The Outdoor Classroom

Spring has sprung!

This school realizes the value of studying outdoors:

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Many classrooms with smaller budgets can simply move classrooms to the lawn for an enhanced learning experience in this beautiful weather.

Here’s another school moving studies outdoors:

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See more about CAI at:

I am reminded of this French proverb:

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

It means:

the more things change, the more they stay the same


Today’s Assignment: Study or write outdoors! (Don’t forget to protect yourself from too much sun!)

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Make a Map!

Many novels include maps. These maps enhance the story for the reader.

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne includes this familiar map:

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Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson includes this map:

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See more about Robert Louis Stevenson here:


My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett has this map:

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Lewis Carroll, mathematician and philosopher, author of Alice in Wonderland, penned two cartographers’ dilemmas:

Mein Herr on making maps:

“That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”

“About six inches to the mile.”

“”Only six inches!”exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”

“Have you used it much?” I enquired.

“It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr: “the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well. (duke . edu)

The Bellman’s Map:

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The Bellman’s Map, from The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
– Rendering by Sharon Daniel

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See more at:

Today’s Assignment: Make a map to accompany your current writing project.

Poetry Friday: The Diamante or Diamond-shaped Poem

Diamante poems are diamond-shaped. They follow a set structure. The author supplies different parts of speech. The poem’s seven lines may be used to describe one topic or two. For instance, the poem can be all about daytime or about daytime and nighttime. The middle line (the fourth) can be seen as a link, where the writer makes the connection between the two. The diamante poem could be used to create a Mother’s Day card!

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See more at:

Today’s Assignment: Create your own Diamante Poem using this worksheet.

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(edu place)

Mysteries for All Ages


“Mysteries have the ability to get reluctant readers and writers enthusiastic about reading, thinking, and writing. Mysteries often contain intriguing characters and are often able to hold a student’s interest with their suspenseful and dynamic plots. Mysteries are a wonderful vehicle for teaching critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills in an exciting and enjoyable way.”

(Scholastic unit plan here: ).


An example of a mystery is:

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The delightful movie based upon this book is:

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Today’s Assignment: Write a mystery or add a mysterious element to a work-in-progress.

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More resources at:

Haiku and “Hi, Koo!”

The Haiku is an ancient form of poetry defined as:

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Here is an example:

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See more about the haiku here:

The beautiful book with a similar-sounding name is Jon J. Muth’s:  Hi, Koo!

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Muth’s artwork is delightful! The art piece below is from Muth’s philosophical book: Zen Shorts.

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Hi, Koo! is on the list of:

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by: Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.25.06 AM

found here:

Today’s Assignment: Read a picture book today.

Co-Curricular: Art Meets Creative Writing

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……………………………………………..(Art credit: Josette Brouwer)

Art and Creative Writing are both ways to tell a story.

First, review the use of adjectives and adverbs:

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Today’s Assignment:

1. Have your students create a work of art.

2. Assign each finished work a number.

3. Exhibit the art in the classroom.

4. Have the students draw a number and write a short story about the piece of art that has been assigned that number.

5. Read the stories to the class (or have the students read them.)

6. Have them guess which piece of art they are associated with.

More great ideas here:

From Hornbook to Electronic Book — The Multi-faceted Learning Tool

Although the Hornbook may seem like a learning tool with extreme limitations, historically, it was the mainstay of primary education for many students for rather a long time.

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Fig. 1 – Washington, Folger Shakespeare Library, STC 13813.6 (dated 1625) – Source


Read more from Erik Kwakkel about hornbooks here:


Perhaps we should regard today’s electronic books as a similar multifaceted learning tool.


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“Here’s a list of “awesome” apps for teachers from Scholastic Instructor magazine offering activities for a wide range of subjects. These  were chosen through crowd-sourcing on Scholastic’s Facebook page for teachers as well as with help from the magazine’s teacher advisers and education bloggers.”


Remember this funny video about the medieval helpdesk?

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Today’s Assignment: Enjoy your aps!

Literature is the Reality TV of the Ages

“We tend to treat literature as a distraction, an entertainment (something for the beach). But it’s far more than that, literature deserves its prestige for one reason above all others: because it’s a tool to help us live and die with a little more wisdom, goodness and sanity.” (The School of Life)

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Watch this video explaining how literature enhances our lives and safely allows us to experience a wide variety of situations.



Today’s Assignment: Contemplate how your current reading selection enriches your life.