Ring in 2010

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and the last day of the decade. If you're thinking of hosting a last-minute soiree, head to Chica and Jo for this printable, penguin invitation craft.Print, cut, assemble and deliver these charming party propositions that are to0 cute to turn down.

New Year's is a perfect occasion for practicing clock skills. In the era of digital timepieces, even big kids often need extra clock practice. Make this New Year's countdown clock from Kaboose. After constructing the clock, learners can mark the final hours of the decade.

Visit FatherTimes.net to study New Year's Eve and New Year's Day traditions in countries around the world. Make some of these global holiday activities part of your own festivity this year like the Scotish tradition of first-footing (visiting friends at midnight), the Japanese tradition of forgiving grudges or the Venezuelan tradition of wearing yellow underwear to bring happiness in the new year.
Then checkout the lyrics and history of the English-speaking world's New Year's Anthem, Auld Lang Syne. After reading about the song, read Auld Lang Syne: The Story of Scotland's Most Famous Poet, Joanne Findon's biographical storybook about Robert Burns who transcribed the traditional Scottish folk song and contributed lyrics to make the famous 1796 version of the tune. With all that learning done, it will be time for a snack. Sample various traditional New Year's foods, which are outlined neatly in "Lucky Foods for the New Year," from Epicurous. Eat black-eyed peas and cabbage which are thought to bring luck and money in the Southern U.S. Or gobble down 12 grapes, one for each chime of the clock at midnight, as is the tradition in Spain.

Images from Chica and Jo, Kaboose, Virtual Sheet Music, Amazon,


Sherlock Holmes Printable Paper Doll

The newest movie adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes was released yesterday. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Sherlock Holmes is the most frequently portrayed fictional character in film history.

After seeing the new Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law film or re-reading some of the famous 19th century stories, check out this Sherlock Holmes printable paper doll at Paper Doll Garden. Students can retell scenes from the original stories or create new adventures for the renowned detective.

Image from Paper Doll Garden.



In 1990, NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit around Earth where it can collect clear images of space, unobstructed by our atmosphere. In the last 19 years, Hubble has allowed scientists to discover quasars, dark energy, and the age of the universe. The telescope runs on two 25 ft. solar panels, orbits Earth once every 97 minutes, and has collected countless images of space using filters that can process ultraviolet, infrared and visible light.

Learning about Hubble fits perfectly with lessons on space exploration, renewable energy or the light spectrum. Visit Hubblesite.org to find bunches of information about Hubble's history and structure.
After students read about the telescope, check out all of Hubblesite's fun, extension activities like
tracking the Hubble's orbit, preparing for a night of stargazing, and building a hand-held Hubble.
For many students, tactile experiences like model-making aid in their comprehension of a concept. Also, understanding the relationship between a model and the object it represents is a key learning objective in some states.
The site provides three tutorials for mini-telescope construction, which you can approach as your bravery accords. In my class, we made the basic, paper model, which the site describes as "Average to Difficult." This took just less than three 45-minute class periods with about 18 sets of helping hands.

Hubble diagram and photo from Hubblesite.org


Hanukkah Hullaballoo

Hanukkah's beginning is just days away. Learn more about the holiday by visiting Torah Tots Chanukah Story page for detailed explanations of the meaning and traditions of the Jewish Festival of Lights.
Students can practice "lighting" a candle each day without the hazard of fire with this colorful menorah printable from Nick Jr. Talking about the menorah is also a great opportunity to practice ordinal numbers as you light candles on the first, second, third, etc. days.

Read Eric Kimmel's The Magic Dreidels which is a Hanukkah twist on Grimm's Fairy Tale, "The Table, The Donkey and The Stick."

After reading Kimmel's story, print a paper dreidle template from Akhlah's Crafts page, so students can play the traditional dreidle game following these directions from Judaism.com. Then browse their Hanukkah books section for more ideas about what to read.

After playing the game, students can make dreidle candy boxes to fill and enjoy with step-by-step instructions and a template from Chabad.org's Chanukah page.

Images from Nick Jr., Eric Kimmel, Judaism.com, Chabad.org.