Posts for category ‘Classroom Education’

Learning about Groundhog Day
Lesson Pathways | February 1, 2011 | 10:00 am

Did February just sneak up on you?  Yeah, us too!

If you’re looking at the calendar, you may have noticed that tomorrow is Groundhog’s Day.  You might even be considering incorporating something about it into tomorrow’s school plans …. if only there a quick way to put together a mini-unit …..

Well, you’re in luck.  Albeit last minute, we’ve found some fun resources for learning about Groundhog’s Day with your children!

GroundhogFacts & History: Read this short page to learn about how Groundhog Day came to be, here in the United States.

This History of Groundhog Day: If your child wants to read more, this page goes a little more in depth.

All About Groundhogs Video: Did you know that groundhogs are also known as wood chucks?  Watch this video to learn more!

Printable Worksheets: This website has a collection of 10 different worksheets including a word search, crossword puzzle, vocabulary builder and more!

Pop Up Puppet: Use a foam cup, paper and craft stick to make this puppet.

Groundhog Day Quiz: Use this as a final quiz or a starting point for a research project!

And maybe all of this talking about Groundhog Day has got you thinking about that super-funny movie with Bill Murray?  You can rent it from Amazon right now and watch right on your computer for only $2.99 or buy it as a digital download for only $4.99!

What are your favorite resources for learning about Groundhog Day?

This post was written by Christina S., a team member and homeschooling mom of 11 years. When she’s not finding great resources to share with our LessonPathways family, she’s busy working on her site, HomeschoolingInDetroit and chatting away on Twitter.

Interview with Crystal P.
Lesson Pathways | August 24, 2010 | 8:18 am

Crystal P. brings her experience as a classroom teacher as well as the wealth of knowledge she’s gained as a parent to Lesson Pathways. She’s proven to be a positive part of the Lesson Pathways team, taking on everything from Pathway creation and writing to editing and state standard compilation. Get to know Crystal below:

stack of booksWhat is your name?

Crystal P.

How does education relate in your life? (eg. homeschooler, teacher, caregiver, etc.)

I’m a certified classroom teacher. I also have many children of my own.

What was your biggest triumph as a classroom educator?

It’s hard to nail down one event. I try to find positives in even the smallest activity–each student/classroom/school year presents its own challenges and I like to think that something positive has come from each of them.

What was your biggest blunder?

I was teaching a classroom of 7th graders and we were discussing the significance of phrases/signs/hand gestures and how they vary in different cultures. I’m still not sure what possessed me to tell them, but I explained that the “peace” sign is not exactly a friendly expression in some other cultures. They were very excited to be privy to this information. ;-)

What has your role been with

I’ve had several roles with Lesson Pathways. I’ve been in charge of an education-related article writing project, worked on state standards, and edited Pathways. Right now, I’m working on Lesson Pathway’s newest feature, Travel and Field Trip Pathways.

How did you come to create Pathways for our site?

Last summer, I broke my ankle in three places. I was looking at 10 weeks of being couch-bound. One of Lesson Pathways’ team members asked me if I’d like to help out during my convalescence. I was glad for the distraction. ;-)

What was the most challenging part?

I always question myself. “Is this what they want?” “Is this going to be useful to everyone who needs it: homeschoolers/classrooms/parents?”

Of all the Pathways you created, which one did you enjoy the most? D.C. Mall

I really enjoyed creating the Washington, D.C.- National Mall Pathway. It reminded me of a really great weekend I spent there.

How do you feel Lesson Pathways impacts the educational community?

Lesson Pathways provides a rarely found, high-quality, free resource. To find both of these qualities together is often hard to come by. Together, they are able to impact the educational community by being accessible and easy to use. That is something parents and classroom teachers are looking for.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a new teacher, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to try new things. A quality education doesn’t come in a box.

Here’s how Crystal describes herself: Crystal-wife, mother, teacher, writer, sloth trainer.

Deals & Steals: July 22
Lesson Pathways | July 22, 2010 | 8:00 am

Piggy BankIt’s Deals & Steals time again!  We’ve compiled a list of the best deals & freebies we’ve found this week.

The fun doesn’t stop here!  Follow us on Twitter where we will be tweeting even more great finds.  Just look for the #deals&steals hashtag!


This Week’s DEALS:

Stomp Rockets Ultra Stomp Rocket Only $9.45 (50% off!!)

Stomp® on the Launch Pad and a blast of air propels the Stomp Rocket® over 200 feet in the air! The kit contains 4 rockets with the OG-1 Nosecone. The Ultra is designed for ages 8 and up.

SET Game SET Game $8.85 (41% off)

This award winning card game is for one or more players. It is recommended for ages six and above. The object of the game is to identify “sets” of three cards. Each card is unique in its four features; color – red, green or purple, symbol – diamond, squiggle or oval, shading – solid, striped or open, and number – 1, 2 or 3. A “set” consists of three cards on which each feature is either the same on all of the cards, or different on all of the cards. This game contains complete instructions for play, 81 cards, and a durable plastic carrying case.

Sticker Collection Melissa & Doug Sticker Collection ONLY $5.70 (67% OFF!!!)

The Melissa and Doug Sticker Collection is great for arts and crafts, scrapbooking, storytelling, and creating original scenes! This adorable sticker book features over 500 stickers. From fashion to fairies, princesses to pets, adults and children alike will enjoy exploring the design possibilities!

Drawing Pad Melissa & Doug Drawing Pad ONLY $3.61 (OVER 70% OFF!!!)

Inspire their creativity with the Melissa and Doug Drawing Paper Pad! Each pad includes 50 sheets of premium heavy-weight white bond paper. Its great for pencils, crayons, markers, chalk, watercolor, or poster paints and can be used for sketching, drawing, and doodling!

Road & Track Road & Track Magazine – Only $5.00 for 1 Year!!!

This magazine is written for automotive enthusiasts and emphasizes cars and driving blended with wide-ranging feature stories, entertainment and event coverage. Its road tests run the gamut of domestic and imported sports cars and sports sedans. Additionally, it features technical articles on automotive subjects, nostalgic feature articles, humor and fiction and analysis of industry trends along with travel stories, book reviews and coverage of international racing events.

Grasshopper Solar Powered Grasshopper Kit $6.84 (Save 54%)

Build your own life-size grasshopper. An educational robot and mini solar kit. He’s small, but he’s an attention-getter. Explore the potential of solar power with this neat science kit. This build-it-yourself educational solar hobby kit is for the first time science experimenters with little or no experience. The Frightened Grasshopper Solar Powered Bug Teaches about forms of alternative energy in a easy-to-use science kit. Shows how solar energy can be used to generate electricity Illustrates how radiant energy from the sun can be transformed to electrical energy with a PV cell A motor inside the grasshopper transforms electrical energy to motion Functions best very close to a non-florescent light bulb or in direct sunlight An attention-grabbing display piece related to solar power for a science fair project, class discussion, or just out-of-the-ordinary play Ages 10+

This Week’s STEALS:

Free Handwriting Worksheet Maker – Print, D’Nealian and Cursive Styles available. Different sizes are also available.

Holiday “Grand Central Station” – Seasons and holidays are a great time to take a break from the regular routine of your studies and do something a little different. The Funday Calendars give you opportunities to learn and have fun with the holidays and special days every day of the year. There are also specials for the seasons and major holidays. Holiday “Grand Central Station” makes the pages easier to find so you can plan ahead and have a more successful and enjoyable time.

Fun Fall Notebooking - A 37 page free download that your children can use August – November. Simply download it once and then print the pages that you want as your children need them.

Spanish Resources – A long & helpful list of Spanish resources and printables.

Planet Protector Club Kids Kit – Kit from the EPA comes with:  Two pocket guides – one for adults and one for children, order form, membership certificate, club badge, activity guides for grades K-3 and 4-6, poster, board game about recycling and adventures on the website. Type in “Planet Protector Kit” in the search box – you can order up to 30 copies of each item.

A GREAT BIG Thank you to Shalynne A. for compiling this week’s steals!

This post was written by Shalynne A. and Christina S.

Shay lives in the cornfields of Indiana where she is a writer and happily married stay-at-home momma of two. She is relatively new to homeschooling and writes a blog called Wonderfully Chaotic.

Christina is a work-at-home-homeschooling-mom living in Detroit with her family.  They just completed their 11th year of homeschooling and actively involved in the homeschooling community both online and off.

Summer Reading Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Pathways | July 19, 2010 | 8:00 am

In a continuation of our previous post, today we present to you our picks for grades 3 – 5 summer reading.

As before, we’ve compiled this list from various public school lists found on the Internet. Since these vary from state to state (and even county to county), we’ve selected books that were most common to each of the lists. We chose books that are considered children’s classics and easily found in most libraries. However, if you would like to purchase the books on this list, simply click the picture to be taken to, where a portion of your purchase price will go towards keeping LessonPathways free.

We’ve matched them up to Pathway unit studies for each one, so you and your child can thoroughly enjoy all the literature has to offer.  Unlike the Pathways for the PreK – 2 list, these are 2 and 3 part Pathways.  We’ve linked and described the first part for each book recommendation.  Parts 2 and 3 can be easily found from there.

Remember, you don’t have to complete the entire Pathway.  Just pick the resources that appeal to you and your child the most!

Summer Reading List Grades 3 – 5

  Charlotte’s Web: In this unit, you will begin reading “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White. Your child will read aloud to you, read silently, and listen to you read chapters 1-6 in this book. Your child will answer comprehension questions for each chapter and will have fun completing a Charlotte’s Web word search, creating a sticky spider web, and eating pig slop. In the writer’s workshop, your child will describe an animal or pet, write about a pet he or she would like to own, and write about a special friend. For the language arts concept, your child will learn more about the setting of stories.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins: What would it be like to have a penguin for a pet? Learn about some of the problems (and fun) when a penguin joins the household in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” Hands-on activities include creating an icebox poster, eating on a budget, learning about penguins, and tracking the Popper family calendar. Writing assignments include writing a newspaper interview with Mr. Popper, writing a story about keeping a wild animal, and writing a story about a goose. In addition, your child will learn about the plot in stories.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8: Experience a new grade, a new school and changes at home for “Ramona Quimby, Age 8.” Read this story and find out how Ramona copes with all the changes in her life. Put the story in order, experiment with fruit flies, find a fancy way to write your name, and create a Wanted poster. Writing assignments include writing about an embarrassing moment, writing about doing something new, and writing about finding a new planet. Plus, your child will learn how to determine the sequence of events.
A Cricket in Times Square: This week you will begin reading the adventurous and funny book, “The Cricket in Times Square” by George Seldon.  Come along for a fun time with a boy named Mario; a tiny cricket named Chester; and his animal pals Tucker, the Broadway Mouse and Harry, the Cat. You will read the first five chapters this week and answer comprehension questions. You will make a cricket craft, draw and illustrate a character from the story, discover what is underneath a city sidewalk in New York and much more. You will have three fun writing assignments covering the literature selection for this week. You will become familiar with the life cycle and anatomy of a cricket, too. Settings in stories is the language arts focus this week. Get ready to play games to help you understand what the setting is in a story and don’t froget to watch an interesting video of a cricket chirping and moving.
The Original Adventures of Hank the Cow Dog: The head of security at the the ranch is a dog, and there’s just been a murder. Learn more as you read the exciting adventures of “Hank the Cowdog” (Chapters 1 through 4) in this unit. Hands-on activities will include looking at the killer’s tracks, creating a wanted poster, giving Hank a uniform and badge, and comparing Hank and Drover. Writing assignments include writing about how you would track the killer, writing about a day when you went swimming, and writing about finding a bottle with a note inside at the beach. Your child will also learn how to identify topic sentences.
Stuart Little:This story tells about the amazing adventure of a tiny mouse who lives with humans. “Stuart Little” by E.B. White is full of drama and excitement as Stuart discovers the true meaning of friendship. You will design and construct a bed for Stuart, make a special bookmark, make and eat applesauce, and more. You will write a story from a cat’s point of view, write about the time you made a new friend, and making friends with a giant. Language arts concept focuses on identifying the correct use of commas with dates, addresses, items in a series, and the greeting and closing of a letter. Online games, quizzes and printables reinforce the objectives for this unit.
Dear Mr. Henshaw: Meet Leigh Botts, a ten-year-old boy who, through a series of letters written to his favorite author, learns about life and growing up. This is a wise and funny book about finding one’s own place in the world. “Dear Mr. Henshaw” was written by Beverly Cleary, author of Beezus and Romana. Hands-on activities include listing things that bother you, researching and designing a poster about monarch butterflies, and researching and cooking canapes. You will explore the characteristics and uses of letters, and practice writing letters, too. You will create your own writing journal to store writing assignments throughout the year. Basickeyboarding will be introduced in this lesson as well as learning the home keys. You will continue practicing keyboarding in subsequent lessons. Quizzes, a game, a video, and an audio resource reinforce the objectives.
Frindle: Have you ever heard of or used a frindle? Most of the people around Nick Allen have, even though his fifth grade English teacher is very opposed to using the word frindle! In this unit, you will begin reading “Frindle,” a very funny story about an ingenious fifth grader and his invention of this word. Maybe some of his ingenuity will rub off on you and you will invent a new word, too. The hands-on activities will keep you very busy this week as you analyze Nick or his teacher, Mrs. Granger; learn about Noah Webster and his invention of the first American dictionary; come up with new words and meanings for a dictionary; identify other names for writing instruments; and interview Nick. You will also learn about modifiers. Fun is sure to be had as you illustrate misplaced or dangling modifiers in silly sentences. An online quiz, worksheets, and video reinforce the objectives.


Those are my picks for grades 3 – 5. Check back tomorrow for grades 6 – 8.

What are your picks for summer reading?

This post was written by Christina S.  She is a full time work-at-home-and-homeschooling-mom.  She lives in Detroit with a 16 year old daughter, a 12 year old daughter, her husband, dog, cat and turtle.

Our Homeschool Home

Deals & Steals: July 15
Lesson Pathways | July 15, 2010 | 8:00 am

We’re pleased to announce a new regular feature on our blog.  Every week or so, we will be featuring “Deals & Steals” for our readers.  While our main focus is to present to you the best educational deals and freebies from the Internet, there may be a non-educational deal or steal that’s just too good to skip!
Piggy Bank

Now, on to the good stuff …..

This week’s DEALS:


This Old House Magazine 1 Year Subscription ONLY $5.00!!!!

Wow! This is a bargain, indeed! My family has subscribed to this magazine for a few years now. It’s always packed with project ideas and tons of inspiration. A great resource for the budding craftsmen in your home.

51wpcfhowGL._SL500_AA300_ Leap Frog Tag Reading System $29.99 + Free Shipping!

Normally $49.99, this is a great deal for your emerging readers.  Check out the video when you click through to the site.

A unique touch and talk device that brings stories to life, the Tag Reading System works with a library of books and games from LeapFrog. Funny voice-overs and cool sound effects add to the fun of discovery, helping ensure that children four to eight love the way this interactive, educational system boosts their confidence and their reading level.

51cWQf+phuL._SL500_AA300_ Scientific Explorer’s Super Gigantic Dinos Kit only $8.40!!! (51% Off!!)

Think dinosaurs are extinct?  Think again!  With the Super Gigantic Dinos kit you can grow your own dinosaur.  You can even grow one as big as your tub!  Plus, make some prehistoric dino gunk!

51hapC8sU6L._SL500_AA300_ My First Geology Science & Learning Kit only $6.00!!! (70% Of!!!)

Imagine getting to play in the dirt all day.  That’s what a geologist does and you can too, with the My First Geology Kit from Scientific Explorer.  Learn all about the Earth’s layers as you build a rock collection and use real tools for rock writing.  Then take all your new knowledge and go explore the world around you …. starting with your own back yard.

And now for this week’s STEALS:

FREE Amazon Prime Membership for College Students:  This is a $79 value, but your must have a valid .edu email address.

FREE X5 Classical Musical Sampler Download: Features 5 classical music tracks including “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and “Moonlight Sonata.”

Free Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Kit: Sponsored by the National Dairy Council and the NFL

Once Upon A Tide DVD: Classroom Educators willing to give feedback can request this environmental DVD

Free Sustainability Posters: Includes posters on Renewable Energy, Clean Water and Sustainable Food

Do you have a great freebie or deal to share?  Drop us a line at and we’ll include it next time!

A Quick History Lesson: Levi Strauss & Co
Lesson Pathways | May 20, 2010 | 1:44 pm

On this day in 1873, Levi Strauss received U.S.Patent No.139,121, for the process of adding rivets to pants for strength.  Today is considered the birthday of blue jeans.  Why not have a little history fun with these FREE resources?

Do you have any fun ideas to celebrate the birthday of blue jeans?

This post was written by Christina S., a homeschool mom of two girls.   She lives with her family in Detroit and is looking forward to summer.

Free Butterfly Eggs
Lesson Pathways | May 4, 2010 | 9:00 am

Our family of users is a great one! Every day we receive emails with suggestions and feedback for our site and information to share.  Very recently, this site for ordering free butterfly eggs was sent to us, and we’d like to share it with you!

Butterfly offers free butterfly eggs – you only pay the cost of shipping!

From their site: Why do we offer FREE Painted Lady Butterfly Eggs? Two reasons!
One: To encourage butterfly awareness and butterfly conservation and to encourage establishing butterfly habitats in yards and neighborhoods.
Two: To draw your attention to live butterflies and other butterfly products we offer at Shady Oak Butterfly Farm

These would make an excellent compliment to many of our Pathways featuring butterflies:

Frog & Butterfly Life Cycles

Letter B – Butterflies

Caterpillars (Language Arts)

You can use the search feature on to find all kinds of engaging butterfly resources.

Do you have a suggestion or a resource to share?  Drop us a line at

Using the Internet in the Classroom
Lesson Pathways | April 14, 2010 | 2:30 pm

wwwGone are the days of sticking to books and chalkboards in the classroom. The Internet has opened up a world of resources that teachers can use to supplement their lesson plans.

For Research

When students need to research something, whether for a report, project, or simply to participate in a discussion, the Internet provides a ready research platform. Sites like Ask for Kids and KOL make it easy for students to find the information they need, when they need it. However, Internet research isn’t just for kids. Sites like Discovery Education are great places for teachers to find information and ideas as well.

For Communication

The Internet is a powerful communication tool. Studying a particular part of the world? Students can write to email pals in that area to learn about cultural differences and maybe even make long-distance friends. Epalsis a site that facilitates student email conversations.

For Multisensory Learning

Videos, animations, and audio clips provide a good way to reinforce information learned via more traditional means. For example, students may benefit from seeing a video presentation about the mummification process or from seeing some of the marine life found in the Amazon River. Listening to a famous speech may be more exciting than simply reading it, and full-color animations may help illustrate concepts better than whiteboard drawings in some cases.

Classroom Computer

For Fun

There’s something to be said for resources that combine fun with learning. Many students will enthusiastically approach math practice that is presented in a gaming format. They also tend to enjoy interactive quizzes and similar resources that allow them to forget they’re actually working. While these resources won’t replace traditional practice, they can go hand in hand with it to bolster a better understanding.

For Display

Think of all you can do with a class website. Students can showcase their work and display projects completed as a group. Planning for a special guest to visit the classroom? The teacher can introduce the guest and provide a little background to prepare the class. This website can even be used to post newsletters and calendars–perfect for keeping parents up to date on classroom happenings.

For Learning at a Different Pace

The Internet can also be good for providing individual reading assignments, projects, and research to students. This may come in handy when a particular student is ready to move on to a new topic before the rest of the class or when a student needs a little extra time to spend on a topic before moving on to the next subject.


To See the World

Field trips are a great way to learn, but it’s impossible to travel to all the places students might enjoy. This is where online field trips can help. With an Internet connection, students can travel the world and see everything from the pyramids to the Louvre Museum, without leaving the classroom!

What else can you find on the Internet?

  • Lesson Plans
  • Facts and Figures
  • Updated Information
  • Maps
  • Exhibits
  • Experiments
  • Songs
  • Biographies
  • Simulations
  • Stories
  • Collaborative Internet Projects

How do you integrate technology in the classroom?  We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions below!

The Benefits of Hands-On Learning
Lesson Pathways | April 7, 2010 | 12:23 pm

HandprintsThere are widely varied resources from which students can learn. Of course, an enthusiastic teacher is the best and most powerful resource, but there are also books, atlases, maps, videos, songs, animations and so much more. Among the most beneficial are hands-on activities that allow students to engage both mentally and physically.

There are many ways students can benefit from hands-on activities and projects. For example, they often have a better chance of remembering what they’ve learned, recalling it in future situations when exposed to the topic at hand. Just think how much more children will retain when they build model dinosaurs, identifying the bones as they go along. While they can learn the same information by reading it in a book or even viewing diagrams, the hands-on project is likely to facilitate better learning retention.

While they can learn the same information by reading it in a book or even viewing diagrams, the hands-on project is likely to facilitate better learning retention.

The type of practical application that takes place when students work with hands-on projects also moves learning away from abstract points and concepts that some children may have trouble grasping. It moves students more in the direction of developing critical thinking skills, producing measurable evidence, and adapting to change. While working hands-on, students may find it easier to explore many different aspects of a topic.

Students also benefit from a sense of accomplishment when they work with hands-on projects. For example, building a pyramid out of sugar cubes or creating a volcano simulation can be a challenge (the fun type) for students to complete individually, in pairs, or even in larger groups. When all is done, however, the sense of pride felt at project completion is priceless.

Fun is another important reason to use hands-on projects in the classroom. Enjoyment and learning can go together, and combining the two often leads to happier students and teachers. Hands-on projects are great tools for engaging a child’s interest. When children are interested in what is being taught, they are much more likely to excel. Hands-on projects can require more preparation time, but many teachers find this a reasonable trade off.

Fun is another important reason to use hands-on projects in the classroom. Enjoyment and learning can go together, and combining the two often leads to happier students and teachers.

Collaborative projects allow children to not only enjoy all the other benefits of a hands-on activity, but also build critical social and problem-solving skills. They learn how to communicate with a group of people and collaborate on ideas, materials, and tools. They learn to listen to the opinions of others and react to them in constructive ways. When they face challenges as a group, they learn to apply their problem-solving skills in a way that benefits the entire group instead of an individual student. These skills can be carried through their school careers and even into the work environment.

Friday Featured Pathway February 5, 2010
Lesson Pathways | February 5, 2010 | 9:55 am

As mentioned last Friday, each week we will be featuring a new Pathway here on our blog.  In addition, we will be giving everyone FREE access to this unit for a full week.  Each Pathway contains enough resources for a full week’s worth of learning.

This week’s Free Featured Pathway is all about Booker T. Washington.

Booker T WashingtonExplore the life of Booker T. Washington in this unit. Your child will create a diorama, design a stamp, and make a collage. A map and an online story are included to help your child learn more about Washington. This unit is designed to last one week, depending on how often you teach history.

To access this Pathway, simply click the link above.  While there is no registration needed, we encourage you to sign up for a 7 day free trial to access all of our great Pathways!

*Booker T. Washington clip art courtesy of