Writing a Biography

“When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”  George Washington Carver

A portrait of Marie Curie, taken about 1903 when she was awarded her first Nobel Prize. Credit: Public domain - See more at: http://www.livescience.com/38907-marie-curie-facts-biography.html#sthash.UKoZIRqm.dpuf
A portrait of Marie Curie, taken about 1903 when she was awarded her first Nobel Prize.
Credit: Public domain

I love reading biographies! I find it really amazing that people can do such constructive and creative things in their lives and in doing so make a huge impact on their surroundings. I found this interesting BBC website that has a “Famous People Index” which lists some very famous people from history. As I was scanning through and reading about the different people, it struck me that each entry is written in a way that I am often commenting on in a student’s writing about a person’s life and accomplishments. Why is the person famous? Where did he or she live? What did the person do? What time period did the person live in? Use the writing as a good model when you write a biography next time!

Let us know:

Is there a famous person you’ve especially enjoyed reading about?

February 2nd is Groundhog Day!

Today is the traditional Groundhog Day that arrives every year on February 2nd. It began as a European tradition that was brought to the United States in the 1880’s. It has been celebrated every year since then! How is the weather in your area today? It is sunny or cloudy? Will spring come early or late? Now, let’s do some Monday Magic Math with a calendar. Whether we have six more weeks of winter or six more weeks until spring, what month of the year and what day of the week is spring predicted to arrive?
12359728519_763ca15a4c_zIn Oak Meadow’s second grade course book, science lesson 13 (with the focus on animal characteristics) suggests making a card game to teach children about familiar animals. On one side of the card, the student writes a question about a particular animal’s character qualities. The name of the animal is written and illustrated on the other side of the card. Since the groundhog is not included in the science lesson’s list of animals, you could add a new card for the groundhog with questions, such as: What animal is also known as the land-beaver, marmot, whistle-pig or woodchuck? or What mammal hibernates in the winter and is famously known as the prognosticator or weather forecaster? 
1Groundhog-Predicts-Six-More-Weeks-of-Winter-it-Shall-BeTo learn more about the history of this furry rodent, CBS news offers a wealth of information in the article, Groundhog Day Tradition Casts a Shadow Back to Medieval Europe. It includes a “Groundhog Day Expert” quiz and a “Fun Facts Interactive”. Canadians also celebrate Groundhog Day with their special furry friend, named Wiarton Willie. I discovered a delightful National Geographic Kids production video on Kids Love Groundhog Day that you and your family might enjoy.

Happy Groundhog Day!


St. Patrick's Day – Crack the Code!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Every year, on March 17th, thousands of people don their greenest garb, search for four-leaf clovers, eat corn beef and cabbage, dance the Irish jig, march in parades, and search for the leprechaun. Whether you are Irish or not, it can be a joyful occasion for the young and the old.

st-patricks-dayThere are many famous Irish sayings and blessings that come to mind. One of my favorites Irish blessings is:

“May you always walk in sunshine.

May you never want for more.

May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.”

As a child, my favorite part of this celebration was wearing a bit of green (so I wouldn’t get pinched). I also delighted in imagining how a leprechaun might appear.luck-o-the-irish-st-patricks-day-wallpapers-1024x768
Here’s a leprechaun’s message for you!

Use some letter and number magic to crack the code and figure out the message below.

CODE: 1 = A, 2 = B, 3 = C, etc.

__  __  __       __  __  __       __  __  __  __       __  __

13   1   25       20   8    5        12  21   3   11        2    5

__  __  __  __       __  __  __ !

23   9   20   8        25  15  21

__  __ __       __  __  __       __ __ __ __       __

13   1  25       25  15  21        6   9  14  4         1

__  __  __       __  __       __  __  __  __

16  15  20       15   6         7   15  12   4

__ __       __  __  __       __  __  __       __  __

 1  20       20   8   5          5   14   4        15   6

 __  __  __  __  __        __  __  __  __  __  __  __ !

 5  22   5   18   25         18   1    9   14   2   15  23