Teachers, Parents, and Librarians

Welcome! Here you’ll find a host of resources –- teacher’s guides, on-line learning, group games, and more — that will help you use my books in your classroom, library or at home. If you’re a parent or a librarian, don’t hesitate to explore the “teacher’s guides.” They can be a treasure trove for anyone looking to design learning opportunities for K-12 students. For hands-on activities, see the Fun Stuff.

If you’re interested in a presentation, school visit, Skype visit or in-school residency, please contact me here.

Teacher Guides

MONUMENT MAKER ACTIVITY GUIDE —  For Teachers, Librarians, Museum Educators and Caring Adults 

This resource is intended to inspire classroom teachers, parents, caregivers, and museum educators to use Monument Maker: Daniel Chester French and the Lincoln Memorial (written by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Shawn Fields, Tilbury House, 2019) with their students, children, and visitors. Developed by the Concord Museum Education Department, this guide includes activities for close-looking, writing, art-making, community connections, and engineering. The culminating project brings together all these important aspects of monument-making that were central to Daniel Chester French’s process of creating the compelling works of art highlighted in Monument Maker.

Grade Level: 2nd – 5th and can be adapted for younger or older audiences.

When The Wind Blows: A Teacher’s Guide

This classroom guide, designed for K-3 students, offers activities to help teachers integrate When the Wind Blows into English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies curricula. All activities were created in conjunction with relevant content standards in ELA, math, science, social studies, art, and drama. And systems thinking and Biomimcry as well!

Connected Wisdom: A Teacher’s Guide

The Connected Wisdom Teacher’s Guide is designed to guide educators through lesson plans that will explain living systems principles for their students. The guide was created with students aged10-18 in mind, but the lessons can be adapted for younger students.

The Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures Playkit

The Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures Playkit and its companion curriculum guide help students think deliberately about living systems in a farm setting, encouraging them to see the people, land and wildlife in and around farms, not as a set of interesting but disconnected parts, but as components of vibrant, living systems. Through the discussions, interactive system mapping activities, and games, students explore the hidden interconnections and dynamics within a sustainable chicken farm. Concepts such as feedback loops, time horizon, stocks/flows and waste=food are illustrated through a study of the relationships between elements of a farm pasture: chickens, cows, soil, plants, manure, etc.

Online Learning

PBS Systems Literacy Collection

I’m thrilled to partner with PBS Learning Media to make systems literacy (or “thinking about systems”) more accessible to broader audiences. As you’ll see, the collection includes classroom-ready resources for all grade bands, a self-paced module for middle/high school students, and a professional development module for teachers. You can see a K-2 example here. There are two fun, short videos (see below) of me doing my best to imitate Bill Nye the Science Guy, but with curly hair.

What are systems? I look at what is a system and what’s not, what systems do, and why understanding systems is important. Systems and systems models are a cross-cutting concept in the Next Generation Science Standards

Understanding Causal Loops: In this video, I show how to use diagrams to help analyze systems behavior. The example I use is a social studies or engineering topic about how building new roads to relieve traffic congestion can have unexpected consequences.


Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures: Making Connections at Drumlin Farm and Beyond

A game designed to help people (ages 8-88) to “connect the dots” and think deliberately about living systems in a farm setting. The playkit includes a game, wikki stiks, systems glossary, systems maps, and more. A free curriculum guide is available here and you can download an article about the play kit here and here. If you are interested in a customized playkit, please contact me.

City Farm

I worked with WGBH to integrate systems concepts into an interactive farm game for middle school students. Players learn about sustainable practices by growing crops, protecting them against unforeseen problems, and determining how best to conserve resources. The game is so realistic. Check it out!


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