Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tall Tale Resources

Updated May 2018

Tall Tales are a required literature element in many school curricula. Many homeschool parents choose to include them in their programs as well. Finding resources to broaden what is found in basic curriculum programs can be a challenge. Libraries offer the stories, but teachers and parents often want additional resources to use with their children.

Free Tales:
American Folklore
Paul Bunyan Trail

American Tall Tales
American Tall Tales (Puffin Books)
Casey Jones (JR. Graphic American Legends)
John Henry
John Henry: An American Legend
John Henry, Hammerin' Hero: The Graphic Novel (Graphic Spin)
Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed: My Story (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)
Mike Fink
Mike Fink (On My Own Folklore)
Paul Bunyan (Reading rainbow book)
Pecos Bill
Pecos Bill, Colossal Cowboy: The Graphic Novel (Graphic Spin)
Readers' Theater: Tall Tales
Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett
The Legend of Johnny Appleseed: The Graphic Novel (Graphic Spin)
The Tall Tale of Paul Bunyan: The Graphic Novel (Graphic Spin)
Who Was Johnny Appleseed?

Annie Oakley
Casey At The Bat
Disney's American Legends
Johnny Appleseed
John Henry, Told by Denzel Washington with Music by B.B. King
Paul Bunyan, Told by Jonathan Winters with Music by Leo Kottke with Duck Baker
Tall Tales and Legends - John Henry
Tall Tales and Legends - Pecos Bill

Teaching Resources:

American Folklore Lessons and Full Units

Education World Lesson Plan Using Graphic Oranizers to Identify Characteristics of Genre

First Schools Paul Bunyon Preschool Lesson Plan with Coloring Sheets and Crafts

Library Thinkquest Short versions with Quizes

Stories and Description of Tall Tales Write Your Own

Tall Tale Coloring Sheets

Tall Tale American Map

Web Resources

Picture Credit: Jason McHuff

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gimp Plastic Lacing Projects for Kids

Many of us remember Gimp or Plastic lacing projects from summer camp and craft projects done as children. Gimp is a great fine motor project for children. It also has a practical applications that can later be applied to teaching knots. I suprised more than a few people during my camping experiences with my ability to learn knot tying. I didn't have the heart to tell them it came from years of working with summer camp students tying and fixing gimp projects.


Barrel Stitch

Basic Stitches with Pictures and Explanations

Box Stitch

Box Stitch with Great Pictures

Butterfly Stitch Directions with Pictures

Diamond/Spiral Stitch

Finishing Stitches

Pictures of the Stitches

Scoubidou Stiches and Projects

Starter Stitches

Starting the Project on a Keychain


Boondoggle Projects

Gimp Barrette

Making Friends

Making Friends Lanyard First Aid Kits

Making Friends Key Ring

Spiral Keychain

Picture Credits: jc.westbrook

Monday, September 28, 2009

Puppet Resources

Children enjoy making and using puppets. They can be a fun free play activity or a planned activity to engage children across the curriculum. Children can learn valuable skills making and using puppets.

Making Puppet Resources:

Under 5's Dinosaur Puppet

Finger Puppets:


BillyBear4Kids Finger Puppet Stage

Enchanted Learning Patterns

Free Kids Crafts Puppy Puppets

Jan Brett Finger Puppets

Jan Brett Country Mouse City Mouse Puppets

Toy Story

Winnie the Pooh

Hand Puppets:

Animal Puppets

Kaboose Felt Puppets

Zoom Hand Pupppets


Paper Cup Marionettes

Multiple Puppets:

Artists Helping Children

Crayola Puppet Patterns

Enchanted Learning Puppets and Marionettes

Family Fun Multiple Styles of Puppets

Kids Corner

Legends and Lore

Making Friends

Paper Bag Puppets:

abc teach Paper Bag Puppets

abc teach Bear Paper Bag Pattern

abc teach Lion Paper Bag Puppet Pattern

abc teach Owl Paper Bag Puppet Pattern

abc teach Panda Bag Puppet Pattern

abc teach Pig Bag Puppet Pattern

First Schools Paper Bag Puppets

Sock Puppets:

Danielle's Place

Directions for Sock Puppets

Family Fun Sock Puppets

Sock Puppets

Stick Puppets:

AOK Corral

Babyzone Stick Puppets

Crayola Dragon Stick Puppet

Dragon Stick Puppet


Legend and Lore

Puppet Play Scripts

Picture Credits: Alanna George

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Make Silly Putty

Once I started on the Play Dough blog, the Silly Putty one just seemed to put itself together. Many parents and teachers have fond memories of commercial Silly Putty and it is still a regular commercially purchased item for Christmas, Halloween, and Easter for those looking for small simple gifts. Teachers and parents looking for a fun science activity can find both in making their own silly putty. There are recipes and activities listed below.


Gomplipitas Homeschooling Recipes

Make Play Dough Silly Putty Recipe

Scouting Web

Steve Spangler's Science

UNM Chem Outreach

Silly Putty Activities: Silly Putty Activities

Polymer Fun

Science House

Silly Putty Official Site with Science and other Experiments

Silly Uses for Silly Putty

Picture Credits: banna123456 vampire_hanna

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Speaker's Theater

Speaker’s Theater like Reader’s Theater focuses on helping children develop reading fluency. However, Speaker’s Theater focuses most often on independent public speaking skills. Students are generally encouraged to choose a piece to read aloud to the class and assessed on fluency and presentation skills. Many teachers use this as a time to encourage exposure to poetry that can often be tough to fit into full curriculum schedules. Homeschooling parents can also use this format to encourage children to practice public speaking skills.

Unlike traditional recitation exercises, children are not required to memorize a poem. Many classrooms us a music stand as a podium to allow children to have a book or paper to read from. This allows them freedom from holding a book during the presentation. This often leads to presentations that are more creative and prevents children from hiding behind the book during the presentation.

Children should be encouraged to choose their own pieces and rehearse them prior to presentation. Setting up a schedule that gives children predictable expectations of when they will be reading, decreases anxiety and increases personal responsibility for preparing their performance. Homeschooling parents can determine how often this activity will occur. Most classrooms find that for every child to perform spreading children out over a weekly or biweekly schedule works best. Finding time to truly listen, evaluate, and provide useful feedback to each student requires time. It is better to spread out assignments than not to be able to provide each child with a meaningful activity.

Having poetry books in the classroom helps encourage children to engage in the activity. Homeschooling parents and teachers can get assistance from librarians in finding engaging material for children to read and present. The more the children enjoy the poems, the more they will be willing to practice and perform. In some schools, this tradition begins in Kindergarten and continues through elementary school. So many children have a long tradition with the activity. If it is something new being introduced, take the time to engage children with the process.


Rubrics are often used with this activity to give children feedback on their performance. I was not able to find online versions, but I will add the Reader’s Theater Rubrics I posted in an earlier blog as they are very similar to Speaker’s Theater Rubrics I have used in the past. Read more...

Holt, Rinehart, and Winston


Learning Organizers


Picture Credits kittenpuff1 tinah

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Craft Stick Projects

Craft Sticks, which many of us were raised, calling popsicles sticks, are a favorite craft supply. Schools, Scouts, and other child based groups look for projects that provide educational and theme based activities that utilize craft sticks. They provide great fine motor development practice and most important great opportunities to tie crafts and themes together.

Activity Village Chinese Fan

Activity Village Photo Schoolhouse Photo Frame

Artists Helping Children


Craftbits Bookmarks

Craft Stick Doll


Family Fun Box

Family Fun Easel

Free Preschool Crafts

How Stuff Works


KinderArt Craft Tree

KinderArt People

Making Friends

Talking Child

Picture Credits That Other Paper That Other Paper

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reader's Theater

Plays have long been popular in the elementary classroom. Reader's theater has developed as a means to adapt popular literature to scripts. Children can be introduced to theater as casual read throughs or more formal plays depending on the time, talent, interests, and goals of the lesson. The ultimate goal is to improve fluency and give children confidence.

I'm working on finding resources for homeschooling groups and teachers who want to introduce reader's theater to their students.

Definitions of Reader's Theater :

Mr. Roth's Reader's Theater

Reading a-z

Reading Rocket

Scripts for Reader's Theater :

Adapting a Script

Busy Teacher's Scripts

Mr. Roth's Reader's Theater Script Collection

Have Fun Teaching Several Scripts

Reader's Theater K-3

Very Hungry Caterpillar

Whootie Owl's Reader's Theater Scripts


Holt, Rinehart, and Winston


Learning Organizers



Picture Credits gemsling

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Learning Disability Checklists and Resources

Many parents find themselves seeking information to help them distinguish between learning challenges and actual learning disabilities. As I find useful information on the topic, I will be posting it on this blog.

Learning Disability Checklists:

National Council for Learning Disabilities Checklist

Learning Disability Information:

LD Online

Learning Disabilities A-Z A Parent's Complete Guide Preschool to Adulthood Google Books Preview

National Council for Learning Disabilities

Warning Signs:

Common Signs LD Online

Eric Article

Picture credits: moare

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Resources to Teach Children to Knit, Crochet, Plastic Canvas, Sewing

Parents and children have interests in teaching and learning crafts. I have made earlier posts on holiday crafts, now I have located some specific child centered resources for teaching children crafts.



Chain Stitch and Single Crochet Video

Craft Designs Crochet

Crochet Pattern Central

Coats and Clark

Double Crochet Video

Free Patterns

Holding a Crochet Hook with pictures

Lion Brand

Teach Kids How

Vintage Crochet Lessons with Video

Cross Stitch

Craft Designs Cross Stitch

Directions for Cross Stitch

DLTK Directions and Free Patterns

Free Patterns for Kids


AOK Corral Pictures and Directions

Bev's Cottage

Craft Designs Knitting

Free Knitting Videos

How Stuff Works

Hub Pages

Knitting Guide

Knitting Pattern Central

Knitting Tutorials

Learn to Knit

Lion Brand

Maggie's Rags

Teaching Tips

Vintage Knitting Directions and Videos


Plastic Canvas


Artists Helping Children

Crafts Designs For You

Craft Designs Plastic Canvas

Craft Designs for You Plastic Canvas Directions

Crafty Corral Directions

Free Patterns


Mountain Harmony

Stitching on Plastic Canvas

T's Place Kid's Corner

Teaching Preschoolers to Enjoy Plastic Canvas


Children Sewing

Kids Sewing Project Index

Kids Sewing Projects Scroll Down

Learn to Sew

Teaching Sewing Machine Tips

Using a Sewing Machine

Picture credits: Kirsti I.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Children Read to Pets

Children need practice in reading fluency. Often children are reluctant to read aloud to family members. While students do need specific instructional times where adults are present to help students with reading goals, there is a place for children to practice without corrections.

Pets make excellent partners for this type of activity. Nobody has more patience to sit quietly and listen to a child read than a tired dog, cat, or other family pet. While they often sleep through the lesson, there is something comforting and restful in having a pet present while the child is reading.

Some animals are trained to work in schools as reading therapy dogs. They work in programs that bring dogs into schools for children to read to them. Children who struggle with reading often respond warmly to animals who will sit quietly at attention while the child reads aloud to the animal. The anxiety and stress of reading to an adult is just not present when reading to a dog.

Boston Globe Article

If you have a reluctant reader, consider enlisting a pet in your reading process. This is also a good strategy for children that need to practice reading or speaking in front of a group. Pets generally have the ability to listen to the same material many more times, than adults do without demonstrating signs of fatigue or boredom. A child will excuse a pet yawning or stretching far more than a parent.

Picture Credits ncbrian

Friday, September 11, 2009

Talking with Kids about September 11

The day has arrived once again and I still consider this a day of remembrance even though it has officially been changed to a day of service. Children naturally have questions about anything that people are talking about and September 11 is a topic that occurred before many of our elementary students were old enough to remember, or in some cases even be born.

Start with where you are at today. Acknowledging your feelings and experiences are important. Some people still feel the direct impact of this anniversary; others feel a more distant relationship. All these feelings are legitimate; knowing where you stand on that scale can help you approach this topic with your children.
Your gut tells you where your children are at as well. Age appropriate conversations are the goal. Despite all the media intervention, most young children are not looking for all the details. They want to understand a topic from where their mental and emotional levels will allow them to grasp it. Parents have an instinct for understanding how much children need to know and how much more to teach them as they age.

Find resources to help you with talking to them where they are at so you can keep it age appropriate. Many books have been published in the years since 9/11. Check with your local library to find books to help you answer any questions your child may have. Also, be comfortable with teaching your child that not all questions have answers. We do not always know why. Preview any Internet sites that you might wish to visit with your children. Some are more appropriate than others are for child viewing. Be willing to help your child research questions that he/she would like more information about at the library or through those sites, you have previewed.

Picture Credit slagheap

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Halloween Educational Resources

Children love Halloween and there are many fun active and educational activities that can work together at this time of year. I am putting together links that have fun activities that provide active outdoor activities, crafts, and educational themed Halloween activities. Read more here and here...

Halloween Crafts

Halloween Clothespin Dolls

Halloween Crafts Activity Village

Halloween Craftbits

Halloween Crafts DLK

Halloween Crafts Joann Fabrics

Halloween Yarn Crafts

Holiday Zone

Idea Box Halloween Crafts

Kid's Turn Central Halloween Crafts

KinderArt Halloween Craft Ideas

Learn to Sew Ghost Craft Elf

Make a Pumpkin Sewing Card

Pony Bead Halloween Activities Ghost, Spider, Pumpkin

Postive and Negative Pumpkin Art Activity

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

Step by Step Pumpkin Activities

Sew Stuffed Pumpkins

Vampire Clothespin Decorations

Halloween File Folder Games

File Folder Pumpkin Game Preschool Printables

Number Game to Make Page 1 Number Game 2 Number 3

Scarecrow Colors

Halloween Puzzles and Games

Alphabet Soup Halloween Puzzles and Games

Billy Bear4Kids HalloweenGames

Billy Bear4Kids Halloween Mazes

Blackdog's Halloween Puzzles and Games

Coloring Sheets and Puzzles Activity Village

Crypto Puzzle

Ghost Word Search TLS Books Free

Kid's Turn Central Puzzles and Coloring

Halloween Games Funschool

Halloween Games Kaboose

Halloween Games and Puzzles DLK

Halloween Puzzles

Halloween Puzzles and Worksheets DLK

Halloween Word Jumble Holiday Zone

Halloween Word Search Holiday Zone

Make Your Own Puzzles

Make Your Own Word Search

Monster Halloween Word Search Holiday Zone

National Geographic for Kids Halloween Quiz

Spot the Differences

Halloween Subject Specific Links

Language Arts

Alphabetizing Halloween Words 10 Words TLS Books Free

Alphabetizing Halloween Words 20 Words TLS Books Free

Big and Small Halloween Identification and Coloring Activity TLS Books Free

Family Fun Mad Libs

Fingerplays Halloween Action Rhymes

Following Directions Color, Cut, and Paste TLS Books Free

Halloween Adjectives

Halloween Handwriting DLK

National Geogaphic's Verions of Halloween Mad Libs Online Only

Halloween Patterns Cut and Paste Activity TLS Books Free

Halloween Phonics Activity Village

Halloween Phonics Game to Make abcteach

Halloween Poetry and Stories

Halloween Printable Early Readers Enchanted Learning Fee to Join

Halloween Rebus

Halloween Songs DLK

Halloween Vocabulary Have Fun Teaching

Halloween Songs and Fingerplays

Reading Comprehsion Activity on the Origin of Halloween Passage and Questions

Reading Comprehension Activity with Questions on Pumpkin Carving

Starfall Interactive Pumpkin Story Phonics


Addition with Pictures Basic

Count to Five

Count and Color Spiders TLS Books Free

Education World Halloween Math Activities

Halloween addition

Halloween Counting Haunted House Book to Print and Make

Halloween Dot to Dot Numbers 1-35

Halloween Math Early Childhood Activity Village

Halloween Math Elmentarty Apples4theteacher

Halloween Math Sheets Grades 1-5 Kids Zone

Make Ten TLS Books free

Pumpkin Graphing

Secret Code Math Addition Some Double Digit TLS Books Free

Secret Code Math Addition Triple Digit TLS Books Free

Spider Counting Sheet

Tinsnips Counting

Tinsnips Picture Subtraction

Tinsnips Picture Subtraction 2

Word Problems Addition/Subtraction

Word Problems Multiplication and Division


Halloween Science Links

Halloween Slime

Science Bob

Six Halloween Science Experiments From Family Fun

Hayrides, Corn Mazes, and Finding Halloween Attractions

Pumpkin Patches Corn Mazes and More Across the US

Frugal Halloween Ideas

Cheap Halloween Bella Online

Halloween Decorations and Costumes

Apples for the Teacher Costumes and Decorations

Halloween Costumes Kid's Turn Central

Halloween Costumes and Decorations Ruby Glen

National Geographic Pumpkin Carving Tips

Pumpkin Carving abcteach

Additional Halloween Resources

Halloween Party Games

Pumpkin Games

List of Halloween Resources

Nestle Family Celebrations: Put Halloween in the Search and Get Lists of Crafts, Foods, Decorations, and Activities

Photo credits woodleywonderworks

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thomas the Tank Engine Education Resources

Parents are always looking for new learning resources for their children. Thomas is a favorite among parents and children. I also have devoted family members who love Thomas. So, I thought I would put together a blog that would focus on learning activities that could be located online that are associated with Thomas and his friends.


DLTK Make Your Own

Coloring Resources


Random House Color Henry

Random House Mavis

Random House Salty

Random House Sir Tompham Hatt

Random House Color Thomas



DLTK James the Red Engine

DLTK Percy the Small Engine

DLTK Shoebox Train

DLTK Thomas Crafts



Thomas and Friends


Dot to Dot Sir Topham Hatt

Dot to Dot Water Tower


Elizabeth Maze

Train Maze

Train Ticket Word Search

Word Search


Color and Quiz

Writing Paper

Follow directions to make Thomas Paper

Picture Credits: