I recently came across Diagramly, a nifty online program by jgraph that allows users to create their own visuals.

The possibilities seem endless…

  • brainstorming for a writing assignment
  • analyzing and creating labeled science diagrams
  • mapping out a text selection to illustrate author’s organization
  • creating a storyboard
  • visualizing a story problem
  • and much, much more!

This journal article and other recent research on visual literacy has brought to light the importance of teaching students how to read diagrams and other non-fiction text visuals. Re-creating these using programs like diagram.ly can be a fun way for students to explore these text features and learn the value they bring to the reading process.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Memories… so much of our lives are tied together with bits and pieces of our past.

Whether they make us laugh or cry or are as precious as gold or are rather forgotten, memories can help us cherish the past, look forward to the future, and sometimes make sense of the present.

One of my favorite stories that explores this topic is this delightful children’s book by Mem Fox:

As little Wilfred comes to discover from his friends at the retirement home, memories are many things but most of all they are meant to be shared.

The Learning to Give site has a five lesson unit entitled Sharing and Caring Across Generations that is based in part on Mem Fox’s story.


To further explore this topic with your students, you could incorporate the following books and lessons into your class activities:

Tanya’s Reunion, by Valerie Flournoy

Check out the link here for a lesson plan based on the story.




The Keeping Quilt, by Patricia Polacco

Many of Polacco’s stories are based on her memories. Visit her website to learn more about her books and see some activity ideas.


All the Places to Love, by Patricia Maclachlan




When I Was Young in the Mountains, by Cynthia Rylant


What brings to mind your favorite memory?