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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Combine Nonfiction and Science for Springtime Fun

Spring is a perfect time to explore the wonderful world of science. Young students are curious and imaginative and love learning about their environment.

A favorite science subject for springtime study has been the life cycle of a frog. It’s also a great opportunity to combine reading nonfiction and making an easy hands-on “wheel” project to deepen comprehension. Two great books that I have used are Frogs, by Gail Gibbons, and From Tadpole to Frog, by Wendy Pfeffer.

Here’s how to start:

  • Get one of the above-mentioned books or other age-appropriate frog life cycle books from your local library. Your librarian can help find a variety of books on this subject. 
  • Read together and help your child focus on the sequence and stages of becoming a frog. When done reading, talk about how the tadpole changes into a frog.

For the wheel project you’ll need two white paper plates, a small brad to connect them in the middle, a ruler, scissors, pencil, and crayons or markers. Then follow these steps:

  • Divide one paper plate into four equal sections with the ruler.
  • Help your child draw and label the four stages of a frog’s life cycle—egg, tadpole, froglet, and frog—one in each section. 
  • On the second paper plate, cut out a pie-shaped wedge, about the size of one section on the other plate.
  • Put the cut paper plate on top of the plate with the drawings. One section should be visible. 
  • With the pencil point or scissors, punch a small hole in the middle of both plates and connect with the brad.
  • Your child can now turn the top plate to reveal the sequence and stages from eggs to frog.


If there is a pond in your neighborhood, go there together with a bucket and look for eggs. Bring a few home, and together observe the changes. When tadpoles turn into froglets, return them and any unhatched eggs to the pond. 


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