Tuesday, June 9, 2020

I Wanna See You Be Brave

The world is a scary place right now, and always for many kids. I have compiled some of my son's favorite books, songs, and videos that are helping him through a variety of situations and topics, from potty training, to sleeping or being in the dark, getting a haircut, going to the dentist, and to trying new things. I have also included some of the resources I've used in my elementary school classroom. 

Preschool and Primary Grades

"Logan is a stay-at-home bunny - but he's about to discover how brave he really is. It's time for his first adventure, and he doesn't want to go. But there's an amazing world outside, if he can just pluck up courage to look."

Wemberly Worried video and book
"Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!"

"I Am Brave follows a little girl as she navigates her own family vacation, complete with her first airplane ride, a giant water slide at the hotel, a spooky cave—with bats!—and the main role in a disappearing trick. Thankfully, with her brother, parents, and even a magician as a guide, she learns to overcome hesitation and embrace her family’s new adventures. Repeating the affirmation that “I am brave” allows courage to take over and helps her have a very happy vacation."


"Meet Ruby--a happy, curious, imaginative girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It's not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . And a little bigger . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there's a great way to get rid of them too . . ."
 

"Being brave isn't the same as not feeling scared. Being brave is about what you do, even when you do feel scared." -Gator
"Thomas and his friends face their fears in their boldest adventure yet! After a monstrous storm on the Island of Sodor, a landslide unearths some very unusual footprints. Thomas and Percy are eager to find out what could have made these marks but obstacles and danger seem to appear around every bend in the track. With the help of new friends, a little digging, and a heap of courage, they discover the surprising answer and, along the way, uncover the true meaning of bravery. Join Thomas & Friends in this exciting and inspiring movie adventure."

Thomas & Friends The Brave Song - "Such a Brave Little Engine" video
"Buffers and Bumpers! There are times to be brave and times to be strong, Thomas knows what must be done! He knows and what is more... He's the leader! Number one! Such a brave little engine for sure!"


Little Angel Baby's First Haircut video
Is your child going to get his or her first haircut or are they returning to the barber's chair for the first time after a long quarantine? This video may help.
"Baby John's getting his very first haircut, and he's very nervous! There's nothing to be afraid of baby, especially when the hairdresser has you dancing to baby shark! Enjoy this fun song about getting your first haircut."


"Belly Breathe" video by Common, Colbie Callait, and Elmo

Disney's Brave trailer video

Upper Elementary School
Wilma Jean The Worry Machine book and video

The Anti-Test Anxiety Society book

Upper Elementary / Middle School

"Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama's life, and her own, depend on it."

"To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:

―The number four
―The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
―A crisp white pad of paper
―Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is sure her mother would never miss that. Right…? But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly's world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect."


Sara Bareilles - "Brave"

Kelly Clarkson "Breakaway" is a great song to help empower kids to face fear of the unknown. Lyrics are clean and the song is calm enough to be played at school.

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Check out other preschool posts here.

Check out other posts on test prep here.

Check out other posts on anxiety and other disabilities here.

Want more videos for learning?  Want more songs for learning?  Want more books for learning? 
 Click the links!


Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Plusses of ADD and ADHD



This post includes a material list and summary of a DonorsChoose project I I had funded in 2019. First, read about my goals for the project, which had a fundraising match thanks to the Carol Kupers Whalen Fund. Then check out the materials, along with links and product summaries. Note that fortunately, this is not an exhaustive list of books that include characters with disabilities - more are being published every day and some just weren't available to ship at the time of the project.

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My Project

Students will learn more about attention deficit and its impact on learning. They will be able to read books about characters with ADD and ADHD as well as ways these characters learned to be successful. Executive functioning skills such as organization and meeting deadlines will be learned in a kid-friendly, natural way for all students since they are important for all people. Books like Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary 'Executive Skills' Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential and The Survival Guide for Kids with ADHD will provide opportunities for practice and growth for both the teacher and students. Finally, wobble cushions will help students get sensory stimulation and to improve concentration while they are required to be sitting.

This project will help them become more accepting of students who have these challenges, and even help students identify some of these traits in themselves so that they can overcome obstacles in their own learning journeys.

Students will learn to focus on the positive elements of ADD and ADHD so that self-esteem and acceptance will be increased.

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Smart, But Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential

This one's for the adults to read, but with resources to photocopy or use as a workbook. It's one of the most usable resources out there for teacher and parents. According to Amazon, "There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your bright, talented son or daughter struggle with everyday tasks like finishing homework, putting away toys, or following instructions at school. Your “smart but scattered” child might also have trouble coping with disappointment or managing anger. Drs. Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have great news: there’s a lot you can do to help."

The latest research in child development shows that many kids who have the brain and heart to succeed lack or lag behind in crucial “executive skills”--the fundamental habits of mind required for getting organized, staying focused, and controlling impulses and emotions. Learn easy-to-follow steps to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses, use activities and techniques proven to boost specific s

kills, and problem-solve daily routines. Small changes can add up to big improvements--this empowering book shows how.

Train Your Dragon To Be Responsible

Having a pet dragon is very fun. You can teach your dragon to sit, stand, roll over, and you can even potty train him... But what if your dragon is not responsible? What if he always says "It's Not My Fault!", and puts the blame on others for his mistakes? What do you do? You teach him that mistakes are not bad, as long as he learns from it. You teach him to own his mistake, learn from them, and take responsibility.

The Mindful Dragon

Having a pet dragon is very fun. You can teach your dragon to sit, stand, roll over, and you can even potty train him... But what if your dragon is worried about so many things? He worries about the past, and about the future.... What do you do? You teach him about mindfulness - You teach him to be mindful!

Learning to Feel Good and Stay Cool

Everybody likes to feel good but it's normal to be sad, angry, or frustrated when things don't go the way you want them to. Many kids with AD/HD have really strong feelings that make it hard for them to control their behavior. While others may think they are "over-reacting," children with AD/HD are often less self-observant and more reactive, meaning it is harder for them to understand and control their feelings.

Learning to Feel Good and Stay Cool offers practical tools to help kids with AD/HD manage and reduce unwanted feelings and to develop daily habits that can help them feel good and function well. Illustrated with cartoons that will hold children's interest, the book is divided into sections that can be read in smaller portions. Also includes a note and resources for parents.

Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets (The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses)

The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses is meant to demonstrate various forms of learning, creativity, and intelligence. Each book introduces a realistic example of triumph over difficulty in a positive, humorous way that readers of all ages will enjoy! David gets scolded a lot by his teacher, Mrs. Gorski, for not paying attention in class. He wants to pay attention but it is just so hard when an exciting idea pops into his head. And he usually can't tell that he's making a mistake until after he makes them. But after a particularly big mistake, David comes up with his own plan to tone down his wiggle fidgets.

Learning To Slow Down & Pay Attention: A Book for Kids About ADHD

This third edition of reflects changes in understanding of ADHD and in our approach to its treatment.. While the majority of what's written about ADHD emphasizes behaviors that bother adults, this book emphasises those aspects of ADHD that are troublesome to the children, trying to look at the world more from their point of view.

Meet Marvin, a lovable monster with a twelve-stringed baby fang guitar, a rambunctious case of ADHD, and a diary to record it all. His teachers scold him, his parents don't know what to do with him, and his sister is convinced he was raised by triple-tailed monkeys. In short, Marvin's life is feeling out of control—until a secret formula changes everything.

The Survival Guide for Kids with ADHD

What are ADHD? What does it mean to have ADHD? How can kids diagnosed with ADHD help themselves succeed in school, get along better at home, and form healthy, enjoyable relationships with peers? In kid-friendly language and a format that welcomes reluctant and easily distracted readers, this book helps kids know they’re not alone and offers practical strategies for taking care of oneself, modifying behavior, enjoying school, having fun, and dealing with doctors, counselors, and medication. Includes real-life scenarios, quizzes, and a special message for parents.

Now I Know How!

Ten-year-old Haris is convinced he’ll never be able to ride his bike straight. But when he dreams of a wise woman telling him about gifts that will help him, he feels certain this is the answer to his problem. And when he and his pals go exploring in the woods, they find three doors suspended in the trees that lead to magical lands. Eager to explore them, Haris and his friends go through one at a time. And each realm grants them knowledge of so much more than how to balance a bicycle… Will Haris and the boys emerge stronger and smarter than before? Now I Know How! is a unique book aimed at helping kids eight to twelve find their own way of turning negatives into positives. Using a specially developed dyslexia-friendly font to reduce reading challenges, young readers will also improve their comprehension while discovering the lifelong power of positivity.

Trideer Inflated Stability Wobble Cushion with Pump (3)

The materials in this project totaled $163.62 via Amazon Business at the time of project funding.
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Want to learn more about ADD and ADHD? Check this out.

Read my other posts on diversity, disabilities, and books.

Are you considering joining DonorsChoose? I have had 18 completed Donors Choose projects successfully. Read this post for tips I've learned along the way.

Want to support other classes with their diversity or book projects? See DonorsChoose.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Differently Abled, Not Disabled


This post includes a material list and summary of a DonorsChoose project I I had funded in 2019. First, read about my goals for the project, which had a fundraising match. Then check out the materials, along with links and product summaries. Note that fortunately, this is not an exhaustive list of books that include characters with disabilities - more are being published every day and some just weren't available to ship at the time of the project.

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My Project

These books will help educate students about disabilities that some of their classmates, peers, neighbors, and acquaintances may have. Also included in the project besides books is 2 wobble cushions, a t-shirt, and a bracelet for muscular dystrophy awareness. The materials will also help students who face these challenges themselves not only feel included, but also empowered. We want to show our support and to show students that we can focus on the strengths people have instead of their disabilities.

Christopher Reeve once said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

Once these materials are received, students will create posters and presentations about the medical conditions the characters faced and ways that others in the stories supported them. We will post them outside our classroom for each disability's awareness month. (For example, October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.) We hope we can count on your support!

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One of my main challenges was deciding whether I should keep these books separate from the rest or to include them seamlessly into our classroom library. Because we had to write thank you notes, we decided they'd have their own special place in our class library for the year and then they would find their places in other spots on the shelves in following years!

A little bit of my background: I have a nephew with Down Syndrome. When he was born, he was hospitalized and in the NICU for quite some time as he was on oxygen and awaiting heart surgery. We had the difficult task of explaining to his older, yet still young, sisters about what Down Syndrome was and challenges he might face in life simply due to the fact that his differences were visible. I also have or have had other family members, friends, colleagues, and students with physical differences, learning challenges, and mental health diagnoses. It meant the world to me to start seeing people of all types being represented and for kids themselves to either have characters to identify with or to learn from.

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These wobble cushions were a hit from the start with many of my students. At first, the ones who needed a bit more movement were able to try them out first. Then over time, all students were given the opportunity to try them to decide if they were comfortable or not. We eventually got 3 more, so we have pink and teal ones.

A true warrior is someone who doesn’t let circumstances control their destiny, they fight. This children’s book Epic Battle with Muscular Dystrophy "The Diagnosis" (part of the series Mark the Mighty Muskrat) is about a young muskrat who’s faced with life-altering news; he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The story itself is based on true events that have taken place in the life of the author’s son. Written in poetry style, the underlying lessons of the children’s book are something all people can truly appreciate and learn from.The following excerpt from the book explains it all;‘The road of life can be rocky and unpaved in certain spots. There’s just no time to sit around and fill your mind with negative thoughts.’Teaching children the importance of: 1. Positive thinking 2. Fighting for their future 3. Understanding life circumstances happen to everyone.



Caleb & Kit
Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That's because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother.

Then Caleb meets Kit--a vibrant, independent, and free girl--and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb's palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit's friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what's best for him--or her.

Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero). “Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits.”—Booklist

In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball.

They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.

Focused

Clea can't control her thoughts. She knows she has to do her homework . . . but she gets distracted. She knows she can't just say whatever thought comes into her head . . . but sometimes she can't help herself. She know she needs to focus . . . but how can she do that when the people around her are always chewing gum loudly or making other annoying noises? It's starting to be a problem--not just in school, but when Clea's playing chess or just hanging out with her best friend. Other kids are starting to notice. When Clea fails one too many tests, her parents take her to be tested, and she finds out that she has ADHD, which means her attention is all over the place instead of where it needs to be. Clea knows life can't continue the way it's been going. She's just not sure how you can fix a problem that's all in your head. But that's what she's going to have to do, to find a way to focus. 

Rachel Brooks is excited for the new school year. She's finally earned a place as a forward on her soccer team. Her best friends make everything fun. And she really likes Tate, and she's pretty sure he likes her back. After one last appointment with her scoliosis doctor, this will be her best year yet.

Then the doctor delivers some terrible news: The sideways curve in Rachel's spine has gotten worse, and she needs to wear a back brace 23 hours a day. The brace wraps her in hard plastic from shoulder blades to hips. It changes how her clothes fit, how she kicks a ball, and how everyone sees her -- even her friends and Tate. But as Rachel confronts all the challenges the brace presents, the biggest change of all may lie in how she sees herself.

To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:

―The number four
―The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
―A crisp white pad of paper
―Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?

But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly's world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect.

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn't mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn't long before the kids at her new school realize she's different. Only Calliope's neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is―an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public? As Calliope navigates school, she must also face her mother's new relationship and the fact that they might be moving―again―just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences.

Caitlin has Asperger's. The world according to her is black and white; anything in between is confusing. Before, when things got confusing, Caitlin went to her older brother, Devon, for help. But Devon was killed in a school shooting, and Caitlin's dad is so distraught that he is just not helpful. Caitlin wants everything to go back to the way things were, but she doesn't know how to do that. Then she comes across the word closure--and she realizes this is what she needs. And in her search for it, Caitlin discovers that the world may not be so black and white after all.

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

My Buddy

Deenie’s mother wants her to be a model, with her face on magazine covers—maybe even in the movies—but Deenie wants to spend Saturdays with her friends Janet and Midge, tracking Harvey Grabowsky, the captain of the football team, around Woolworth’s. She wants to be a cheerleader, too, and go to the seventh-grade mixer to hear Buddy Brader play his drums. Instead, Deenie is diagnosed with scoliosis. And that means body stockings to squeeze into, a roomful of strangers to face, and a terrifying brace that she’ll need to wear for years that goes from her neck to her hips. Suddenly Deenie has to cope with a kind of specialness that’s frightening—and might be hers forever.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

When the former Detroit Lion’s football career was cut short by an injury, Leland didn’t waste time mourning his broken dream. Instead, he found a new one—something that was completely out of this world. He joined NASA, braved an injury that nearly left him permanently deaf, and still managed to muster the courage and resolve to travel to space on the shuttle Atlantis to help build the International Space Station. Leland’s problem-solving methods and can-do attitude turned his impossible-seeming dream into reality. Leland’s story introduces readers to the fascinating creative and scientific challenges he had to deal with in space and will encourage the next generation of can-do scientists to dare to follow their dreams.



Delrita likes being invisible. If no one notices her, then no one will notice her uncle Punky either. Punky is a grown man with a child's mind. Delrita loves him dearly and can't stand people making fun of his Down's syndrome. But when tragedy strikes, Delrita's quiet life—and Punky's—are disrupted forever. Can she finally learn to trust others, for her own sake and Punky's? This story captures the joy and sorrow that come when we open our hearts to love.

Chase's memory just went out the window.

Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof. He doesn't remember hitting his head. He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name. He knows he's Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return. Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets. Pretty soon, it's not only a question of who Chase is--it's a question of who he was . . . and who he's going to be.

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own.


The materials in this project totaled $201.63 via Amazon Business at the time of project funding.
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Read my other posts on diversitydisabilities, and books.

Are you considering joining DonorsChoose? I have had 18 completed Donors Choose projects successfully. Read this post for tips I've learned along the way.

Want to support other classes with their diversity or book projects? See DonorsChoose.