Please Honor Memorial Day

Never forget. Always honor.

charles french words reading and writing



I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend, but I also hope you remember why this holiday exists.  The word “holiday” comes from “holy day,” and the remembrance of this day and its purpose should be sacred. It was originally known as Decoration Day after the end of the Civil War, and it was designated Memorial Day in the 20th Century.

This day is intended to honor, give thanks, and remember those who have sacrificed their lives for The United States of America.  Please honor the fallen and the wounded on this day.  I realize the day was meant originally for the dead, but I extend my wishes and  thanks to the wounded also. Regardless of political beliefs or stands on a war, these are the men and women who fought to keep us safe, and they deserve our remembrance.

They deserve our thanks and our…

View original post 56 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

“Blue Sky, White Stars”, the New Book about America and our Flag

How do you teach children about America – past and also present?
How do you teach about our flag?
How do you smile a deep down smile, with childhood memories?
How and what do you you remember?

Blue Sky, White Stars parallels America and our flag.  It is terrific!

While I posted this before (because it is that good)
I have included a recent three-way video.
I read the story, and my fellow teachers
use Yoga and also Lego props to act it out.


The perfect book.  Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus captures the heart of America.  The stunning illustrations by Kadir Nelson make the simple text explode with meaning.  It is history:

White Rows.  White Rows

When I turned to this page, I choked up.  Two words, and two important stories.  How can one not talk about the white rows of covered wagons traveling west?  It is a part of American history.  And, how can one not talk about the white rows on the American flag?  Purity and innocence.  It’s an open door to learn about the flag.  It is the heart of America:

All American.  All American

Baseball, a veteran granddad with his grandson; this is “All American.”  In the words of the illustrator, “It beautifully draws parallels between the American landscape, the diversity of its people, and the symbolism stitched into the fabric.”

Yes, it does!  I like to think that the fabric encompasses far more than the flag; our foundation, our values, our community.  And, our big, wide, wonderful landscape:

Old Glory.  Old Glory.

I hadn’t thought about the Grand Canyon as “Old Glory.”  Nor had I thought about fireworks as “Old Glory.”  As soon as I saw this page, I understood.  Those words are the nickname for the American flag, yet they are so much more.  You see, while the flag is a symbol of our country, so are many other things.  We are a nation of many people.  The author thought of the deep blue sky dotted with white stars that the early immigrants saw coming to America.  That was the inspiration for the book.  We are one nation:

Sew together won nation.  So together one nation.

Powerful words.  Let’s remember what is most important; being one, being together.  That is the greatest strength.

Funny thing~ I teach this to my preschoolers every single day.  We are one, we are a family.  We are all different, yet we come to the table together.  I cannot wait to read this book to my new class of children in September.  Oh, we will stop at least a hundred times to talk.  There is so much to learn.


Posted in America, American flag, books, children's books, Early Education, history, patriotism, picture books, reading aloud, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , , | 38 Comments

Children and “The Star-Spangled Banner” – Including a Video

This is a repost, and I have included a video of me reading aloud this important book, singing the words, and talking about our
American flag and National Anthem.


Bringing our National Anthem to Life

Few books have the power to move young students and make a difference; this one does. Whenever I sing our National Anthem with children, I pull out my well-loved and very worn book, The Star Spangled Banner by Peter Spier.  Every page is a full color illustration of the words to the song.

img_1944This book makes my heart race!  Every single time I read or sing the book,  children are drawn in.  There is wonder, and there are more questions, and inevitably a crowd of children begin pushing in to see and hear, and to learn.

This is what I wrote on one such occasion. “It happened like this…”

“I want to tell you about early morning in the Big Room today.  It was one of the most exciting, intense, and passionate twenty minutes with children that a teacher can have.  Emergent Curriculum at it’s best.  As we say in the Aqua Room when a story is true, “It happened like this”:

Troy wanted to have a ‘show’, so he and Jill and Sam went to the top of the loft.  No, they did not want to sing Troy’s favorite song, “Proud To Be An American”.  They wanted to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”.  Of course it was wonderful, and we all clapped.  Then I said, “Do you want to know what the song looks like and what really happened?”  I ran back to the Aqua Room (yes, I ran down the hallway and back…) and returned with Peter Spier’s book, The Star Spangled Banner.  Before I opened the book I said, “The guy who wrote this song was on a British ship, and it was night time.  The only way he knew if we were winning was if he saw the American flag.”

By that time I had Troy, Jill, Sam, Jacob, Callie, Lily, Cooper, Lizzie, and Finn all around the book, captivated.  First I asked them what a star spangled banner was.  They knew!  Then we started to read the book.  The first page alone took forever, because we had to explain and talk about the funny hats and clothes, and the ship.  Children had been to Boston to see the Constitution.  Jill knew that ‘Old Ironsides’ meant that cannons and rockets didn’t penetrate the sides.  Once we looked at the first picture, we had to talk about how long ago this happened.  It was 1814.  Oh my, we just figured out that next year would be the two-hundreth anniversary of the song!  We planned an impromptu ceremony.

We were still on page one, and now a crowd of children came over to be there.  We started to read, but children wanted to ‘sing’ the book.  That was fun!  We found the flag on every page, through the battle.  Then, there were other things we found, like ramparts, and new vocabulary words, like ‘perilous’.  When the verse ended, the book went on.  Children were stunned to to know that there were more words.  Those verses led us to learn why a flag is sometimes halfway down on the mast, and to the Statue of Liberty, the Statue of Iwo Jima, the astronauts on the moon, and different Navy ships at sea.

Honestly, the turn of each page drew more questions, and the discussions to find the answers were both intense and inspirational for the children.  Nobody interrupted, because everything was important.  It was a perfect experience.”

Do you know what a towering steep is?  The children figured it out:

img_1946When I get to this page, I stop.  I tell children this is a sad page, yet a proud page.  We talk about flying the flag at half mast, and about soldiers who have died for their country.  Children understand:


Children can learn history, even at a young age.  This book proves that.  Thank you to Peter Spier who was born and educated in Amsterdam, and didn’t move to America until 1952 when he was an adult.  His book is a magic wand.


Posted in America, American flag, Book Review, children's books, Early Education, history, military, patriotism, picture books, reading aloud, Singing, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

HELLO! Remember Me?

Memorial Day is approaching. This day of remembrance is symbolized by our great American flag. What if the flag could share its thoughts? What would that be? In my classroom I teach children about the American flag. It is the first step to instilling patriotism, learning about our country, and thanking our military and heroes. Please read and enjoy this excellent and important post from GP Cox.

Pacific Paratrooper

Tomorrow is 1 May, the start of Military Appreciation Month.  I thought it appropriate to remind some about the flag they fly under and why……

Some call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever you call me, I am your Flag – the Flag of the United States of America.  There has been something that has been bothering me, so I thought that I might talk it over with you here today.

I remember some time ago, (I think it was Memorial Day, or was it Veterans’ Day?) that people were lined upon both sides of the street for a parade.  A high school band was behind me and, naturally, I was leading the parade.  When your Daddy saw me coming along, waving in the breeze, he immediately removed his hat and placed it so that his right hand was directly over his heart.


View original post 511 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Music and Beauty

“The Hills are Alive
With the Sound of Music.”

Music fills the soul.
When atop a hill, on a farm,
surrounded by the glory of nature
as far as the eye can see,
all is good.


Posted in Expressing words and feelings, geography, Giving thanks, Inspiration, joy, Mother Nature, music, Nature, Singing, wonder | Tagged , , , , | 42 Comments

My 70th Birthday

There were the many cards and the emails, texts and phone calls, to wish me a happy birthday today.  70 is weird, because when I was young 70 was old, and I’m still the queen of rock and roll (at least in my mind.)

The people that you see every day know you best of all.  And that would be my wonderful co-teachers.  Together, we have lived through most everything and done it all, with laughter and sometimes tears.  Honestly, the laughter makes us better teachers.  It’s a great glue.

This is what I found on my front porch.

The two books are new to me.  That in itself is huge for the giver.  And, those books make the gift precious.  I am excited to read them!

The Academy Award statue is priceless.  “Award For Best Dramatics.”  My co-teachers have seen me in action many, many times – from relating my boo-boos and fears, to finding that Gloria is suddenly on the floor in a heap, to telling a Jennie Story.  I do react in the best of ways… 🙂

Thank you to my wonderful fellow teachers.  Because of you, 70 years young feels pretty awesome.


Posted in books, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving, Giving thanks, Kindness, picture books, reading | Tagged , , , , , | 120 Comments

Quotations on Perseverance

Here are outstanding quotations on perseverance from Charles French.

charles french words reading and writing

In these difficult times when many are feeling great stress and fear, please do not be upset about inconvenience. I hope a few quotations might be useful.



“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

                                                                       Teddy Roosevelt



“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

                                                                   Winston Churchill



“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

                                                                  Franklin D. Roosevelt


“Let us all remember that we have a responsibility to the greater good, and let us take a lesson in action from the behavior of the Greatest Generation. We must sacrifice and endure inconvenience so that others may live.”

                                                                      Charles F. French

View original post

Posted in Uncategorized | 40 Comments