Earth Day Lesson Plans

Earth Day and Spring perfectly overlap, and students greatly enjoy science resource texts. Stories are the best possible way to teach science to students of all ages. Despite the assumptions, a huge amount of science learning is integrated with language arts, at least by the great ones. Earth Day offers an ideal opportunity to teach and discuss how human actions effect the environment. Even though all the present hype with STEM tagets hands-on, there is no learning without actual reading for both background knowledge and additional research. Here are some awesome Earth Day books and lesson plans to go along:

"The Lorax" Lesson Plan; Earth Day Lesson Plan

“The Lorax” Lesson Plan; Earth Day Lesson Plan

1. “The Lorax by Dr. Suess is a must read for primary grades. Kids love Dr. Suess books, activities, movies, anything. Perfect Earth Day read and lesson.





The Giving Tree Lesson Plan

The Giving Tree Lesson Plan

2. The Giving Tree – Grades K-2 

“The Giving Tree” is a well loved book, for reasons that escape those with reason. It is not a story of giving and how wonderful it is to give. It’s a story about a boy who takes everything until there is nothing left. The message of non-renewable resources and importance of sustainability doesn’t escape. Super read on how not to be.



Heroes of the Environments Lesson Plan

Heroes of the Environments Lesson Plan

3. Heroes of the Environment – Upper Grades – Free Lesson Plan on TpT (Earth Day Lesson Plan Giveaway)  This is a great guided reading non-fiction common core text for students in older grades – upper elementary and middle school.
Happy Teaching! 




4. World Without Fish – lesson plan – Earth Day Non-Fiction Text

World Without Fish Novel Guide

World Without Fish Novel Guide


5. Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam and Science of Ocean Motion– Non-Fiction Science Resource Text Lesson Plan

Tracking Trash Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion

Tracking Trash Lesson Plan



Lesson Planning 101 for Homeschoolers

Lesson CoverFor the most part, homeschooling parents are left on their own when it comes to educating their kids. And while, we all appreciate that, there is not enough support in terms of teaching parents how to go about teaching their kids. The job seems easy during primary years, but as middle school age comes along, most parents that I know struggle with homeschooling or decide to send their kids back to traditional classroom. In Florida middle school age is especially hard due to lack of affordable options that are any good. So here we are. As most well meaning parents, the search for the homeschooling information usually starts with the online search.

Unfortunately, this brings a sea of useless information and proclaimed know-it-alls to the surface. Equipped with the colorful planners and kitschy lesson plan outlines, I don’t need more than a second to realize that they have no idea what they are talking about. No one needs a desk filled with binders and colorful post-its to do homeschooling properly. Parents need quality curriculum and guidance on effective instructional practices. The fact that effective instructional practices aren’t implemented in traditional schools doesn’t mean that they are not proven by research and practice.

So, here are some quick tips:

1st – Please don’t listen to the self proclaimed homeschooling guru. Writing lesson plans year ahead and having a controlling instructional schedule is counterproductive.
Some lessons will take more time. Be flexible.

2nd– Learning is dynamic. As a teacher, a mother of a homeschooler, and a Curriculum Writer, I know that teachers and parents everywhere have to adjust their lesson planning on daily basis due to time that it takes to teach a lesson and students’ learning styles. What works in one lesson does not work in another. Most of the time, the variation of background knowledge that you have to build up the lesson to plays a major part.

3rd – Planning a whole year ahead takes away from learning inquiry. As you go through the curriculum you, will find that there are gaps in student’s knowledge that you will need to address by teaching and/or reteaching the material.
Learning is dynamic, and so is teaching.

4th – More often than not, during your teaching, you will realize that you need to rewrite the lesson because there is a better way to present the material to your student.

5th – Teachers get better through teaching. If any of us, teachers or teacher-parents are to become better at what we do, we have to be able to analyze what works and what doesn’t work, what we are good at explaining and what we need to work on.

6th -Some lessons and units will take longer. Don’t be scared of slowing down. It will save time in the long run. Plus, the lessons/units that your child will breeze through are just around the corner.

For a Lesson Planning 101 Quick Guide Download – Sign Up for the Newsletter

Happy Homeschooling!

Lena, M.Ed. – Curriculum & Instruction

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The Polar Express Math & Reading

The Polar Express Math - KindergartencoverThe Polar Express Math

Milkweed – by Spinelli

Milkweed – by Spinelli Novel Unit for Grades 6 & Up

Interest Level Grades: 6 & Up             Milkweed by Spinelli

Reading Level : 5.2 Lexile Measure®: 510L

DRA: 60

Guided Reading: Y

Type of Book: Chapter Book

Genre: Historical Fiction

Theme/Subject: Identity, Homelessness, Poverty Jewish Experience, World War II, Holocaust, Kindness and Compassion, Tolerance and Acceptance and Prejudice

Summary: A powerful historical fiction novel about an orphan boy whose life is forever changed as a result of Nazi occupation in Warsaw, Poland. Misha’s first memories are of survival. A powerful account of a life interrupted by prejudice and discrimination, and saved through kindness, compassion and acceptance.

Lesson Plan/Novel Guide

Note to teachers: Milkweed is on the reading level of 5th graders, but this book is in no way adequate for 5th graders, both content and/or background knowledge wise. It is more appropriate for older students who are able to place the story in the context of European History and Holocaust.

“The Lorax” Movie – How awesome!

“The Lorax” Movie? – This is awesome news! This movie should be great and it comes out in March right in time for Read Across America, Dr. Seuss’ Birthday, and Earth Day.

…”I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees

which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please.
But I’m also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-loots
who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits
and happily lived, eating Truffula Fruits.

“NOW… thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground,
there’s not enough Truffula Fruit to go ’round.
And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies
because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!

“They loved living here. But I can’t let them stay.
They’ll have to find food. And I hope that they may.
Good luck, boys,” he cried. And he sent them away.

I, the old Once-ler, felt sad
as I watched them all go.
business is business!
And business must grow
regardless of crummies in tummies, you know….

Great Thanksgiving Books for Children

1. Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving – by Dav  Pilkey

Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving Lesson Plan by Dav Pilkey

Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

Grades: K-2

Subject: Language Arts, Thanksgiving,

Character development

Skills: Word Study, Reading Comprehension

Grade Level Equivalent: 2.7

DRA: 24

“Twas the night before Thanksgiving” by Dav Pilkey definitely makesthe cut with the other funny and engaging holiday reads, such as,”Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas” by Natasha Wing.

“Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving” tells a story of a group of school kids who go on a field trip to a farm where they make friends with turkeys and have a grand time until Farmer Nugget tells them “a grim tale of dread”…

The story turns out for the best and the kids will love the ending.

The illustrations tell as much of the story as the story itself, while the rhymes

are perfect for the word study in grades K-2.

Great story that you’ll read over and over :).

For a full lesson plan, grades K-2, go to

Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin Lesson Plan

2. “How Many Seeds In a Pumpkin” by Margaret McNamara – another Thanksgiving MUST read! This wonderful story incorporates math, science, and language arts. Perfect for students in grades K-3. Kids practice estimating and skip counting while wondering if all the best guesses are already taken.

Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara

original-2864987-13. “A Turkey for Thanksgiving” by Eve Bunting Lesson Plan – This is a yearly Thanksgiving read, which teaches inferencing, prediction, the role of humor in the story and most of all kindness and consideration.

This lesson plan includes a “Shape Turkey” activity. Students make their own turkey out of shapes, a much needed daily hands on in primary grades that is a keepsake and a math activity.

5 Stars!