learn better when they do. So why not have them make mini books and read them? Here are free printable story books kids can cut and assemble, then color. They can use to learn vital reading skills. This site has free printable books on all kinds of subjects: ABC, numbers, shapes, animals, holidays, seasons, safety and more. Free Printable Books for Children to Make and Read 

Free Catholic Saints, Bible Character Coloring Pages for All Saints Day

Here's a treat that's better than Halloween candy. Hallowe'en as it's correctly spelled is the short version of All Hallows Eve. It's followed by and anticipates the Catholic Christian All Saints Day. What's the treat? Free printable saints and Bible character coloring pages. Saints are organized in order of the Catholic liturgical and saints feast day calendar. The artist makes these printables available free of charge to homeschoolers, families, individuals, religious groups, churches and schools.Free Printable Catholic Saints Coloring Pages for All Saints Day

Catholic Saints Coloring Pages, Bible Character Crafts

 I've just found a blog that features a whole collection of free printable Catholic saints organized in order of the Catholic liturgical and saints feast day calendar. Print these free coloring pages for All Saints Day. There are Bible characters, too. This blog features beautiful hand drawn images. Waltzing Matilda has over 65 free printable saints coloring pages, all lovingly designed by the author of this blog. She makes these printables available free of charge to all homeschoolers, families, individuals, religious groups, churches and schools. I'm delighted to share links for these free printable saints coloring pages. Free Printable Catholic Saints Coloring Pages for All Saints Day 

Homemade Reading Games, Interactive Book Crafts, Childrens' Literature Activities

Teachers, can you use cheap, homemade language arts lesson plans? Homeschoolers, looking for interactive reading games? Here are hands-on reading activities for preschool to high school. Use cheap, recycled materials. Lessons are based on HOTS (Higher-Order Thinking Skills): analysis, application, synthesis and evaluation.   Hands-On Homemade Reading Crafts, Book Activities, Literature Games

Chris VanAllsburg's Polar Express Connections

I have a lot of hobbies and interests. One is incunabula, particularly the collecting of children's literature. I'm not au currant in modern adult fiction, but juvenilia I speak fluently.

A favorite is Chris VanAllsburg--of Jumanji, The Polar Express (book, then movie) fame. When I was in college and a new teacher, VanAllsburg was writing and illustrating some of his best works. My personal favorite is a little-remembered volume of odd M.C. Escher-ish
pictures with intriguing captions "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick." I used that extensively in creative writing with my Montessori students in the 80s. Read more  Chris VanAllsburg is from My Hometown

Paranormal Prose Flash Fiction Slam for Halloween

Host a flash fiction slam for Halloween and you're students will love you forever! It's easy. Just give them paper, pencil and some quiet time to write. Don't get too fussy about subject--let them explore paranormal, haunted, ghosts, zombies, witches. It doesn't mean you approve. But kids love ghost stuff. Trying to quell will only make them run to it. So let them express that inner EA Poe. Encourage them to read aloud. Serve snacks and flavored coffee afterwards (very adult). No contests or prizes--just a good old slam. Paranormal Prose Flash Fiction Slam for Halloween

Preschool Disney Story Party, Rainy Day Reading Fun

The older kids are back to school and now you have bored, lonely preschoolers. Why not take an afternoon break and throw and impromtu book party? Engage little ones with cheap, literature-based games, crafts, food! Use Disney stories for a fall fun. Printables included. Preschool Disney Story Party, with Fun Snacks

Technology-Free Family--Why We Raised Kids With Books and Nixed Television

I chuckle remembering my husband's and my early parenting selves--so radical it hurt. In the ultra-conventional 80s, nonconformity did not enjoy the vogue it does now. We were hipsters when that word still meant jeans!
One big concern was the effect of TV on kids. I had steeped myself in organic childhood teaching, following Dr. Maria Montessori and reading books like Marie Winn's "The Plug-in Drug." Even when we were dating, we agreed that nature was nurture. I give us credit looking back. We'd seen nothing yet of internet, video games, Blu-Ray, cellphones and cyber culture. VCRs were pretty young. We worried about cable television and vowed never to have a TV set in our home. We'd grow our kids on books we said. Technology-Free Family--Why We Raised Kids Without Television

Detroit Residents Protest Disposal of Black History Collection

In what amounts to little less than a book burning, a large collection of black history media was destroyed in Highland Park, Michigan. City Emergency Manager Donald Weatherspoon said workers were clearing the school library's second floor to make room for offices, and they threw the collection out by mistake. The collection included an irreplaceable archive of African American history materials, many vintage. I'd be curious to know what students thought about destroying library books. Doesn't set a very good example, when we expect children to take care of reading materials. Highland Park, MI, Residents Protest Disposal of Black History Collection

Family Read-Aloud: Old Scholastic Classic Kids Books

I tend to look askance at most children's movies made in the last few years. Kids' books too, for that matter. I'm a bibliophile and have a collection of children's literature that exceeds 2,000 books. I haunt libraries, used book stores, Scholastic website. I'm admittedly fussy about quality literature for children. Much of what's coming out seems repetitive in theme: vampires, fantasy, Gothic--very Harry Potteresque. Some stories seem to be spun straight from others' in the genre.

Even realistic fiction has become banal and patronizing. Teen angst, new kid problems, bullying, family problems-- these serious get dumbed down often. They books read like they're written by adults trying to sound like kids. Family Read-Aloud: Old Scholastic Classic Kids Books 

Free Printable Literature, Math, Writing, Reading Activities for Kids

 Parents and teachers, looking for free, fun ways to keep kids reading and learning all summer long? Or maybe you need to supplement homeschool or classroom curriculum? Look no further. Scholastic is your one-stop source for free printable hands-on lessons and activities.

Scroll down the parent page for gobs of free printable literature-based activities. For kids ages 4-7, there's a plethora of free printable math, science, reading and writing activities. Scholastic has printable games, puzzles, coloring pages and lessons for preschoolers. Woven in are book themes, holidays, weather, animals and favorite characters. For grades 1-2, Scholastic has free printable science crafts, booklets on math and writing, graphic organizers, grammar and spelling activities, writing prompts and frames and reading games. Free Printable Literature, Math, Writing, Reading Activities for Kids

Free Printable Coloring Mini Books for Children

Educator Jonathon Holt says children learn best when they are actively involved. Here are free printable mini booklets for children to color. Subject include letters, words, seasons, animals, science, Bible, holidays and lots more. These books make excellent classroom, homeschoool and supplemental lessons for ages 4-7 years (grades preschool through second). These free printable activities are especially good for special needs children. Free Printable Coloring Mini Books for Children

Holiday Activities, Crafts, Lessons and Printables from Enchanted Learning

Anyone involved in education, after school activities or child care knows summer holidays produce either boredom, loneliness frenetic activity or all three. If you need games, activities, printables here you go. Get crafts, calendars, diagrams to label, maps to fill in, booklets to cut, color, answer and assemble, online student encyclopedia, online coloring, printable coloring pages, reference, lessons, complete units, themes. Enchanted Learning can be your lifeline, both for summer holidays. Holiday Activities, Crafts, Lessons and Printables from Enchanted Learning

Free Poetry Writing Prompts, Poem Games, Activities

April is National Poetry Month. For online writers, it's NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writer Month). And what better month to celebrate than April with spring awakening, nature busting out all over and Earth Day nestled in? Want to join the poem-penning but don't know where to begin? Here are poem writing prompts, story starters and word games to call forth your inner bard! Perfect for homeschooler parents, English and creative writing teachers.

Verse-adventure: Hands down, there's no better poetry muse than mother nature. Get outside and start your poem quest. Pack a bag with pen, paper, thesaurus and blanket. Station yourself in a garden. Walk in the woods. Sit on the beach. Observe the elements: wind, sun, water. Notice the flora and fauna: trees, flowers, animals, land formations. Jot down sensory details--colors, sounds, smells, shapes. Check your thesaurus for new, fresh words to express ideas. Free Poetry Writing Prompts, Poem Games, Activities 

Free Printable Preschool Board Games, Learning Activities

As a certified special needs teacher for CI (cognitively impaired) students, I always write interactive lesson plans. Hands-on activities, like games, make content relevant, approachable and understandable for both general and special education students. Preschool kids particularly need multisensory learning activities. Happily, there are many free printable preschool games available online. Free Printable Preschool Board Games, Learning Activities

Printable Brown Bear, Brown Bear Reading Games, Literature Crafts

 "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?" Thus begins a charming, eponymous preschool favorite by author Bill Martin. Via illustrator Eric Carle's pictures, preschoolers learn about colors, animals. patterns, math and also friendship. Here are free printable games, coloring pages, crafts, worksheets and learning activities from the children's literature classic, along with the companion Martin/Carle book "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?"  Free Printable Brown Bear, Brown Bear Activities

Jewish Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day Stories

The Hebrew 27th day of Nissan, in fact the entire week, is a sad time for the world. For 2013, these dates correspond to April 6-13 on the Western calendar. They are "days of remembrance" that commemorate Yom HaShoah, Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day. During this time, we honor the millions who died in the World War II Nazi genocide. I'm not a Jew, but I am a human. And I feel deep pain and solidarity with Jews throughout the world.  Let's Mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, by Sharing Stories

Easter Bible Object Lessons with Jelly Beans

As a mom, special needs teacher, adult educator and homeschool parent, I'm constantly looking for and developing ways to make learning interactive and approachable. As a bibliophile, I try to make books hands-on. I look for text to life connections. I use object lessons. Using five senses to explore material, students (regardless of age or ability) are engaged and understand content better. Our sense of taste provides oft-overlooked learning opportunities. Kids associated food with positive ideas; endorphins (feel-good hormones) are released when we eat. Endophins produce a sense of well-being and make us more receptive. Here's a Bible lesson using jelly beans as an Easter object lesson. Use Leftover Jelly Beans for an Easter Craft and Devotional Object Lesson

March National Reading Month, Women's History Month--Female Nobel Prize for Literature: Eleven Women Laureates

Since March is both National Reading Month and National Women's History Month, I thought why not celebrate by enjoying books from female Nobel Prize for Literature selections? Researching the Nobel Literature laureates, I found that in the 112-year history of the Nobel Prize, only 12 women have won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Here is a lesson plan for high school English or World Literature classes that focuses on the lives, history and work of those eleven women authors and Nobel Laureates. Here's a link for online activities and printable worksheets. In 1909: Swedish-born Selma Lagerlof becomes the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for series of children's stories entitled The Many Adventures of Nils. Note: in my original article, I missed the 1945 winner, Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, making the total 12. Still too few. Nobel Prize for Literature: Eleven Women Laureates

Catholic Lenten Bible Readings, Prayers, Devotions for Lent

Catholic Relief Services is the single largest non-governmental relief agency in the world. Each year at Lent CRS initiates what is called 'Operation Rice Bowl'. Operation Rice Bowl is a program which focuses our attention on the cardinal aims of the Lenten season: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The Rice Bowl project consists of a cardboard box which when assembled, looks very much like the take out boxes that rice comes in. The Rice Bowl is a box which families set up in their homes during Lent to collect loose change and offerings for the poor and hungry of the world. Operation Rice bowl also includes a Lenten prayer calendar with devotional activities, feast days and stations of the cross. Each calendar day has a prayer focus. Specific information about world poverty statistics and needs from around the world are listed also.  Lenten Rice Bowl Devotional and Lesson Planner

An Apology for Little Black Sambo

I have a confession to make. My oldest daughter's favorite book, when she was two, was "Little Black Sambo," by Helen Bannerman. Initially, I had no idea some people found it racist and offensive, but even when I found out, I didn't stop reading it. Sambo is one of my favorite children in literature. It was also too late. Molly was in love with the story. This is my apology (in the defense sense of the word) for and to Little Black Sambo. I'm connecting it to Black History Month because I think it should be read with pride and joy. An Apology for Little Black Sambo

Chinese New Year 2013 Year of the Snake Party Planner

The Year of the Rat in the Chinese New Year calendar begins on February 10 for 2013. It's year of the snake. Ring in the Chinese New Year with a party for your classroom, home-school group, scout troop, 4-H club or any other venue you have to explore diversity and culture. Here are books, crafts, games and activities! And in the long dark days of February (for many of us), a cultural celebration can spark some light in a stale, dragging school year. This party planner includes the elements of a good lesson as well as a good party.  Chinese New Year Party Planner

Free Printable Stations of the Cross Coloring Booklet

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday of the Catholic liturgical calendar and continues for 40 days up to Easter. We try to imitate Jesus with prayer, fasting and alms-giving. Here are free printable Stations of the Cross coloring pages to guide lent devotions. Each year during Lent when our family was homeschooling, we drew images, one for each of the Station of the Cross, to use as a guide for prayer and devotion. We hung them at different places in our home or yard.  Free Lenten Devotional Booklet

Activities for Bored, Winterbound Kids: Throw a Book Party

If your weather is anything like mine this winter, there's a lot of cold, but little snow. For kids, winter's no fun without the snow-just chill and wet. When it's too cold to play outside and too boring to play inside, most kids' attention turns to mischief. Why not head off your little troublemakers off at the pass with a cheap (mostly free) afternoon of fun, compliments of your bookshelf? Activities for Bored Children: Literature Party

Free Printable Bible Coloring Pages, Activities: Old Testament and New Testament Stories

Teaching VBS- Vacation Bible School this summer? Or maybe you're teaching Sunday school, Christian school, Hebrew school or homeschool? You will want these links for free printable Bible story, old testament and new testament coloring pages. Here are hundreds of  Bible coloring pages and printables from most books in the old testament and new testament. Stories include: Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, the 10 plagues, flight from Egypt, David and Goliath, Jesus, Easter, Christmas and many more. Perfect for Catholic Christian lent observances and Jewish Passover celebrations.  Bible Printables, Coloring Crafts

Back to School, Valentines Day Unit on Mosaics

Coming back to school in January after the holiday can be dreary for kids, especially when the weather is wet and cold and days are shorter. This is a difficult but crucial time to keep educational momentum. Start the new year off with an engaging, interactive unit. Get kids actively involved explorating and learning. Use this unit for all ages and grades. Multisensory, cross-curricular lesson plans cover a spectrum of content. The unit focuses on mosaics. Mosaics are art forms in which murals are made using tiny tiles or pieces of paper cut in geometric shapes to create a picture. Mosaics are Persian in origin and are often seen in Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Making mosaics, kids learn math, science, patterns, shapes, art, social studies and design.  Use the book "St. Valentine" by Robert Sabuda as a starting point. Read more

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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