Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is April 22. It’s a day to celebrate and support environmental protection across the world. 

April 22, 2021 marks 51 years since the first Earth Day in 1970. The coordinated marches across the United States on that historic day remain the largest single day protest in human history. Today, Earthday.org coordinates global protests, actions, and summits each April 22 and throughout the year.    

One way to celebrate safely at home during the pandemic is through crafting and making art.

Use what you have!  
Whether that’s some digging out those aspirational craft supplies you bought last year and haven’t used yet or digging through this week’s recycling to find materials, reducing waste by using what you have helps protect the environment. Look for materials for crafts that might otherwise be thrown away. Try using household materials in unconventional ways, such as creating a seed painting with beans and seeds from the pantry, creating art with coffee filters, using vegetable ends as stamps, or painting with toy car wheels.

Take a nature walk to gather supplies.  
Environmental protection preserves and restores our natural spaces. Enjoy nature by walking in your nearest natural space or one that’s special to you. Look for a few materials such as sticks, stones, leaves, or moss that you can gather in a non-destructive way to use in craft projects or play.  

Ideas for eco-crafting with small children

  • Make toys from things that might otherwise be thrown out, such as a dollhouse from boxes or blocks from wood offcuts.
  • Make a fairy house from those natural materials you gathered.
  • Use anything blue and green (paint, markers, crayons, playdough, icing, paper collage, etc.) on anything round (paper plate, coffee filter, cupcake, balloon, etc.) to represent the planet Earth.
  • Bake or create a gift for a neighbor to intentionally build community.

Ideas for tweens and teens

  • Make your clothes special with creative mending.
  • Sew up some reusable produce or sandwich bags from old clothes or scraps.
  • Get involved in craftivism.
  • Make postcards. Send them to your state or national representative with a message of support for environmental legislation.  
  • Paint a protest sign. Google “climate protest art” for inspiration.  

Make it public. 
Decorate a public space you control such as your front yard or front door with a friendly, creative message of support for the environment, clean energy, climate justice, social justice, or any cause dear to your family.  

Collaborate.  
Individual actions are important, but real change happens when we act as a community. Invite passersby to interact with your art. Use your creativity to help your neighbors feel connected. They might participate by adding a message, taking something, or interacting with the art. See some of this sort of art in action.  

Read.
And of course, there are lots of books you can read to help you celebrate this important day. And why not check them out from one of the leaders in "recycling," your public library! You'll find a booklist below, or you can do a general search in the library's catalog for Earth Day or Environmentalism

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

We’ve been reading a lot of memoirs around here lately.  There’s something magical about them, in how intimate and revealing they can be.  Writers of memoirs don’t always include the whole story, but there is an underlying assumption of honesty.  When we read memoirs, we can trust we're getting to know someone, and maybe even ourselves, a little bit better.    

The word “memoir” comes from the French word mémoire, which means “memory.”  It’s just you and the author’s voice, sharing impressions of their memories.  Suddenly, you’re in their world, going deeper with every page you turn.  Reading a memoir offers a unique opportunity to really connect with someone without having to talk to them.  Or, in the case of public figures, it offers an opportunity to learn more about someone you admire, but may never meet.  

Some of our favorite memoirs lately have been graphic memoirs, or autobiographical comics, combining words and visuals to reveal memories.  We enjoy finding diversity in experiences and perspectives in our favorite graphic memoirs.  Whether we’re reading about someone battling an eating disorder, or someone growing up in South Korea in the 1980s, we love getting to know fascinating people through these beautifully drawn and written graphic memoirs!

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

Looking for more tips on what to read next?  Check out our My Librarian readers advisory service and contact us for more ideas!

two students sitting outside of school on steps, looking at schoolwork, with masks on

School is once again changing for many of our kids. Some will be returning to Modified In-Person Learning either part-time or full-time, while others will continue with Comprehensive Distance Learning that will most likely look different. We tried to pull together some resources to help families know what to expect with this new hybrid learning and help support you through this time. 

Here are some great general ideas for Helping Your Child Prepare for Hybrid put together by the Anne Arundel County Public School district in Annapolis, MD. They include things like:

  • Re-establish predictable bedtime and mealtime routines (because if your family is like mine, those have gone right out the window!)
  • Be ready for behavior changes (just like adults, changes cause stress and stress can lead to some not-so-flattering behavior)*
  • Focus on the positives (something we all can try and do!)

And the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds has put together ways to support kids and teens in “Returning to the Classroom During COVID-19,” including helping them with:

  • Fitting in at school after a year away
  • Health and safety for kids and teens who might be nervous about catching the virus
  • Catching up academically

Looking at things locally, Oregon Public Broascasting’s (OPB) Education Reporter Elizabeth Miller has written a number of articles about schools returning to in-person. Including this one titled, “Here’s how hybrid will look for Portland Public Schools students.”

Local station KGW has put together “Frequently asked questions amid plans for reopening Oregon schools” and made a video about what returning to school looks like in Portland. And here are all their recent stories regarding schools in Oregon. 

Multnomah County put together an extremely helpful COVID-19 Teen Guide To Returning To Class.

If you like Podcasts, we highly recommend checking out All in My Head Podcast 3. Online School: How are we coping? This episode features teens giving their take on online school and mental health. 

And we recommend this article for parents and caregivers on Managing Your Own Anxiety During School Reopening.

And here is specific information from all the school districts in Multnomah County (who knew we had so many?!):

And Student Health Centers are now open at Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Roosevelt and Reynolds high schools, for kids 5-18. Student Health Centers are like doctor’s offices and offer comprehensive primary and mental health care services to all Multnomah County youth. There are no out-of-pocket costs.

If you have questions about finding the most up to date information regarding your child’s school we can help. Please contact the library for assistance.

*If you'd like to read more on change, and how to help support your family through change, please check out our article on "Talking with kids about change."

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

If you are looking for help with schooling, here are some free tutoring resources to consider.

Virtual K-12 Tutoring / Tutoría Virtual

Tuesdays, 4,6 pm throughout the year
Who is eligible : K-12 students who need support in language arts, math, science, and/or social studies.
Registration required : yes, spots are limited
Who are the tutors : Multnomah County Library volunteers
Which languages is tutoring available in : English and Spanish

Tutor.com

Who is eligible :  K-college students
Registration required : yes for some features, no for live help
Who are the tutors :  college and graduate students, teachers, working professionals
Which languages is tutoring available in : English, Spanish, Vietnamese

Other Tutor.com information : 
available with a library card
live tutoring 2-10 pm daily
essay help
worksheets
suggested websites
learning videos

Learn to Be

Who is eligible : K-12 students with a focus on underserved students
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school and college students, adults
Which languages is tutoring available in : English

Interns for Good

Who is eligible : K-8 students
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school students
Which languages is tutoring available in : English

ConnectOregonStudents

Who is eligible : K-12 students in Oregon, Southwest Washington, and Northern California
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : Oregon high school students 
Which languages is tutoring available in : English (but includes language learning tutoring for other languages)
Other : they also offer peer support

Teens Tutor Teens

Who is eligible : Teens 13-18
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school students
Which languages is tutoring available in : English
 
Other Teens Tutor Teens information :
group tutoring
test prep tutoring
on-demand videos
worksheets
essay editing
 

If you are looking for extra academic support instead of live tutoring, consider these free resources:

Learning Resource Express Library has academic support resources for upper elementary school through high school. Available with your Multnomah County Library card.

Khan Academy has free video-based lessons and practice for K-12 students.

HippoCampus.org is a free web site that delivers content on general education subjects to middle-school and high-school students.

Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government is a service of the Government Publishing Office (GPO), and designed to inform studentsvabout the Federal Government.

Typing.com is a free resource to help students build their typing skills. Available in English and Spanish.

Mathlearningcenter.org is a nonprofit organization serving the education community and include activities for students K-5 in math. Available in English and Spanish.

Two women and a young girl blow bubbles outside in a field

“I routinely prescribe nature to children and families.  Nature has the power to heal."  

-Dr. Nooshin Razani, pediatrician, presenter of the TED Talk "Presribing Nature for Health"

Research suggests that taking a walk, visiting a park, or getting out in nature can relieve stress, encourage social bonds, and support physical activity.  Less stress means less depression, anxiety, and isolation...not just for kids, but for adults, too!  

Portland Parks and Recreation offers plenty of opportunities for adventure!  Search for your next destination through the Find a Park feature, and be sure to check out their list of Inclusive Playgrounds, which is growing!  Gresham also offers an array of parks and trails to explore. Troutdale, with its proximity to the Sandy and Columbia rivers, offers plenty of fun options as well, and Fairview is home to many others, including our favorite, Salish Pond Wetlands Park.

Wait, there’s more! Metro Parks and Natural Areas offer 17,000 acres of outdoor exploration!  Try out the Interactive Park Finder, and while you’re there, check out their Parks and Nature News section for the latest on the ways our community enjoys nature.  

We love keeping up with Metro’s Our Big Backyard magazine and exploring back issues for beautiful photographs. The latest (Fall 2020) issue features two articles written by members of our community.  

While you're outside, you can take advantage of the learning opportunities it offers.  Portland Parks has created an at-home nature activities page, with links to videos and other activities that tap into kids’ sense of curiosity.  You can find a Flower Scavenger Hunt, a Birds of Portland guide, and a map of Tree Museums that are open for viewing right in your neighborhood.  

There’s so much to see and do out there, so take Dr. Razani’s prescription and get outside!   Even just a little bit can do wonders for your health - mental, physical, emotional, and overall!


This article was written for our Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

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