Monday, February 13, 2017
We love bird watching at our house, so we look forward to February's annual Great Backyard Bird Count, or GBBC. This year, 2017, the GBBC runs from Friday Feb. 17th - Monday Feb. 20th.
As the count spans academic days and the weekend, this is a fun activity to do in your classroom or at home. You can go on a bird walk and count, or count from your window as you watch the feeders. We put together this bird tally sheet printable to help kids (or adults!) with their count. On it you'll find some of the more common birds observed in North America.
You can download the free printable tally sheet here.
Check out the links below to learn more about the bird count!
The Great Backyard Bird Count and Other Winter Citizen Science Projects
The GBBC and Woodpeckers Galore!
Valentine's Day is for the Birds (Make a bird treat!)
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Thursday, February 9, 2017
In our house we read books every day. Yes, the "old-fashioned" type of books, made of paper. Although we would never give up reading this way, we were excited to give Epic! book service a try when offered a free trial.
This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosures for more information.
Epic! has been touted at the "Netflix of children's books". With tens of thousands of kid's book titles available, this moniker is really accurate. The service works on any device, is free for educators, and is reasonably priced at $4.99/month for others.
We found all of our fiction favorites like Where the Wild Things Are and Clifford, and chapter books like The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and the Ramona Quimby books.
Not only were there great fiction titles, we were excited to see lots of non-fiction too. There was a whole DIY section ranging from eco-crafts, to keeping chickens and gardening. There were books on building contraptions and a variety of titles from National Geographic Kids.
I really liked that the variety of non-fiction titles allowed kids and students to do quick research on something they were interested in without me having to worry about what misinformation or inappropriate content they might stumble upon on a regular Google search of a particular subject.
Recommendations are made based on what kids have read already. I liked that kids could have control over tracking their reading progress with weekly logs, and incentives to read with badges to earn. I can see this as being really motivating for reluctant readers.
A selection of read-aloud stories, like those from Sid the Science Kid and many others are fun for those still too young to read themselves, or anyone who likes to be read to (and who doesn't?).
Although we love the feel of a good book in our hands, and no device can replace that, after using Epic! I can see a lot of merit to subscribing to this book service as an option for the most voracious and reluctant readers. It would be excellent on a long trip, or when you can't haul a big bag of picture books along with you.
The opportunities for tracking reading progress and allowing kids opportunities for non-fiction project research from actual books would be invaluable in a classroom.
If your kiddo already has screen time each day, why not make it reading time too? We highly recommend Epic! Learn more and try it out here.
Disclaimer: I received a free two month trial subscription of Epic! for this honest review of the service. All opinions are my own and I was not otherwise compensated for writing this review.