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four&twenty
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"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." Louisiana, 1995. Texas, 1996. Ontario, 2009. Mississippi, 2017. These are a few of the times and places Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned. The novel, published in 1960, has met... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2018 at four&twenty
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Paper chains are a glorious way to anticipate celebration. Construction paper, wrapping paper, or even hand painted paper can be chained together to signify the countdown has begun. Paper chains can also slow us down, remind us to remember. With 2019 fast approaching, why not make a paper chain to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2018 at four&twenty
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With summer just around the corner it's time to set reading goals, that stack of books to inspire the intrepid adventurer! The Wanderer by Sharon Creech is just such a book: "The sea, the sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me. Come in, it said, come... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at four&twenty
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Have you read Tornado by Betsy Byars? On this first day of winter, what a wonderful time to explore the mysteries of the weather! And "tornados" are a great place to begin. This story touches down at the cross section of pure fiction and science. Your 2nd and 3rd grade... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2018 at four&twenty
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When the cold of winter nips at your toes, remember summer with its warm, sunny days. While you are remembering, think butterfly. Remember how they come fluttering aglow with complex design—longings and swallowtails, and of course monarchs flitting through our blossoming gardens. Of course there is butterfly activity in every... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2018 at four&twenty
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Don't wait until week 5 to begin thinking about your Section 5 idea. Make a plan. Keep all your ideas in one place. A spiral sketchbook will do just fine. During Section 2, begin brainstorming. Write down your ideas and, if your Section 5 will include a visual component, create... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2018 at four&twenty
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One of the best ways to learn to think is to learn about the tools available! empowering your students to learn about the parts and functions of their brain will inspire them to tap into the vast potential of this amazing frontier. We are not left-brained or right-brained; we are... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2018 at four&twenty
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Learning to follow a line is a skill that will teach students to think well. This skill is mathematical, involving spatial recognition, fractional and proportional relationships, and directional measurement. To complete this project you will need colored pencils or markers, a sheet of heavy drawing paper or a drawing journal,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at four&twenty
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What do the circulatory system, WW1, the life-cycle of a star, Samuel Adams, great characters from exceptional stories, and a single spring from the workings of an ink pen have in common? Why human potential, of course. Interdisciplinary endeavors provide the grand opportunity to perch students high above the realm... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2017 at four&twenty
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It began back in November with our iModannari after Rothko who thought that the greatest paintings were the ones that captured a moment of stillness. What better way to enter into the Thanksgiving season. Rothko painted rectangles. But he blurred the edges so the shapes seem to float. the saturations... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2017 at four&twenty
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It's December in California, so we took to the great outdoors to tackle a master class. The mentor? None other than Fra Angelico. Before tackling this Fra Angelico project, take a bit of advice from Leonardo: "It's easier to resist at the beginning than the end." Even though this project... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2017 at four&twenty
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Celebrate the many colors of Wassily Kandinsky and practice the math of concentricity in the process. Kandinsky connected color to sound. What an awesome metaphor: "The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2017 at four&twenty
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When is a family like a map? Help your 3rd and 4th grader explore a metaphor. This is the story of an old Parisian named Armand, who relished his solitary life. Children, he said, were like starlings, and one was better off without them. But the children who lived under... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2017 at four&twenty
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Stitchery builds cognitive plasticity. Embroidery is a practice that will empower students to be aware of fine motor potential, overcome the short attention span, and to have a growth mindset. The nervous system controls all of the body functions. But it is a complicated system with diverse potential. by tapping... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2017 at four&twenty
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Claude Monet's birthday was a November celebration. Imagine the Impressionist in his garden, over 100 years ago, painting something wonderful. After reading A Blue Butterfly by Bijou Le Tord, I set my students free to watercolor butterflies in all shades of blue. Of course I had pre-cut the shapes so... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2017 at four&twenty
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Reading a book is a journey. From Los Angeles to New York you'll travel through the city and the countryside meeting wonderful people and seeing new and exciting places. Let the journey begin! (Hat tip to Reading Rainbow.) Take your 2nd grader on an Earlybird Destinations journey. They will not... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2017 at four&twenty
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Here we are again, First-Days-of-School upon us. All of us teachers are certainly prepared with a hefty handful of academic goals, each comprised of an even heftier handful of learning objectivStill I can't help but smile, as Fall sneaks in from the wings stage right, and Summer exits the wings... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at four&twenty
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Our Earlybird Spring Literature and Writing Discovery Guide features The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Follow along with the blowing seeds as they land in different environments on Earth in this classic story with its beautiful collage art illustrations. It would be fun to plant some tiny sunflower seeds because... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at four&twenty
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Use Blackbird & Company’s Earlybird Spring Literature and Writing Discovery Guide to plant a Chinese vegetable garden! The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin tells the tale of a little girl who helps her mother grow some very unusual vegetables while the neighbors are all growing flowers. Read how those ugly... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at four&twenty
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For this project, begin with a sheet of watercolor paper or heavy cardstock. Next practice drawing some iconic clouds on scratch paper. When you are happy with your design, draw three or four or five clouds in pencil lightly on the watercolor paper. Be sure to overlap the clouds a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2017 at four&twenty
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Sometimes a poem is as small as a list. Sometimes it encompasses all the words we read. Sometimes a poem is a treasure held in a jar. But always, a l w a y s a poem is translucent, waiting to unfurl its magic. -Kim Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at four&twenty
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The fifth book in our Earlybird thematic Spring Discovery Guide is a Blackbird & Company favorite, Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco is in our top ten favorite children’s books of all times! Beautifully illustrated this wonderfully told tale will introduce your student to the amazing art of Ukrainian Pysanky egg... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at four&twenty
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April is just around the corner. It's time to think poetry. When is a flounder like a dish? Who reads the Newt News? How many lumps on the Bactrian's back? How many words rhyme with weevil? What does the hawk remind the reader to be thankful for? In our Earlybird... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at four&twenty
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To begin this project, go the the library and gather a collection of shark-picture-books. Read and enjoy at a safe distance. Sharks have sharp teeth. Next, write a sentence or two about a shark incorporating some true facts and some not-so-true facts (after all, this is poetry). Be sure to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at four&twenty
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Douglass Florian A collection of five Douglas Florian illustrated thematic books of poetry. Winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and recipient of an ALA Notable Children’s Book Award, Douglas Florian is the author and illustrator of many children’s books. He believes there is only one rule when it... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2017 at four&twenty