Posts from the ‘middle grades’ Category

HOW TO CUT THROUGH THE NOISE – TEACHING OUR CHILDREN TO BE CRITICAL THINKERS

About 64 million Americans get their news from social media. The reliance on newspapers, radio, and television news segments have been diminished or disappeared. Even broadcasts advertised as the “breaking news” rely on panels of “experts” to relay information. The days of a journalist simply reporting the facts without attaching opinions are gone.

Our children probably rely on social media to an even greater degree. How can we teach them to cut through the noise, sift through the mire, and uncover the objective truth? I have a few suggestions.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

Make it a point to watch and listen to many different stations and social media outlets. Show your children how different outlets and reporters present information. Do they show both sides of an issue? Are certain people and groups ignored? Tell children they need to hear and see both sides of an issue before judging it authentic. Ask them if the information was reported fairly. Did they get the whole picture?

EVERY STORY HAS MANY ANGLES

Explain how different people look at the same situation differently. Use examples of how family members like different foods, play different sports, and choose different friends. Even mom and dad sometimes argue about preferences. The same applies to news issues. Adults can choose different media outlets and reporters to illustrate how there can be a multitude of different views about the same topic in the news.

IS THAT A FACT?

Use everyday situations to illustrate the difference between a fact and opinion. I am wearing a red shirt today. That is a fact. When you say, that red shirt is ugly, you are issuing your opinion. Facebook and Twitter are littered with opinions. What do people share or retweet? They share and comment on the opinions with which they strongly agree or disagree. Social media outlets do not report the news, they display the opinions of those followers who have decided to reject or endorse them. Children need to understand that reality does not coincide with the majority of social media opinion. Point of view on an issue does not necessarily make what is communicated true. In fact, the reality might be something completely different.

YOU BE THE JUDGE

Adults and children can have fun and learn a lot by analyzing the ads seen in print and on TV. Study that boring commercial and think deeply about the message that is being communicated. How are the actors dressed? What do their gestures tell you? What words do they use? Do they exaggerate the benefits of the product? How are they trying to manipulate you into buying something you don’t really need?

After doing this a few times, take what you learned and apply it to the commentators, reporters, and “expert panels” that you see reporting the news. You will learn a lot about how much opinion is introduced into what is being reported as factual news. This knowledge will go a long way in developing critical thinking skills that will benefit children as they mature and develop the life skills they will need in future careers.

SEEING IS NOT BELIEVING

It’s okay to be critical. In the world of modern technology in which we can press a button to order in minutes, see ourselves in virtual reality, and communicate with friends, family, and co-workers instantly, it has never been more important to be vigilant and careful. We worry about computer hackers, but often neglect to train our own brains to filter out the noise and the mixed messages that seek to distract and deceive us.

BE SMART AND RESPONSIBLE

Watch this quick video to learn how.

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HALLOWEEN POTPOURRI

Trick or Treat Free For All: A Halloween Kids Book

Written by: Marina J. Bowman, J.K. Campbell, Richard Clark, Eli Cranor, Connor Grayson, Deb Logan, Scott Peters, D.M. Potter, and M.K. Radican

Here is a book that will please beginning and middle-grade readers. There are ten different stories. Each is written by a well-known children’s author.

These stories have different themes that correspond with the genre and characters familiar to each of the authors. Detective story fans, magic fans, folktale fans, and mystery fans will find a story to love. Reluctant readers will be enticed by the shorter length and off-beat characters.

Teachers might read one of these each day or the collection might be read aloud at a Halloween party. Anthologies are not common for young readers, but I think it is a good way to introduce readers to a wide variety of different genres and book series.

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Now I lay Me Down to Sleep

Game Spaced

Written and Illustrated by Justin M. Stone

This is the first book in a series for middle-grade readers who enjoy sci-fi, adventure and fantasy. Patrick and Trish are the male and female protagonists. They have been selected along with ten other children to travel to the planet Grimline-8..

All participants under the age of seventeen will spend the five year journey in cryogenic sleep. While in their pods, the children will be playing video games. That may sound like a dream come true for some middle-grade students. On the other hand, Patrick and Trish will be facing zombies, pirates, wolves, and the like in their virtual world. In theory, the skills they acquired would help them to cope in their new world.

The action moves quickly. Perhaps a little bit outlandish for some adults, but an enjoyable adventure read for its audience in grades three through six.

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#DorktalesStorytimePodcastBlogTour

Subscribe now to get in on the fun! See a preview of available episodes below.

Dorktales Storytime Podcast is classic children’s fairy tales told with a geek-ish twist! Jonathan Cormur is the host (and storyteller) of the family-fun podcast that featuring geeky-retellings of fairy tale classics and true tales about the Hidden Heroes of History. Think Fractured Fairy Tales meets Big Bang Theory and the History Detectives!

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3kSUJZQ

Overcast: https://bit.ly/dorktales-overcast

Amazon Music: https://bit.ly/dorktales-amazon-music

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3iNgKHA

Stitcher: https://bit.ly/Dorktales-stitcher

Google Podcasts: https://bit.ly/dorktales-google

Find more on Podcast website: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales/ You may recognize Jonathan from his work with his mom, Jodi, from Geek Club Books and Zoom Autism Magazine. His new podcast for kids, Dorktales Storytime Podcast, showcases his career as a successful voice actor who also happens to be on the spectrum.  

CURRENT EPISODES:

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP1: What are Dorktales?

Jonathan Cormur introduces himself as the host and storyteller of the Dorktales Storytime Podcast and answers the question you may be pondering, “What ARE Dorktales?”

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-podcast-introduction/ 

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP2: Three Little Hogs?!
By Karen Simpson Gardiner

The Three Little…HOGS? Who’s heard of that? According to Mr. Redge, our Dorktales sidekick, it’s a classic tale from the fairy tale cannon! Come hear our storyteller recount the story of hedgehogs Porky, Percy and Peregrin, and their ultimate triumph over the dastardly wolf using a glue pot, rapier and a wheelbarrow. According to Percy, “It’s epic, man!”

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-three-little-hogs/ 

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP3: Little Red
By Karen Simpson Gardiner

La, la, la, la-la! Have you heard the tale of Little Red Riding Hood? You know, the one about the sweet, innocent little girl in the beautiful red cloak who out foxes the big bad wolf? Well forget that one and think ninja granny with a stealthy rescue plan and fierce tranquilizer dart skills.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-little-red/ 

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP4: RumpleTaleSpin
By Amy Thompson

“Rump, who?” asks Mr. Redge as Jonathan spins the tall tale of Daphne, the Miller’s daughter, who must spin thread into gold for a greedy king. It’s an epic yarn involving a magical lawn gnome, a clever guessing game and a Wizard of Oz ending!

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-rumpletalespin/ 

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP5: Mary Golda Ross
Hidden Heroes of History
By Molly Murphy

The true tale of a woman who reached for the stars! Mary Golda Ross was one of the first women to rise in the ranks of engineering and one of the first Native Americans in the field. Her work in the early days of spaceflight was very important and is still to this day.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/mary-golda-ross/ 

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP6: The Prickly Duckling
By Amy Thompson

After the quacks and croaks of laughter from his siblings and bullying bullfrog, the poor little duckling waddles off through the marshes to find someone who will accept and love him. What about the gaggle of goslings? Or the brood of chicks? “No one understands me! I’ll never fit in,” he cries until he bumps into the best version of himself.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/prickly-duckling/ 

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP7: The Emperor’s New Quills
By Amy Thompson

Is the fancy fabric for the emperor’s new clothes really invisible to those who are not worthy? Or is this a case of double-dealing dupery by two wily weavers for the right boy to blurt out the naked truth.

Episode webpage   
https://jonincharacter.com/the-emperors-new-quills/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP8: Louis Armstrong
Hidden Heroes of History
By Molly Murphy

A tale of Mississippi river boats, parasol parades and breaking racial barriers! A man that built a music legacy and a legacy beyond music—Louis Armstrong transformed jazz music and became the beloved “Ambassador Satch” who performed all over the world! So much of his life was about a deep passion for music and using it to bring people together. 

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/louis-armstrong/  

Coming Soon!

  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP9: The Boy Who Cried Hedgewolf
  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP10: Ready, Set, Slow!
  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP11: Tenzing Norgay Hidden Heroes of History

Get the scoop on my latest release!

SHARE THE STORY OF AMERICA’S FOUNDING AND THE OLDEST FEDERAL CONSTITUTION IN EXISTENCE

TRACE THEIR FOOTSTEPS AT INDEPENDENCE HALL & The Museum of the American Revolution with Little Miss HISTORY as your guide.

GET A PREVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE:

https://askdavid.com/reviews/book/children-book/18216

Check out the reviews, videos and other books in this award-winning children’s nonfiction book series.

PURCHASE LINKS:

UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL

Find Your Power: Discovering Your Inner Strength

Written and Illustrated by Patricia May

 

The author presents an interesting set of exercises for children to discover the “superpower” within themselves. She encourages her readers to use mindfulness practices to dig within themselves and discover cognitive, emotional and physical strengths. Simple objects like a seashell, index cards, stones, and a hula hoop, as well as food items, are used in the exercises. By performing these activities children will become much more aware of the abilities they possess.

I would recommend this book primarily for a middle-grade audience as the book is a bit difficult for younger children to follow. A parent, teacher, or counselor would enhance the usefulness of the skills being taught.

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TAKING FLIGHT

Wings to Fly

Written by Jarnell Stokes and Howard Flamm

Illustrated by Eunsoo Jeong

This book will go a long way to uplift the spirits of children who feel left out and unappreciated. Louisa is sad because she always seems to be the last one picked for the basketball team. She tells herself she is just as good as the other players. Her guardian angel, Jarnac, suddenly appears. He assures her that it does not matter whether you are chosen first or last. The most important thing is to have fun and treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Jarnac tells her stories of famous basketball players and assures her that having self-confidence and working hard is the key to success. When game time comes around, will Louisa be able to put his advice into practice?

This book is multicultural and richly illustrated. Readers will learn about teamwork, cooperation, and good sportsmanship. I would recommend it for elementary and middle-grade readers who enjoy sports, especially those who need motivation or a boost in their self-confidence.

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A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE

How The Cockroach Lost Its Voice: After Dinner Conversations

Written by Samuel Reifler

This book certainly will provoke unique discussions. The protagonists are two cockroaches who venture on a journey to the top of the refrigerator. They carry on a conversation about the squishy humans with three eyes. The third eye is their brain. Unfortunately, their brain allows them to focus on the past and the future as well as the present. That makes them unable to appreciate the beauty around them.

The book contains approximately 17 pages. While I found the plot interesting, it ended rather abruptly and left me wanting to hear more. Readers are provided with discussion questions and a link to a podcast group.

I believe families and couples might enjoy these books to stimulate interesting conversations. Recommended for children and adults ages eight and older.

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#HOTOFFTHEPRESS

BREAKING NEWS:

Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INDEPENDENCE HALL & The American Revolution makes its debut on the world stage.

No Fake News here….just the facts

The United States Constitution is the oldest federal constitution in existence. This document, along with the Bill of Rights, lays out the rights and responsibilities of its citizens. The Founding Fathers embraced the principles of the Enlightenment and a vision of liberty and justice for all. Trace their footsteps at Independence Hall and the Museum of the American Revolution.

Available in hardcover or paperback

AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK FOR IT AT YOUR FAVORITE BOOKSTORE

https://amzn.to/3cF9Li0

https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/barbara-ann-mojica-and-victor-ramon-mojica/little-miss-history-travels-to-independence-hall-the-museum-of-the-american-revolution/paperback/product-qjj2p7.html

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55282858

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-miss-history-travels-to-independence-hall-the-museum-of-the-american-revolution-barbara-ann-mojica/1137760525?ean=9781733067157

WHO AM I?

MONSTER PROBLEMS:VAMPIRE MISFIRE

Written by R.L. Ullman

This book is part of a series that features eleven illustrated character profiles. In this volume, Bram Abrams a twelve-year-old foster child is the protagonist. He has bounced around in foster care since his parents were allegedly killed in a house fire.

Bram has a penchant for getting into trouble. He stays up all night and eats only red food. What Bram does not realize is that he is the world’s last living vampire. After escaping a pack of werewolves, Bram is recruited into a clandestine school for monster kids. His enemies are determined to enlist him in their nefarious causes. Will Bram succeed in outwitting them?

The characters in this series are funny, smart, and outrageous. Just the ticket to attract middle-grade readers seeking a fast-moving sci-fi adventure. Bram learns to face adversity and find the inner strength to solve his problems. Recommended for any age reader, but especially for ages nine through twelve.

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