Posted by Narishea Parham on 11/4/2019 5:00:00 AM



    I am Enough follows a girl of colour as she makes positive declarations – “Like the sun I am here to shine… like the bird I am here to fly and soar high over everything.” The young girl, surrounded by friends of different colours and cultures declares in “the end we are right here to live a life of love, not fear… I am enough.”


    Read Aloudhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mp4GZ1I0pfY


    Discussion Questions:

    • What does the author mean by, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine”?
    • What does the author mean by, “Like time, I’m here to be, and be everything I can”? 
    • What activities do the children enjoy in this story? 


    Home Connection:

    Me Mobile.

    Recall some of the activities that the children enjoyed doing in this story, and then ask your child to think about activities that they enjoy doing themselves. Tell your child that they will create a “Me Mobile” to highlight their favorite activities. Give your child 4–6 pieces of poster board and have them draw on each piece an activity that they enjoy doing. Punch a hole in the top of each piece and tie a piece of yarn to it. Use different lengths and colors of yarn. Then tie each piece to a hanger. Display the “Me Mobiles”.

    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Narishea Parham on 10/1/2019


    A girl in a red hat finds the courage to be kind to the new student in class. Her kindness spreads, kind act by kind act, until her whole community experiences the magical shift that happens when everyone understands—and acts on—what it means to be kind.

    Before Reading Activities: 

    1. What does it mean to be kind?

    2. Brainstorm a list of words that mean kind.

    After Reading Activities: 

    1. What were some examples of kindness in the story?

    2. Which act of kindness have you personally experienced?

    3. How do you feel when someone does something kind to you?

    4. How do you feel when you make someone else feel good because you did something kind?

    5. The author wrote: Being kind means having the courage to treat other the way you like to be treated.  How do you want to be treated? Why does it take courage? 

    Home Connection:

    Keep a list of acts of kindness you see your child doing.  When they get 10- surprise them with an act of kindness!



    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Litonya Gant on 5/1/2019



    Chrysanthemum loves her name, but when she starts going to school, the other children make fun of it. Will Chrysanthemum find a way to love her name again?


    • Before Reading Activities
      • What is the title of this book?
      • Who is the author?
      • Who is the illustrator?


    • During Reading Activities
      • How did Chrysanthemum feel about her name?
      • What happened that made Chrysanthemum change the way she felt about her name?


    • After Reading Activities
      • How would it make you feel if someone teased you about your name?
      • When Chrysanthemum’s class met Mrs. Twinkle, everything changed for Chrysanthemum. What did Mrs. Twinkle think about Chrysanthemum’s name?
      • Does anyone have a favorite doll or stuffed animal? What is its name? Did you choose the name? Why?
      • Does anyone know why their parents chose their name? Is anyone named after a relative? Encourage the children to ask their parents why they chose their name.
    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Litonya Gant on 4/1/2019 5:00:00 AM


    During a visit to a space museum, Fly Guy and Buzz learn all about planets, space crafts, space suits, and even dirty snowballs (i.e. comets!)! With straightforward fun facts, humorous illustrations of Fly Guy and Buzz, and vivid photographs throughout, this book is sure to be a hit with budding astronauts everywhere!


    • Before Reading Activities
      • What is the title of this book?
      • Who is the author?
      • Who is the illustrator?
      • What is happening in the cover illustration?


    • During Reading Activities
      • What is the pet fly's name?
      • Where are Buzz and his fly in this book?


    • After Reading Activities
      • What do the letters in "STEAM" stand for?
      • What do Scientist, Engineers, and Mathematicians do?
      • Can you name some ways we use science, technology, engineering, art, or math in our daily lives?
    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Litonya Gant on 3/1/2019 5:00:00 AM



    • Before Reading Activities

      Share the book Harold and the Purple Crayon (read-aloud) with children. Then ask:

      • If you had a magic purple crayon, what would you draw?
      • What could you draw to make your neighborhood a better place?

      Draw a simple shape on individual pieces of construction paper and distribute them to children. Have children draw a picture on their paper, somehow incorporating the shape you have already drawn.

      Take a walk outdoors with children. Encourage them to look carefully at the trees, plants, rocks, and other objects they come across as they enjoy the outdoors. Help children to notice the different shapes of these objects. For example, point out the straight lines that form the trunk of a tree, the circular shapes of rocks, and the triangular and zig­zag shapes of flower blossoms.

    • After Reading Activities

      Encourage children to think about the different things Harold drew to get himself out of each dilemma he encountered.

      Then offer some situations to the children.

      • Harold is flying a kite. The kite gets stuck in a tree! What can Harold draw?
      • Harold is taking a walk. It starts to rain. Harold is getting soaked! What can Harold draw?
      • Harold finds a cat on his lawn. He doesn't know whom the cat belongs to. What can Harold draw?


    • Other Ideas:

      • Experiment with making shades of purple using paint.
      • Use a hair dryer to melt purple crayons on a canvas and create an art piece.
      • Decorate cupcakes or cookies with purple frosting.
    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Narishea Parham on 2/15/2019


    Read Let's Go For a Drive by Mo Willems 

     After reading the story, ask your child:

    • Do you think Elephant and Piggie worked well together? Why or why not?
    • Are you abe to cooperate like that with a friend? Why or why not?
    • What was the problem in the story?
    • What items did Gerald and Piggie need for their drive? 

    Together you and your child create your own Elephant and Piggie story similar to Let's Go for a Drive.  Where are places you go that require a to-do list or a packing list?

    Brainstorm story ideas.  Possibilities might include:

    • Let's go on a picnic
    • Let's go to school
    • Let's go on fishing trip
    • Let's go camping

    Brainstorm ending ideas. Possibilities might include: 

    • Rain ruined a picnic
    • School bus broke down on the way to school
    • Fishing rod snapped, Fish are sleeping, etc.
    • Tent ripped or ants ate the food, etc.

    Together you and your child creat a story book.  

    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Narishea Parham on 1/7/2019


    Pre-Reading Activities

    1. Read the title of the book.  Then look at the pictue on the cover.  Who do you think this story is about?
    2. In this story, some children give a dog a bath.  Draw a picture.  Show things you would use to give a dog a bath. 


    Understanding the Story- Story Questions 

    1. What does Harry look like when he is clean?
    2. What is the one thing that Harry dislikes?
    3. What does Harry do with the scrubbing brush? Why does he do it?
    4. What happens to Harry when he plays in the street?
    5. What does Harry do right before he plays tag with the other dogs?
    6. How does Harry get the dirtiest of all?
    7. Why does Harry decide to return home?
    8. What does the family think when they first see Harry?  Why do they think this?
    9. How does Harry try to convince his family that he is really Harry?  Why doesn't it work?
    10. How does Harry finally solve his problem?
    11. How do you think Harry feels about having a bath at the end of the story?  What makes you think this?


    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Narishea Parham on 12/3/2018


    Before Reading Considerations

    ● Read the book until you know it.

    ● Practice reading with expression

    ● Get students focused prior to reading


    ● Build excitement (What’s your advertisement of the book?)

    ● Introduce the author, illustrator, and title

    ● Plan engagement points – making

    connections, predictions and asking


    ● What levels of questioning will you ask?

    ● In what ways will you include oral language opportunities?

    Before Reading: NOT A BOX by:

    Antoinette Portis

    ● Introduce Title and Author. Pont out that this book won an award.

    ● Advertisement: “This book is one of my all-time favorite. The main character in the story, the rabbit, is very creative with all the things you could do with a box. The author also wrote the story like we are talking to the rabbit and he is responding to us. On the w hite pages we are asking questions to the rabbit. On the red pages the rabbit is answering back to us. This is going to be so much fun. Sample questions asked before


    ● What’s one thing you think the rabbit might use the box for?

    ● Why do you think the title is “NOT A BOX”?

    ● How many different things do you think you could turn a box into? Show me on your fingers?

    During Reading Considerations

    ●Share the joy of the book

    ● Read slowly and enunciate clearly

    ● Make eye contact with all students

    ● Encourage students to participate in a variety of ways, but be cautious of stopping too much in order to not interrupt the flow of the book and overall comprehension of the story

    ● Consider lowering your voice to bring readers in and other opportunities for expression

    ● Encourage visualization

    ●Extend beyond the literal meaning of  the book

    ● Stop to ask questions

    ● Include other engagement opportunities such as choral reading repetitive lines


    During Reading: NOT A BOX by:

    Antoinette Portis

    ● Whisper, NOT A BOX on the title page.

    ● Share the dedication page. Think aloud: I wonder why the author dedicated this book to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes? Let’s see if we can answer that after we read.

    ● Read with me, “NOT A BOX.” When I point to you. (oral language & engagement)

    ● What does the bunny think the box is? “A car.” That’s right the picture clues tell us what the bunny is thinking. What does the bunny think the box is this time? (Model thinking)

    ● What could this box possibly be? (predict)

    ● Show me what it looks like to squirt? (Expanding vocabulary)

    ● Why would he be squirting it? (predict)

    ● Why would the rabbit wear the box? (predict)

    ● What do you notice on this picture? Why might the bunny put his hand to his head? Have you ever seen this before? (connect and predict)

    ● What is the box this time? (using picture clues)

    ● I think the bunny is getting mad at us asking because this time he said, NOT NOT NOT NOT. (think aloud)

    ● Maybe we should change the question? (think aloud)

    ● Hmm…the bunny is thinking. How might the bunny answer this question? (think aloud)

    After Reading Considerations

    Thank the author for the wonderful book

    ● Retell the book

    ● Share favorite part

    ● What did you learn?

    ● How do you feel?

    ● Connect the story to writing, dramatic play, science, art, math

    ● Connect the story for family engagement opportunities

    After reading: NOT A BOX by: Antoinette Portis

    ● What do you think the author is trying to teach us in this book?

    ● Do we have any guesses why the author dedicated this book to all children everywhere sitting in a cardboard box?

    ● You will notice in the dramatic play area that since boxes can become so many things through imagination, that there are several empty boxes for you to be reactive with and make your own “Not a Box!”

    ● Create a list of all the things that you could turn a box into. (writing extension)

    ● Art work – draw a box on a piece of paper and let students color/draw around it their own “NOT A BOX”


    ● Predict “NOT A STICK”


    Six Learning Dimensions of a Cardboard Box

    (Refrigerator or Otherwise)

    1. SPATIAL AWARENESS. Babies do it. Toddlers do it. Preschoolers too. (And I bet more than once you've secretly wanted to as well.) The first thing little kids do when confronted with a cardboard box is try to get in it. Cute as this is, there's actually an important reason why they do this. It's called Spatial Awareness.


    You see, in the early years, little ones spend a good deal of time getting to know their own bodies, and with that comes the necessary question "how big am I?" But they're growing, so the answer to that question keeps changing. That's why kids are constantly testing their own size by crawling in, through, around, over and under things. And cardboard boxes are often the perfect size for this kind of spatial exploration.


    1. COMFORT & SECURITY. There's also an emotional component to seeking out small spaces. Right from the start, children are soothed by a sense of being bundled up or embraced in mommy's arms. This need for "denning" continues throughout childhood (and I would argue throughout life) because in many ways, it's a subconscious return to the comfort of the womb.


    1. EMPOWERMENT. Imagine what it's like to always be the smallest person in a room. Everything is sized for big people. In small spaces, kids feel BIG. (Sometimes it's good to be small.)

    Likewise, the light-weight construction of a cardboard box enables young children to move and manipulate an object that is bigger than they are. In other words, cardboard yields to their will.


    1. CONTROL. Cardboard boxes make ideal hiding places. And kids love to hide. Now, I haven't made a scientific study of this, but I believe the hiding game may well be the first experience a child has with knowing something you don't know. And I think this is such a powerful idea when we grow up, as adults we intuitively "get it."

    Think about it. The hiding game usually begins with an impish grin as she ducks out of sight. Without even thinking about it, you join the game. "Hmmm. I wonder where Caitlin is? I can't see her. Is she under the pillow? No. Is she behind the couch? No. Hmmm. Is she on my head? No..."

    Then comes the big surprise! "Here I am!" And of course, the tone in her voice let's you know she's got one up on you. What fun! And what a powerful role reversal that is!


    1. ASENSORY PLAY. I've read a lot and I've written a lot about the importance of providing children with rich sensory experiences each and every day. Yet "asensory" experiences play an important role in sensory development as well.

    For instance, the humble cardboard box is a great example of an asensory environment. The brown color suggests nothing in particular. The smooth sides infer little. The cube structure defines empty space. The subtle smell lacks distraction. The sound of the cardboard folding is muted and music-less. This very LACK of sensory inputs (or perhaps, more accurately said, the subtle nature of the sensory inputs) is an essential contrast to the more powerful and deliberate stimulation we traditionally think of when we talk about "sensory play."

    This relief from the sensory world may explain, in part, why kids find the confines of a cardboard box so appealing. And of course, its very neutrality is the blank-slate upon which children so easily imprint their imaginations...


    1. IMAGINATION. Much as been written about this, but for my money, the minimalist Not A Box, by Antoinette Portis says all that needs to be said on the subject.

    Introducing A Big Cardboard Box

    For the record, turning a box into a plaything is an eco-friendly first lesson is waste-not, want-not. So when you have the opportunity, try encouraging preschoolers to think about the concept of reusing things for other purposes. For instance, you might explain the purpose of packaging -- that the box was designed to protect the product so that it wouldn't get scratched. But that doesn't mean that's the only thing you can do with a box. Then wonder aloud... "I wonder what we could do with this big box? What do you think?"

    Children's natural curiosity should take over, but if the size of the thing is a bit overwhelming, you might want to encourage a few ideas to get her started, and before you know it, you won't be able to get her out of it!

    Big Box Ideas?

    If you've got a great big cardboard box idea you've tried with your kids, I'd love to hear about it! Please post your link here in the comments section. Thanks so much.



    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Narishea Parham on 11/1/2018


    Retelling Using Real Life Experiences (Pre-K through First Grade)

    The purpose of this activity is to engage students with the text and use a retelling of the story to connect with real life experiences. After reading the story to the children, ask them what the problem in the story from Father’s point of view, illustrating the need for Little Chicken to relax and the desire of Father to finish the story. Then discuss the problem from Little Chicken’s point of view, illustrating concern for the characters and a desire to help. Discuss moments in the student’s lives when a similar situation may have occurred. Ask students to illustrate a time when they felt like Little Chicken and write or dictate as appropriate the story of the event.

    Telling a Story through Illustrating (Pre-K through Third Grade)

    As a class or small group, examine the illustration in the story. Discuss how the illustrations tell a different story than the words do. Reread the story using only the illustrations. Discuss other wordless picture books such as CAT AND CHICKEN by Sara Varon or ROSIE’S WALK by Pat Hutchins. After studying the illustrations, have children work together in groups, or for younger students work together to create a story using only pictures. Talk about details in illustrating the pictures and how facial features, posture, colors, etc. signify emotions. Share the wordless picture books with younger students or in the school library.

    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Narishea Parham on 10/1/2018

    Book Study


    The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town, except for its weather, which came three times a day—at breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Life for the townspeople was delicious, until the miraculous food weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger, and so did the portions. The flood of huge food caused chaos, and the people feared for their lives. Something had to be done…before it was too late!



    • Read the book “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" by Judi Barrett. Slow down as you reach the first page about soup and juice falling from the sky instead of rain so that children understand the main idea of the book. Make sure that children understand the ridiculous situation that the people of Chewandswallow are in, as well as why they have to leave.  You and your child act out the page that speaks about how the people of Chewandswallow would catch the food that fell from the sky.


    • Make a recipe for your favourite meal. What ingredients do you need? How do you make / cook it?
    • Plan some healthy / unhealthy meals for the people of Chewandswallow to eat.
    • Look at the illustration of soup, peas and hamburgers raining on the town of Chewandswallow. Could you make your own picture like this, with different types of food raining over the silhouette of a town below?

    Comments (-1)