February Daily Visual Challenges – updated

I recently updated my February set of Daily Visual Challenges to include 28 days’ worth of problem-solving, thought-provoking, creative fun. The added variety allows you more flexibility to pick and choose the challenges that work best for your class and makes them usable year after year.



Find out more about my Daily Visual Challenges here.

Daily Visual Challenge sets for February, March, and April are available in my TpT store.


The Goose is Getting Fat

Hard to believe it is just a little over two weeks until Christmas! If you are looking for some visual ways to share this and other winter holidays with your students, check out the resources below:

Scholastic’s Celebrate Winter Holidays: Christmas – interactive site shares history behind Christmas traditions and ways various cultures celebrate the holiday

National Geographic’s The World of Christmas – take a virtual tour to see celebrations in 16 cities around the world

Lemon.ly’s Christmas Around the World –  infographic depicting Christmas traditions around the world

Online Interactive World Advent Calendar – test your knowledge of Christmas celebrations around the world

Christmas Around the World Art Projects – inspired by the Herbert Hoover Museum Christmas exhibit which honors Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover’s mission of spreading the message of peace and goodwill around the globe


additional resources:


just for fun

There’s some crazy weather happening around here…







From the looks of things, you would never know it is the middle of March.

Snow Art

Looking for more ways to explore snow crystals?

Try these art projects:

Salty Snow Silhouette (grades 4-12) – by Crayola

Snow Science Art (grades K-8) – by KinderArt


Feeling creative?

Make some block prints of snow scenes like artist Mary Azarian did for her woodcut print illustrations in Snowflake Bentley.


And because spring will soon be here, take some time to explore a few more books about winter and Libbrecht‘s snowflake pictures before your thoughts turn to warmer weather.

Taller than a newborn calf…

Vocabulary… such an essential part of comprehension.

When readers cannot connect meanings to words in a story and/or lack prior knowledge to truly understand key details, comprehension suffers. Pictures and videos can help to fill in these blanks for readers, making the reading experience richer and more meaningful. With the use of the Internet, opportunities for helping our students expand their vocabulary and understanding abound.

Programs like Picnik (which sadly is closing in April) make it easy to create vocabulary cards like these for some of the key words in the picture book Snowflake Bentley:

For more complex concepts like evaporation and the photography process, there are a variety of videos available:     Evaporation     Water Cycle

And if your students want to see a photo of the camera that was “taller than a newborn calf and cost as much as [Bentley’s] father’s herd of ten cows,” visit this site and then check out this page for more info on bellows cameras from the 1800s.

As time and resources allow, students could also search for examples to expand their own vocabularies and knowledge, having fun along the way learning what a difference a picture can make.

Peering through the microscope…

What have you seen under your microscope lately?

If you are like me and your snow is long gone (or maybe non-existent), you can still view some snowflakes up close and personal by checking out these sites:

NOAA Photo Library: Studies among the Snow Crystals

Snowflake Photo Gallery

Snowflake Shapes


Curious about how snowflakes form? Watch a video here.

Want to know more about the science of snowflakes or the life of Wilson Bentley? Visit this site for a wealth of information.

Then take this quiz to test your knowledge.


And for fun, you can make your own paper snowflakes or read ones of these books curled up with a cup of hot cocoa… you’ll need it after spending so much time in the snow.  🙂

Butterflies, Apple Blossoms, and Snowflakes

As the first snowflakes of 2012 fell here earlier this week, I thought again about Snowflake Bentley. I love that story and find his curiosity and love of nature along with his patience, persistence, and determination to be both insightful and inspiring. His camera and microscope have impacted the world for over a century.

Bentley once said, “Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.

Want to explore the world like Wilson Bentley? Check out the following sites to learn about using a microscope and the amazing views this tool can provide:

Home Science Tools: Introductory Microscope Experiments

eHow: Kids’ Microscope Activities

Yahoo Kids! Microscopic Images

MicroAngela’s Electron Microscope Image Gallery

FotoSearch: Microscopic stock photos and images