Sites of the Month

Summer Reading Summer Fun!

Learning Beyond the Classroom includes activity ideas, podcasts and videos of book reviews and literacy strategies, and booklists—all organized for four age groups.

Start with a theme--inventors, dinosaurs, cooking--and this website suggests books, activities, and more to explore the theme.

Ten weeks of summer? Here are ten weeks of summer activities with literacy and learning in mind. The colorful pdf handout of these same activities can be found at

Take the Summer Challenge. Download a free reading timer app. Browse the booklists, organized for four age groups.

Just Read, Families includes a Summer Activities Calendar for K-5 (and one for 6-8) and Summer Reading Activities Kit.

A page from the Boston Public Library Kids site which includes topical booklists, magazines to read online, and the excellent summer reading lists from the Boston Public Schools.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild read children’s books. For instance, James Earl Jones reads To Be a Drum.

Links to several summer reading lists from schools across the country.

A fun activity for each day of the summer! Each includes reading and/or writing. Each is on a separate large, brightly colored page.

Popular books to tempt even the pickiest reader, organized by ages.

Reading lists from the National Endowment for the Humanities organization, grouped by grade levels K-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12.

May 2013

Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

The Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) recalls a military victory of Mexico over invading French forces in 1862. This festive holiday has become a celebration of Mexican heritage. Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day, which was declared in September, 1810 and is still celebrated each September.

This site, created by second graders, has easy-to-access and easy-to-read info about Mexico and the Spanish language. Expect second grade artwork.

This site, created by a few sixth graders, gives an introduction to Mexican culture, including food and drink and celebrations.


April 2013


National Poetry Month Celebrate Poem in your Pocket Day Thursday, April 18. Download pocket-size poems.

Spring -- top ten hibernating animals

The Science of Gardening --

The “Feed” section’s “Everybody Gets Lunch” features four online videos about natural gardening; the “Peter’s Savage Garden” videos explore the world of meat-eating plants; the interactive “Garden Variety” provides interesting facts about common fruits and veggies; and “The Dirt on Dirt” explains what dirt really is.


Earth Day April 22

Click on Earth Matters from the ECO Helpers list to the right to see colorful cartoon characters like Earthman and Greenbean and read their short, simple lists of ways kids can help the earth. Coloring pages and other activities also here. The EPA site for Earth Day

The Lorax Project web pages include information, photos and maps of dwindling forests around the world. The official site of Earth Day. Scroll to the bottom to choose the "carbon footprint" calculator. A timeline from 1970’s first Earth Day to 2009 highlighting what the federal government has done to improve environmental quality. 

EEK! Environmental Education for Kids from the Department of Natural Resources in Wisconsin. This well-done site contains student-friendly explanations of many environmental topics including a page devoted to Earth Day.


March 2013

Read Across America Day -- celebrated this year on March 1 Dr. Seuss photo story -- This "movie" includes photos of the author/illustrator and cover art from many books.

For posters and other downloads, booklists, and lesson ideas, visit the following sites:
A ThinkQuest site, designed by middle school students to share information about Dr. Seuss and his children's books. You'll have an opportunity to read summaries of his works and learn the motives behind the stories.

Dr. Seuss Biography Cloze Activity
Enchanted learning offers a short page where you can help to tell the story of the life of Dr. Seuss. Use the word bank to help you fill in the blanks.

February 2013

Groundhog Day -- Feb. 2

Did you know that Punxsutawney Phil lives at the Punxsutawney Library?

For more information, including origins of Groundhog Day and a chart of decades of predictions, see


Readers Theater version of Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller as well as Groundhog songs


Chinese New Year – February 10 -- Year of the Snake

An explanation of the foods, gifts, decorations, and other traditions. Higher level vocabulary in the short paragraphs, but lists and pictures help


Valentine’s Day – Feb. 14

The origins of Valentine’s Day are presented in brief paragraphs with pictures on these pages from the kids section of the Library of Congress site.


President’s Day – Feb. 21

Do you think President of the U.S. is a job you could handle?

Read the qualifications and follow a President through a day, making choices for the schedule.

Democracy Project


Check into the lives of all the Presidents at POTUS


What did Lincoln carry in his pockets? Find out this and more


For similar tidbits about G. Washington, try this page from the National Portrait Gallery.

Students read a clue then use the mouse to point to a part of the painting that shows the answer. “G. Washington was a good dancer,” for instance.



January 2013

A Fresh Start to Health and Wellness

It’s My Life, from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS Kids), is targeted for ages 9-12. The site offers useful information in an engaging format on the following topics: friends, family, school, body, emotions, and money.

PBS KIDS GO! invites early elementary school kids to join the hilarious animated adventures of Professor Fizzy and friends in Fizzy!s Lunch Lab as they prepare tasty snacks, investigate the difference between good and bad food, and learn what happens once the food you eat goes into your body.

Body and Mind, a site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was created for students aged 9-13. Your Body, Your Life, Your Safety, Physical Activity, Food & Nutrition, and Diseases are the topics covered in a colorful, interactive, cartoon format.


The National Snow and Ice Data Center -- See the Q & A section, Facts, Gallery, and the Cryosphere Glossary.
Examine the structure of snow crystals. View the photo galleries, see the classification examples of different types of snow crystals, and be sure to watch the "movies" or time-lapse photography of a snowflake's growth.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 21
Handouts and outlines with biography information
See the photo gallery and detailed timeline
NOTE--A video of the portion of the speech containing the "I have a dream passage" may be found at World Book Online. Go to then Core Collection then World Book Student. Search for Martin Luther King Jr and choose Videos from the results formats on the left.
At home you will need the INFOhio username and password supplied by your Ohio school librarian or school library paraprofessional.

Presidential Inauguration -- January 21 

In photos, videos, lists, timelines and more, learn about the history and traditions of Inaugural Day and specifically about this year's rendition.  Everything from the morning worship service, the parade, the luncheon, the ball, and the speeches is described in words and illustrations.  Great for smartboard use.

John Quincy Adams was the first president sworn in wearing long trousers. This and other short, fun facts are found here.

Statistically, there is a 1 in 6 chance of precipitation on any January 20th in the District of Columbia and a 1 in 20 chance of snow. The coldest inauguration day, 7 degrees at noon, was in 1985. Find more examples of probability and extremes and a chart of weather recorded for each inauguration here

December 2012

Christmas in other countries

Click on the various objects to learn more about Christmas traditions, including those in other countries.  Go to the second slide and choose the postcards to read the information about Christmas in other countries.

Only a few countries, Mexico, France, Holland, Germany, Sweden, but the text is easy to read and advertisement-free

Kid-written descriptions of holiday traditions in their countries (Australia, Brazil, Denmark, France, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Scotland)

Information about the Christmas traditions in over 30 countries


November 2012

Presidential Election

Electing a President

Choose “Read All About Electing a President” for a slide show describing the election process including pictures of this year’s presidential candidates. Content is created for elementary students.

The Democracy Project

Choose from Be President for a Day, How Does Government Affect Me? and Step inside the Voting Booth.

Veterans Day

Veterans Administration

A good Teacher Resource Guide with handouts, information, and suggested activities.

A video describing the history and purpose of Veterans Day

Can students recognize the songs for each branch of the military?   this site has military ranks



The history of Thanksgiving and the first Thanksgiving are described here in pictures and words.

Talk like a pilgrim

The History of Thanksgiving (a 5 minute video)

Also available at the same site – History of Thanksgiving Day Parade (short video)


October 2012


Readers Theater

The Great Apple Slice Escape

Ohio Apple Marketing Program

See Teacher Resources and Apple Facts.

Apple Fun

The Wisconsin Apple Growing Association site includes student handouts such as crossword puzzles and an apple life cycle maze. (Scroll down the page to see "A Bushel of Facts about Apples" where all the handouts are grouped)


Why Should We Care?

The photographs and facts here answer questions like “What good are bats?” and “How are bats like you?”


Many photographs and facts are included here as well as poems and songs.

Columbus Day

Famous People—Christopher Columbus

This presentation on the explorer has one sentence on each illustrated slide.

“Journal Entries” of Columbus

Students created these “journal entries” from the point of view of the explorer. They cover his personal history as well as triumphs and failures of his voyages.

Leaves and Trees

Common local trees and their leaves

Large, clear pictures of the leaves and trees of two dozen eastern region species.

Why do leaves change color?

Trees are terrific

Pierre the acorn explains why trees are terrific in this colorful, simple slide show.



A great list of the colorful names given to the varieties of pumpkins along with advice on growing and using pumpkins.

Pumpkin Patch

Check out “Unusual Pumpkin Facts”

Pumpkin Cam

Choose the photos on the right to see pictures showing the steps in a pumpkin’s growth.


Photos and facts about spiders.

September 2012

Labor Day

A three minute video explains the history of labor day.  Also available, images of workers from the era in which Labor Day began and a written history of Labor Day.

County Fair

Fairs here are listed by month with links to web sites about the fairs. Make a graph showing the number of Ohio county fairs each month. Compare county fairs using information from the fair web sites.

This site is a little uneven, but it does have farm animal sounds and photographs as well as brief facts. K-2

The Kids page from the Farm Service Agency (USDA) includes farm facts and activities. Choose the Hay Now Quiz for fun facts about many aspects of animal and food production. 

Patriot Day (9-11) and Constitution Day (9-17) -- The website for the 9-11 memorial, located where the former Twin Towers stood includes remembrances from family members, an interactive timeline of the day's events, and, on the page this link will take you to, a brief video clip showing the NYC skyline, zooming in on the planned fountains and structures of the exterior of the memorial.  The brief video is suitable for all ages.

The September 11 Digital Archive is a result of a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and The Library of Congress.  Browse or search the database of images and words submitted by eyewitnesses or collected by organizations such as National Public Radio.

Practice literacy, patriotism and music by selecting from more than 20 patriotic songs and singing along with the printed lyrics and audio of the tune.

Older students may be able to guess which patriotic symbol is being described in this interactive game.  Learn many facts about the various symbols as the game is played.

These pages of Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government (as in Benjamin Franklin) include pictures or photos and age appropriate information about U.S. symbols. 

A physical museum in Philadelphia near Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center’s web site includes an interactive constitution searchable by topic (free speech, for example) and a constitution timeline which includes slide shows and audio summaries of different eras in the history of the constitution.

The National Archives and Records Administration’s web site includes images of the original constitution and information about the document and the process of creating it. For quick facts in a Q & A format, scroll down to Learn More About the Constitution


Bonus Sites An interactive weather site that allows the user to simultaneously view graphs for temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, etc; compare weather at up to four different sites; AND scroll back days, months, years, decades into the past history of that particular weather stat.

Samples of art (photos, diagrams, cross-sections) from the well-known DK series of books are available here in half-page view. The images are organized by “school subject” and could be used to review or preview a topic of study as well as illustrate presentations.

Building Big, the book by David Macaulay, is the basis for a PBS series and web site exploring large structures and what it takes to build them. The web site includes pictures and facts about famous big structures like the Eiffel Tower, and interesting interactive features that let you explore the forces, materials, loads and shapes that have to be considered in designing and building big structures. The Challenges section allows you to try your hand at choosing particular bridge, tunnel, skyscraper, dome and dam designs to meet the needs of fictional cities. Physical science and problem solving at work!

Wordle is a tool that generates a visual representation of text that you provide. The visual gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the text. It could be another way to show students the important concepts in a passage of text.

Woopid contains over 1000 short video tutorials on aspects of Windows. This site allows a user to list or choose words and hear them pronounced. Capitals, Presidents, math facts? Simple, interactive tables aid memorization on a variety of topics, or construct your own tables to aid memorization.