Shelley Lake Park

Spring is almost here, and after the cold winter weather, more people will want to spend time outside. Where can you go in the Raleigh area to enjoy a nice day outdoors? This week, I’ll tell you about one place – Shelley Lake.

Where is Shelley Lake?

Shelley Lake is located at 1400 West Millbrook Rd. in Raleigh. It is in the northern part of midtown Raleigh, between Creedmoor Rd. and Six Forks Rd. Click on the map below to get directions.

Google Map of Shelley Lake Park

Screen shot of Google Map

What can I do at Shelley Lake Park?

There are many things for your whole family to do at the park.

  • You can exercise. The park has a 2-mile path where you can walk, run, or bicycle.
  • Your children can play. Shelley Lake Park has playgrounds for children ages 2-12.
  • You can play basketball. There are basketball courts open to the public.
  • You can take an art class. Sertoma Arts Center is located at Shelley Lake Park. The arts center offers classes in painting, drawing, photography, and more! Click here for more information about Sertoma Arts Center.

Your Turn

Do you prefer to go to the park alone or with your friends and family? What do you like to do at the park? Write one sentence in the comments to tell us.

Marbles Kids Museum

Do you have young children? Take them to Marbles! Marbles is a fun, educational museum for children in downtown Raleigh. There, kids can play and learn in different areas.

What can kids do at Marbles?

Marbles has many different areas where kids can play and learn. Here are some of them….

  • Around Town – Here, kids can play in different real-life situations. There is a theater, a veterinarian’s office, a farm, a supermarket, and a real bus!
  • Toddler’s Hollow – A toddler is a child who is learning to walk. Toddler’s Hollow is a special, safe area for very young children. Toddlers can explore, but if they fall down, they won’t get hurt.
  • Splash! – In this section, children play with and learn about water. There’s also a pirate ship!
  • IdeaWorks – Upstairs, kids can build a car, hammer a nail, and make crafts.
  • Art Loft – This area is for painting, drawing, and sculpting. When they’re finished, your kids can hang their work on the wall for others to see!
  • Moneypalooza – Here, children learn about earning, spending, and saving money.
  • Power2Play – This section is all about health, fitness, balance, and sports. Your kids can dance, play, jump, hang, slide, pull, push, and climb. They can also learn about healthy food!
  • STEMosphere – STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Here, kids do math puzzles, play logic games, and learn about science in a fun and interesting way.

How much does it cost?

Children under 1 year old get in free. Other children and adults can enter the museum for $7 each. You can also become a member  and get in free for a year. If you take one child to Marbles every month, this will help you save some money. 

Plus! Play Late for Less every Thursday and on First Fridays, when the museum is open until 7pm with $3 admission after 3pm. 

Where is it?

Marbles is located at 201 East Hargett Street | Raleigh, NC 27601, on the corner of S. Blount Street and E. Hargett Street, on the north side of Moore Square.

When can I go?

 Marbles is open daily from 9am – 5 pm

Most people go to Marbles between 10:00 and 1:00 Tuesday-Friday. If you want to go when there are fewer people, you should go at a different time. Marbles is closed on Easter, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

Your Turn

For more information, visit the Marbles website. Then answer these questions:

  1. How many children do you have?
  2. How old are they?
  3. What will they love at Marbles?

Super Bowl Sunday!

Let’s talk about football. First, when Americans say “football,” they mean American football. When you are in the United States, you should also call it football. You do not need to say “American football.” This is football:


photo credit: JamieL.WilliamsPhoto via photopin cc

This is soccer:


photo credit: joncandy via photopin cc

Please do not say “football” when you are talking about soccer. Americans will be confused if you do that.

“I don’t understand football.”

You are not alone. There are a lot of rules in football, and most people don’t understand all of them, but here are the basics:

  • A team has 4 chances to move the ball 10 yards (about 9 meters). These 4 chances are called downs.
  • If the team moves the ball 10 yards, then they get 4 more chances to move the ball 10 more yards. They hope to do this several times to reach the opposite end of the field.
  • When a team moves the ball to the opposite end of the field and into the end-zone, they score a touchdown and receive 6 points.
  • After a touchdown, a team can kick the ball through two posts for 1 extra point, or they can throw or carry the ball into the end-zone again for 2 extra points.
  • If a team is very close to the end-zone, but they have no more downs (chances to move the ball 10 yards), they might try to kick the ball through the posts. This is called a field goal, and it scores 3 points.
  • The other team tries to stop the ball from moving by tackling (pushing or pulling players down to the ground) their opponents (enemies/people you are against).
  • Each football game has 4 quarters (periods).
  • Each quarter lasts for 15 minutes.

What/When is the Super Bowl?

Now that you understand football a little better, let’s talk about the Super Bowl. A bowl game is a championship or tournament game. The Super Bowl is the biggest championship game of the year for professional football teams. It determines which team is the best in the nation. This year, the Super Bowl is on Sunday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m. You can watch it on NBC (channel 5 in Raleigh).

When you see information about the Super Bowl, you will notice that it says “Super Bowl XLIX.” The letters at the end are Roman numbers. They mean 49. This is the 49th Super Bowl.

Who is playing in the Super Bowl?

This year, the teams in the Super Bowl are the New England Patriots (from Boston, Massachusetts) and the Seattle Seahawks (from Seattle, Washington). The Seahawks won the Super Bowl last year.

What do Americans do on Super Bowl Sunday?

In general, Americans love football and enjoy going to Super Bowl parties. However, not everyone watches the sport. Many people attend parties (and watch the game) for other reasons:

  • Commercials – Companies pay a LOT of money to show their commercials during the Super Bowl because they know that millions of people will see them. These companies often create new, interesting, entertaining commercials just for the game. Americans like to watch the commercials and choose their favorites.
  • Halftime Show – In the middle of a football game, the teams take a break. This break is called halftime. During halftime of the Super Bowl, famous singers perform for the audience. This year, Katy Perry will perform during the Halftime Show.
  • Food – Americans love food, and a Super Bowl party always has lots of it. Food at a Super Bowl party is usually finger food (food that can be eaten with the hands, not a fork). Chicken, Buffalo wings, chips, and other small appetizers are very common foods at a Super Bowl party.

Your Turn

Plan a Super Bowl party with your class! Ask each person to bring some food or drinks to share. Decide which team you prefer, and cheer for them during the game. Choose your favorite commercials. Enjoy Katy Perry’s performance. And have fun together!

Wake County Public Libraries

Map of Wake County Public Libraries

Screenshot of Map of Wake County Public Libraries

Did you know that there is probably a library near your house? It’s true. Wake County has 20 libraries! Click the map to find the one closest to you.

The library is not just for books.

Yes, the library has LOTS of books for you and your family, but it has so much more too! Wake County Public Libraries have computers with internet access and FREE events for adults, kids, and teenagers. You can take a music class, join a discussion group, hear stories, learn job skills, work on your resumé, and more! You can also volunteer at the library. Just fill out the application, and take it to your nearest library.

How can I get a library card?

You must have a library card to use some of the library’s services. To get a library card, go to the nearest library with one of these:

  • a photo ID with a Wake County address on it (driver’s license or permit)
  • a photo ID (passport) and something to show that you live in Wake County (probably a bill – phone bill, electricity bill, water bill, etc. – or apartment lease)

Tell the librarian (person who works in the library) that you would like a library card. The librarian will ask you for your ID and proof of residency (something to show that you live) in Wake County. If you live in Wake County, your library card will be free. If you live in another county, you can get a Wake County library card for $25 per year.

For more information, visit the library’s website.

Your Turn

Do you have a library card? How often do you go to the library? Find one event that you would like to attend at the library. Ask your classmates to go with you!

Morehead Planetarium

Morehead Planetarium

photo credit: bunkosquad via photopin cc

Did you know that our whole solar system is only 30 minutes away? You can explore space, the sun and the moon, and you can learn what it’s like to be an astronaut all in one place – Chapel Hill. The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is located at 250 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, just 30 minutes from downtown Raleigh.

What is a planetarium?

A planetarium is a special theater with a dome-shaped (round) ceiling where you can see entertaining and educational shows about the sky, stars, and space. At the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, you can see shows about all those things and more! They also have a show about the human body called “Grossology and You.” Click here for a complete list of the shows you can see right now.

What else can I do at the planetarium?

The theater is only one part of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. You can also go there to learn about earthquakes, chemistry, physics, and the human body on the Science Stage. They have programs for kids, adults, teenagers, and families, so everyone can enjoy learning something new!

How do I get there?

By car (from Raleigh), take I-40 west to Exit 270 (US 15-501). Turn left off the exit and cross over I-40 onto US 15-501 south. Travel 1.5 miles. When the road forks (divides), take the right fork (side) to Franklin Street. Follow Franklin Street west for 2.5 miles and look for Morehead on the left. Click here to get directions from your house.

You can also take a Triangle Transit bus on the Chapel Hill-Raleigh Express (CRX) route from downtown Raleigh to Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Click here for the map and schedule.

Your Turn

What would you like to do at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center? Ask your classmates to go with you, and be sure to take your family!


Veterans Day – November 11, 2014


Here’s why…

“A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” (Quote from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website)

Seven months before World War I ended, the fighting stopped on November 11, 1918. That day was called Armistice Day because an armistice is an agreement to temporarily stop fighting a war. This day was remembered and celebrated for several years as Armistice Day, which became a national holiday in 1938. However, after World War II and the Korean War, Americans felt that the holiday should celebrate all American soldiers, not just those who fought in WWI. Therefore, in 1954, President Eisenhower signed the legislation that changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Every year, on November 11, Americans take time to appreciate and thank all the members of our armed forces – Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard. We celebrate our soldiers with parades, speeches, flowers placed on the memorials and graves of soldiers, and of course, a day off from work or school.

For more information on Veterans Day (and some great listening practice too!), check out this video:


Election Day

Campaign Signs

photo credit: thisisbossi via photopin cc

You’ve probably seen signs everywhere – in yards, outside of stores, beside the street – with names of people on them. They are many different colors and have many different names. Why are these signs everywhere?

These are campaign signs (signs of people who want you to vote for them). They are everywhere right now because this Tuesday is Election Day.

Election Day is on the first Tuesday of November each year.

Why do we have Election Day every year?

You may know that we vote for a new president every 4 years. In North Carolina, we vote for the governor at the same time. However, other offices have longer or shorter terms (lengths of time one person can have that office/job). Senators, for example, can stay in their position for 6 years before they must run for re-election (try to get people to vote for them again). Representatives run for re-election every 2 years.

We have an Election Day every year because there’s always something or someone to vote for. Even if we do not need a new president, governor, mayor, or congressman, we sometimes need to vote about local or state laws.

What are people voting about this year?

This year, North Carolinians are voting for senators, representatives, and several judges. In Wake County, we are also voting for some local officials, including a sheriff.

Who can vote?

Voting is a right of United States citizens only. If you become a citizen, then you will be able to vote.

Where do people go to vote?

Each person votes in a place near his/her house. The place where you go to vote is called your polling place. If you move to a new house, your polling place will also probably change. If you see a polling place on Tuesday, you will know because there will be many people there and MANY campaign signs.

Halloween Safety

Halloween is coming THIS Friday, October 31!! This is a fun holiday for children, but getting hurt is not fun at all, so here are some tips (suggestions/ideas) for staying safe and enjoying Halloween.

Costume Safety

reflective tape

These cones have reflective tape, so you can see them in the dark.
photo credit: giveawayboy via photopin cc

  • Make sure your child’s costume fits. If it is too long, or if the shoes are too big, your child might trip and fall down.
  • Make sure your child can see. If your child’s costume has a mask, check that the holes are big enough and that the mask fits the child’s face correctly. If your child’s costume has a hat, make sure the hat is not too big. You don’t want it to fall down and cover your child’s eyes.
  • Make sure other people can see your child. If your child goes trick-or-treating (going to different houses, asking for candy) in the dark, he/she needs to have bright clothes or reflective strips so that drivers can see him/her.
  • Make sure all face paint is safe for skin. Look for “Non-Toxic” on the package to be sure it is safe to put on your body.
  • Make sure everything is flame resistant. “Flame resistant” means it will not catch fire easily. Jack-o-Lanterns are very common at Halloween, and most Jack-o-Lanters have a candle burning inside of them. If part of your child’s costume falls into a Jack-o-Lantern, you don’t want the costume to catch on fire. Flame resistant costumes and make-up will help to keep your child safe from fire.

Trick-or-Treat Safety

  • Most children go trick-or-treating between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. After 9:00, it will be darker and more dangerous.
  • An adult should always go with young children.
  • Older children should have an approved route (path/way/trail) and a time to come home. Make a map of your neighborhood. Mark the direction your children will go and the houses they will visit. Decide what time they should come home, and give them a mobile (cell) phone in case of emergency.
  • All children should know how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. Talk to your children about different kinds of problems and when to call 9-1-1. For example, if a young child falls and hurts his knee, don’t call 9-1-1, but call a parent. If someone breaks a bone, call 9-1-1 AND a parent.
  • Only visit houses that have their porch lights on. If a house does not have its porch lights on, then the people are not home, or they do not want children to trick-or-treat there.
  • Never go into the house of a person you don’t know very well. Children should use the toilet at home before they go trick-or-treating. If they need to go while they are out, they should ask to use the toilet at the house of a friend.
  • Stay with a group. Children should never go trick-or-treating alone, and they should stay with a group at all times, especially when crossing the street.
  • Do not walk through yards. Stay on sidewalks and walkways. People might have garden hoses, sticks, or other things in their yards that children can trip on. Also, some people don’t like it when someone walks on their grass.
  • Do not eat any candy before you get home. Parent should look at all candy to make sure it is not open or rotten.

Halloween Health

  • Think about buying treats that are not candy. Pencils, stickers, small toys, or coloring books are great treats, but they don’t have all the sugar and calories of candy.
  • Check your child’s treats before they start eating. Make sure the candy has not been opened. Make sure it looks fresh. Make sure it doesn’t look strange in any way.
  • Save some candy for later. Your children might receive a lot of candy, and they will want to eat all of it immediately. However, think about allowing them to eat some now, but save the rest for later. It is healthier to eat 1 piece of candy every day than to eat 30 pieces at one time.
  • Give kids a healthy meal before they go trick-or-treating. This will help them not to eat all of their candy right away.

Indoor Trick-or-Treating

If you don’t think your neighborhood is safe for trick-or-treating, or if the weather is bad, you can take your children (ages 10 and under) to the mall closest to you, and they can trick-or-treat in the stores!

  • Cary Towne Center – 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Crabtree Valley Mall – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Triangle Town Center – NO TRICK-OR-TREATING
Happy Halloween

image by instructor ecparent

NC State Farmers Market

market veggies

photo by instructor ecparent

Where do you shop for food? Do you go to Food Lion? Harris Teeter? Wal-Mart? What about the NC State Farmers Market?

Where is the Farmers Market?

The Farmers Market is located near the corner of Lake Wheeler Road and Centennial Parkway in Raleigh. Click here to get directions.

What can I buy there?

At the market, you will find a large, covered area, where local farmers sell fruits, vegetables, and plants. The market also has other buildings where you can buy meat, cheese, wine, bread, candy, gifts, soap, and lotion all made in North Carolina.

When can I go?

The market is open Monday through Saturday 5:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

What else can I do there?

If you get hungry while you’re there, you can eat in one of three restaurants. Market Grill is open for breakfast and lunch (7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) Monday through Saturday. The Seafood Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. And the State Farmers Market Restaurant is open Monday – Saturday 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

If you want to meet American farmers, buy NC products, or try authentic North Carolinian food, visit the NC State Farmers Market. To find out what’s in season (which fruits/vegetables are ready to eat now), look at this chart. You might be able to buy everything you need at the Farmers Market to make one of these delicious salads!

Your Turn

Discuss with your classmates, or write a comment to answer these questions:

  1. What are your favorite fruits and vegetables? How do you like to prepare them?
  2. Where do you buy produce (fruits and vegetables)?
  3. How is shopping for food in the United States similar to shopping for food in your country? How is it different?
  4. Do you buy what’s in season, or do you buy what’s in the supermarket?
  5. Why is it important to buy food from local farmers?

The State Fair Is Coming!

The North Carolina State Fair comes to Raleigh for 10 days every fall. It will start on Thursday, October 16 and end on Sunday, October 26, 2014.

How much does it cost?

It costs $7-9 for an adult to enter the fair. It costs $3-4 for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Children ages 5 and under get in for free. Adults over the age of 65 also get in for free! Buy your tickets early to save money.

What is there to do at the fair?

There are MANY fun and interesting things to do at the fair. Click on each one to get more information.

  • Rides – If you buy tickets before the fair starts, you can save money. Click here for more information about tickets.
  • Food – Food is EVERYWHERE at the fair. You can eat honey cotton candy, NCSU ice cream, and more fried foods than you can imagine.

    photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

    photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

  • Concerts – To attend these concerts, you must pay to enter the fair AND to enter the concert.
  • Free Entertainment – You still have to pay to enter the fair, but when you are inside the gates, these things do not cost extra. Click here for free concerts (including Bluegrass!).
  • Folk Festival – You can hear traditional music and see traditional dancing from NC!
  • Antique Farm Machines – If you have a young son, he will love this. You can see old farm equipment from the 1930s-1950s!
  • World War I Exhibit – Learn some NC and American history at this educational exhibit.
  • Fireworks! – There will be fireworks every night at 9:45 to signal the end of the night. At that time, all of the fair buildings will close, and the gates will not allow new people to enter.

How do I get there?

The NC State Fair is located at the corner of Blue Ridge Rd. and Hillsborough St. in Raleigh.

How to get to the fair

image by Google maps and instructor ecparent

There are many ways you can get there. You can drive and look for a place to park nearby, but be careful! Do not park in private driveways, and pay attention to “No Parking” signs. You can pay to park in many places close to the fair. You can park a little farther away and ride a shuttle bus. Or you can take a train! This site has all the information you need to get to the fair. If you have any questions, please ask your teacher for help.

Your Turn

Are you going to the fair? Here are some ideas for you:

  • Write a comment, and tell us what you are going to do there!
  • Go with your classmates and their families! Write a comment to tell us about it!
  • After you go to the fair, write a comment, and tell us what you enjoyed.
  • Take pictures, and show them to your class.
  • Have fun!