Monday, June 7, 2021

The Teensy Weensy Virus


          Little did we know on January 1, 2020, we were entering a historic time that would turn our family life, our nation, and even the world upside down.  Because we had access to television and the Internet, adults began to learn more than we ever dreamed we needed to know about the global pandemic.  Before we knew it, we were on information overload.

         Meanwhile, our little ones participated in all the changes in their families’ lives without benefit of understanding what had caused them.  They had to stay home most of the time, wear a mask when they did leave home, endlessly wash hands, and receive many, many squirts of sanitizer.  No longer could they play with friends or visit their relatives like they were used to doing.


          Author SherriL. Rose, a retired pediatric and family nurse practitioner, was inspired to write The Teensy Weensy Virus because she wasn’t able to be with her grandchildren for months due to the Covid virus.  With her medical background it was important to her to include accurate information.  In a very simple, developmentally appropriate way, Rose explains what the virus is and how to stay safe and healthy.  She even wrote a song to the tune of “Eensy Weensy Spider” to encapsulate what the little ones need to know.  Enjoy a video of this song here.


          Megan E. Brawand created colorful, cartoon-style illustrations that will catch a preschooler’s eyes.  Even though she was just 15 at the time the book was published, her artwork has already been receiving public notice for a couple of years.


          The cover of this book says it is a book and song for preschoolers, but it will be enjoyed through the elementary school ages as well. There is also a Spanish version of this cute and helpful book, as well as versions in three other languages.




Saturday, May 22, 2021

A Teacher Like You

I received this precious book, A Teacher Like You, as a gift from one of my students.  Reading it brought tears to my eyes as I close out 48 years of teaching.  

Second grade teachers, Frank Murphy and Barbara Dan, have taught together at Holland Elementary in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for years.  Both teachers champion social/emotional learning and leadership development.  Their collaboration on this book was sparked by those interests.  In their story they mention the many, many ways teachers meaningfully and positively touch the lives of their students.  

The illustrator, Kayla Harren, is very good at drawing people.  I love how inclusive she was with all the races and cultures represented in her lovely artwork.  

This lovely tribute makes a wonderful gift for your child's favorite teacher.

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Straight A Handbook


            May - that time of year when college graduations are beginning to happen across our nation. Soon high school seniors will be taking that measured walk as well. It’s an exciting end to that chapter of a student’s life.    

            It can be like a wedding with all the excitement and busyness leading up to the joyous affair.  Once the service and the honeymoon are over, however, it’s time for the real event--making a marriage work day after day, year after year.

            The last strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” will fade away, and the family celebrations will come to an end.  Graduates must squarely face what lies ahead: a trade school, a college education, a graduate degree, or a new career.  Now the questions begin: What are the next steps? Have I made the right choice?  Will I be successful? 

            Author, John Chuback, had those same questions and many more.  In his book, The Straight A Handbook: The 50 Most Powerful Secrets for Ultimate Success In and Out of the Classroom, Dr. Chuback lays out fifty life lessons he learned and talks about many influential people who helped him along his journey.  His was most definitely on a lengthy and challenging journey that included four years of college, four years of medical school, five years of general surgical residency, and two years of cardiovascular surgical training.  It took a lot more than simply having a goal to become a cardiovascular surgeon.  

        Dr. Chuback uses experiences from his life to illustrate his points.  Then he goes on to explain how his stories apply to the reader's life.  Some of his chapters include Staying Out of Trouble, How to Eat an Elephant, The Truth About Worrying, and Choose Your Friends Wisely.

            The Straight A Handbook would be a good gift to give a teacher of juniors or seniors.  Spending just a few minutes of class reading and discussing the concepts in this book can spark some good conversations at a time when those students are making some life-changing decisions. 

            Dr. Chuback’s book would make a wonderful gift for someone ready for the next leg of his or her life journey.  The nuggets he details are valuable to those going on to the academic world or into the work force.  Each chapter is an easy read that can be finished in a few minutes but should be slowly digested.  There is so much to glean from this book, no matter the age of the reader.  If young people apply to their lives several of the lessons that resonate with them, they will enhance their success.  Those striving for excellence in their self-development will continue to incorporate more of Chuback’s lessons. 


Monday, April 26, 2021

Mother Vowel Stores - continued

 Following are the rest of my Mother Vowel stories.  Once my students learn a short vowel, I always have them use the hand signal when we do word work.  © Jill Edwards Steeley       I find coupling movement with auditory input strengthens my students' ability to remember the sounds.

Short ĭ Story

          The middle child was Mother Vowel’s daughter, named I.  She did not like to get dirty!  She did not like anything gross or disgusting!

Every time she saw an insect, she made the sign language i sign, pushed the end of her nose up with that pinky, and said, “ĭ-ĭ-ĭ! Icky insect!”  Even the dot on the lower case i reminded her of a squished insect.

Mother Vowel knew ĭ had to be the short name for I.


Short ŏ Story

          O was Mother Vowel’s next older daughter.  She loved to sing.  She especially loved opera music.  She went around the house singing opera songs with her strong voice.  She formed a sign language o around her mouth so everyone could hear her sing better: ♫ ŏ ŏ ŏ-ŏ-ŏ ♫.

          Mother Vowel loved to hear her daughter sing.  She decided ŏ was the perfect short name for her.


Short ŭ Story

          Mother Vowel’s oldest child was named U.  He was the smartest of all her children. But do you know what?  He liked to pretend he was dumb!

          Whenever his mother would ask him a question, he would make the sign language u, scratch his head with it, and say, “ŭ-ŭ-ŭ-ŭ.”  Whenever his teacher would ask him a question, he would answer, ŭ-ŭ-ŭ-ŭ.”  Even though he knew the answer to their questions, he said, ŭ-ŭ-ŭ-ŭ.” 

          Mother Vowel didn’t really like for him to do that, but she knew he was just playing.  She decided that ŭ might as well be U’s short name.


          Now all of Mother Vowel’s children have short names.  A is ă.  E is ĕ.     I is ĭ.  O is ŏ, and U is ŭ.  If you use their hand signals each time you sound out a word, it will help you remember all the short vowel sounds.