June 5 – Hot Air Balloon Day

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About the Holiday

People have always endeavored to create flying machines that give them a bird’s eye view, speed travel, and take them higher and farther from Earth. One of the earliest innovations was the hot air balloon, which offered the first manned flight in 1783. Today’s holiday celebrates the ingenuity and beauty of hot air balloons. Now that summer is here, taking in a balloon festival and going for a ride are fun ways to spend a day.

Because You Are My Teacher

Written by Sherry North | Illustrated by Marcellus Hall

 

Now that the school year is winding down, it’s a good time to remember everything teachers do inside and outside of the classroom to get kids excited about the world and its wonders. In Because You Are My Teacher a child narrator presents various scenarios and alternatives to the usual classroom: “If we had a schooner, we would have our class at sea / And study the Atlantic, where the great blue whales roam free.”

Other appealing rhymes follow the intrepid class as the kids try out different modes of transportation. They could study from camelback, traversing deserts and exploring the pyramids; peer from a whirling helicopter as it hovers over an erupting volcano; and ski past baby penguins gobbling down their first fish. From their river raft on the Amazon, the children could listen to howler monkeys “growl their spooky song.”

A submarine would be the perfect place to learn about the ocean depths and its unique creatures, while from an off-road truck the class “would ride savanna trails, / Where Africa’s young elephants hold on to mothers’ tails.” These adventurous kids would love having school in a kayak on a Grand Canyon river, soaring with hang gliders over the Australian outback, afloat on an airboat in the Everglades, polling through Venice on a gondola, and in a rocket ship for an out-of-this-world experience.

What about a hot-air balloon, you ask? It is hot-air balloon day, after all. That’s here too: “If we had hot-air balloons, we would set out on a quest / To study China’s Great Wall from the east end to the west.”

But the child narrator and the class are happy right where they are: “Our classroom is our vessel, / always headed someplace new. / Because you are our teacher, / We’ll explore the world with you.

Sherry North’s exuberant ride of discovery honors all teachers and their students who daily adventure into new worlds together. North’s clever rhymes and superb turns of phrase combine with uncommon experiences to entice readers to join these exciting field trips. The last pages are a nice reminder that teachers bring the universe into their classrooms no matter where they are.

Marcellus Hall brings readers up close to the world of the sea, the vast sands of the desert, a slippery ice floe, the lush rainforest, and more exotic environments with his bold, vibrant artwork. The denizens of these world landmarks nearly walk off the page into a child’s reading area, and kids will love searching for the little mouse that is the class’s constant companion on their journey.

This book would make a perfect gift for a teacher or education student.

Ages 5 – 8

Scholastic, 2014 | ISBN 978-0545768887

Hot Air Balloon Day Activity

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Hot Air Balloon Planter

 

Hot air balloons love to reach for the sky just as plant do! With this activity you can make a unique pot for your favorite plant.

Supplies

  • Plastic or terra cotta pot
  • Wooden paddle ball paddle, available at toy or craft stores
  • Paint or markers
  • Paint brush
  • Dirt
  • Clay (optional)
  • Plant or seeds

Directions

  1. Draw six crescent shapes on the globe part of the paddle
  2. Paint the crescent shapes in alternating colors, let dry
  3. Draw lines for the cables on the handle of the paddle
  4. Fill the pot with dirt (or if you don’t want to use this craft as a planter, you can add clay to the pot to hold the paddle upright)
  5. Add your plant or seeds
  6. Carefully push the paddle into the dirt or clay

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