Category Archives: Academic Success

Part 4: {fun!} Games to train your brain

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed. 

This is part four in a four-part series on cognitive weaknesses. Comment to win a $20 School Box gift card.

Here are a few tips for sharpening children’s cognitive skills using everyday items, as shared by Kristen Thompson, LearningRx owner and former teacher.

  • Work on critical thinking with learning-geared computer games, like Disney’s Where’s My Water, that require critical thinking to solve a multi-step challenge.
  • Improve logic and reasoning by identifying patterns. Set out blocks in a certain pattern (red, blue, yellow, yellow, red….) and have children continue the pattern. For more pattern ideas, click here.
  • Build mental processing with a deck of cards. Tell the child to shuffle the cards thoroughly, then sort the cards into four piles as fast as he/she can. Note: no need to put the cards in order, focus on speed.
  1. Pile 1: RED cards Ace through 10
  2. Pile 2: BLACK cards Ace through 10
  3. Pile 3: BLACK face cards
  4. Pile 4: RED face cards
  5. Now, add difficulty: Next time count by 2’s out loud as you sort the cards. Then, count by 3’s out loud as you sort the cards. After that, sort again, and each time a face card is added to a pile, call out the name of the card (Ace, King, Queen, Jack). Do not say anything when adding other cards. Finally, each time an even numbered card is added to a pile, call out the number of the card (2, 4, 6, 8, 10). Do not say anything when adding other cards. Click here for more card ideas.
  • Improve memory…with your refrigerator! Open the refrigerator door and ask your student to look inside for 20 seconds and try to remember all they see. Then, shut the door and ask the student to write down everything they can remember. Open the door together and count to see how well they did. Now, add difficulty: Same 20-second peek as above, but this time ask your student to recall the items one shelf at a time and remember as much as possible from that one area at a time. Open it up and see how well he or she did.
  • Get moving! Physical activity is good for the body and the mind.

Kristen Thompson owns the LearningRx Brain Training Center in Kennesaw, Georgia. Call 770-529-4800 or visit www.learningrx.com/kennesaw for more information. Activities featured here are from www.unlocktheeinsteininside.com.

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Filed under Academic Success, brain training, cognitive weakness, Critical Thinking, Games

Part 3: Identifying cognitive skills

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

This is part three in a four-part series on cognitive weaknesses. Comment to win a $20 School Box gift card!

In this four-part series, we’ve been discussing cognitive weaknesses. So far, we witnessed a student success story and examined some hidden warning signs of a cognitive weakness–or a breakdown in the brain’s ability to carry out a critical cognitive skill. So, just what are these all-important cognitive skills? Essentially, they are the brain behaviors responsible for learning.

Here’s a rundown of the critical cognitive skills, and how each impacts a child’s ability to process information: 

Attention Skills:

A student’s ability to attend to incoming information can be observed, broken down into a variety of sub-skills, and improved through properly coordinated training. There are three primary types of attention:

Sustained Attention: The ability to remain focused and on task, and the amount of time we can focus.

Selective Attention: The ability to remain focused and on task while being subjected to related and unrelated sensory input (distractions).

Divided Attention: The ability to remember information while performing a mental operation and attending to two things at once (multi-tasking).

Memory:

The ability to store and recall information.

Long-Term Memory: The ability to recall information that was stored in the past. Long-term memory is critical for spelling, recalling facts on tests, and comprehension. Weak long-term memory skills create symptoms like forgetting names and phone numbers, and doing poorly on unit tests.

Short-Term / Working Memory: The ability to apprehend and hold information in immediate awareness while simultaneously performing a mental operation. Students with short-term memory problems may need to look several times at something before copying, have problems following multi-step instructions, or need to have information repeated often.

Logic and Reasoning:

The ability to reason, form concepts, and solve problems using unfamiliar information or novel procedures. Deductive reasoning extends this problem-solving ability to draw conclusions and come up with solutions by analyzing the relationships between given conditions.

Students with underdeveloped logic and reasoning skills will generally struggle with word math problems and other abstract learning challenges. Symptoms of skill weaknesses in this area show up as questions like, “I don’t get this,” “I need help…this is so hard,” or “What should I do first?”

Auditory Processing:

The ability to analyze, blend, and segment sounds. Auditory processing is a crucial underlying skill for reading and spelling success, and is the number one skill needed for learning to read.

Weakness in any of the auditory processing skills will greatly hinder learning to read, reading fluency, and comprehension. Students with auditory processing weakness also typically lose motivation to read.

Visual Processing:

The ability to perceive, analyze, and think in visual images. This includes visualization, which is the ability to create a picture in your mind of words or concepts. Students who have problems with visual processing may have difficulty following instructions, reading maps, doing word math problems, and comprehending.

Processing Speed:

The ability to perform simple or complex cognitive tasks quickly. This skill also measures the ability of the brain to work quickly and accurately while ignoring distracting stimuli. Slow processing speed makes every task more difficult.

Very often, slow processing is one root of ADHD-type behaviors. Symptoms of weaknesses here include homework taking a long time, always being the last one to get his or her shoes on, or being slow at completing even simple tasks.

To identify specific weaknesses within these cognitive skills, visit learningrx.com. For tips on strengthening cognitive skills, stay tuned for part four in this series. 

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Part 2: {Secret} signs of a cognitive weakness

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

This is part two in a four-part series on cognitive weaknesses. Comment on this post to be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card.

Kristen Thompson, brain training expert. Photo by Jen Harris Photography

Most parents and teachers know the typical warning signs of a learning problem: declining grades, apathy, noticeable shifts in mood. “But for many children, like Jenny (featured in part one of this series), the signs that something’s amiss are much more subtle,” shares LearningRx owner and former Cobb County, Georgia, teacher Kristen Thompson.

Here, Kristen shares some lesser-known telltales of cognitive weaknesses: 

  • Completing homework is a struggle and takes an inordinate amount of time.
  • Looking several times at something while copying is necessary.
  • Remembering and independently following multi-step directions is a challenge.
  • Solving math word problems causes frustration. (Math skills are directly connected to cognitive skills.)
  • Responding with, “I don’t get this!” or “What should I do first?” is common.
  • Reading comprehension is weak; the “big picture” is often missed.
  • At test-time, recalling facts and remembering what was studied is difficult.
  • Asking for things to be repeated is a regular occurrence.
  • The student’s sense of direction and map-reading skills are weak.
  • The ability to readily “get” jokes or understand others’ senses of humor seems hindered.
  • Jigsaw puzzles are avoided or deemed “too hard.”
  • Organization of materials and time is elusive.

“The good news, however, is that the brain can be trained to overcome any cognitive weaknesses that might be causing these behaviors,” shares Kristen.

The first step, according to Kristen, is identifying exactly which cognitive skills are being impacted by a weaknesses. For more information on each of these different cognitive areas, stay tuned for part three in this series.

Click here to take a quick online quiz to determine if your child is displaying these warning signs.

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Filed under Academic Success, brain training, cognitive weakness, Critical Thinking, Home Schooling, reluctant readers, School Readiness

Part 1: The {true} story of overcoming a cognitive weakness

by Suzanna Palmer 

This is part one in a four-part series on cognitive weaknesses.

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card! 

meet Jenny

Eight-year-old Jenny doesn’t fit the profile of a child with a learning disability. She receives high marks in school and praise from her teachers. She’s considered one of the smartest kids in her class and consistently scores in the 90th percentile on standardized tests. But last year, halfway through the second grade, Jenny became increasingly frustrated during afternoon homework sessions.

“Finishing assignments, especially math, would take a really long time,” recalls Jenny’s mother, Sherry. “As I explained things, she would say over and over, ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying.’”

To compensate for her struggle to learn new material, Jenny spent countless hours on homework each day, and as a result, continued to do well in school. But despite Jenny’s apparent success, Sherry had a feeling something was amiss: “I just knew in my gut something was wrong.”

Following her instincts, she had Jenny tested at a center called LearningRx that helps children overcome cognitive weaknesses. The tests revealed that Jenny did indeed have processing weaknesses that were impacting her ability to organize and recall information.

 a path of action

Over the next five months, Jenny participated in activities designed to retrain her brain to think and respond efficiently. The three weekly sessions, each an hour-and-a-half long, worked miracles. By the end of her training, Jenny’s cognitive test scores had improved by leaps and bounds—as had her ability to listen, remember and follow directions.

Although now-third-grader Jenny is finished with her training, she and her parents are still reaping the rewards. They no longer dread homework, and her mother reports that Jenny’s maturity level and relationships have also improved tremendously.

“There is a total difference in her personality,” Sherry concludes. “She is capable of understanding and remembering things we say to her. She’s not frustrated anymore. In a nutshell, LearningRx gave me my daughter back.”

 Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series: secret signs of a cognitive weakness (and how to identify them). 

Jenny’s success was found through the LearningRx. Call 770-529-4800 or visit www.learningrx.com/kennesaw for more information.

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Filed under Academic Success, brain training, cognitive weakness, Critical Thinking, Reading, reluctant readers, special needs

Learning Sign Language {3 great resources}

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 gift card from The School Box! 

by Diane Burdick, Ed.S.

I’ve been interested in sign language since as early as I can remember. As a highschooler I was in the sign language club, and the college I attended held free sign language classes every week, where I learned both basic and more advanced sign language words and concepts.

Although I took the classes more than 10 years ago, I still use my sign language skills at church and in my community. If you’re interested in learning sign language, pursue it! You’ll probably be surprised by how many opportunities you’ll find to use this ability once you have it.

Here are three great resources for learning and mastering sign language:

1. SigningFamilies.com

SigningFamilies.com offers lessons (for a small fee), as well as free video tutorials on YouTube. While the material is mostly geared toward children, adults can also benefit. DVD topics include teaching babies, toddlers and preschoolers sign language, as well as teaching sign language for emergency situations. Online classes include ASL (American Sign Language) basics, classes for kids, and adaptive sign language for people with special needs.

2. LifePrint.com

American Sign Language University on LifePrint.com teaches basic techniques like letters, common words and fingerspelling, as well as the importance of using body language and facial expressions when communicating with the hard-of-hearing. Bill Vicars, the facilitator of the course, also gives guidance on how to learn ASL even if you don’t interact much with the deaf community.

3. ASLPro.com

ASLPro.com offers free information for sign language teachers, and is specifically geared to be a classroom resource. Contents of the site include a main dictionary, a religious dictionary, conversational dictionary, as well as ways to teach ASL to babies.

These resources are a great starting point for learning sign language. I’d also encourage you to check with your local community center or church for class availability. Learning sign language is a lifelong skill you’ll always treasure.

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teaching kids (and yourself!) how to excel at public speaking

by Jessica Reynolds and Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed. 

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card. 

Did you know that when polled, Americans consistently rank public speaking as their number one fear, even above death (which is number two)? Why all the willies? Well, lots of reasons: fears of freezing up, going blank, being the center of attention, losing face….

So, when teaching our youngsters how to speak in front of others, we need to minimize fears and bolster confidence. Here’s how:

1. Pick an engaging topic. 

Whenever you are asked to speak, the organizer of the event will likely assign you a general topic to talk about, but you can present a clever or creative perspective or angle. Just because they tell you to talk about gardening, for example, doesn’t mean you have to give a step by step tutorial. Most people know how to plant a garden, but fewer people know secrets of fertilizing or the different fertilizing options. Maybe talk about starting a neighborhood share program where participants bring their fruits of their labor and mix up what is there, each taking a portion of what everyone contributes.

Opting for a creative approach will make you feel more confident in your material, and will also result in a highly engaged audience. 

2. Write out a plan. 

Put your speech into writing, even if you plan to talk off-the-cuff without reading your notes. Here’s how to start your plan:

Come up with a catchy beginning:

The beginning can be something like a joke, ice breaker or anecdote. In order to gain the audience’s attention, you need to make an impression in under one minute or people will begin to tune you out. Grab them early on and hold their attention for the duration!

Put the meat in the middle:

The middle of your speech should be the meat and potatoes of what you have to say. Use strong word imagery to connect with your audience. Visual aids can help you stay on point, like posters or PowerPoint. But, don’t write your speech entirely using these aids, or you will end up reading from your slides…a sure snooze-alert! Know your stuff, and present it communicatively with enthusiasm and animation. It’s also a good idea to make sure your visuals are easy to read at a distance.

Leave an impact with your ending:

Your conclusion should make an impact. It should touch the emotions of people in some way that they will always remember what you told them.

If you are speaking on gardening and composting, you can end with a story about how you learned to garden from your late grandmother, for example. Ending with a personal story makes what you have to say special and full of thought. Then, when people leave, they’ll take your knowledge with them–both because you presented it expertly and because you inspired them with a memory of your own. 

3. Prepare for all variables. 

As with anything, be prepared for the unpredictable. Think about all the variables that could hinder you from giving your speech. Technical glitches usually rank among the top snafus, so have a back-up plan just in case there are electronic malfunctions. You worked hard on this! Your words need to be spoken!

Then, dress for the occasion and be confident. Speak up! No one wants to struggle to hear you, nor do they want to look at a messy messenger. A crisp, clean appearance and well enunciated words will make you all the more successful.

And afterwards, celebrate! Congratulate yourself on a job well done. 

Jessica Reynolds loves spending time with her family and living life through photography and art. She has spent considerable time running her own businesses while raising her kids. Currently, she blogs for postersession.com.

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Filed under Academic Success, Reading, technology

FRESH Bulletin Boards for Back-to-School!

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed. and Diane Burdick, M.S. Ed.

Back-to-school time is upon us! Just look around any grocery store and you’ll be reminded that school will be starting up any day. So, we’re here to help you come up with a few new ways to welcome your students into your classroom–and into the new school year–with style and, well, class.

Bulletin Board #1: Getting to Know YOU

As the teacher, you’re interested in getting to know your students, but your students (and their parents) are equally as interested in getting to know all about you. So why not help them learn more about you with a YOU-themed bulletin board?

Title the board “Mrs. Smith welcomes you!” Include a brief biographical paragraph, pictures of yourself and your family, and pictures of you at the age of the students you teach. Create a list of your likes and dislikes, a list of the fun things that you did this summer, a list of your favorite things about school (it’s okay to put recess on there :).

Doing a YOU-themed bulletin board helps the students feel less intimidated by you as the new authority figure in their lives and sets the tone for a cheery new school year.

Bulletin Board #2: Look Whooo’s In Our Nest!

Owls are all the rage currently, and given their tie-in with knowledge and learning, why not incorporate them into a “Look Whooo’s In Our Nest” bulletin board?

Use strips of brown paper to create a large nest at the bottom of the bulletin board, and then fill it with owls. {Download printable owls here or here or here. Or create your own using this printable template from CraftJr.com.} Write each child’s name on an owl.

To vary this idea with photographs, ask parents to bring a fairly recent picture of their child with them to meet-and-greet or orientation (or the first day of school). Glue a child’s head over each owl face. Can’t you just picture a big brown nest filled with your new lil’ owlets?

Check out some of the great downloadable and purchasable owl items from Teacher Pay Teachers {an online marketplace for educational ideas}, too.

Bulletin Board #3: Heroes of the Class

Since hero-themed movies were so big this year in the box office, consider creating a bulletin board celebrating the different heroes in your classroom: your classroom helpers! Assign fun names and pictures to your different classroom jobs to help invoke a spirit of helpfulness, and post them to the bulletin board for all your students to see.

For example, students might not want to be on trash duty for the week, but they probably wouldn’t mind being called the Royal Rubbish Remover.

Other fun classroom helper names: 

• Inspector Desk Inspector (for the student who inspects desks for cleanliness)

• King/Queen of Calendars (for the student who helps mark things off the calendar)

• Mr. /Mrs. Clean (for the student who helps others at the sink to wash their hands)

• Professor Paper Passer (for the student who helps distribute papers)

• Agua Man/Woman (for the student who waters the classroom plants)

• “Bat” Man (for the student who helps collect sports gear)

The possibilities are almost endless! And if you have the time (and creativity), consider allowing students to wear a special pin or badge that denotes their assignments for the week. For more creative ways to display classroom jobs, check out the free resources at thecornerstoneforteachers.com.

Have fun planning out your inaugural bulletin boards!

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Filed under Academic Success, Bulletin Boards, Classroom Decor, New School Year, Welcome

Four Timely Reminders for all Educators

 by Mary Jane Downs

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card! {winners drawn at the end of the month}

Are you creating a teaching legacy for future generations? What wisdom can you pass down from your experiences?

My daughter graduated as an education major from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, this past spring. As she is hunting for a teaching position and awaiting her first solo flight, I want to give her some sage advice to ponder as she anticipates the future. Here are four tips from my teaching experience that I will be sharing with my daughter, which are, perhaps, a good reminder for all of us teachers…both young and not-so-young. 

Healthy Fear

A little ‘healthy fear’ at the beginning of each year can be a good thing. You do not have all the answers yet because every class has a different make up. This keeps you willing to seek for the answers…and it can also foster a mutual respect from your students. Don’t fear the fear; embrace it as an opportunity to learn.

The Truth Behind Discipline

Discipline has a lot to do with who you are and how you present yourself. It also has to do with honesty, fairness, your example and what you expect of each student. Bad attitudes and criticism will only aggravate the challenges. Finding the good in each student and telling them so can begin to change even the most hardcore children.

Each New Day is a New Day

Let everyone have a new start each day. Don’t hold grudges against students. It will only bring more friction to a classroom. We all have bad moments, days and periods of time when our behavior reeks. Forgive and move on. Try to find out if there is a reason for a student’s behavior. Then, work to help your student learn to overcome their problems in a more positive way.

Teachable Spirit

The best teachers keep a teachable spirit throughout their career. They never think they have arrived at fully knowing everything. They continually search for the best ways to enhance their students’ learning environment. Then, when all is said and done, your students will honor and respect you for helping them learn to succeed under your watch.

Teaching is a challenge no matter how you look at it. However, starting out with the right kind of wisdom will help you build a rewarding career…and a living legacy.

Mary Jane Downs is an author, speaker and teacher who lives in the foothills of the Asheville Mountains. She loves long walks with her camera in hand, reading, hand quilting, and cooking for friends. Mary Jane has been published in Awe Magazine, Inspiredmoms.com, as well as a guest blogger. Mary Jane has found her writing and love of quilting to work well together. Quilting gives her time to think and gain insight for story ideas, and writing helps her to express those ideas and thoughts to others. Read more by Mary Jane at www.maryjanewrites.com.

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Filed under Academic Success, Behavior Management, Motivation, School Readiness, Teacher Inspiration, Teaching

Creative Ideas for Peaceful School Mornings

Happy School Kidsby Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

This article originally appeared in Little Black Dress|Little Red Wagon Magazine. 

Comment on this post and be entered to win $20 to The School Box. Woohoo!

It’s 8 a.m. and my household has already witnessed three meltdowns, two resulting in tears, and one of them mine. Seriously, it should not be this difficult to get the kids ready for school and out the door.

When I was pregnant, I envisioned school-day mornings with homemade breakfasts, freshly poured (maybe even squeezed) OJ, neatly parted hair and happy smiles. While this may have been pie-in-the-sky, I am a put-together enough person to at least achieve toaster waffles and canned juice without weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So, this year, dangit, I am vowing to pull off more peaceful school mornings. And I’ve called in three pros to advise and counsel: Cheryl Bahneman, Francie Towey, and Beverly Boney. As the champions for working moms everywhere, these three run the Primrose Schools at Brookstone and Oregon Park (Cheryl), Primrose Schools at Macland Pointe and Sprayberry (Francie), and Primrose at Bentwater (Beverly).

I love, love, LOVE the fresh, creative tips they shared for making mornings more peaceful on the home front.

Make a Morning Map

Create a checklist or picture map to help kids stay on track with the morning routine: make bed, go potty, brush teeth, get bookbag, etc. Laminate the list and provide a dry-erase marker so that children can check off the steps as they go. “Setting concrete expectations about the sequence of tasks is important for little ones,” affirms Francie.

“Allowing your child to chime in when creating the list will ensure their ownership over this idea, too,” Cheryl adds. Let them help type and add clip art to make their Morning Map. Feeling crafty? Take a pic of your child doing each action, and use those for a customized checklist.

Create a Family Command Center Binder

Fill a three-ring binder with page protectors and dividers. Label the dividers: Family Basics, Contacts, Pending, and then label one divider with each child’s name.

In the page protectors under Family Basics, slide in emergency info and babysitter instructions. The Contacts section is for important numbers and business cards: school, doctor, vet, painter, plumber. Pending page protectors hold Netflix mailers, receipts for online purchases, upcoming birthday invitations. In each child’s section, keep their extracurricular schedules, school information and the like. “Creating organizational systems that work is key for peaceful routines,” affirms Beverly.

Have Homemade Breakfast in a Hurry!

Okay, so making a huge hot breakfast every morning isn’t always (ever?) realistic. Instead, opt for grab-and-go homemade: Make batches of homemade pancakes and waffles once a month. Freeze them on cookie sheets and then rebag into freezer baggies to reheat in the toaster. Voila—homemade in a hurry!

Take the Pressure Off

Finally, set a positive tone for your child’s school day by letting them know you’re behind them, regardless of performance. “Children thrive more when they don’t feel pressure from their mom or dad to perform,” shares Francie. “The most important attribute a parent can teach their child is to try. If a child learns that, they will do amazing things—without stress.”

Sources:

Primrose School at Brookstone, www.primrosebrookstone.com

Primrose School at Macland Pointe, www.primrosemaclandpointe.com

Primrose School at Oregon Park, www.primroseoregonpark.com

Primrose School of Sprayberry, www.primrosesprayberry.com

Primrose School at Bentwater, www.primrosebentwater.com

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Filed under Academic Success, Organization, Parenting

Fostering Text-to-Life Connections through Common Summertime Activities – Part II

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card. Winners are drawn monthly. 

Making connections between a text and a reader’s life is an important part of reading comprehension. The more young readers are encouraged to relate books to their own experiences, the better they’ll be able to access prior knowledge, make predictions, infer cause and effect relationships, and synthesize meaning. And, the more readers practice making connections, the more natural this critical reading skill will become.

So, why not use summer to practice making authentic text-to-life connections? It’s easy. Just pick a book and read it before, during, or after an activity with a similar theme. Before you begin reading and also during reading, ask prompting questions like:

  • “Have you ever done this?”
  • “What was your favorite part about _____(fill in experience)___?”
  • “How do you feel when you’re ___(with Grandma, at the beach, camping, etc.)___?”
  • “How do you think the character is feeling now? How would you feel in this situation?”
  • “What did we do next when we were ____(experience)__? What do you think the character is going to do next?”
  • “How was this like our trip? How was this book different?”

To get you started, we shared a list of books that connect to visiting grandparents and going to the beach in Part I of this series. Now, here’s a list of books that connect to camping, flying on an airplane, and making something creative out of an empty box!

Summertime Activity:

Camping!

The books that connect to the activity:

S if for S'mores

S is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet, by Helen Foster James

From what to pack, to where to go, to what to do when you get there, S is for Smores: A Camping Alphabet takes readers on an A-Z trail exploring this outdoor pastime.

Canoe Days, by Gary Paulsen

This gorgeous picture book is by the award-winning outdoor youth novelist of Hatchet. Here’s the publisher’s review: Opening this book is like sitting down in a canoe, taking up a paddle, and gliding out into the summer beauty of a hidden lake. In this picture book that is as refreshing and inviting as a perfect canoe day, a fawn peeks out from the trees as ducklings fan out behind their mother. Ruth Wright Paulsen’s sunlit paintings and Gary Paulsen’s poetic text capture all the peace and pleasure of a day when water and sky are one.

Summertime Activity:

Going on a picnic!

The books that connect to the activity:

The Picnic, by Ruth Brown

This delightful book narrates a picnic from the perspective of the animals that live both on top of–and under–the ground.

The Bears’ Picnic by Stan and Jan Baranstein

Oh, silly Father Bear! That’s not how you pick a picnic spot! In this bear-errific misadventure, Father Bear leads the family on a quest for the perfect picnic spot…but ends up trying out quite a few subpar spots (train tracks, dumping ground, mosquito swamp) first.

Summertime Activity:

Turning an empty box into a house, or castle, or race car, or ship, or….

The books that connect to the activity:

Christina Katerina and the Box, by Patricia Lee GauchChristina Katerina and the Box

If you can get your hands on a copy, DO IT! This imaginative book was my favorite growing up (and judging from the many reviews on Amazon.com, I wasn’t alone), and now it’s a favorite for my own young readers. Christina likes nothing more than the promise of an empty box. So, when a new fridge arrives at her house one summer day, Christina quickly claims the box. She pulls it into her front yard where it becomes a castle, club house, race car, and ballroom floor. It will inspire countless hours of imaginative play with your own empty boxes!

Other Summertime Activity Books:

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Filed under Academic Success, Critical Thinking, Home Schooling, Parenting, Reading, Summer Learning