Category Archives: educator

Creative Resources for Being Home Alone

Now that everyone is staying home in isolation, what to do – alone or with kids?

You don’t want to spend the entire time online so here are options to print colouring sheets, crafts, create treasure hunts, and much more. It is an amazing array of creative ideas, offers of free stories, books, museum visits, trips to national parks and much more.

I will try to update this list often. I also try to only use links to sites that are truly free and don’t require sign up. Enjoy your time of being creative, reading, learning and staying well.

VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS:
• For educators and older students, this list includes virtual visits, musea, science activities and other very impressive stuff to do at home.

Vancouver Aquarium offers live webcams to observe sea otters, penguins and jelly fish.

• If you have learned about Egypt, why not go down into the tomb of King Tut? If you imagine it getting cooler and quieter as you descend, this is just what it’s like for real! Notice the many hieroglyphs and look at the ceiling. They tell the stories of the pharao’s life…https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=NeiMEZa9d93&mls=1&fbclid=IwAR3IbaHClHSZpwsnG69c2kgRWmAfsvRQb3NfqueXUGa5Ru5Zxr0RpKgpTws

From Wild Babies by Margriet Ruurs & Andrew Kiss

• Over 30 different field trips, including San Diego Zoo and even to Mars!

Virtual Tours and 360º views of US National Parks. 

• Real National parks across the US will temporarily be free for all visitors, offering easier access to natural spaces during the coronavirus outbreak.  Entrance fees will be waived at all national park sites that remain open, the National Park Service effective until further notice.

• And Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico invites you to come along with a park ranger
Web cams of bears, otters and more.
• Feel like a stroll along the Great Wall of China? Now you can do it virtually: https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
• The Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC offers free talks and activities:Royal BC Museum, https://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/engage-us-home

BOOKS:
• The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has a brand new YouTube channel with interviews, demonstrations and readings of books: Bibliovideo  – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoRQbrmtvSYMRm1emqkhP8Q
• For fans of Magic Treehouse, here are readings, recordings, games and much more about the books: https://www.magictreehouse.com/go/?fbclid=IwAR1uz_vmTJzOyaLxmKcQjG5ShoGJInIpcb-GgY4bKIHRlTmfvb5dnwGcO-c
• Lots more books being read aloud here!
Room To Read offers a free library of books from around the world.
Story time from space, books being read by astronauts.
• Meryl Streep reads Charlotte’s Web!
• Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton reads (Neil Gaiman’s) books.
Children’s books read in Spanish: for those who speak Spanish but also to learn a new language.
• And in French too! Free app with illustrated children’s book to help you learn French.
• This amazing list includes Project Gutenberg’s thousands of free books as well as foreign language books and much more.
• Audible is offering free audio books while school is out: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
• Interviews with authors and fun tidbits about books:

Listen to poets share their work!
• Here are 25 sources of free public domain books.
Pacific Edge Publishing offers free educational materials for homeschoolers and parents.
• This link is to Open Culture, linking you to many free books, audio books, ebooks, courses and more.
• Here is a free kids’ book about Staying Home: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoRQbrmtvSYMRm1emqkhP8Q
• Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library donates free books to children and organizations but also offers online stories to listen to: https://imaginationlibrary.com/goodnight-with-dolly/
• And Michelle Obama reads books to children every Monday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyhgubvRYF4
NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA has an amazing website full of films, documentaries, filmed books, historical stuff, science for all ages and more: https://www.nfb.ca  It’s free but you do need to set up an account.
ART:
• Tutorials by Barbara Reid on making plasticine art!
Virtually tour several musea, in Paris, London and more, including the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
• NFB presents Stop Motion, Animation workshops.
• Singing is fun! Here’s an app for karaoke, including kids’ songs.
TIME FOR KIDS now has a free digital library.
• Sci/Why is a science blog by Canadian children’s science writers full of cool stories and links: http://sci-why.blogspot.com/p/science-for-kids.html
Earth – And now for something just cool and fun: have you ever been on the beach and tried to dig to China? Now you can! Except it’s not likely China where you will end up. Check it out this antipodes map!
MAPS – this site does offer books and games for sale but also has links to free crafts and apps, all related to maps and geography.

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The Wall of Birds has an interactive component that lets you learn details and listen to the sounds of many birds.
• Print these scavenger hunts out to use any time:

Entertaining an Elephant by Bill McBride

Why is it, that so often the most powerful books are tiny, thin volumes. Think of Stone Fox. Think of Sarah Plain and Tall. Think of Tuesdays with Morrie. All little books with a tremendous impact and a huge message.
Entertaining an Elephant  fits right into the category. A powerful story for every teacher in your life

This is the heartwarming story of a burned-out teacher struggling though fifteen year of teaching. He is stuck in the proverbial rut and no longer finds no joy in teaching.
Through a set of unexpected events, mostly through listening to wisdom from an unexpected corner, the teacher becomes re-inspired with both his profession and his own life.
Woven into this short novel are quotes from world-renown spiritual and philosophical writers who suggest ways for us to face the tough challenges of today’s world.

Already in its 16th printing, the book is a favorite among educators and parents. Half the proceeds of every sale go to charity. As I read the book I kept looking at the photo of the very young author. I kept wondering where all of his wisdom came from… Impressive. I also checked out his website: http://entertaininganelephant.com/index.html
Bill McBride has written several books, most to do with literacy and writing. I highly recommend you read his books and savour their wisdom.

Feature Movie: Library of the Early Mind

This documentary film explores children’s literature! Hooray for the creators, and those authors and illustrators interviewed.
OK, it’s very much American. Too bad they did not include some Canadian, or more international authors of children’s literature to give the study a broader scope.
Authors like Anthony Brown or Dick Bruna whose books are widely read in North America could have added a more worldly perspective.
However, this is an admirable production.

The accompanying website states that:

“Library of the Early Mind” is an exploration of the art and impact of children’s literature on our kids, our culture, and ourselves.
From the first stories we hear told to us to those childhood heroes that stay with us a lifetime, the impact on our culture runs deeper than what we might expect. “No one suspects the children’s writer,” says author and illustrator Mo Willems, a former ‘Sesame Street’ writer.
The film features nearly 40 prominent authors and illustrators talking about their work, its genesis and its impact. The number of books in print by the authors in ‘Library of the Early Mind’ exceeds 240 million.


It can be rented online to view directly on your computer, or you can purchase the DVD via the website. Check also to see if it is available in your local library.

http://libraryoftheearlymind.com/

Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living – by Mem Fox

Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living  by Mem Fox

Mem Fox, internationally acclaimed children’s book writer and educator offers insights into the learning process, language education, and the pleasure, growth, and power that reading and writing can bring.
Some of her most well known titles include Possum Magic and Koala Lou, I Do Love You.
But this title is fabulous reading for any educator, including homeschooling parents. She explains how no child will ever get passionate about filling in the blanks, but how to turn anyone into an avid reader.

At the same time I should mention Mem’s book specifically at parents:

Reading Magic is a great guide to reading with children, now in a new and revised edition. Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. With passion and humor, Fox speaks of when, where, and why to read aloud and demonstrates how to read aloud to best effect and get the most out of a read-aloud session. She discusses the three secrets of reading, offers guidance on defining and choosing good books, and–for this new edition–includes two new chapters on boy readers and phonics, a foreword, and a list of “Twenty Books That Children Love.” Filled with practical advice, activities, and inspiring true read-aloud miracles, this book is a turn-to classic for educators and parents.

I have often used these books as gifts for educators or new parents. Hope you love them.