Category Archives: social studies

Ways to use oral language to build social studies skills.

What’s old is new again — even when it comes to garbage.

“Oh, the places you’ll go. The people you’ll meet.” Hey, it’s Dr. Seuss!dr seuss bio pic

And it’s THINK-THINK-THINK-ing Thursday!

Dr. Seuss would have liked joining us today, I THINK. Ya know, I should have asked him a few years back when he and I were shaking hands during autographing sessions for his and my books at adjacent tables. Ah, he’d like to THINK-THINK with us. I just know it.

WOW! A week flies by. We’ve gone places, done things, and met people. And as a week flies by, so the garbage piles up.recycle green pic

Okay, you may be in a mood such that right now you’d like to take that “garbage piles up” figuratively. But for some moments today, let’s THINK on it literally.

WOW! The recycling cans are full again!

And that thought leads me to THINK about the fact that I have seen our society’s concern for recycling…well, recycle itself. We’ll cycle back to that idea idr seuss cat in hat picn a bit here.

THINKing about recycling takes me to ways for you and your child to THINK and talk about recycling today. I’ll offer some writings to share with your child from toddler age to teenage.

It was in the late 1980’s and early 90’s when I first began to write about recycling for children’s needs and interests. As a visiting author and consultant, I traveled to school districts around the country.

Communities across this country were focusing on the benefits and how-to’s of recycling. We needed, folks said, to look for ways to reuse all sorts of our resources, both natural and manufactured.

Folks wanted their children to learn early on to THINK about our planet’s need for humans to do less tossing out. This meant that recycling became a hot topic in elementary schools. And publishers, writers, editors, and illustrators recognized the corresponding need for appropriate textbooks, library books, and classroom materials.

recycle logo picI and others began to include the topic in articles for textbooks, in poems, and in all sorts of children’s books. I began reading and reciting some of my writings about recycling each time I met with student and educator groups.

Children and teachers responded enthusiastically to any and every mention of recycling. Thus, I included “Earth Says” in a Poetry Works set of classroom materials with posters that, still today, grace classroom walls in schools here and abroad.

“Earth Says” also appeared on a bookmark. Then, I included the poem in my More Phonics through Poetry: Teaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry, this time to help children focus on the sound of a prefix before reading and writing its letter representation re-.spinning Earth pic

Earth Says
I’m giving you oodles of cues
To reduce, recycle, reuse.
It’s time to refuse
The choice to abuse
Or lose your freedom to choose.

Copyright © 1989 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz
First published in Poetry Works: The Second Stanza by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz (Modern Curriculum Press/PearsonLearning, 1993).

Younger children’s enthusiasm for “Gobble, Gobble, Munch!” saw this poem published similarly in another poster kit, with a second appearance as a picture book. The poem was later included in a poetry collection that’s housed in homes, schools, and public libraries around the country.

Cover GobbleIMG_2648

Gobble, Gobble, Munch! by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

inside Gobble IMG_2654Gobble! Gobble! Munch!
Gobble, gobble, munch!
Gobble, gobble, munch!
What will you be serving
on your street for lunch?

Don’t serve me paper!
Don’t serve me cans!
Don’t serve me metal
or aluminum pans!

Don’t serve me plastic!
Don’t serve me glass!
I would rather munch on
egg shells or grass.

Gobble, gobble, munch!
Gobble, gobble, munch!
What will you be serving
this garbage truck for lunch?

Copyright © 1991 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz
First published in Poetry Works: The First Verse by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, (Modern Curriculum Press, PearsonLearning, 1992).

Times change. Interests change. And some time during the late 1990’s, I began noticing that the idea of recycling was not resonating with whole schools of children. That word was no longer on the tips of children’s tongues. WOW!

recycle earth picWearing my teacher hat, I continued to read and recite “Earth Says” and “Gobble, Gobble, Munch!” with nearly every group. Now, however, I needevintage red dress picd to follow up the readings with real teaching…to lead children toward an understanding of each poem’s context. Often I’d ask adults in the room if the community recycled. No, they didn’t. Hmmm.

Times change. Interests change. And just in these past few years, I’ve noticed that recycling has recycled itself! WOW! Whole schools of children are again versed on the word and its concept. Children tend to know about the need for and the how-to’s of recycling.

Yes. Items get recycled. That we know. I hope you and your child will have some fun naming such items in your home. Today and every day.Cool Cat pic

And then you can do some oral sorting out to exclude those items that may be biodegradable. Yes! Do make sure to use that big word with your child from age 3. Because children find that big word fun to say! And I promise you’ll soon hear your young child saying the word while sorting recyclables! WOW!

Aside from items and the concept of recycling, itself, lots of ideas and behaviors get recycled. THINK and TALK with your child recycle logo2about how fads and fashions come and go. TALK about hair styles, “cool” words that cool kids utter, or potluck dishes like the ones I tasted at a pool party last week. Hmmm. Those recipes from the 70’s struck folks of all ages––right here and now in 2009––as being mouth-wateringly new!Daddy-o pic

I leave you today with thoughts of recycling…items, fads, foods, behaviors, what-have-you. Enjoy your day of THINKing and TALKing about recycling with your child! While you’re at it, try recycling fun together with an old toy or book or game.

And tune in here tomorrow for a bit more about recycling…and some Free-for-All Friday frolicking fun!

Leave a comment

Filed under adult literacy programs, ages 3 and 4, ages 5 and 6, ages 7 and 8, ages 8 and up, author school visits, community involvement toward building children's literacy, comprehension skills, early literacy, ESL / Bilingual, family literacy, infants & toddlers, kids, kids of all ages, parenting around kid behaviors, parenting poems, phonemic awareness / phonics, poems for kids, read-aloud, science, social studies

Why standing tall is plenty tall enough — at any height.

blue hand rotatedweights pic

Yes, it’s Wacky Wednesday! And I had planned to head in somewhat of a different direction for today’s post. But that was before this morning’s workout.

A new need presented itself. Prompting new thoughts. I guess that’s why I call this blogging day “Wacky Wednesday.” I just never know what’s going to happen in life experiences.

In truth,4 music notes pic nearly every life experience brings to mind a line of a poem or song I’ve penned, many on-the-spot during time spent with kids and their teachers and parents through the years. WOW! So, here’s what happened this morning.

Tall Paul pic

Tall Paul

This little ditty came singing into my head during my power walk. Here’s why.

My hand weights were growing ever-heavy. And I began to think how good it might feel to slouch a bit.

Then it occurred to me that what I needed right then was a little cheer-along song to keep me standing and walking tall.

Gotta pause here a moment to give a shout-out to my mother’s recent physical therapist, a young man we came to call “Tall Paul.” He works at Miller’s Merry Manor in Logansport IN.

WOW! Tall Paul’s continued influence on my mother’s stature (and height gain!) came to mind as I thought about my own need to stand tall.

So, here’s my brand-new cheer-along song titled “Standing Tall.” You and your child of any age (and any senior parents!) can sing it to the old familiar tune, “Are You Sleeping?”

Standing Tall
I am standing.
I am standing.musical notes dancing pic
Standing tall.
Standing tall.
Look how I am standing.
Look how I am standing.
I stand tall.
I stand tall.

Copyright © 2009 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz. First publication.

You know, treble clef sign picwith that song in my head, I had to come in, sweat and all, and type it quickly…before the need for another came singing along in this never-still head of mine!

You’ll want to sing this song (and take the words away to simply speak the words) often to recognize or encourage good posture in your child…and for your own standing-tall benefit! Oh, but stay tuned for still more kinds of benefits with this little song!

Yes! Let’s see how you can do more fun things with it, all the while modeling for your child how language belongs to a TALKer! WOW!

Did you ever stop to share with your child the fact that a TALKer often manipulates language to meet new needs as they arise? Just like the two of you likely do when you substitute brush our teeth or comb our hair or any number of other tasks in the little song, “This is the Way (We Wash Our Hands).”

Well, every time you call out your child’s attention to the fact that you can change the words, you are helping your child become a more powerful TALKer. And powerful TALKers become powerful readers and writers. It’s true! Research and experience tell us this fact every day.See how I am sitting tall!

Okay, look how you can model for your child powerful TALKing with the song, “Standing Tall.” WOW! Model for your child how you can substitute walking for standing in that song’s words and have a whole new song for a whole new purpose.

music notes picOr, as your positioning and activities change today, model how you substitute sitting or running for standing. Or substitute acting for standing to introduce a figure of speech “acting tall”…now you are modeling TALKing powerfully as you also prevent or manage behavior. WOW! You now have not just one, but five new songs to sing with your child…and to yourself as you go through your day.

A couple of notes to add as you and your child sing these songs today and every day. Be sure to sing the songs when you see your child (and yourself) using good posture or behavior! This way, you and your child are well on your ways toward building that feels-so-good habit of recognizing, accentuating, and celebrating the positive in yourselves!

Rest assured, there’ll always be a need to sing out this song and its variations to remind your child and yourself to stand, walk, sit, run, or act taller than one of you is displaying at the present time!

Now, before you go off singing with your child today, here’s another idea I want to offer in sharing “Standing Tall” song variations. Take notice, if you will, the absence of comparative and superlative adjectives in these songs.

What I mean here is that there are no words like better or bigger or tallest or smartest…you know, those kinds of adjectives that kids (and adults!) too often tend to say. So, why do I want you to notice this?

Well, because I (and each of us) really don’t need to be standing taller than someone else. Nor do I need to stand the tallest of all. I just nkeyboard laptop piceed to stand MY tallest. Tall Paul emphasized that daily to his many senior clients. Thank you, Paul!

Standing tall!

I'm being my own best!

Again, though I admit I did begin using some comparative and superlative words during my first lap of that ditty, I’d already fine-tuned it on my second lap, and had done a bit more editing by the time I reached this keyboard.

So, I share that extra thought with you…to encourage you to sing out today and every day. To encourage you––as the smart and wise person your child knows you to be––to model for your child the all-important goal of winning…by being one’s own best.

Tune in tomorrow on THINKing Thursday for some thoughts you and your child can THINK about together! Have fun today standing tall, walking tall, sitting tall, running tall, acting tall, and…well, just being your own tallest selves!

Leave a comment

Filed under adult literacy programs, ages 3 and 4, ages 5 and 6, ages 7 and 8, ages 8 and up, community involvement toward building children's literacy, comprehension skills, early literacy, ESL / Bilingual, family literacy, infants & toddlers, kids, kids of all ages, parenting around kid behaviors, peaceful kids, poems for kids, read-aloud, social studies