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Happy 200th Birthday, Abraham Lincoln!

Abraham_Lincoln This February 12 marks the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Try these 16 activities to honor our 16th President, including three reader's theaters, "The Faces of Abraham Lincoln" slideshow, and more.

Print out a free Abraham Lincoln Mini-Book, Abraham Lincoln: A Great President, a Great American, or sing a classroom song about President Lincoln.

Use these great grab-and-go lessons and books in your classroom tomorrow in celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration

9780545163668_xlg_4President's Obama inauguration is an unique opportunity for teachers to incorporate real-world events into classroom teaching and give their students an authentic learning experience. In reading our blogs, I am amazed at the creativity of our teachers' lessons and how they are able to connect the Presidential Inauguration with their curriculum.

Here are the best teacher ideas for President Obama's inauguration on January 20:

In addition to top ten resources for January I mentioned in my earlier post, we've recently added these Presidential Inauguration resources:

I have never been so excited about a Presidential Inauguration. Here at Scholastic, three viewing areas will be set up so that we can watch Barack Obama take the Oath of Office and give the Inaugural Address. At my sister's school, they are trying to figure out how 800 students can share this historic event when they are limited to one Internet connection and an auditorium with a maximum capacity of 250. My mom, a Chinese immigrant, will watching the live television broadcast and listening to a Chinese translation on the radio. We will be talking about this day for years to come.

Compare & Contrast Christmas, Hanukkah, & Kwanzaa

484x235_holiday Around the world, communities celebrate many different holidays to honor their histories, beliefs, and cultures. Introduce students to holiday customs and traditions that may be unfamiliar to them and help them recognize the similarities among these celebrations.

Explore our new Celebrate Winter Holidays interactive activity to learn more about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

Christmas Teaching Resources

Interactive Christmas Scrapbook

Christmas Crafts & Lessons

Hanukkah Teaching Resources

Interactive Hanukkah Scrapbook

Teaching About Hanukkah

Teaching About Kwanzaa & Other Multicultural Celebrations


Interactive Kwanzaa Scrapbook

Celebrating Winter Holidays in the Classroom

Festive Tales for the Holiday Season

Compareholiday_3 As a culminating activity, students can choose two holidays and use this free printable chart to compare & contrast the holidays.

Print out this flyer for our Celebrate Winter Holidays interactive unit to share with other teachers.

For more holiday ideas, check out:

Best Teacher Ideas for the Holidays

Parent Guide for Happy Holidays

Best Teacher Ideas for the Holidays

Find out how our Teacher Advisors are incorporating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the theme of giving and sharing into their teaching. These fun activities are guaranteed to bring holiday cheer into your classroom.

Window_candle_2 In Naomi and Alexandra's Kindergarten classroom, they make stained "glass" candles for a lesson about the four festivals of light: Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

Carolyn Elwood, one of the advisors for our Strategies for Arts Integration blog, explains how creating a three-dimensional snowflake builds skills that last long after the holiday season.

Goodnight_angel Jennifer's 1st Grade class and her school staged a “Winter Holidays Around the World” program with songs about Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and more. She shares 26 ideas, from art projects and writing prompts to how to make a home connection this season. I am amazed at the art that her students created for "Peace on Earth."

Bracelet_lg Angela Bunyi, our Grades 3-5 Teacher Advisor, shares how she manages to create holiday gifts for her class on a $10 budget and a holiday math site with an activity using the 12 Days of Christmas and Pascal's triangle patterns.

Holiday_store Jill White, one of the advisors for our Strategies for Gifted Learners blog, continues with her Toys for Tots drive but with a different spin. See last year's class creating crafts for the holiday store and shopping for gifts that were donated to Toys for Tots.

Hanukkah_song In Andrea's ELL classroom, students sing holidays songs as a way to increase their English language skills by working on vocabulary, rhythm, and pronunciation. Or, try this project of making holiday centerpieces as a thoughtful gift for parents.

Tech Tutor Michelle Bourgeois has fun and easy computer craft projects for student elves to create holiday gifts for mom and dad.

Check out Kid Lit Kit blogger Hannah Trierweiler's recommendations for new holiday books for your classroom.

Alyssa Zelkowitz, our Special Education Strategies blogger, shares her interdisciplinary math, music, and literacy mini-unit on Hanukkah, with assessment and differentiation options for each lesson. Instead of a KWL chart, have your students create a KWL dreidel.

Five Reindeer Teaching Ideas


Turn your students' enthusiasm for reindeers into a teaching opportunity for language arts skills.

1. Practice December vocabulary using the Five Little Reindeer poem.
2. Read this fiction/nonfiction book pair about reindeer for grades K-2.
3. Let reindeers' noses guide your students into writing a complete sentence.
4. Watch this video interview with Jan Brett talking about The Wild Christmas Reindeer.
5. Use The Wild Christmas Reindeer lesson plan to remind students how to treat others.

Top Thanksgiving Lessons & Books

Illustrating_stories_2 If you are looking for last-minute Thanksgiving lessons and books, check out how our Teacher Advisors are celebrating Thanksgiving in their classrooms.

In Andrea Spillett's ELL classroom, students work in pairs to retell and draw their own version of the Thanksgiving story. [Strategies for English Language Learners]

In Tech Tutor Gayle Berthiaume's classroom, her students use these "Giving Thanks" online resources for writing and creating projects around the topic of being thankful.

In Jennifer's 1st Grade classroom, she adds a language arts twist to the art project of turning a student's handprint into a turkey. Jennifer asks her students to write on conversation bubbles glued around the turkey handprint. Students can reinforce what they have learned about quotation marks by writing what they have learned about turkeys, favorite parts of a book, things that they are thankful for or things they would like to thank their friends or family for. Read her Thanksgiving Activities blog post for even more great ideas.

Check out these Kid Lit Kit blog recommendations for Thanksgiving books:

I am counting down the days to Thanksgiving: great food, family hijinks, and a few days off. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Author of the Month & New Author Studies

Cornelia_funke_author_of_the_month One of the best ways to "meet an author" is through his or her books. We've made this first introduction to an author even easier and more engaging with the launch of our Author of the Month feature.

Encourage your students to submit questions for this month's author, Cornelia Funke. Find out what Rick Riordan, our October Author of the Month, shared with his young fans last month.

Here's the schedule for our upcoming Authors of the Month:

  • December: Gordon Korman
  • January: Brian Selznick
  • February: Kadir Nelson
  • March: Pam Munoz Ryan
  • April: David Shannon
  • May: Sara Pennypacker
  • June: Blue Balliett

Continue reading "Author of the Month & New Author Studies" »

Teaching Resources for President-Elect Barack Obama

Tf_barackobamabooks_20081105 Introduce your students to the new President-elect by sharing these biographies about Barack Obama for grades K-12. Learn more about Obama's journey to the Oval Office. Then, ask your students to write a biography about America's first African-American president.

Upfront_obamas_challenge_111708 With the economy in crisis, the nation at war, and America's image tarnished, Barack Obama has his work cut out for him. Teach your students about the challenges that President-elect Obama faces. [The New York Times Upfront magazine].

Put Obama's victory in historical context using this "From Slavery to The White House" timeline.

Obama_timeline_ro New! Barack Obama Timeline Poster (PDF)
Grab scissors and tape to make a classroom poster about Obama’s life from this PDF created with Timeliner XE! Or, use the ready-made Timeliner XE file of Obama’s life as a jumping off point for discussion of his path to the presidency (Timeliner XE required).

Prepare for Barack Obama's historic Inauguration with these grade-specific Inauguration Day printables and lessons.

Find more teaching resources for Barack Obama here.

Top 5 New Teaching Resources for November

Tf_parentteacher Reporting on Student Progress
Make tracking student progress easy with rubrics and portfolios, which can then be shared with parents during parent-teacher conferences. For first-year teachers, check out our Insider's Guide to Writing Report Cards.

Ba_cfunke_aom Cornelia Funke Is Our November Author of the Month
Watch our video interview to learn about Inkdeath, the final installment of the Ink World Trilogy. Cornelia Funke herself will join us to answer some of your questions! Your students can post their questions here.

Ba_kwaters Kate Waters Author Study
Make the study of history vibrant and relevant to your students. Use these book-based activities and lessons to have fun with Waters' unique historical perspective on Thanksgiving. Kate Waters is the author of Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast, On the Mayflower, and Sarah Morton's Day.

Sn_econ_special_report Economy For Kids Special Report (For Grades 3-8)
This Scholastic News Special Report helps your students make sense of the economy, how it works, and what makes it such a vital part of our lives. Our collection of teaching resources includes advice on how to talk to your students about the financial crisis.

484x235_holiday Holidays Around the World -- New Interactive Unit for Grades 2-8
Students explore interactive scrapbooks to learn more about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Make a scrapboook of your students' holiday traditions using free clip art images. Students can also read about many other holidays throughout the year and around the world.

Top Five Halloween Activities & Lessons

Turn Halloween into a learning holiday with these classroom-tested Halloween activities, books, and lessons. A big thank you to our Scholastic Teacher Bloggers for sharing these great Halloween photos and ideas.

Sinkfloat_3_2 I would love to be a student in Naomi and Alexandra's Kindergarten class this week. From language arts to math to science and art, they are able to weave the Halloween fun into all parts of their curriculum. Find out for yourselves if pumpkins float.

Kitty In Jennifer's 1st Grade classroom, she works with her students to write a class book The A-Z of Halloween and prompts students to write about what scares them and why. Read her blog for more quick Halloween-themed language arts activities.

When Gayle's 1st grade students start thinking about monsters, this Tech Tutor gathers online and technology monsters resources. Find out how she adds technology to the students' learning experiences using monsters as a theme.

Vocab_ghastly Students in Angela's 4th grade class dress up like a vocabulary word and join in a school-wide Halloween vocabulary parade, inspired by Debra Frasier's Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster.

Gandalf Patty is excited to share a great, fun, high school level seasonal activity called Literary Pumpkins, which has become a big hit at Patty's high school.

Also, check out these Halloween books and videos recommended by our Kid Lit Kit bloggers:

Have more spooky fun using our collection of Halloween lessons and activities, including a Halloween history WebQuest.

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