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This page has info on lots of cool stuff. I hope it will introduce you to interesting topics and inspire further investigation and discussion!

And if any of you are teachers or are just interested in related topics please feel free to send me links or info at my contacts page.




Marsupials are those cool mammals most often associated with places like Australia. The official definition is: any viviparous, nonplacental mammal of the order Marsupialia, comprising the opossums,kangaroos, wombats, and bandicoots, the females of most species having a marsupium containingthe mammary glands and serving as a receptacle for the 

young. The young are born in an immature state and continue development in the marsupium (pouch). Although the song says "260 species", more recent research tells us that:  There are around 334 species of marsupials, more than 200 in Australia and the islands to the north, around 100 in South America, 13 in Central America and a single species, the Virginia opossum, in North America.

Books and sites:

About Marsupials: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill
Nic Bishop: Marsupials by Nic Bishop
San Diego Zoo Animals: Marsupials
ZooBorns: Marsupials

San Diego Zoo Animals: Marsupials -

ZooBorns: Marsupials -


my friend Sonny jammin' with a Kangaroo













"Champion of the Spelling Bee"


derivation - the source or origin of something (the words). What language did the different parts of the word in question come from "is it French? is it latin? did it come from the Greek?"

pronunciation- an accepted standard of the sound and stress patterns of asyllable, word, phrase, etc.: He said the pronunciation of “curl” is[kurl]  not [koil]

ie: Faux (false) comes from the French - but sounds the same as Pho (rice noodles that's served in hot broth) which is Japanese.

Thesaurus: A thesaurus is a book that is similar to a dictionary, except instead of giving definitions of words, it lists similar or alternative words that can be used instead. If you looked up “extraordinary” in a thesaurus, it would tell you that “exceptional,” “fantastic,” “outstanding” and “unique” are all words that could be used instead and still mean something similar.


Books and sites:

The Spelling Bee Before Recess by Deborah Lee Rose
Scholastic Dictionary of Spelling by Marvin Terban

Scripps National Spelling Bee website -
Spellbound directed by Jeffery Blitz



Here's a very cool and interesting video from NYT about Archaeologists in Peru using drones to map out sites:





















Archaeologists Dig for Clues (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Kate Duke

Archaeology for Kids: Uncovering the Mysteries of Our Past, 25 Activities (For Kids series) by Richard Panchyk
National Park Service - Archaeology for Kids
digTM- The Archaeology Magazine for Kids


Archaeology: The study of the history of humans by looking at the things they left behind, like tools, bones, buildings and writing. Archaeologists, the people who do archaeology, look for these things, to help them learn how humans lived in the past. 


Human Evolution: Evolution is any type of change or growth over time. Human evolution is how humans changed from the time of the earliest humans to now.


Analyzing: Studying something in order to learn more about it. An archaeologist analyzes the items they find to help them figure out how humans lived in the past.


Solution: The process of solving a problem or difficult situation. Archaeologists study the solutions that ancient humans found to everyday problems like how to find food and water and how to make and build things. 


Ancient Civilizations: Civilizations are groups of people living in a specific time and place. Ancient civilizations were the early groups of people who lived in an area. For example, ancient Greek civilization was the first group of people to settle in Greece around 3,000 years ago. 


Wide-ranging: Including many different things. 


Procedures: The steps used to do something. Archaeologists use many different procedures to look for things left behind by people from the past and to study the things they find. 


Science and Humanity: A science is the study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observations. A humanity is the study of a part of human culture like art, literature or history. Archaeology is both!


Conceived: Formed in the mind or thought of, like an idea.


Survey: Examine an area, taking measurements and noticing details. Archaeologists survey an area that they are working in before they begin, to look for clues about where old buildings might have been, and where old things might be buried. 


Data: Facts or information.


Abounds: Exists in large numbers. 


Postulate: To suggest an idea. Sometimes, even with a lot of data to analyze, archaeologists still can’t be sure how ancient people lived. They come up with ideas based on the facts they have and discuss them with other archaeologists, scientists and historians. 


Reasoning: Using facts to come to a come up with an answer or conclusion.


Sound: In this case, sound means correct and not containing any mistakes or errors.


Excavate: Dig something up by carefully removing the soil that covers it. Archaeologists often need to excavate places where they think ancient people used to live or work to look for old things that have been covered up.


Cultural history: The history of a civilization’s culture, including what they ate, what they did for work and fun, their clothes, their music, art, religion, writing and anything else that made a civilization who they were. 


Unraveling the mystery: Solving or explaining a puzzle or question. Archeology is all about unraveling the mystery of the past to learn more about the people that lived before us.


National Park Service - Archaeology for Kids -

dig™- The Archaeology Magazine for Kids -


"The Ballad of Ben"

Ballad: A song that tells a story. This song tells the story of a musician named Ben.

Turning phrases: Writing ideas or sentences in a way that is memorable or artful. 

Ironic: There are two possible definitions of ironic. If a sentence or statement is ironic it uses words that mean the opposite of what you expect, often to be funny. For example, if someone says something is “soft as a brick” they are being ironic. If a situation is ironic, it means that it is strange or funny because things happen in a way that is the opposite of what you expected. For example, if a kid pretended to be sick to get out of going to school, and then found out there was no school because of a holiday, but had to stay in bed all day anyway so mom wouldn’t find out he had been faking, that would be ironic.

Falsetto: A very high singing voice used by a man

Soprano: The highest female singing voice.

A cappella: Singing without any musical instruments.



Ambivalent: Ambivalent means having mixed feelings about something, or not being able to decide between two things. For example, if your mom asks if you want pizza or mac & cheese for dinner and you don’t really feel like you want one more than the other, you are ambivalent. 


"Ice Cream"

Vitamins: A natural substance, usually found in food, that helps your body be healthy. Vitamin C is a vitamin found in fruits and vegetables like oranges and spinach that helps keep your bones, blood vessels and skin healthy and growing.

Calories: A calorie is a unit used to measure how much energy a food will produce in the human body. Our bodies need calories from food to make them work.

Protein: Protein is a substance in foods like meat, eggs and nuts that our bodies use to keep our muscles, organs, bones and blood healthy.

Isoflavones: A substance found in foods like soy beans that helps to keep you healthy. 

Omega-3: A substance found in foods like fish and green, leafy vegetables that help keep you healthy. 

Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons
The Monster Health Book: A Guide to Eating Healthy, Being Active & Feeling Great for Monsters & Kids! by Edward Miller

International Dairy Foods Association - Ice Cream -

Children | -


"The Moon Is Made Of Cheese"

Cosmonaut: A cosmonaut is a Russian astronaut. In the 1960s astronauts from the United States and cosmonauts from Russia were both trying to be the first people to visit the moon.


Mental Floss - Why Do People Say The Moon Is Made Of Cheese? -

NASA - Apollo 11 Mission -

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 On the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh

"Cast My Vote"

Polls: The place where people go to vote in an election.
Exercise my right: A right is something you are allowed to do, that no one else is allowed to stop you from doing. When you exercise a right it means you are using that right. 
Citizen: A person who legally belongs to a city, state or country. Citizens of the United States have the right to vote in elections.
Candidate: A person who is running for a political office, like the presidency or a seat on the city council. At an election, citizens can vote for the candidate that they think is best for the job.
Amendment: A change or addition to a legal document. Amendment 15 was an addition to the United States Constitution that gave the right to vote to men of all colors and races. Amendment 19 was an addition that gave the right to vote to women.
Suffragettes: Suffragettes were a group of women in the 1800s and early 1900s who fought for the legal right to for women to vote.
Register: Put your name on an official list. All United States citizens over the age of 18 can register to vote in elections. 

If I Ran For President by Catherine Stier
Grace for President by Kelly S. DiPucchio

PBS Kids - The Democracy Project -

Scholastic - History: The Right to Vote -

"The Kidney That Lived In Four People"

Kidney: A kidney is an organ in your body that takes all the stuff you don’t need out of your blood and turns it into urine. Humans have two kidneys but we can live with only one.



Filtering: Filtering means passing a liquid or gas through a device to take out the stuff you don’t want. You might filter water to take out sand or chemicals, Your kidneys filter your blood to take out extra water, and waste. 


Spare: If something is spare it means it is extra, and you can use it to replace something that is lost or broken or give it to someone else who needs one. Cars have a spare tire to replace one that gets flat. Because we all have two kidneys, but we can live with only one, some people chose to give their spare kidney to a sick person who needs one, to help make them better. 


Thrive: To do well, or grow strong. 


First Human Body Encyclopedia by DK Publishing
Organs!: How They Work, Fall Apart, and Can Be Replaced (Gasp!) by Nancy Winslow Parker

Kidney Transplanted Twice in Two Weeks - Northwestern University News -

Kidney Gets Transplanted Twice in Two Weeks - USA Today -

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