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Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! By Elaine A. Powers, Author

infographic of Elaine Powers with large hybrid iguanaWith the start of the New Year, we tend to establish goals for our productivity, and things we’d like to change or improve.  According to the Gregorian calendar, January 1, 2020 starts a new decade. My goals for the new year and new decade are to dedicate my efforts to both furthering science education (in a fun and entertaining way, of course!), as well as increasing awareness of conservation. I enjoy sharing science with others, whether it be through my books or taking my reptiles into schools and other places.

If you live in a cold climate, may I suggest while inside, where it’s warm and comfy, reading a few of our books or completing the activities and coloring pages in the workbooks? Check them out here and at If you’re in a warmer climate, I encourage you to take a walk outside and then finish the day with reading one of our colorful and rhyming books to a young one, or whipping out the crayons and markers to color and complete one of our interesting workbooks.

One of our goals in 2020 is to add the national education standard codes to the wonderful workbooks created for Lyric Power Publishing by Marilyn Buehrer. Our workbooks are comprehensive, interesting and fun, but they aren’t labeled with the standards, which home-schooling parents and teachers need to know.

If there are other ways that Lyric Power Publishing, LLC, can assist you in meeting your educational needs, please contact me at

I can tell already that 2020 is going to be an exciting year.  There will be more books, more talks, more videos, and many more posts at the blog. Please follow along as life unfolds with my multitude of reptiles, one horse, and an occasional visiting dog, on this merry journey of mine.

May 2020 be a happy, healthy, fun, and educational year for you and yours!



infographic about "Don't" series books

a light green and dark green book cover with the image of a duck in water

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a desert tortoise

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a fruit bat and a common rat

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Today is Math Storytelling Day! by Elaine A. Powers, Author

cover of book "Silent Rocks." white background, rock iguana pictured in natural habitat on island Cayman Brac
The population of the endemic Sister Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) on Cayman Brac is in serious decline.

Math was not my favorite, nor my best, topic, but I did like the math used to solve real-world problems. I enjoyed using geometry to determine how tall a tree is. Discovering the unknown variables in algebra fascinated me; it was like a secret code that had to be deciphered. I eventually came to understand how to use statistics and calculus in measuring aspects of ecosystems and in animal behavior. It turned out that I did like math–if it applied to my interests in science!

When master educator Marilyn Buehrer designed the Lyric Power Publishing workbooks and activity sheets based on my children’s storybooks, I was thrilled that she included some of my favorite animals in her math problems. I particularly like the one where she has the students measure the iguanas to determine average and median sizes in the workbook My Unit Study on Iguanas. I could use that in my citizen scientist work out in the field with the rock iguanas of Cayman Brac!

If you’re curious at all about the Sister Isle Rock Iguanas on Cayman Brac, check out my poignant book, Silent Rocks, pictured above. The population of Cyclura nubila caymanensis on Cayman Brac is in serious decline and these vegetarian lizards are an important part of the island’s ecosystem. Their reduction is the result of human activity on their habitat, and the threats can only be eliminated by human action. I am hopeful the people of Cayman Brac will turn this sad situation around.

colorful children's book cover with illustrations of curly-tail lizards

In The Dragon of Nani Cave, the Lime Lizard Lads, curly-tail lizards of Cayman Brac, seek an adventure up on the bluff. Their goal is to reach Nani Cave and meet the dragon that lives there. (The dragon is a Rock Iguana, but when you’re a small lizard, an iguana is a dragon!) Gene and Bony soon realize how big and how dangerous the world beyond their beach really is. Leaving home is easy, but what if they do find the dragon? And how will the lads make it back?

a green and white book cover with the image of a book called The Dragon of Nani CaveFor educators and homeschooling parents, LPP offers a 30-page coordinating workbook designed for grades 3-6. Fourteen pages are taken directly from The Dragon of Nani Cave, with 14 pages of corresponding questions. Teachers and parents read the book aloud to students, then hand out the reading and question pages. Students reread pages from the book and answer the questions for each page; they also color in the black and white pictures on every page.

illustration of head of cyclura nubila iguanaIf you have any interest in the identification booklets that LPP has published on how to tell the differences between the invasive green iguanas and the native rock iguanas, please contact Elaine Powers at

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The Power of Coloring Books in Education by Elaine A. Powers, Author

An illustration of a green sea turtle with the letter "T"
From the PreK-Gr 1 Sea Turtles Workbook

I’ve always loved coloring, both as a child and an adult.  When I was in college, to help relieve stress, I colored big posters. I still have them.  They brought me many hours of relaxation and enjoyment between the many more hours of studying and practicing. I didn’t need to participate in drinking or other destructive activities.

When it comes to techniques for making science education entertaining, coloring books are very useful. The pages are a good way to “sneak in” information. Even though the image may be of a real plant or animal, the artist should be allowed to express their own creativity. Who cares if the child colors outside the lines or makes the iguana purple? Of course, pink iguanas were recently found in the Galapagos. (Yes, they are really pink in color.) Maybe the artistic rendering is a premonition of an undiscovered species.

Perhaps as the child grows older, she’ll want to get more precise in the coloring, leading to a search for more information on the animal, stimulating interest in not only this one animal, but others.  This could lead to learning about the environment where the animal lives: What other animals live there? What plants? Are there mountains or water or blowing sands?

Image of a roadrunner with the word "roadrunner" and lines to write the word
From our workbook about roadrunners

The act of coloring can stimulate the imagination, which is so very important today in this world of visual overload. Imagination can lead to interest, and interest can lead to a desire to explore the world.

The Lyric Power Publishing educator, Marilyn Buehrer, has created many wonderful coloring pages in our supplemental Workbooks, such as those pictured below. I hope you and the children in your life will enjoy them as you learn something new about our world.  And, don’t forget—coloring is not just for children. You just might be coloring your world if you follow where the picture leads you.

a light green and dark green book cover with the image of a duck in water

A Book Cover, Colorful Dotted Border, Yellow Background, Orange letters My Book About United States Rattlesnakes, with an image of a Rock Rattlesnake and a list of US Rattlers

a blue and turquoise book cover with an image of a truck on the road and a bulldozer on soil

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How to Make a Picture File and Why it’s an Important Teaching Tool by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

A picture file is a file box filled with beautiful photos that represent anything you are teaching about. These beautifully mounted photos are ideal visual aids to accompany and enhance the supplemental workbooks offered on this website. Whether it’s turtles, tortoises, snakes, tropical birds, tropical trees and foliage, flowers, or people, colorful visual aids will give children an authentic look at what they are studying. Instead of relying on drawings and cartoons, it’s important that students see realistic photos of what they are learning about.

colorful cover of children's educational workbook all about the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, turquoise color with polka dots, with image of rattlesnake and a list of the 46 workbook pages

In my teaching experience with elementary, middle, and high school students, every time I had a lesson to teach, I was able to pull out several pictures related to that subject for my students to see what I was talking about. Propping them up on the chalk tray of your white board works well, or create a bulletin board with them.

A person will remember 10% of what s/he has heard, 60% of what s/he’s heard and written down, and  90% of what s/he’s heard, written down, seen, and done.

This means that adding visual aids and practice (students taking notes) to what I verbally taught, enhanced my teaching and the students’ learning. My students remembered the information. Every age group benefits from visual aids.

It took me about two months to cut out and mount 200 pictures. Once I got started, it was hard not to get carried away! Two hundred pictures sounds like a lot, but it’s very easy to surpass that number.

Materials needed:

  1. Tagboard. 200 sheets of 9” x 12” white tagboard are available at school supply stores and art stores.
  2. Rubber cement. A large can of rubber cement. NOTE: Elmer’s glue, homemade paste, staples, and tape will not do for this project. Rubber cement doesn’t ripple and warp the pictures as it dries. It’s also neat to work with since it rolls right off your hands. Spray adhesive works also, but it makes cloudy fumes. When using rubber cement, always work in a well-ventilated area. Leave the doors and windows open in the room you’re working in, or take your work out to a sun-sheltered porch.
  3. Donated magazines, outdated calendars, posters, and travel brochures. I got grocery bags full of magazines from neighbors willing to part with them for a good cause. Other good sources are thrift stores and used book stores. Photos of animals and plants can be found in science magazines, National Geographic, and Smithsonian. Photos of household items can be found in home and architectural magazines. Photos of plants, flowers, and trees are in garden and landscape magazines.

What to look for:

Look for large, clean, clear, colorful photographs in the following categories. These are just suggestions. You might choose to limit your search to just one subject matter such as birds or reptiles.

  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Insects
  • People
  • Everyday personal and household items
  • Modes of transportation
  • Furniture
  • Landscapes
  • Bodies of water
  • National symbols of the U.S. and other countries
  • Sports
  • Flowers and trees
  • Wild animals
  • Domestic animals
  • Art such as the Old Masters
  • Mosaics
  • Pottery
  • Sculpture
  • Architecture
  • Perspective/line
  • Color


  1. Carefully tear the photos out of the magazines.
  2. Using a pair of paper scissors, neatly trim the edges of the pictures, leaving a sixteenth-inch white border whenever possible.
  3. Use a paper cutter if necessary to get the straightest edge possible.
  4. Clear off a wide, flat space in your house such as the kitchen or dining room table.
  5. Cover the entire table top with a thick layer of newspapers. This is so the top layers can be rolled up and removed to continually reveal a clean working surface throughout the mounting process.
  6. Turn the trimmed photos over and brush rubber cement over the entire backside of the picture. Rubber cement dries quickly, so work quickly.
  7. Turn the picture over and carefully lay it on the sheet of tagboard. Leave a wider margin of white tagboard at the bottom edge than at the top, just as if you were framing the photograph. Not all photos will have a white margin because they will fill the entire tagboard space, and that’s okay.
  8. Use one hand to hold the photo in place and the outside edge of your other hand to spread the picture down and force any excess rubber cement out from under the photo. The great thing about rubber cement is that as it dries, it rolls up into gummy balls that easily come off the tagboard and leave no residue or marks.
  9. Work all the bubbles out from under the photo. Use a straight pin to prick any bubbles that refuse to be worked out.
  10. If rubber cement gets on the photo itself, leave it there until it completely dries, then use your clean, dry finger and a light touch to carefully roll the dried, rubbery adhesive off the photo.
  11. Lay the finished pictures on a flat surface to dry. Leave them there for a couple of days. If you stack the finished pictures right away, they’ll bond to one another, and you’ll never be able to pull them apart without ruining them.
  12. Finally, store the finished photos in a plastic, portable storage box with a lid that has a handle (available at office supply stores). This will keep your pictures portable, dust free, and looking like new for many years.

You can also use these pictures to decorate your classroom, create bulletin boards, and as creative writing prompts.

LYRIC POWER PUBLISHING offers 23  affordable, comprehensive, supplemental Workbooks for Teachers, Tutors and Home-Schooling Parents. Each WORKBOOK has a theme and can include pages for reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary and math, along with Venn-Diagrams, life-cycles, fact sheets, coloring pages, puzzles, connect-the-dots, word searches, mazes, label-the-parts, cut-and-paste, true or false, fill-in-the-blanks, match the pictures, greater than/less than, count-and-classify and graphing.

A light blue and white book cover with an image of multi-colored river rocks
The Rock Cycle cut and paste project in this lesson comes from this workbook. It also includes work pages on rock collecting.
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The Importance of Waiting for Your Student to Answer by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

Setting: Forest, misty background. A man stands at white board with pointer stick. A child sits on tree trucnk looking at drawings on whiteboard.

Just about every speaker, from motivational speakers to teachers of all kinds, to parents, and just about everyone who can talk, answers her own question within two seconds of asking it.

Trouble is, the person hearing the question can’t answer it that quickly without knowing what the speaker knows. The hearer’s mind is working to form an answer when, suddenly, his thoughts are interrupted by the sound of the answer.

 Believe it or not, their mind tells them to forget trying. This lowers the hearer’s self-esteem and makes them believe they’re a failure. So why ask questions in the first place? Why not just give information and erroneously believe the hearer is absorbing and understanding every word you’re saying?

Because we want people to think. We want children to think. And thinkers need time to formulate an answer. WAIT after you ask your child a question. WAIT several seconds. Be patient. Be kind. And don’t stare at her like she’s on the hot seat. Besides letting her come up with the answer, you’re helping improve her self-esteem and sense of importance in the family or the classroom.  

So, next time, wait at least five seconds before offering an answer to your child. After all, involving the child in the learning process is what helps them understand and make connections to the rest of life’s big questions.

Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home-schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona.  She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive supplemental Workbooks and Activity Sheets,  such as these:

A light blue and white book cover with an image of multi-colored river rocks
The Rock Cycle cut and paste project in this lesson comes from this workbook. It also includes work pages on rock collecting.

A light blue book cover with images of freshwater turtle and green sea turtle

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A Simple Geography Lesson for Grades K-4 Using “My Book About Directions” by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

a green and white book cover with an image of a Compass RoseThis lesson should be limited to 10-15 minutes for children in grades K-2, and no longer than 20 minutes for children in grades 3-4. Attention span plays a big role in this as does interest level.

  1. To teach a short but powerful geography lesson, begin with introducing the day’s lesson. What do you want your students to learn?
  2. Start with the topic: Correctly locate and identify islands in the Caribbean.
  3. Tell your students what they’re going to be able to accomplish by the end of the lesson. “In this lesson, I want you to correctly locate four islands: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and the Cayman Islands.”
  4. Point out these islands on a large classroom map, and write the names of the islands on the white board.
  5. Then hand each child a map from My Book About Directions and ask them to raise their hands when they have found each island.
  6. Next, ask students to color only those four islands on the black, gray, and white map.
  7. Finally, hand out blank sheets of white paper and ask children to choose one of the four islands to draw and label correctly.

From Anderson and Krathwohl’s Taxonomy (formerly Bloom’s Taxonomy):

  1. Remembering: (Recognizing and recalling facts) Given a brief discussion and a map, children will locate and identify islands in the Caribbean.
  2. Applying: (Applying the facts, rules, concepts, and ideas) Given a brief discussion and shown examples, children will color a map showing size comparisons of the islands in the Caribbean.
  3. Creating: (Combining parts to make a new whole) Each child will draw and color their favorite island and write three lines (or verbalize) why they like that island.

Marilyn Buehrer is a teacher and creator of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive, fun, and engaging workbooks that bridge the summer gap between school years, stave off the overuse of electronics, and fill in those bored hours on the weekends.

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How to Build a Satisfying Essay By Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

This is a 5-paragraph essay with 3 main ideas, a format that can be used in any essay form.

An image of the layers of a hamburger, used to illustrate the five parts of an effective essay

The Introductory Paragraph includes: The Topic Sentence. Write a sentence explaining what you’re going to write about.

In the three body paragraphs, state the main ideas with details.

Conclusion Paragraph:

  1. Restates what you just wrote about.
  2. Write your opinions or feelings about the content of your essay. Include a sentence about why you wrote the essay: what was the significance of the subject?


Narrative essays tell a story with details in chronological order.

Descriptive essays describe details of a person, place, or thing.

Expository essays list facts or explain a process.

Persuasive essays express an opinion about an issue.

All students need to learn how to write essays as they progress through school, and how to write them well by the time they get to college.

Marilyn Buehrer is a teacher and creator of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive, fun, and engaging workbooks that bridge the summer gap between school years, stave off the overuse of electronics, and fill in those bored hours on the weekends.

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How to Connect a Classroom Study of Rattlesnakes to Real-Life Experiences by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

For use with:

My Book About the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

My Book of Rattlesnakes in the United States

Both books are available for purchase on this website.

A children's book cover, turquoise with polka dots, with image of western diamondback rattlesnake and list of included supplemental educational worksheets
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Workbook

After a study of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake in all the following areas: Geography, History, Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, Science, Academic Art, and Music, take your students outside the classroom to connect the concepts to real-world experiences.

How to prepare your students for a trip to the zoo:

Geography asks WHERE:

  • Let students work together to:
    • locate the zoo on a city map
    • draw a path from their school or home to the zoo
    • hand out copies of the zoo’s map (free from the zoo which will mail you enough maps for students to use one in a group of four kids).

History asks WHEN and WHAT:

  • When was the zoo created?
    • Modern zoos began in England with London’s Regent’s Park Zoo in the 1820s because it was founded with a scientific purpose. But putting animals on display for the public to see dates back to ancient times.
  • What is at the zoo?
    • Use the zoo maps to locate the different areas within the zoo.
    • Ask students to make a list of the animal exhibits.
    • Ask students to locate the reptile exhibit.

Continue reading How to Connect a Classroom Study of Rattlesnakes to Real-Life Experiences by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

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How to Teach a 10-15 Minute Lesson by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

Daily lessons for children, especially very young children, should be limited to 10-15 minutes each. Attention span plays a big role in this, as does interest level. To teach a short, but powerful lesson, begin with introducing the day’s lesson. What do you want your child/ren to learn?

First, choose a topic: Tell your student/s what they’re going to be able to accomplish by the end of the lesson. For example, Correctly label the parts of a turtle.

A black and white illustration of a freshwater turtle with its body parts labeled
From the 24-page workbook My Book About Freshwater Turtles

Tell: “In this lesson, I want you to cut out the names of the parts of a freshwater turtle and correctly paste them in the spaces on the page with a picture of a turtle.”

Model: Show them a perfect example of the finished product, one you’ve done yourself. Give them time to study your model.

Ask: “What do I want you to do?” or ask them to finish this question: “I want you to do what?” Don’t simply ask if they understand. Kids will just say yes because they know that’s what you want them to say.

A black and white illustration of a freshwater turtle, with arrows pointing to the turtle body parts

From the 24-page workbook My Book About Freshwater Turtles

Engage: Give them the worksheet, scissors, and glue stick. Older students may want to help them, but the older kids usually end up doing the project for the younger ones to help the little ones feel successful. In reality, this does just the opposite for the younger child, so give a different task to the older students while younger kids complete the assignment you gave them.

Check for understanding: Ask your child/ren to explain, in their own words, what they did. Ask them to point to and read the parts of a turtle aloud to you. After this, let them color in the picture of the turtle.

Marilyn Buehrer is a teacher and creator of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive, fun, and engaging workbooks that bridge the summer gap between school years, stave off the overuse of electronics, and fill in those bored hours on the weekends.

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Why Having Your Students Read Aloud is a Good Idea by Marilyn Buehrer, Teacher

Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire.
~William Butler Yeats.

Boys dressed in white shirts sitting in a row. One boy holds a microphone and speaks into it
A child enjoying reading in front of an audience.

Reading aloud can be used to:

  • improve reading comprehension.
  • promote listening and speaking skills.
  • help with the revising and editing steps in the writing process.
  • Fourth grade is where school separates the strugglers from the readers. (researcher Jeanne Chall)

When students read their own essays aloud, they will catch typos, awkward sentences, word choice errors, and other mistakes they have made.

Having a student read someone else’s essay aloud will help the writer hear how their work sounds without getting caught up in the actual process of forming words and saying them aloud.

Reading to students who are auditory learners may help them better understand a text when they hear it rather than sitting and trying to read it on their own.

Listeners learn to track a speaker and follow along with different sentence structures. Listening to more than one reader, such as in Reader’s Theatre, is a good way to help students follow multiple readers in one setting.

Students who listen to teachers read aloud:

  • learn the proper way to pronounce words and phrases.
  • learn how to pause after a period or use inflection when asking a question.
  • hear key aspects of speaking such as tone, pacing, and proper word order.

Marilyn Buehrer is a teacher and creator of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive, fun, and engaging workbooks that bridge the summer gap between school years, stave off the overuse of electronics, and fill in those bored hours on the weekends.