Build Vocabulary Skills with Wordgirl

Sure, spelling bees are fun, but this upcoming Wordgirl webcast will help students build "super" word powers! I have already shared this Wordgirl webcast info with my kids' teachers. It looks like it will be an entertaining way to enhance vocabulary and improve word usage skills.

Classrooms and home schoolers can register at http://www.scholastic.com/wordgirldefinitioncompetition/

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A Word about Service

A couple weeks ago my children's school in Brooklyn participated in their first school-wide community service day. The purpose of this day of service was to give kids some hands-on experience with community service. Students and parents were encouraged to bring in $1 to fund the many wonderful projects they made reality. Students, staff, teachers, administration and parents all pitched in to give back to local organizations.

Over $600 was raised by the program and the service projects included:
  • Baking dog treats for animals at BARC
  • Making "Adopt Me" bandanas for the ASPCA
  • Planting bulbs in front of the school and at the local public library branch
  • Raking leaves in Cooper and McCarren Park
  • Reading to younger students at local day cares
  • Volunteering at local food pantries
As a parent I am thrilled to see our public schools giving back to the community. Today our children are learning about social values at school and (hopefully) at home.

Nice work kids!

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A Holiday Shopping and Best-Of Bouquet

‘Tis the season for best-of-the-year lists. And also for panicky shopping. The Kidlitosphere contains several helpful posts on both accounts this week.


I was getting overwhelmed at the thought of pulling together various publications’ lists of the Year’s Best Books, when I came upon a post from Susan of Chicken Spaghetti, who has solved my dilemma by doing the work for all of us: her Best of the Best: Kids’ Books 08 post includes links to over twenty Years’ Best lists, from the Abilene Reporter News to the Toronto Public Library, including lists from the New York Times, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, the Horn Book, School Library Journal, and many many more. She promises to keep it updated as more lists are published, too. Thanks, Susan!


As for the best-of lists at various blogs, there are too many to keep track of, but this Book Recs for Holiday Shopping from Around the Litblogosphere post at Chasing Ray is a valiant compilation of best-book and gift-recommenation posts.


Right here at the Scholastic website, The excellent folks at the Kid Lit Kit blog are compiling a list of bloggers’ favorite new books of 2008—if you’ve blogged about a spectacular book this year, email them (or if you don’t have a blog you could just try leaving a comment on their site).


Also on the Scholastic site, check out these crafty Book-Inspired Gift Kits, which combined well-loved picture books with handmade items and tips for coming up with more ideas yourself! Great for a joint project to work on with kids.


But the Queen of creative book-giving packages has got to be MotherReader, who has outdone herself this year and presented readers with a series of five posts totaling 105 ways to give a book, for kids of all ages (and even some adults).


A few of my favorites from her inspired list:


  • Pair picture book stunner How I Learned Geography with an inflatable globe.


  • Wrap up A Crooked Kind of Perfect with those excellent socks from the cover.


  • Looking for something a little offbeat? Maybe Cowboy and Octopus with a cowboy hat or an octopus.


  • Take sweet picture book Lissy’s Friends and pair it with an origami kit.



…for a hundred (really!) more ideas, check out MotherReader!


And this post wouldn’t be complete without a hat-tip to Jen Robinson’s Book Page, whose Friday Afternoon Visits post this week led me to several of the sites above. Thanks, Jen! And thanks to everyone who wrote these terrific and EXTREMELY helpful posts!

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