Archive for January, 2011

DK Eyewitness Books

I said I was going to be reviewing books as well as talking about experiences and it seems like I have been neglectful of my material analysis, though, I have been doing a fair amount of it lately. I have come to love the DK eyewitness books.  These books are very visual with pictures of artifacts, artwork, scenic views, and other materials that support the topic they are talking about.  Each book usually covers one broad subject such as WWII, Judaism, North American Indians, etc. and is broken into topics.  Whenever I am talking about a subject, I love to show visuals so students can have something to associate with the information and these books are very helpful.

While filled with a lot of information I consider these a great source to introduce a topic and peak a person’s interest; I would recommend students to use other material to get more detailed information and descriptions. I am currently looking at the mythology book and one topic within the book is mythical beasts.  The two page spread features small blurbs on creatures of the deep, wild horses, wings, and combined creatures.  However, there are books that focus just on the beasts in Greek myths.  What about other cultures?  Two pages cannot do the topic justice but can point one in a direction to explore further.

This is just one example of the many books that the DK Eyewitness Books series has

Looking at different sources these books are listed as ages 9-12.  Despite these lower ages I feel you need to know the maturity/level your students are at and feel it can be used for even older audiences, at least for browsing as mentioned earlier.  Even I enjoy looking at these books and find myself learning interesting facts as I peruse them.

The great thing about this series is that it covers a plethora of different topics, not only for social studies, but science and art as well.  I think they are a great fun way to introduce a topic and I will definitely be adding several of them to my future classroom library.


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In a previous post when we were graced with a snow day, I discussed the new option some towns have opted for–the delayed opening.  This is when school starts an hour and a half later than normal.  Today we had one and though I think they are a good choice when you know the weather is going to improve, today was not a good day  for one.   Yes, the extra time worked great for me because I spent the extra hour shoveling snow.  However, I felt the area around the school had not been cleared in time. Besides this, the snow turned into a winter rain that continued for much of the day causing icy slush to accumulate.  I wore boots to school and packed my work shoes because I knew the park path I use would be slush.  The road I park on is a hill and it had not been plowed and I took it at about two miles an hour; I was taking no chances.    In short, it was dangerous for people trying to get around.  I dread the roads tonight when everything freezes over.  Plus, they are calling for more snow at the end of the week!  It’s going to be a rough winter.


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Snow Day!

I remember when I was in school and if there was a  hint of snow children would be antsy as they anticipated a day off.  We would wake up early and look out the window  then rush to the tv and sit through the endless lists of towns as we simultaneously listened to the radio.  Today, I am working in towns that send automated messages to your phone and I can go on the town website to see the status. There are many choices for how a town deal with the snow and the attendance of students at school.

My town seemed to be very stingy about giving out snow days, though that could have been my biased child’s mind thinking.  I see now that the problem with snow is you never really know what is going to happen and it seems like no matter what choice the town makes issues can arise.  If there was only a little snow and the students were given a whole day off to have the snow stop later, some parents complain they have had to find childcare for only a little snow.  However, if school is not called off and it snows while children are in school, there are complaints about the dangers and difficulties of getting children. I could remember days being bundled up just to walk the few blocks to school or I would be sitting in class and staring out the window watching the snow fall and hoping my mom would pull me out early like some of the other kids.  To deal with some of the issues that a midday snow might cause, some towns issue early dismissals.

A new thing that my town implemented in recent years is delayed openings.  Kids entered an hour and a half later than normal.   It is good for those days when snow has stopped and time is just needed to clear the roads, shovel out the car, and spend more time to get around.   It also gives teachers a little extra sleep!

What does your town do for snow days?

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They called for snow today and as I looked out the window in the morning I was glad to see nothing  was on the ground and it was not yet snowing.  However, the one town I was in said they were having a half day…good thing too as it started snowing while I was on my way out the door and visibility was greatly diminished by the time I made my ten minute drive to work.  As the day progressed the weather got pretty bad and I wished they had called the whole day off.  I came out and had to dig my car out and the usual after-school traffic was significantly worse.  Though, I really can’t complain because the next town over had a full day of school.  I wonder if the difference is one town has busing and the other does not?  Either way, I enjoyed sipping my hot cocoa as I watched the snow fall and saw kids walking home.

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