Wednesday, May 15, 2024

South African Culture

Africa, the second-largest continent, offers a tapestry of beauty that deserves recognition and celebration. Since 2015,  people around the world have marked May 5th  and celebrated the continent's diverse and unique cultural and natural treasures. The focus is on raising awareness and promoting as well as protecting Africa’s World Heritage. 
Despite Africa’s immense cultural and natural wealth, it faces challenges such as climate change, conflicts, diseases and unsustainable development. Because of the threats facing this diverse continent, it is more important than ever to protect and preserve their heritage. This large continent consists of 54 countries, 3 dependencies and one disputed territory. Africa has a rich history, including one of the world’s oldest civilizations - the Ancient Egyptian Pharaonic civilization. 

Your students will enjoy exploring the diverse landscapes, wildlife and cultures of Africa. The fact booklet about South Africa is an awesome way to start the journey to this fascinating continent. Your students will enjoy researching famous landmarks such as the Cradle of Humankind and Table Mountain. 

Writing about and explaining the discoveries is a great way to make the learning engaging.  Boosting the drawing skills with a How to Draw Booklet will make the work stand out visually. What can be better than learning to draw a baobab tree while reading traditional folk tales about this tree with its unique shape? The baobab tree is often included in stories and it is believed that kings and elders would hold meetings under the baobab tree. 

Wildlife in South Africa is abundant and many animals are familiar like lions, elephants, monkeys and giraffes. From aardvarks to rhinos, South Africa is full of wildlife that is unique to this continent.  Unfortunately, many of South Africa’s animals are endangered. Illegal hunting and loss of habitat have meant that several species in South Africa as well as in other African countries are in danger of extinction.

Most of the images of Africa are either of animals or nature. The people of Africa are often shown as looking malnourished and poor but the world’s second most populous continent, over one billion people, consists of a mixture of countries with various tribes that each have their unique characteristics. While Africa has numerous ethnic nationalities with varying qualities such as language, dishes, greetings, and dances, African people share a range of cultural traits that are interesting to explore in the classroom, for example, social and moral values. African cultures are widely diverse but many share a strong respect for the aged. 
Your students will enjoy exploring South Africa and learning that South Africa is often called "The Cradle of Humankind" because archaeological artefacts suggest that people lived in the area more than 100,000 years ago is a great introduction to a project. Try some African crafts and learn some traditional dance moves! 

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Thursday, May 2, 2024

May 2024 Products

National Space Day, observed on the first Friday of May, this year falling on May 3rd, provides a perfect opportunity to ignite curiosity and creativity among students. While we may not journey to outer space to celebrate, space offers endless inspiration for engaging activities. Many students wonder what lies beyond our skies. Encourage students to learn about space through activities like drawing rockets and astronauts. Writing a story about a trip to space and illustrating it with newly acquired drawing skills is a wonderful way to mark this special day. 

National Space Day is a perfect opportunity to take some time to talk about humans' role in the universe. Maybe we are not as important as we like to think. There are many secrets out there waiting to be uncovered! And space is also a wonderful source of inspiration for storytelling. “May the 4th  Be With You” is an awesome opportunity to explore modern fairy tales. Star Wars Day is a day when you celebrate the  Star Wars series. This day has been observed since 1999, it allows us to indulge in celebrating fiction and inspires an appreciation for storytelling and exploration of the universe.

May brings opportunities to celebrate and learn about some of nature's remarkable creatures. On May 20, World Bee Day highlight the crucial role of bees as pollinators. As the bee population faces threats, this day emphasizes the importance of protecting bees and other vital pollinators like bats, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. Bees play a significant role in maintaining biodiversity, food security, and sustainable agriculture, making them indispensable to humanity. Engage your students in discovering the fascinating world of bees through educational activities using a fact booklet and bee-themed crafts to honor these essential insects.

A fact booklet is also perfect for celebrating the popular Sea Turtle Day - May 23rd.  This day is an opportunity to celebrate and teach students about the importance of protecting sea turtles and their disappearing habitats around the world. 

The month of May can feel like the beginning of summer so students may already be thinking about summer vacation so you may need something special for a project. A fascinating creature to explore is one of the largest and also most ferocious reptiles - the alligator. Celebrate National Alligator Day, May 29, with engaging activities about the lizards that have existed for over 35 million years. Alligators play a crucial role in wetland ecosystems by regulating the populations of various species and contributing to ecosystem balance. Explore the rich history and significance of alligators, which are native to only a couple of regions worldwide, including the United States, Mexico, and China.

Create a Happy Classroom by Embracing the Wonders of Nature, Unveiling the Mysteries of Space and Diving into Fairy Tales! 

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Monday, April 8, 2024

2024 Solar Eclipse

Monday the 8th of April was a special day, particularly if you have space enthusiasts in your classroom. Eclipses are among the most stunning sights known to humans, and this spectacle lasted up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds. It was almost twice as long as the last one in the US in 2017. It was also darker and our Sun was put on a more stunning display. 

This total solar eclipse crossed North America. It traveled over northern Mexico, then into Texas and Midwest and East Coast. It passed southeast Canada before it proceeded out to sea. Total solar eclipses occur every year or two but there will not be another again in North America until 2033.  

During a total solar eclipse, the Moon  lines up perfectly between the Earth and the Sun, completely obscuring the Sun. You see the Moon gradually slide in front of the Sun. The Sun looks like a thin crescent and then finally the Sun is completely blotted by the Moon. Scientists can see part of the Sun’s corona during a total eclipse. The Sun’s outer atmosphere is too faint to see unless the light of the Sun is blocked.  The total eclipse ends with the events occurring in reverse order. 

Whether or not you can view a solar eclipse depends on where you are in the world and how the Earth,  Moon and Sun align. The path of totally is the only area where a full eclipse can be viewed. If you are outside this area you will see a partial or even no eclipse at all. If you are fortunate to be able to visit the path of totality you will see the Moon gradually moving in front of the Sun. 

Only look at the sun when your eyes are protected. Use a special-purpose solar filter such as eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers to look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun. It is not safe to look directly at the Sun with handmade devices or very dark sunglasses. During totality, you can put away the eclipse viewers and look at the eclipse directly. But, as soon as the totality ends, use the eclipse viewers again. Read safety recommendations before you view a solar eclipse. 

Use the How to Draw the Space resource to make some stunning art of this remarkable phenomenon.

Your students do not want to miss the spectacular Total Eclipse! So I hope you planned something special for Monday the 8th of April! 

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Monday, April 1, 2024

April 2024 Products

At the beginning of April, exciting things happen! So make sure you are prepared with resources about our Sun and Moon. On the 8th of April total solar eclipse can be observed in large parts of the US. And a partial eclipse can be seen in most States in America. 

A total eclipse is a stunning event where suddenly, it will be as dark as night—or at least twilight. For a short moment, we can experience the role our Sun plays for life on our planet. Also, we can learn interesting facts about our Moon  - it is the Moon that turns out the light! 

After all that excitement in the sky, your students will enjoy learning about something they may be more familiar with. The names of farm animals are often part of the first words that young children learn but there are many interesting facts that your students can learn about cows, pigs, horses, goats and chickens. National Farm Animal Day is celebrated on the 10th of April and it is a great chance to discover interesting things about these unique and important creatures. 

After exploring Farm Animals, your students can turn their attention to the Plant world. International Plant Appreciation Day is celebrated on April 13, a perfect way to read and write about the benefits of plants. As the weather gets warmer, many gardeners will be busy sowing seeds. 

You can begin gardening activities inside, such as planting beans on paper towels so your students can watch them grow. A great activity for National Gardening Day - the 14th of April is to learn to draw wheelbarrows, pots, watering cans and flowers.

Continue the drawing activities with art projects to celebrate Word Art Day on the 15th of April. The resource SmART ART is filled with art activities that are sure to engage your students in the enjoyment of art. Art activities nurture creativity and innovation. Take time to let your students notice beautiful things in their environment and use this as inspiration for their creations. 

The end of April is perfect for projects related to our environment. Earth Day is celebrated on the 22 and Arbor Day on the 26th.  Earth Day is a large event that is celebrated around the World. The theme this year is Planet vs Plastic. The aim is to spread awareness of the health risks linked to plastics, ways to reduce the use of plastics and ways to design and build a plastic-free planet. Caring for our Earth starts with awe and wonder for our beautiful home and the Earth Day Fact booklet is perfect for learning about ways to care for our Earth.

The first Arbor Day In America was celebrated in 1872. It is estimated that nearly a million trees were planted on this day in Nebraska. The dates for the celebrating trees may vary in different states to coincide with the local area’s planting time, so check the date when your state observes Arbor Day. Trees are vital for our health and the health of our planet.  Your students will read and discover more great things about trees while using the Tree Fact booklet. 

I hope you have a Busy but Wonderful Time in your April Classroom!  

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Friday, March 15, 2024

Using Math Journals and other hands-on activities

Learning through play, movement and using your hands is fun. Also, this type of exploration helps students, particularly younger students, to learn better. From learning the alphabet to math to science, hands-on activities are effective and engaging. 

Hands-on activities to teach basic math skills are often used in the classroom, for example, dominoes, linking cubes and counters. Making number art is a perfect hands-on activity. Math has itself been described by math lovers as an art motivated by beauty. Coloring, gluing and cutting numbers and examples of numbers is a great way to ensure not only beautiful results but also number awareness. 

Themed math learning material can help you ensure that your students and young learners are focused. Math is often seen as only a subject filled with numbers. Yet, math is a universal language you can find math in the most unexpected situations. The sharing of a pizza can be transformed into an engaging geometry lesson!

By using math journaling rather than relying on worksheets, your students will be provided with opportunities to connect math learning to communication and discussions as well. A math journal is a great chance to showcase the thinking behind their solution rather than simply providing an answer.

Working on prompts in a math journal goes beyond basic facts or using simple procedures. A deeper understanding is required to complete the task using for example drawings or writing to explain the thinking. Math journaling and hands-on activities also help to link math to language. 

Math prompts can be used with students of all ages. Starting with simple prompts gives you valuable insight into your students' understanding and thinking about math. Providing students with a chance to regularly use math journaling, means that their responses will be more detailed, which will help you get an even deeper insight into where each student is in their learning process. Like all educational material, the prompts must have interesting questions and prompts. Providing your students with room to explore and draw their solutions is vital. Fun and engaging images will make it more fun to get started with the journaling.  

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