Exploring Storytelling

All cultures have used storytelling to convey their history and impart important values. Explore the ancient art at Heather Forest’s Story Arts website. Children love to hear stories of their parents’ childhoods, and family storytelling is encouraged here, as are techniques for helping children create stories from their own lives. Rubrics that lay out criteria for building a good story are also provided.

Journey South Animal Migration

Annenberg Media’s Journey North website explores seasonal changes and resulting animal migrations. Classrooms all over North America use the site to teach students about migratory animals and how they are tracked. While the focus in is on Spring migrations, in the fall the site features complementary “Journey South” content.


You might have a child who fares better in individual athletic events than in team sports, or a child who would experience greater success in a less crowded competetive field. Or you just might want to offer a lower impact option to save their knees. Of course there are lots of sports that meet those criteria, but for one that requires little special equipment, check out the pre-eminent racewalking site on the web, authored and maintained by a longtime member of US national team, Dave McGovern. Dave is always encouraging, witty, and down-to-earth, not to mention amazingly talented.

If you want to learn the technique check out his schedule for weekend clinics. A promising high-school age racewalker attended the last one I went to, and Dave was selling her on the other perks of competing in a small sport, such as being more likely to be selected to travel to big track meets in wonderful destinations.

Racewalking is an Olympic sport (though it’s mostly broadcast at like 2 a.m.), and the USA Track & Field Junior Division begins at age 7.

Alphabetical Order

Working with physical objects prior to written concepts makes the notion of ABC-order more tangible to small children. Here’s a possible hands-on activity:

Take a variety of items or product packaging – cereal and other dry goods boxes are good, as are books or trading cards – and have kids physically alphabetize the items, rearranging them in order in the room by the name of the product, ie: Cheerios before Fruit Loops before Mini Wheats before Raisin Bran, etc. Setting up races or timed challenges in which they can beat their previous record will make this a fun activity that also provides some tangible learning.

New Magazine For Teens by Teens

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) online newsletter recently reviewed Happeningnow!everywhere, a new magazine written by youth for youth aged 12 to 18. In the words of the editorial advisor, the review was “well-balanced and appropriately cautious…, based on our one fledgling issue and tentative website.” (A second issue is now available.)

YALSA explains that they noticed the first issue because there are not many forums for teens to publish their writing. Here are a few others we know about:

  • New Moon, an advertisement-free magazine by and for girls aged 8 to 14.
  • Teen Ink, a magazine, website and book series of teen writing.
  • WhatIf?, a Canadian publication of fiction by teens.

If you’d like to tell us about others, please use the Comments form. Thanks!