Summer Reading!

Throughout each grade level, Oak Meadow offers a wonderful supply of classics and other cherished books for you and your children to read throughout the school year. However, free reading should also be encouraged during the summer months. Do you need some summer reading ideas? Here’s a good reading list provided by Common Sense Media. This site also provides a section on Wonderful Wordless Books that offers a list of “wordless books” you might like to share with your children. They are perfect for using as story writing prompts, too.
1Summer-Reading-Image-2014The Bookworm for Younger Kids booklist for June is also available to peruse for good reading materials. However, if you would like to subscribe for each month’s group of booklists, you can sign up for free by visiting the Bookworm for Kids official website.
 

HAPPY SUMMER READING!

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The Art of Language

Andy Kilroy, one of Oak Meadow’s outstanding k-8 teachers, strongly believes in instilling a love of education in our children. She values the art of language, which is so nicely portrayed in the following essay she composed…
151rTvb9VIfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_As a teacher who spent most of her professional life in a classroom, my transition to teaching home schooled children has been a joyous realization that there is more to education than memorization, standardized tests and adherence to educational systems that stress conformity and rules. As a mother of five and grandmother of six, I have long realized that sometimes the best sense is nonsense, and that concept is richly illustrated in the pages of a childhood favorite, Winnie-the-Pooh. In today’s stressful and results-oriented world, it is often refreshing to take a step back and look at the value of using language as Pooh Bear does, not to convey specific and important information, but as a means of expression and creativity.
1WinniethepoohYoung children, just learning the joys of reading and language are often charmingly serious. They want to get “it” right, whatever “it” might be on that particular day. They learn that the marks on paper are words and that words have specific meanings, and that to express themselves in the big, wide world, they need to master this difficult thing called “language.” They want to be understood in the world into which they are so earnestly seeking entry. How then do they react when confronted with the fanciful use of language used by Winnie and his delightful friends? Who says words like “heffalump” and “hunny”? Who writes poems, called “hums,” that have a refrain of “Tiddly Pom?” Who speaks of someone who is feeling a bit pessimistic as being “eeyorish”? Winnie does, that is who, and although Pooh is a bear of very little brain, according to Rabbit, he is loved by all for his down to earth good sense and loving nature. Generations of children, and adults, have found great joy in their association with Pooh, who humbly accepts his limitations in the brain department and finds it no great bar to understanding and expressing himself to the world around him, although at times he has to resort to very creative language use to explain his ideas:
“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it,” says Winnie!
1tumblr_m49slrKbBa1rwrcuso1_500What a wonderful word is “thingish” as it so perfectly expresses that ineffable “something” that we often can’t find words to express. “Thingish” finds resonance with listeners who have frequently experienced the lack of the perfect word to express their ideas. I submit that “thingish” is the perfect word in some situations to clearly convey the precise meaning of the imprecision of our thoughts! Who among us has not experienced the need for a perfect word, but in our anxiety to achieve precision of language has given up the quest and settled with the inadequate phrase, “Oh, you know what I mean?” How much better to invent a word that conveys exactly what we are thinking? This longing for the right word must be so much more pronounced for our little ones who are just learning language, but who also have important ideas to convey! The idea that, for the youngest among us, this can be a frustrating process, and is best expressed in the immortal words of Pooh Bear:
“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”
1477d7297a60b5ba057228c41e7bbc9c0So, my plea is to encourage our little learners to see language as an imprecise art form that has life and can adapt, even if their spelling “wobbles”. One has to look no further than the pages of a variety of children’s books to see that our language is alive and well and is in the process of adapting and changing to suit the needs of those who wield that language. It is important we all understand that language is for our use and need not constrain us or rob us of our authentic voice. This is even truer for children as they begin to navigate the world of reading and writing. Encourage them to embrace their ability to use language to perfectly express themselves, even if this expression takes the form of creative words they craft to express their ideas with precision. In the immortal words of Maurice Sendak, a master of this process if there ever was one, “Let the wild rumpus begin!”
For those who would like to learn more about the language of Pooh, there is a wonderful blog post on the Oxford Dictionary web page at: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/11/winnie-the-pooh/
 
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Springtime Storybooks and Expressive Activities

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

by Lorie Hill

March roars in like a lion

So fierce,

The wind so cold,

It seems to pierce.

The month rolls on

And spring draws near,

And March goes out

Like a lamb so dear.

Have you ever heard the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb?” This expression describes the winds that often blow in late winter and early spring. In addition to your circle time activities, your children might find it enjoyable to roar like a lion of wind, and then be like a breeze that blows as gentle as a lamb.
You could also include the following finger play activity:

Five little children one March day (hold up five fingers)

Went for a walk just this way. (march in place)

The wind blew hard and the wind blew strong (wave arms above head)

As the five little children marched along. (march in place)

It turned those children around in the street (twirl around)

Then it blew each one right off their feet! (tumble down)

ArrivalOfSpring-smAsk your children how the weather changes in spring. In my area, spring weather usually means windy days and lots of rain showers. The rain brings flowers into bloom, so we start looking for the new shoots of green. The breezy days are the best for a highflying kite, too! Ah, as I look at the window to a foot of snow on the ground, I can already imagine the smell of fresh spring air and feel the warmth from the sun. After a long winter, it’s refreshing and rejuvenating imagery!

Below you will find a thematic early elementary book list for spring. Most of these books may be found at your local public library. You can even turn it into a treasure hunt as your children try to search for the titles to these books on the shelves.
Waiting-For-Spring Stories by Bethany Roberts
Dandelion Adventures by L. Patricia Kite
It’s Spring! by Linda Glaser
My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell
Spring is Here by Lois Lenski
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
The Spring Equinox by Ellen Jackson
“The Sun and the WInd” – an Aesop’s Fable
Story of the Root Children by Sibylie Von Olfers
The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow
Ollie's ski tripFor those of you who are still encountering the more wintry side of spring, I highly recommend reading Elsa Beskow’s book, Ollie’s Ski Trip. It’s a delightful and imaginative picture book that involves Jack Frost, King Winter, Mrs. Thaw and Lady Spring. It’s a story that will be enjoyed by all!
 
Last but not least, in honor of the famous children’s writer and illustrator, Dr. Seuss, who was born on March 2, 1904, there must be made mention of the Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat color plus stencil book, Oh, the Things Spring Bring! Yes! May we all relish in the thoughts of the things that spring will bring!
 
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Riddle Me a Riddle!

What lives in winter,

Dies in summer,

And grows with its roots upwards?

For all of you vocabulary buffs:
Have you ever thought much about the meaning of the word, riddle?
Off the top of our heads, the definition that usually comes to mind for this word is a puzzle or a brainteaser. It’s actually quite a fascinating word, for it has many meanings and can be used as a noun, a verb or a transitive verb.
If you and your children love learning new words, The Free Dictionary by Farlex is a fun site to practice your skills.  You will find sections on: Word of the Day, Article of the Day, Quotation of the Day, English Language Forum, In the News, This Day in History, Today’s Birthday, Today’s Holiday, and even your Horoscope. There are also games that introduce new exciting words: Hangman, Spelling Bee, Match Up, and Words Within Words.
Riddles can even come in the form of songs, such as the traditional American song, “The Riddle Song”.
It is a riddling fact that you can be riddled with riddles. So here goes!

What word can be written forward, backward, or upside down,

and can still be read from left to right? 

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There are so many marvelous books that introduce the world of riddles, jokes and tongue twisters. For the younger crowd on these wintry days when we are riddled with snow, try this one out that comes from Monika Beisner’s Book of Riddles:

I saw a man in white,

He looked quite a sight.

He was not old,

But he stood in the cold.

And when he felt the sun

He started to run.

Who could he be?

Do answer me.

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I Am the World's Greatest Traveler!

What is a riddle? It’s a little poem or phrase that poses a question, and often has a double meaning. It requires ingenuity and creative thinking for the solution. Riddles can often rhyme, but it’s not a requirement. As a Tuesday Tickler for language arts, here is a riddle for you and your children!
Riddles for Kids!I am the world’s greatest traveler. I have been transported by camel, dog sled, pony express, bicycle, train, steamship, automobile/car, airplane, airship, and rocket. I have portraits of presidents, kings, queens, princes, princesses, shahs, sultans, tribal chiefs, adventurers, explorers, patriots, martyrs, inventors, pioneers, artists, musicians, architects, poets, aviators, dramatists, novelists, painters, athletes, cardinals, saints and sinners.
riddles-300x225I have pictures of foreign beaches, rivers, lakes, sounds, waterfalls, geysers, mountains, monuments, castles, temples and ruins of temples, missions, bridges, harbors, docks, locks, locomotives/trains, balloons, rockets, zeppelins, windjammers, native canoes, modern seaplanes, and the world.

I am the World’s Greatest Traveler. WHAT AM I?

Riddles for children

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