Easy, Creamy Asparagus Soup.

Here in NJ we’ve had a bumper crop of asparagus this year…thank goodness!  For those who are wondering what to do with these gems besides grilling or adding to omelets and stir fries, try having the kiddos help make a batch of this light and delicious ASPARAGUS SOUP.  It is so easy, you will have it ready in about 30 minutes.

Dice up about 1 pound of asparagus.  Set aside.

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In a 2 quart pot, saute diced leeks or onions in olive oil until  wilted.  Add 2 Cups water or vegetable broth (if you use the broth, no need to add salt), thyme, one Bay Leaf, the asparagus.  Cook about 15 minutes or until tender.

2017-05-31 19.55.57   Remove the Bay Leaf, add 1 Cup of milk.  Pour mixture into a food processor and PUREE until smooth.  Add a dash of nutmeg and serve with asparagus spear as garnish.

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I told you it was easy!  You can freeze leftovers to enjoy throughout the summer.

 

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Author Kathleen Burkinshaw With a Discussion Guide for THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM.

One of the most timely and heart-wrenching middle-grade books I’ve recently read is THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw.  It is my pleasure to feature the Discussion Guide for this book that should be in every classroom.

 

THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM       

Discussion Guide: By Kathleen Burkinshaw

1.Do you have relatives who were teens during WWII in the U.S.?  What were there worries or fears at that time? Were they similar to what the Japanese children felt? If different, how were they different?

2.Did you or someone you know have to deal with a new step family.  Was it difficult to meld the two households together? What made it easier? Did anything that made it easier surprise you?

  1. Yuriko, like many of us, hated change. How would you have handled the news about her family secrets, if it happened to you?
  2. Why do you think the author chose THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM for her title? What do you think it signifies?
  3. Cite specific examples from the book that show how protective Yuriko was of her Papa. Why do you think Sumiyo came to mean so much to Yuriko? How or when does this change occur?
  4. What aspects of Japanese culture were revealed in THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM?
  5. Which cultural details interested you the most? Which details surprised you the most of life in Japan during the war?
  6. How do you think the time period that THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM took place influenced Yuriko’s personality?

9.What did you know about Hiroshima Japan during WWII, before reading THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM?

10.Does reading THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM change your view on using nuclear weapons in the future? Why or Why not?

11.List the Statistics of Hiroshima and state which surprised you the most? Which surprised you the least? Why?

Kathleen Burkinshaw would love to hear from you. You can email her through her contact page on her website: http://kathleenburkinshaw.com/#contact

For more information on what nuclear weapons could do if used today visit:

www.ICAN.org

Also, for more information on Hiroshima bombing please visit the Kids Peace Station of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum:

http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/kids/KPSH_E/top_e.html

Instruction on how to make an origami crane, now a symbol of hope and peace:

http://www.origamiway.com/origami-crane.shtml

revised 9/2017

VIVIAN KIRKFIELD PRESENTS:#50 Precious Words For Kids Contest

A Children’s Book Week Activity:  #50PreciousWordsforKids

Celebrating Diversity in Imagination

A writing contest for kids from all over the world.  Writing a story in 50 words or fewer.  Contest runs from April 30 through May 6, 2018.

 GUIDELINES:

  • Each child, grade K-6, writes a story of 50 words or less.
  • Title not included in word count.
  • Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Happy or sad, silly or serious, true or make-believe.
  • Teachers/students choose one story to submit per class.
  • Homeschooling parents submit one story per child.
  • Please email story to: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by May 7 at 11:59pm EST. This challenge is INTERNATIONAL.
  • Stories post on my blog: viviankirkfield.com on May 11.
  • Teacher receives a certificate to copy and present to each child who wrote a story
  • Giveaway of seven mini-Skype author classroom visits.

Picture 158 B 2

Picture 158 B 2

Here’s the link from last year’s contest: https://viviankirkfield.com/2017/05/11/50preciouswordsforkids-international-writing-challenge-stories-are-here/

Questions? Contact Vivian Kirkfield at:  Viviankirkfield@gmail.com

Laurie Wallmark Presents: STEM books with Curriculum Guides for Teachers.

Looking for great STEM books to use in the classroom?  Check out these gems from Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code and Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine are picture book biographies of computer science pioneers. These book and the associated teacher guide activities are appropriate for grades K-5.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling, 2017) by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu

 

 

http://www.lauriewallmark.com/resources/Grace%20Hopper%20guide.pdf

 

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and April Chu

http://www.lauriewallmark.com/resources/Ada%20Lovelace%20guide.pdf

 

www.lauriewallmark.com

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark’s debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015), received four starred trade reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal) and many national awards including Outstanding Science Trade Book and Cook Prize Honor Book. Her latest picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Children’s Books, 2017), earned a Kirkus star and is on several public library’s best of lists. Laurie has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. When not writing, she teaches computer science at Raritan Valley Community College.  

 

Music in the Schools Month: Make your own Clarinet…With a Carrot!?

What better way to celebrate MUSIC IN THE SCHOOLS MONTH than to help the kiddos make some musical instruments.  One of my favorite tutorials on making a clarinet involves using a carrot. You will be amazed watching Linsey Pollak create that mellow clarinet sound from an ordinary carrot.

To make your own carrot clarinet:
Watch the amazing demonstration by Lindsey Pollack at TedxSydney2014.  When you get ready to make your own clarinet, adult supervision is needed.  Use caution with the drill bits.
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/07/02/he-starts-out-with-only-a-drill-carrot-and-mouthpiece-but-its-the-final-product-thats-leaving-people-in-disbelief/

Who knew carrots were not only delicious but also quite lovely to listen to.

For other interesting sites that have easy-to-make instruments, check out:

http://www.spoonful.com/crafts/music-instruments

and: http://www.freekidscrafts.com

EVOLUTION REVOLUTION SERIES by Charlotte Bennardo: Curriculum Guides for the Classroom

The Evolution Revolution Series: by Charlotte Bennardo

Book three in the series

Based on the third-grade science curriculum and the introduction of simple machines, the award- winning Evolution Revolution trilogy employs numerous scientific and literary concepts. Simple Machines, book one in the series, shows Jack, an adventurous common gray squirrel, trying to outwit Fox, learning how to use a simple machine like the wheel from a boy, and then applying that basic knowledge to stop the construction machines that have come to cut down his woods. In Simple Plans, the sequel, Jack and Rat, now friends, spy on the humans who hide in their woods, studying them- until Rat gets caught. Jack, learning more simple machines like the axle from Collin, the boy who teaches him, frees Rat, but now must go on the run from the scientists who want to capture him. In the final book, Simple Lessons, Jack is taken to an animal sanctuary so he’s protected from the scientists. There, he teaches other squirrels what he’s learned, and bands together with various rescued animals to fight the humans one last time. While he wins the battle, Jack must choose whether to leave behind the woods he fought to protect. These books work well with grades 3-6 to learn, explore, discuss and understand concepts like simple machines, evolution, loss of habitat and environmental destruction, using literary devices like animals, adventure, allegory, and humor.

Resource links: Educator Resource Guides (with vocabulary lists, discussion questions, school/home projects and demonstrations, suggested further reading lists).

 

Until Hollywood calls, Charlotte lives in NJ with her husband, three children, two needy cats and sometimes a deranged squirrel. The Evolution Revolution trilogy: Simple Machines, Simple Plans, and Simple Lessons are her first solo novels. She is co-author of Blonde Ops (St. Martin’s/Dunne) and the Sirenz series: Sirenz, Sirenz Back In Fashion, (Flux), and one of 13 authors in the anthology, Beware the Little White Rabbit (Leap). To put books in the hands of kids, she contributed to the fundraising ebook anthology of horror, Scare Me To Sleep. She’s written for magazines and newspapers, and has given presentations and workshops at NJ SCBWI conferences, schools, libraries, and other venues. Currently she’s working on sci fi, historical, fantasy, and time travel novels for middle grade, young and new adult readers. Connect with her on Twitter (charbennardo), Author Charlotte Bennardo on FB, on Pinterest and Instagram as Charlotte Bennardo, and through her blog, http://charlotteebennardo.blogspot.com/

Get Crafty For Easter.

With spring finally here, and Easter and Passover right around the corner, there are lots of ways to celebrate the season with crafts and egg decorating. Some of the easiest and festive kids crafts can be found on the RED TED ART sight.  There are 40 Easter crafts using eggs, pompom balls, and readily available materials.  http://www.redtedart.com

When I was a kid, we died eggs by dipping them into cups of colored water.  You can still  do that, but now there are many other ways to decorate eggs for the holiday. You can use non-toxic water color paints to create works of art.  Try paint daubers to make dots, Crayola or other non-toxic markers to draw designs. The Red TED sight has many other ideas for egg decorating.  If you wish to try the Polish art of PISANKY egg dying, you can order your own kit from: http://www.chinaberry.com

I decorated this egg at a workshop on how to do PISANKY.

I decorated this egg at a workshop on how to do PISANKY.

Here’s a unique way to give out chocolate treats for the holiday:  Create egg-shaped baskets out of balloons and dazzle family and friends with your talent.  Check out the how-tos for MAGIC BALLOON TREATS  at: http://www.thewhoot.com.au

Happy Easter and Happy crafting!