Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hurricane Names

Ever since 1950 hurricanes have been given names. This helps us easily identify storms and everyone knows which storm you are talking about. There can be many hurricanes in one year, so you can't really say "that hurricane in 2014." There might have been ten. Or twenty!

Here are the names that will be used in the upcoming years. The lists are reused every six years unless there is a really bad storm. Then that name is retired and never used again. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pets in Hurricanes

Sometimes people leave their homes quickly when a hurricane is coming and pets get left behind. Pets might get scared and hide where people can't find them. This video shows some people who help rescue pets after a storm, care for them, and try to reunite them with their owners.

Many people go to hurricane shelters to stay safe during the storm, but most shelters do not allow animals. This shelter in Georgia is trying to change that. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hurricane Cleanup

Hurricanes, with winds over 74 miles per hour, can cause a lot of damage. This video shows just some of the things that need to be done in a house that has been damaged by a hurricane. It certainly looks like cleaning up this damage could take a long time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tracking Hurricanes

Meteorologists take information about the hurricane like wind speed, direction, and size, and use computers to make predictions about where a hurricane might go next. The first video shows a meteorologist's prediction about where Hurricane Gonzalo might go in October, 2014.

This second video shows us whether or not that meteorologist was right about where Hurricane Gonzalo would go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What is a Hurricane?

Hurricanes are very large storms that form in the ocean. This video gives a great scientific explanation of how one starts.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Saltwater Crocodiles

Of all the animals we've read about, the saltwater crocodile is the scariest one to me. This video does nothing to make me feel better about them.

This video shows just how deadly the saltwater crocodile can be. (I plan to skip that part. It gives me the shivers.) More importantly, this video shows how gentle a saltwater crocodile can be with her babies. The most amazing fact in the video is that the saltwater crocodile's jaws are 7 times more powerful than the great white shark's jaws.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Giraffes are so tall they can eat food that other animals can't. Like the leaves in this tree.

This next video is short but gives a great view of a giraffe running. It's hard to tell how fast it is going, and it's size almost makes it look like slow motion, but giraffes can run up to 30 miles per hour!

A giraffe's size is pretty amazing, and when it comes to eating food, quite helpful. But what about when it needs to get a drink? There aren't any ponds or streams at the tops of trees.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Ostriches are the largest birds and the fastest birds on land. How big are they? Take a look at this video. (Did you know that ostriches, like cows, are raised for their meat? And, like chickens, their eggs can be used for food too?)

This video shows and explains just how fast an ostrich can run.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Julian Chapter Read Aloud Resources

Many, many classrooms have read Wonder aloud in their classrooms, and rightfully so. Last school year (2013-2014) was no different for us. We started our fifth graders’ year by reading Wonder, and just like countless other classrooms around the country and the world, we used its lessons and themes as a basis for building a strong classroom community. When The Julian Chapter was released in May, 2014 we thought it would be great opportunity to revisit those lessons. 

So just like I did for Wonder, I put together some online resources. Once again we used the songs, quotes, and images from the story - along with the occasional mini-lesson - to enhance our reading and understanding of the story. And once again, you are invited to use these resources with your students as well.

Below are links to the original Wonder resources and the added resources for The Julian Chapter. I hope they add to your enjoyment and understanding of both texts.

Thanks for reading and thanks for stopping by this little corner of the web. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please feel free to share them. 

Page numbers refer to the text as it appears in Auggie & Me by R. J. Palacio.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


In order to describe an elephant's size, our book compares elephants to cars. It says that elephants are as tall as three cars stacked on top of one another. What better way to see that than from a car? Watch this elephant walk right past this car. Also, listen to what one child says about its size right at the end.

Here's another video of an elephant walking by a family in a van. (Although I'm not sure about the "please tip the van" comment.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blue Whales

Blue whales are fascinating creatures. This first video just shows some footage of blue whales swimming by divers. What would it be like to have something like that swim past you?

This second video shows blue whales eating, which basically is them swimming with their mouths open. What are they really doing?

Finally, this last video gives some scientific explanations about why blue whales are so big. How can they get that big? Here's how: