Friday, June 7, 2024

World Reef Day

World Reef Day is celebrated in the month of June to help create awareness of the stunningly beautiful and important coral reefs. When you look at a coral reef, you might think that it is a group of rocks. But corals are animals that together build a reef. Coral reefs are an important ecosystem engineer in our oceans and they can be found in tropical destinations around the world. The largest reef, Great Barrier Reef, can be seen from space.

Reefs are beautiful ecosystems that mostly lie just under the surface of the ocean.  They cover less than one per cent of the ocean but are home to 25 per cent of all marine species and are sometimes referred to as the Amazon of the Ocean.  Though most reefs are located close to the water surface, there are also deep-sea corals. The largest one is the Million Mounds, which stretches from Miami, Florida, to Charleston, South Carolina. These colorful underwater gardens face a difficult and uncertain future. Changes in our climate have meant warmer and more acidic water. Pollution and overfishing are also challenges that face coral reefs worldwide. 

The corals are fascinating to explore, and your students will love to look for different shapes, textures and colors.  There are soft and hard corals, bumpy and smooth, and coral with stunning patterns. Your students will love exploring what a brain coral looks like, or an elkhorn coral. Building a model of a coral reef using recycled materials is a wonderful way to combine art and science.

You can include reading comprehension to a coral reef project by using our book Nyla’s Glowing Underwater Garden: A Coral Reef Adventure. This is a fiction story about a pygmy seahorse. Animals who live on the reef, camouflage to blend amongst the coral. The animals either want to stay safe from predators or hide as they hide. Finding a pygmy sea horse among sea fans, a type of soft coral is very difficult. Your students will enjoy looking for Nyla and her friend Nick in the book, which has stunning real-life photos. 

Through the story of Nyla, a pygmy seahorse, students will learn about the adaptations and changes made by marine life due to climate change, such as corals glowing in fluorescent colors. You might think that a glowing coral is great, but it is a sign that the algae that live in the coral has left. A coral is white, and the stunning colors come from the algae living inside them. When a coral gets stressed, they lose their color since the algae disappear. The coral turns white - coral bleaching. In a final desperate attempt to lure back the algae, and the coral glows in fluorescent colors. 

I hope you have a great time celebrating the amazing underwater gardens on the first day of June. And a project about coral reefs can continue throughout June, which is National Ocean Month! Happy snorkeling! 

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Saturday, June 1, 2024

June 2024 Products

Teaching in June can be a great experience by integrating special holidays and events into the learning. There are many special days and events in June to celebrate, giving you the pleasant challenge of choosing which ones to focus on. Moreover, you can empower your students by letting them select events that they want to research using my popular Fact Booklets. The students can then share their findings and you can decorate the classroom with their work about the US flag, giraffes, flamingoes or sea turtles.

You can start the planning by selecting activities for Garden Week, June 2nd - 8th. Embrace flowers, fruits and vegetables! Celebrate the beauty of nature, sow some seeds and watch the miracle of life sprouting and blooming. If you have a school garden or a park or forest, your students can bring their drawing equipment with them and practice the drawing skills that they have developed using How to Draw - Gardening. 

Flag Day is celebrated on the 14th of June in the United States. Exploring historical events can be fascinating and the story behind the red, white and blue flag is a wonderful chance for students to explore the events that led to the design of the modern flag. Read the story about Betsy Ross and engage in discussions about whether she sewed the first American flag. While numerous historians say that she may not be the creator of the flag, the legend of the seamstress continues to fascinate


Every year on the 16th of June an animal that existed since the time of the dinosaurs is celebrated. The theme for Earth Day 2024 was Planet vs Plastic and you can continue with this theme and let your students read about how plastic is dumped in our oceans and how this is hazardous to sea turtles.  There are also many other threats to these beautiful creatures such as marine pollutants and coastal development on nesting beaches. You can also focus on more positive aspects and read stories about these magnificent ancient animals and how they contribute to the well-being of sea life, for example, leatherbacks and hawksbill sea turtles help to control the populations of jellyfish.  

Towards the end of June, your students can celebrate two stunning animals. On the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, the 21st of June, the tallest animal is celebrated. World Giraffe Day is a great opportunity to learn more about this iconic African animal. The Giraffe Fact Booklet with craft is the perfect addition to a Zoo or Safari project. Finally, National Flamingo Day, June 23rd, is a chance to celebrate these amazing long-legged birds. The color of flamingos is a great topic for a research project. Flamingoes get their color from the food they eat. 
Have a wonderful June embracing everything Green during the First National Garden Week and end the month making a stunning pink Flamingo display using the included craft that comes with the Fact booklet.

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