Websites for Winter Break

Students! Parents! Teachers!

While you are enjoying your Winter Break, you may have some extra time on your hands, and maybe, just maybe, you will find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, wondering what to do. (Or you'll have played the same game for so long that your eyes are starting to hurt. Time to do something different! Something ::gasp:: educational!) 

If you find yourself in the black hole of boredom, or if you just want to stretch your mind a little in between all that holiday cheer and hot cocoa, check out some of the websites listed on our Lab Links page.

I've also highlighted below some other websites that connect to recent library lessons. Happy clicking!

For the past two weeks, fourth grade students have been listening to and reading poetry by Jack Prelutsky. His website is SUPER kid-friendly and includes poems he's written, pictures of his childhood, and letters that kids have written to Jack, among other things.

I love how graphic this website is! What an eye-catcher. And the noises in the background are kind of fun too. :)


I just discovered this wonderful website while searching for animated fables to use with third grade students. We've been reading many of Aesop's fables in the library, and it was nice to end our unit with an animated retelling of some of these stories. 

But fables are not all you'll find on this site! Also included are fairy tales, folk tales, nursery rhymes, Arthur stories, holiday stories, and much more! Plus there are related games, activities, and more resources for teachers and parents. Some content is for subscribers only, but you can access most of the videos online for free. 


Fourth and fifth grade students have been learning about internet safety, and this website is our go-to source. Not only does it have videos and activities about how to be safe online, but it also helps kids think about their actions online and tells how to get help if something makes them feel sad or uncomfortable. 

There is also a parent/teacher version of this website at http://www.netsmartz.org, where you can download the videos, activities, and lesson plans if you register for free on the site. Like I said, this is THE place to go when talking about internet safety!


I confess, I haven't used this website for library lessons. But! It's TOO good not to share. FunBrain is chock full of things to do! Did you know that you could read the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book online?  You can also play the great Japanese numbers game, Sudoku, or create your own silly MadLibs. No matter what mood you're in, FunBrain has the game for you! (They didn't pay me to say that. I just really like their site.)


When you find yourself bundled inside from the cold and wanting to do something online, go check out one of these sites! 

It's just three days away, folks. Happy Winter Break. :) 
Image from the Cute n Tiny blog


Greek Mythology

Call me Hades. 

My full name - His Royal Lowness, Lord of the Dead, King Hades - is a bit of a mouthful. 

I rule the Underworld. The ghosts of the dead travel down to dwell in my kingdom. If they were good in life, they get to go to an eternal rock concert, where really great bands play on and on forever. The ghosts of the not-so-good? They have to wander around, trying to memorize an endless list of really hard spelling words. And the ghosts of the wicked? You don't want to know.
(from Have a Hot Time, Hades! by Kate McMullan)

I bought the Myth-O-Mania series by Kate McMullan for the library recently and nearly all of them have been checked out by 5th grade students already. These books are similar to retold fairy tales, except that they're retold myths! Each book focuses on a different god, and the style of writing is just hilarious. I'm reading the Hades book right now, and I have to stop every so often just because I'm laughing so hard that my cheeks start to hurt! :D Students have been asking for more books like the Percy Jackson series (The Lightning Thief books) by Rick Riordan that are based on mythology, so I think this new series will be a hit.

Here are a couple of other Greek mythology books added to the library recently:

Treasury of Greek Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Christina Balit (2011)

This book is gorgeous! It includes 25 Greek gods and goddesses, from the famous Athena to Poseidon to the lesser-known Hephaestus to Jason.

Each chapter focuses on a different figure, with full-page, full-color illustrations by Christina Balit and the story of the person written by Donna Jo Napoli, who is known for her retold fairy tales.

Below is an illustration of Gaia, Mother Earth.

Michael Townsend's Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders (2010)

I just bought this book last year, but it's already seen countless circulations and has visited the Book Hospital twice - it is well-loved!

This is a collection of comics telling those beloved Greek myths. It starts like this:
"The book you are about to read contains nine bizarre and wacky tales that take place in a Greek-tastic myth-o-rific world!!!"

The comics style really appeals to students, and Townsend does a great job of explaining the stories in narration balloons. 

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