Textbooks For Elementary School

Moving Towards 2062 from 1862… Cultivating Our Future in a Volatile World

Written by Laura Lottes

Recently while visiting my family cemetery, nestled on a country hillside, I stood before my great grandfather August (Gus) H. Quade’s grave. He was born 100 years and three days before me, in the family home approximately 300 feet from the cemetery. I imagined what life was like on that autumn day in 1862 and what it was like for him growing up, living his life, and dying on the same land my entire family calls home. At that time President Abraham Lincoln was in office, the Commander in Chief during the Civil War. While soldiers bitterly battled one another, determined to preserve their way of life without surrendering to another’s beliefs, a young boy had his entire life ahead of him.

Gus would attend elementary school in a one room schoolhouse that was erected on our family’s land. Parcel 17 of Table Mound Township to be exact. It had all of the modern conveniences of a mid 1800s classroom. There were desks with ink wells, small slate boards, and a coat hook for every student. A large slate chalkboard graced the front of the classroom; there were a handful of textbooks, and a large map of the United States Territories. Gus received a solid education at the one room schoolhouse and would continue his education at Dubuque Senior High School, at that time located in Turner Hall. His education served him well as he grew into a successful businessman and farmer. The one room schoolhouse seems to have existed so long ago. We imagine only our great grandparents had such a rustic educational experience. When in fact, Gus’s children, grandchildren, and two of his great grandchildren received part or all of their elementary education at the same one room schoolhouse, the two great grandchildren being my two oldest siblings!!!

Leap forward to 1968 when I began kindergarten at a school that hosted approximately 500 kids. Still located in Table Mound Township, replacing the one room schoolhouse, we still had a large slate chalkboard at the front of the room! Ahhh, how slate stands the test of time. But now our learning tools progressed to overhead projectors, slide strips, movie projectors, books covering every subject for each student, and lockers! Education was mostly traditional during that time. Fortunately for my classmates and me, there were a few teachers who explored different methods of teaching and learning. We experienced hands-on science projects, and math was related to everyday life, incorporating language arts and financial literacy. For example, in fourth grade every child was taught how to write a check, balance a checkbook, and develop a personal budget. My school was actually considered a "test" school in the 1960s and 70s. The focus was on learning math and science in a real world context, and incorporating this method of learning into the curriculum. I applaud the innovative leaders and educators who had the foresight to challenge the traditional way of teaching and learning.

And now we find ourselves in 2013. Wow, education has progressed over the course of 50 years and not to mention the last 100 years. We’ve replaced our trusted slate boards with interactive white boards with which all students can actively partake in the learning. While content should be first and foremost in all curriculum, the platform for delivery has evolved at a rapid pace. Hands-on, experience-based, and real world learning will no longer just be an option, it will be a requirement in order for states to meet the criteria outlined in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Students will have opportunities to engage with their learning experiences that we never imagined possible in 1862. The turmoil of the Civil War has long passed, but unfortunately confusion and chaos is present in many forms in today’s society, especially in education. There are impoverished school districts in which the main focus is not necessarily on learning, but on living… students are concerned with basic survival, and hopefully how to become self sufficient and contribute to society. This is the reality for several school districts across our great country. Think about it, what format of education would be engaging and benefit students in these classrooms? Could that format be similar to the education I received in the mid 60s and 70s, which was a practical approach connecting learning to real life experiences? How about using this format in all classrooms, not just those located in low social economic areas? It’s visibly a logical method. That format also appears to support the kind of learning called for in the CCSS. Once again, I applaud the group of people who were innovative and courageous in challenging the traditional way of teaching and learning, and forging ahead developing and promoting the CCSS. Now our goal should be for all states to transform their schools to a learning environment that will cultivate innovative, self-sufficient learners. By embracing and implementing the CCSS, states will not only be giving a gift to our current generation, they will establish a solid foundation for our future generations to thrive in the ever changing world.

Looking to the near future… 2062. I can only imagine what our society, lives, and education will be like fifty years from now. History lays the foundation for our future. Today is tomorrow’s history. It’s imperative that we are all committed to developing our own advancements in life and in education for our future generations to expand upon. I challenge you to answer one question. What will your commitment and contribution be to the present and to the future?


Watch this Space!

Will you be joining us at the annual International Reading Association conference in Orlando, Florida, May 9 - 11? We'll be there with a great, big booth, some of our top authors, giveaways, workshops, and much more!

Pre-service and in-service teachers alike will be able to check out our elementary school textbooks, our reading assessment tools, and some of our new digital content delivery options. We'll have plenty of staff and authors there to answer your questions and help you find the materials that will meet your needs.

More details will be forthcoming here in the next few weeks, so watch this space. In the meantime, check out some of the great reading resources Kendall Hunt Publishing offers by viewing our interactive catalog.

Whiteboards anyone?

Do you use interactive whiteboards in your classroom? I just read an article on the Digital Education blog at Education Week that says the incorporation of interactive whiteboards and accompanying software improves student achievement on tests by an average of 16 percent. That’s pretty impressive.

I know our primary school is beginning to implement them in some classrooms. They haven’t adopted an online elementary curriculum yet, but they are looking at a few. Right now they’re using a combination of elementary school textbooks and online activities. 

Math Innovations - Kendall Hunt's Middle Grades Math SolutionI can tell you that all of the programs Kendall Hunt’s new online learning platform, Flourish, are whiteboard ready. Our middle school math program, Math Innovations, which is available on Flourish, is LOADED with whiteboard activities. So if you’re looking for an online math curriculum and improved student achievement, maybe you should look at Math Innovations and Flourish!!


Social networks at school: educational value or distraction?

As an educational publishing company, Kendall Hunt must, of course, keep up with the trends and keep our business current. That’s the only way we can keep offering our outstanding high school science textbooks, elementary school textbooks, and higher education products.  

Of course one of the biggest topics of conversation around here is social media. How and when to use it, who uses it, etc. We are on We Are Teachers, a great online teacher community, but what about students? Some people are involved in a discussion about whether the use of classroom technology, such as online math and science curricula, an online elementary curriculum and the like, reflects what students are doing in their lives outside of school. We know that social media tools are considered a distraction at schools, so much so that many schools have blocked access to Facebook, MySpace and other online communities altogether. And with the growth of cyberbullying, it can become a real safety issue besides.

The other side of this coin is the collaborative nature or team/community building potential of these applications. Students working together toward a shared result, and all the educational benefits that come along with that. So is there a happy medium? Has your school found a way? Tell me about it!


All New kendallhunt.com - Check it Out

Yes, I am still alive. I know I've been MIA a bit the past couple weeks, but with good reason. I've been madly building content for the new, improved Kendall Hunt Web site (seriously, I've been like a troll in the basement just clicking away).

But it's finally done. You can view it at the same place: http://www.kendallhunt.com, but you'll find it easier to navigate with improved functionality. You can now set up an account, check your order history, and when you come back and login after you've ordered the first time, you won't have to re-enter your shipping and billing info every time!

You'll find our same great products, high school biology textbooks, our online math curriculum, gifted and talented resources and all kinds of elementary education books. We'll be continually updating and improving the new site, hopefully incorporating more social media, more online learning opportunities and expanded professional development choices, so check back in often!

In the meantime, you'll find that some of the links in older blogposts might not work anymore because of the new configuration. I'll try to change some of them, but the search tool on the site is really intuitive, so if you can't link to something from an old post, just head to the site and give the search a try!

Online elementary curriculum--Tell me about yours

Wow, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer have flown by faster than the Thunderbirds at the July 4th air show, haven’t they? The start of school is imminent, for you teachers I know many of you are already back. What’s new at your school’s this year? I’d love to hear the latest from any of you. As you pulled out your teacher edition textbooks or logged onto your online science curriculum, what new ideas have struck you? It seems like we’re always trying to find the next, latest, greatest, whizz-bang way to engage and motivate students.


How much do you use an online math curriculum? Maybe your district doesn’t have one yet, or maybe all your curricula are online. I’m doing a little research right now about whether online curricula work better for some students than for others, and I’ll let you know what I learn. But in the meantime I’d love to hear what you think, how you use your online elementary curriculum, and how your students do with them.


Middle School Math

That first day of school isn’t far away now, is it? My son starts 5th grade this Fall, which, due to a very crowded elementary school, is the first year of middle school in our town. While he’s pretty excited, I’m of course suffering from, “Ack, my baby’s going to middle school, where has the time gone?” syndrome.

All this talk about middle school got me looking in depth at Kendall Hunt Publishing’s middle school offerings this week. We talk a lot about high school science textbooks and elementary education books, but we don’t talk all that much about middle school. But have you checked out our new Math Innovations program? It’s amazing. It develops mathematical habits of mind, teaching students to think like mathematicians. It improves the reasoning and critical thinking skills that are crucial to success in the 21st century.

Math Innovations offers textbooks, but is also a robust online math curriculum with an array of technology options to enhance and supplement the text. Three grade levels and five units per grade allows for customized alignment to state and district standards. Check it out when you have a chance!!


Forget 1st Down and 10 Yards to Go, Get to Know 2nd and 7

I know that we usually talk about accelerated learning resources, elementary school textbooks, or high school science textbooks, but I thought we’d take a short break today so I can introduce to one of Kendall Hunt Publishing's author groups, the Second and Seven Foundation.


The 2nd and 7 Foundation is all about literacy. It was founded by three former Ohio State University student-athletes: Mike Vrabel, Luke Fickell, and Ryan Miller. They were standouts on The OSU football team and decided that they wanted to give back to the greater Columbus, Ohio community once their playing days there were over. They started out by conducting a football camp in the summer of 2000, the proceeds of which were used to purchase books for second grade students in seven Central Ohio elementary schools (that’s where the name, 2nd and 7 came from), in an effort to tackle illiteracy. As its founders passion for promoting literacy has grown, so has the foundation.


2nd and 7 Foundation’s Tackle Illiteracy program now includes reading to second graders in classrooms all over the country, and provides each of the children in those classrooms with a book to take home. The foundation targets schools with economically disadvantaged kids and communities where its founders feel they can make the biggest impact. The Ohio State University, the University of Toledo, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin and the University of North Carolina have all been involved in reaching out to the community through this program, by allowing student-athletes to participate in the readings.


In my next post I’ll tell you about the foundation’s books, how many they have distributed and how you can get them for yourself. But for now, check out their website and the great work they’re doing and please consider supporting their efforts!


National Lab Day...time to get started for next year!

What did you do for National Lab Day? As Charley pointed out in his stint as guest blogger here the other day, Kendall Hunt Publishing took a leading role in supporting National Lab Day by volunteering in local classrooms. By all accounts, it was a big success. But we want it to be a bigger success next year.


Sure, there is some method to our madness, we have a whole bunch of inquiry based science products, from elementary school science textbooks to high school biology textbooks and everything in between, but beyond that, we really believe in the value and importance of inquiry based science. There’s nothing like getting kids “doing” science to help them learn. This is what’s behind our strong support of National Lab Day.


So start planning right now for next year. Here are some places you can find more information and plenty of ideas of how to get your students doing science:

And watch for a story about Kendall Hunt Publishing’s participation in National Lab Day on the NLD website…we submitted our NLD “success story” to them, so hopefully they’ll feature us soon!


Kendall Hunt Participates in National Lab Day

Wednesday, May 12 marked the first annual National Lab Day, a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students, and educators and bring discovery-based science experiences to students in grades K-12. Our guest blogger today is Charley Cook, Kendall Hunt’s vice president of Pre-K – 12 publishing. 
Charley writes:

As a strong supporter of National Lab Day, Kendall Hunt Publishing and its employees decided to recognize the inaugural event by spending time in classrooms working with students on hands-on science activities. Kendall Hunt is known for publishing research-based, NSF-funded, and inquiry-based science programs, so National Lab Day was a perfect opportunity for us to step to the forefront and lend a hand.

I had the opportunity to join fellow KH employees Joe Haverland, Pam Roth, and Wayne Schnier at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Dubuque, IA, where we conducted hands-on science activities with their 1st and 4th grade classrooms.  Joe facilitated a Physical Science activity focusing on Equilibrium and Center of Gravity, which challenged the 4th grade students to work in groups to try to figure out a way to balance eight nails on the head of one nail. The students worked in pairs, which promoted teamwork that is critical to the inquiry process. It was great to walk around the classroom and hear students collaborating and sharing ideas. Although they were only 4th grade students, the problem-solving skills they exhibited are those they need to have to not only cope, but also be competitive as they advance through school and enter the working world. The students did a great job and by the end of the exercise, each group was successful in balancing all of the nails.

Wayne and Pam were in a “stickier” situation when they worked with the first graders on the “Gloop” activity from the BSCS TRACKS Investigating Properties Kit. Gloop is a mixture of glue, starch and borax that is sealed in a plastic container to keep moist and somewhat hardened that was made the day before the activity. Wayne and Pam made up 10 bags of Gloop for teams of two students to share. Before the students could open the bag, they had to guess what ingredients were in the gloop. That exercise provided an entertaining and informative classroom conversation. Next, the students were allowed to open the bag and then listed the properties of what was contained in gloop. They also tried to come up with ideas on how gloop could be used if it was manufactured for the public. The kids were having a great time with this activity. It is clear that the gloop itself adds to the excitement, but it makes science fun for kids and as you can imagine, they use all of their senses for this experiment.

For Kendall Hunt, National Lab Day was a big success. I was proud of the fact that our employees volunteered to spend time in these classrooms to help students experience science in a hands-on way and gain problem-solving skills that will last a lifetime. As a nation, we are learning how important science is if our country and its citizens are going to remain competitive in the future. At Kendall Hunt, we want to make Lab Day an everyday event for all students, and we are eager to play a role in their success.

To learn more about National Lab Day and how you can bring hands-on learning activities to classrooms in your community, click here. To learn about Kendall Hunt’s elementary school science textbooks and high school science textbooks, visit kendallhunt.com. 


NSTA Booth Drawing Winners Announced

Three lucky educators are receiving a complementary set of Kendall Hunt inquiry based science products for their classrooms after entering a random drawing held during the recent national NSTA conference in Philadelphia. Entry forms were included in each conference attendee’s bag, and directed them to Kendall Hunt Publishing's booth where they could fill out the form, identify which of Kendall Hunt's products they’d like to win, from elementary school science textbooks to high school physics textbooks, and and enter the drawing. The winning educators and the products they selected are:

Rosa Gastiaburu, teacher at Medard H. Nelson Charter School , New Orleans, LA. Rosa selected a classroom set of Starry Night , an interactive astronomy DVD series for grades K-12.

Sandi Garrett, teacher at Camden Elementary School , Camden, MS. Sandi chose Kendall Hunt Science Readers, a series of leveled readers with content based on the National Science Education Standards, for her students in grades 4 and 5.

Jason Lazarow, teacher at Springton Lake Middle School, Media, PA.  Jason selected A Climate of Change, part of the BSCS Science: An Inquiry Approach series  for grades 9-12.

Congratulations to our three winners, and thanks to all who visited the Kendall Hunt Publishing booth and entered the drawing! 


Is Everybody Ready for eBooks?

I've read several articles this week about online and e-books for the K-12 market. The current Texas governor recently stated that he doesn't see any reason for Texas to have printed books in four years. That's a pretty big statement in support of online learning.

What do you think about taking elementary education books, secondary school textbooks and the like and putting them in the digital world? At Kendall Hunt Publishing, we're big fans of digital learning for PreK-12. Let's face it, many printed textbooks are dated the minute they come off the press. School textbook publishers face this issue all the time. But if your "books" are online, especially if they're in a learning portal that can be continually updated, students can learn about the latest discovery in science without waiting for the next printing of their high school science textbook. That's only one of the many benefits to digital learning.

Do your schools use all printed material? Or a combination of print and digital?


Get your students moving!!

I know we generally talk about high school science textbooks or accelerated learning resources, but I thought a momentary change of topic to something affecting so many of today’s students would be appropriate. Did you watch the first episode of Jamie Oliver’s new show about childhood obesity? It was a real eye opener, and quite alarming, especially in light of all the educational cuts that have been announced in the past few weeks. If you’re a teacher, I don’t have to tell you that specials are the first things to go, music, art, P.E., sadly on the chopping block in so many districts.

This all reminded me of GYMB4, the affordable and easy-to-implement classroom video workout program designed and tested specifically for Pre-K and elementary school students as young as 3 years old and up through all elementary school grades. GYMB4 (short for “Get Yourself Moving Before Learning”) workouts are fun, and at just 5 to 10 minutes long, they are easily incorporated into any classroom routine. The exercises are all age-appropriate (PreK-6) and no special equipment or extra floor space is required.

GYMB4 Get Yourself Moving Video
Teachers across the country are using the videos in their classrooms. They have told us that their students are calmer, more attentive, and better able to stay on task since they’ve started using GYMB4. I guess this makes sense since scientists have linked physical activity with brain function. (Seems like I should get up and move now!) Click this squirming button to the left to see the video introduction to GYMB4.

Anyway, check out their blog, you’ll learn all kinds of things about GYMB4 and getting kids moving. The GYMB4 website also offers video samples and more information. And you can purchase the videos on the Kendall Hunt Publishing website. Check it out and get moving!!


Eco-Meet Uses Inquiry Based Science to Educate about Local Ecology

My son was recently invited to participate in an area Eco-Meet. They chose three fourth grade gifted students and two fifth grade students from each of the participating districts to make up that district’s team. This is quite the inquiry based science event, it seems! Each team member received a packet about an inch thick of materials they need to study to prepare. Additionally, they will be working with the gifted and talented teacher, who is the coach, each week leading up to the event in mid-May.

The Eco-Meet is a day long event held at a local park high above the Mississippi River. The park rangers and Army Corps of Engineers will involve the students in activities and presentations on different subjects, including Fish of the Mississippi. After each event, the teams will take a test. The tests will be graded and winners announced.

Wow, talk about accelerated learning resources! I can’t imagine how much these kids will learn by the time this is all done. And it doesn’t come straight out of an elementary school science textbook or gifted education books…they’re doing and learning. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes. In the meantime, do your schools do anything like this? I’d love to hear about similar ideas that are happening out there!

It's a Barn-Raising...for Inquiry Based Science!

So, as I think I've mentioned before, I'm the eMarketing Coordinator for Kendall Hunt Publishing. Part of that role involves managing the content on our website. So this week I received a request to put a link on our site to National Lab Day, which is billed as "A Barn-Raising for Hands-On Learning." I went to the site, http://www.nationallabday.org, and, wow, this is going to be amazing!

Here's a little more information taken right from the website: "National Lab Day is more than just a day. It's a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students and educators. 

Volunteers, university students, scientists, engineers, other STEM professionals and, more broadly, members of the community are working together with educators and students to bring discovery-based science experiences to students in grades K-12."

There will be a nationwide celebration of this in early May with activities across the country. If you click on the "Projects" tab, you'll find that projects are posted from literally one end of the country to the other: Alaska to Florida, and California to Virginia. What a great way to encourage inquiry based science and the use of elementary school science textbooks, middle and high school chemistry and physics textbooks that use that learning model!

Kendall Hunt supports National Lab Day, so don't forget to check out all our inquiry based science programs! I'll keep you posted on what's coming up in the May celebration!


I always wanted to check out the Faculty Lounge…now I can and so can you!

Remember, when you were a student? Didn’t you always wonder what was behind those mysterious doors labeled “Faculty Lounge?” I did. Well, Kendall Hunt Publishing now has a slightly different version of the faculty lounge. It’s where we’re putting all sorts of goodies on sale. And as we continue to build the lounge, you’ll not only find everything from elementary school textbooks to high school science textbooks on sale, you’ll find articles about our different specialties, including inquiry based science and talented and gifted resources.

Check it out here when you have a chance!


It's a Whale of a Sale on Inquiry Based Science

I guess it’s not THAT big a sale, but we do have some special pricing on classroom combo packs for our BSCS Science Track and Insights, our elementary school science textbooks and programs. Most classroom packs include a teacher’s guide, some student books, sometimes a lab kit; it varies by program and module. You can find them here: http://www.kendallhunt.com/insights and here: http://www.kendallhunt.com/tracks. Check them out and save some money!

NSTA’s NCSE (National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference on Science Education is getting closer! NSTA events always offer great opportunities for those of us in science text book publishing to share our outstanding inquiry based science programs. The NCSE is no exception. Whether it’s a high school biology textbook, a high school physics textbook, teacher edition textbooks, or any other science resource, we’ll be there ready to share our best work. See you there!


Public vs. Private…Do the Books Differ Too? Should They?

Pathways LogoI’m wondering about the differences in public school textbooks versus those used in private and parochial schools. Do most private schools use different elementary school textbooks, or high school science textbooks than the surrounding public schools? 

This is something we’re talking about a lot here at Kendall Hunt as we’re expanding our offerings for private and parochial schools. It’s a good point, what’s the added value to paying for private school if the textbooks are the same? Of course I know there are other reasons people send their children to private school: religious considerations, class size, special classes, and many others; but wouldn’t it be an even greater incentive to tell parents, “Yes, we have a curriculum we designed ourselves, around the educational philosophy of our school.

KH has been publishing Pathways, a reading program used in Seventh Day Adventist schools, for several years now, and we will soon be publishing an elementary school science program to accompany it. We’re working on several other exciting projects too, so if you have a chance, take a look at our private & parochial school offerings!


5E Learning Model

If you have begun looking at elementary school science textbooks, many publishers create programs which have the illusion of inquiry in an effort to meet NSES. Few truly understand that inquiry is more than providing a hands-on activity. Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS) developed the 5e learning cycle, found in most of its Prek-12 curriculum, in an effort to prove student the opportunity to learn science through true inquiry.  


The 5e learning cycle is an instructional design model that defines a learning sequence based on the on the experiential learning philosophy of John Dewey and the  experiential learning cycle proposed by David Kolb. Attributed to Roger Bybee of BSCS , the model presents a framework for constructivist learning theories and can be effectively used in teaching science.

The model


Here the task is introduced. Connections to past learning and experience can be invoked. A demonstration of an event, the presentation of a phenomenon or problem or asking pointed questions can be used to focus the learners' attention on the tasks that will follow. The goal is to spark their interest and involvement.


Learners should take part in activities that allow them to work with materials that give them a 'hands on' experience of the phenomena being observed. Simulations or models whose parameter can be manipulated by learners, so that they can build relevant experiences of the phenomena, can be provided. Questioning, sharing and communication with other learners should be encouraged during this stage. The teacher facilitates the process.


The focus at this stage is on analysis. The learner is encouraged to put observations, questions, hypotheses and experiences from the previous stages into language. Communication between learners and learner groups can spur the process. The instructor may choose to introduce explanations, definitions, mediate discussions or simply facilitate by helping learners find the words needed.


Using the understanding gained in the previous stages, now learners should be encouraged build and expand upon it. Inferences, deductions, and hypotheses can be applied to similar or real-world situations. Varied examples and applications of concepts learned strengthen mental models and provide further insight and understanding.


Evaluation should be ongoing and should occur at all stages, in order to determine that learning objectives have been met and misconceptions avoided. Any number of rubrics, checklists, interviews, observation or other evaluation tools can be used. If interest in a particular aspect or concept is shown, further inquiry should be encouraged and a new cycle can begin that builds upon the previous one. Inquiries may branch off and inspire new cycles, repeating the process in a spiraling fractal of interrelated concepts, where instruction is both structured and yet open to investigation.


I'm seeing stars...Wait, that's our new Astronomy program

Wow, you want to talk about inquiry based science? Then check out our new Astronomy program, Starry Night. It's available for the elementary, middle and high school levels, and is completely interactive and inquiry based. Kendall Hunt has just partnered with Starry Night Education to provide schools with greater access to this program in volume license format.

This isn't just any elementary education book or high school physics textbook. In fact, it's not a book at all. It's actually astronomy simulation software that includes more than 25 lessons at each level, extensive teacher resources, hands-on activities, computer exercises, worksheets and assessments, and a DVD with dramatic and realistic astronomical phenomena.

It's a great way for children as young as kindergarten to begin to understand space science, is flexible enough to use as talented and gifted lesson plans, and works as a full astronomy course besides. Our website has screen shots and sample lessons available, so check it out when you have a chance!

I'm going to be out for a couple weeks now, but others will be staying in touch, so happy holidays to all!