Sunday, January 31, 2010

100 Coolest Science Experiments on YouTube by Suzane Smith

Click on the title above to see all 100 utube links with a short description for each. Here are just two examples of what's in store for you.

Now...I hope you'll visit the next site on the blog chain sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center. That site is a list of all the links on the chain, go to

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Suzanne Lieurance, Children's Author, Freelance Writer, and the Working Writer's Coach, has organized a blog chain with some very exciting authors from February 1st through February 8th. Have some fun, learn some great tips, and possible win some prizes.

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over a dozen published books for children. Find out what she's up to every day by visiting her author site. You'll find information about all her books, upcoming writer's conferences and other events where you'll find Suzanne, as well as tips for both aspiring and established children's book authors. Suzanne hosts Book Bites for Kids, a talk show about children's books, every weekday afternoon on blogtalkradio. Find out who her guests will be each day by reading her blog. Sign up for her mailing list at the site and receive a FREE ebook.

Grier blog/


www.mayrassecretboo kcase.blogspot. com



Dorit Sasson

Kristi Bernard

Kathy Stemke

Now...I hope you'll visit the next site on the blog chain sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center. For a list of all the links on the chain, go to

Moving Through all Seven Days link:
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Sunday, January 10, 2010


Here are a few things to consider when choosing books for children.


Is the story line interesting to children?

Are the stories age appropriate to ensure that children can understand what is presented?

Are there various conflicts for children to explore?

Are the conflicts resolved in ways that children will find interesting and challenging?

How are obstacles overcome?

How does change occur? Is a magic wand the only way positive change occurs? Can girls take responsibility for their own destinies?

Will the stories encourage discussions?

Are children exposed to multiple perspectives and values?

How is "beauty" defined? Whose standard of beauty is being promoted? Are all or most of the "pretty" girls blond? Are all or most of the "pretty" girls white?

How is "happiness" defined? Do girls need to find their man to achieve happiness?

How is "success" defined? Is the definition of success the same for all people in the book?


Do the characters represent people from a variety of cultural groups?

Do "good" characters reflect a variety of backgrounds?

How is being "good" defined or described in the book? Is being good the same for boys and girls or are there different standards and expectations?

Are females as well as males depicted in leadership roles?


Does the story offer children a variety of things to think about, to question, and to consider?

What messages does the book convey about "race," gender, class, sexual orientation, religion and other human differences?

What values are being communicated in the book? Whose values are they?

Are values being explored rather than preached?

Does the story include lessons to be learned?


Do the stories reflect a variety of settings?

Are urban, suburban, and rural settings represented realistically?

Are cultural settings represented realistically?


Are diverse populations represented?

Are characters realistically and genuinely represented?

Do the pictures show diversity within cultural groups?

Do the illustrations avoid reinforcing societal stereotypes?

Other Considerations:

From whose perspective is the story told?

What are the author's qualifications to tell the story? Do the characters' voices sound authentic?

Do the stories promote understanding of our diverse society and world?

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Monday, January 4, 2010


I’d like to introduce you to author, Heidi Thomas. Raised on a ranch in isolated eastern Montana, she has had a penchant for reading and writing since she was a child. Armed with a degree in journalism from the University of Montana, she worked for the Daily Missoulian newspaper, and has had numerous magazine articles published.

Heidi, can you give us a synopsis of your book, “Cowgirl Dreams?”

Yes, sure. Defying family and social pressure, Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with her dream of becoming a rodeo star. That means competing with men, and cowgirls who ride the rodeo circuit are considered “loose women.” Addicted to the thrill of pitting her strength and wits against a half-ton steer in a rodeo, Nettie exchanges skirts for pants, rides with her brothers on their Montana ranch, and competes in neighborhood rodeos.

Broken bones, killer influenza, flash floods, and family hardship team up to keep Nettie from her dreams. Then she meets a young neighbor cowboy who rides broncs and raises rodeo stock. Will this be Nettie’s ticket to freedom and happiness? Will her rodeo dreams come true?

Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.
Cowgirl Dreams is available from the publisher, Treble Heart Books, or the author website. It is suitable for both adult and young adult readers.

Heidi, how do you feel now that “Cowgirl Dreams” is finally published?

“You know, it sounds a bit cliché, I suppose, but having this book published (after 10 years in the process) is a dream come true for me. And I’m struck by the realization that we all do need to have a dream. My advice for other writers is to persevere—never give up!”

Here are some fabulous reviews of Heidi's book!

Reviewer: Svetlana Kovalkova-McKenna rated it: 5 of 5 stars

It is a wonderful YA (Young Adult) book! For the duration of the story you are completely immersed into the world of growing up in Montana in 1920s. Hard work on a family ranch, dreams that defy conventional wisdom, hard choices and, finally, success. Try becoming a rodeo star, when rodeo circuit is a man’s world and you are a teenage girl!

I appreciated author’s meticulous research. All the details of everyday life on a ranch, food, clothes, and people’s mindsets were so interesting, true and well placed throughout the story; I could not help but admire it!

If you are a fan of “Little Women”, “Secret Garden”, “Little House on the Prairie” and “Ann of Green Gables”, take a note of this author, she is the one for you.
I would say the book is a great coming of age story with a lesson in history, lots of adventures, a touch of romance and a great lesson in perseverance. I am buying this one for my daughter.

From a male reader: Peter Olson

Heidi Thomas’s "Cowgirl Dreams" provided me with a delightfully engrossing pleasure: a “good read.” An added bonus was a bit of history detailing the hardships and delights of rural life in early twentieth century Montana and the expectations for women of the time. I approached the tale with a mixture of mild trepidation and hesitant curiosity, the twin themes not being typical fodder for my pleasure reading, and finished with the great satisfaction found in experiencing a well-told story. Nettie Brady’s adventure richly details a pair of transitions: a child growing into young adulthood and a women tackling roles previously claimed by the men of her times. This is a book for all ages, and I look forward to the possibility of reading further installments of Nettie’s life and times.

Reviewer: Jane Kirkpatrick, Award Winning author of A Sweetness to the Soul (Wrangler Award, 1995) and A Tendering in the Storm, winner of a WILLA Literary Award, 2008.

Some girls claim they were born as horses and only later grew up to be western women. Heidi Thomas gives us one of those passionate, persistent young women in Nettie Brady, and she s based this sparkling and enduring character on her own grandmother s story. Cowgirl Dreams is a heart-warming read for all ages and lets us all know why Ms. Thomas is not only a fine editor of other author’s books but shines as a skilled and compassionate writer herself.

Reviewer: Stephanie Hooper

Heidi has truly captured the heart of the early days of Montana. She brings to life Nettie and her dreams for the rodeo despite the opposition of a woman in an exclusive man’s arena. As I read this authors first novel it was a sweet reminder of the Jan Karon Mitford series. I look forward to reading the sequel in what appears to be a Montana series in the making!

Thanks for visiting with my readers today. Please tell us how we can get your book.

Cowgirl Dreams is available through my website (for an autographed copy), and from my publisher Treble Heart Books

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Preschoolers in Child Care Centers Not Active Enough by Rae Pica

According to a new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, only 13.7% of child care centers in North Carolina offered 120 minutes of active playtime during the school day. The good news is that in 82% of the centers, children were not sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time and about 56 percent of centers had a written policy on physical activity.

Another study published by the same group found that only nine studies, all conducted since 2003, have tested ways to help young children in child care centers become more physically active.

The study recommended that researchers look at all areas of the child care environment, not just the amount of time children are provided for play. For example, other areas that relate to physical activity at preschools include the physical environment (such as fixed and portable play equipment), sedentary environment (such as television viewing time and the presence of TVs and computers in classroom), staff training and behaviors (such as staff joining in active play and providing verbal prompts to increase active play) and a written physical activity policy.

To this I would add: Look at how transitions can be used to increase physical activity levels, and incorporate movement into the curriculum!

Rae Pica is a movement specialist. For more information go to her website:


“Making Math Meaningful” by Nettie Fabrie, Wim Gottenbos, and Jamie York. A Scource Book for Teaching Math in Grades One through Five

“String, Straightedge and Shadow” by Julia E. Diggins. Using only three simple tools - the string, the straightedge, and the shadow - men discovered the basic principles and constructions of elementary geometry more than two thousand years ago. This book reveals how these discoveries were made and shows how they were related to the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece.

“Moving through all Seven Days” by Kathy Stemke

“Jump into Math” by Rae Pica. The activities in each chapter are organized by level of difficulty, and each one incorporates fun, exciting math experiences with movement.

“Learn to Count 1-10 with Professor Hoot” author, artist: Eugene Ruble.

“Shaping up the Year” author: Tracey M. Cox, artist: Samantha Bell. Uniquely illustrated with cut out art. Teaches shapes, colors, and counting with activity pages, too.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Word of the Day