Integrating Sustainable Development Goals into our Classrooms


Sustainable Development Goals 

into our Classrooms

The sustainable development goals were developed by the United Nations.  It's a blueprint for creating a better and more sustainable future for the whole world.  It's a great tool to think about instruction.

So I started with thinking about a real world problem.  Cooking is a problem in many cultures.  For hundreds of millions of people around the world who cook over fires fueled by wood or dung, and who walk miles to collect firewood or spend much of their meager incomes on fuel.

What might be a solution? Solar Cookers! Give your kids materials such as a box, foil, a skewer and a marshmallow. Have them create a solar cooker and have them time how long it takes to cook that marshmallow.

Introduce the idea of a parabola. How could that idea help in the construction? In this time of distance learning, I created a video for my students on our FB page. There I discussed the SDG's and integrated STEM with the solar cooker.

How could the SDG's be integrated into your teaching? If you're looking for STEM challenges, visit my TPT store.

Here are some more great blogs to read about teaching!

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Writing During This Historic Time: My Pandemic Journal

Writing During This Historic Time

How are you?  Really, how are you?

This is such a scary time.  We are all feeling our way through distance learning and trying to ensure our kids have everything they need during this time to keep learning.  It's hard and it's overwhelming and it's ok to stop and take a breather!

Something we should all be doing is journaling.  This is such a historic time we need to be sure to write every day.  For your students and for yourself, it helps keep us sane.

One thing I do is create videos/lessons for my kids every day.  Since I'm out of the classroom, I make them on our school web page so that all the kids can access them.  Sometimes it's a read aloud, a science lesson or even history.  I did yoga with them too to help them relax.

To encourage my kids to write, I created a video for them using Clips.  Clips is an Apple app that you can use on your iPhone or iPad to create neat videos.  It has filters and virtual backgrounds.  You can even use your animoji!

We all need to use our tools to capture the kids interest.  The kids loved this video.  I hope you love using Clips too.

If you want a digital journal to use with your kids, just click the picture of the Pandemic Journal.  You can download it for free.  Then just assign with Google Classroom or your LMS, such as Schoology.

Check out these amazing teachers to get more ideas!
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Schools closed: To the teachers...

Schools closed: To the teachers...

My school district has closed for at least two weeks.  How about yours?

I know it's scary.  I'm scared too.  But we have to put our kids first.  One thing we can do now and keep doing during this frightening time is to make a connection with our kids.   With groups of no more than 10 that can congregate, face to face is out of the question.  Video is a great option.  I know we may not like our voices or how we look on video but it's not about you.  It's about the kids.  It is so comforting to them to see their favorite teacher in some form.  Let's talk about options...
  • Your schools Learning Management System (lms).  At our district, we use Schoology and there is a conference option teachers can use.  Check with your district.
  • Facebook.   Facebook Live is super easy to use.  You can use your school web page if you have one or create a class page.
  • Class Dojo.  Do you have a Class Dojo page?  You can do video with your class there!  
  • Instagram stories.  If your kids follow you on IG, stories is another way to interact with them.  
I'm sure there are many other platforms you can use.  The point is just jump in the pool.  Really, it will be helpful and reassuring to your kids who need this right now.  Here is a link to my first attempt.  Not great but the kids appreciated it and that's all that matters.



School closed: Now what?

School closed: Now what?

My school district has closed for at least two weeks.  How about yours?  In case your kids are home, here are some options to ensure they don't fall behind as state testing will surely be upon us when they return to school.  

If your child has a district email use it to sign in with Google on most web sites, if available.  It's a time saver.

For LAUSD students: Use Schoology:

Language Arts web sites
Digital Library: Lots of free resources for ELA

Mathematics web sites

Social Studies web sites

Science web sites

California SBA Practice tests:
Practice tests for the big state test for ELA, Math, Science and ELPAC.

Most of these web sites are for elementary aged kids but some do scale up to high school.  

Also there are many free resources available on TeachersPayTeachers:  Just filter for the pertinent grade.

I hope this is helpful.  It helps to create a schedule and have a routine.  It's stressful on all of us but we need to help our kids as much as possible and keep them learning.

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Picture Book Units with Great Picture Books

Picture Book Units with Great Picture Books

It's stressful for all of us to be absent.  It takes so much time to plan for the day.  I took the guesswork out of being absent.  Just leave copies of the picture book unit along with the picture book and you are ready!

Here are some of the units available in my store:

Have you read this amazing book celebrating diversity and encouraging kids to be brave? The Day You Begin is Jacqueline Woodsen's and Rafael Lopez' latest collaboration. The text is lyrical and the illustrations just beautiful!

Have you read Danza!? It's a great book by Duncan Tonatiuh about Amalia Hernandez. Amalia Hernandez is the founder of ballet Folklorico and the world-renown Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. Get it for your classroom library today!

Learn how Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end segregation in California! This was 10 years before Brown vs. The Board of Education.

Frida Kahlo- That beautiful Mexican artist know for her bold self portraits and honest depictions. Get to know Frida!

Have you read this lyrical book? Last Stop on Market Street will help you see the beauty in your own community.

I hope these units are helpful to you!



Using specific texts to delve into Craft and Structure with the Common Core Standards

Using specific texts to delve into 

Craft and Structure with the

Common Core Standards

Start by choosing a story that has some connection to history/reality.  That way you can also include some supportive pieces.  Here I included a story, a YouTube video of a song with images and a flyer from the time period.


Have you read A Train to Somewhere? It's by the amazing Eve Bunting. Based on the 19th century orphan train, it follows the story of a young girl hoping her mother will meet her at one of the stops.

YouTube video:

Rider on an Orphan Train written and performed by David Massengill.  Here is link to a YouTube video of the song with images from the time period.  


Here is an orphan train flyer from the time.

Craft and Structure Reading Standard #4
"Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone."

Some questions that meet the standard:

  • Why do you think the author used the word: clutches?  What feeling is she trying to evoke?
  • In italics, the author says She'll be there.  She'll want me.   Who is she?
  • On page 12, you get a picture of what the adoption process looks like.  Why did the illustrator draw it this way?
  • The author says the people felt the boys muscles.  Why do you think the author wrote that?
  • "My mother didn't want me." The author wrote this very bluntly.  Do you think this is true?
  • Mrs. Book says "Sometimes what you get turns out to be better than what you wanted in the first place."  What does that mean?
Remember to focus on the intent of the author.  What feelings or understandings is the author trying to get across?

Craft and Structure Reading Standard #5
"Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole."

David Massengill lyrics : "Rider On An Orphan Train"

Once I rode an orphan train
And my brother did the same
They split us up in Missouri

James was five and I was three

He got taken by some pair

But for me they did not care
We were brave and did not cry
When they made us say goodbye

That was the last I saw of him
Before some family took me in

But I swore I'd run away
And find my brother James someday

I went back when I was grown
To see how old the Children's Home
And I asked for to see my file

Of when I was an orphan child

It's sad, they say, there's been a flood

File washed away in Missouri mud
Sometimes life is a stone wall
You either climb, or else you fall

In every town, on every street
All the faces that I meet

And I wonder, could one be
My brother James come back to me

Though I don't know where he's gone
I have searched my whole life long
Now I roam from town to town

But there's no orphan lost-and-found

Sometimes I dream a pleasant sight

My brother James and I unite
Remembering our last goodbye
No longer brave, we start to cry

I hope he lives a life of ease
And all his days a soft, warm breeze

May he sit upon a throne
And may he never sleep alone

Once I rode an orphan train
And my brother did the same
They split us up in Missouri

James was five and I was three

Craft and Structure Reading Standard #6
"Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text."

Look at the flyer.  Do you fee the creator was persuasive in creating this flyer?  What type of people would come to adopt children?

As you can see all the questions focus on the author and the intentionality in using certain words or structures in demonstrating a point of view or writing for a specific purpose.

Check out these amazing authors and learn more about teaching.

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STEM Challenges with the Pigeon

I like to start most lessons with a read aloud!  Everyone loves a story.  STEM lessons can come to life with a read aloud to start it off!  The pigeon is always funny and a great way to kick off a STEM lesson.

Pigeon solar cooker Lisa Robles
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog STEM Challenge: Kids create a solar cooker and actually cook a hot dog!
Pigeon bus challenge Lisa Robles

Don't Let the Pigeon on the Bus!! STEM Challenge: How about if we design a bus just for him? Your kids will have a blast designing a bus and learning about simple machines, like the wheel and axle. 

Pigeon stem challenge bundle Lisa Robles

 Here you go! Two challenges to use with the books: Don't Let the Pigeon on the Bus!! and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog.


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