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Showing posts with label picture books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label picture books. Show all posts

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 1: Read Aloud

We all know those last couple of weeks of school are insane: antsy students, report cards, packing the room, etc.  It's all overwhelming, isn't it?

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 1: Read your favorite book! This post includes a freebie to share with parents about helping children at home with literacy skills.

Despite it all, I refuse to let the craziness destroy my last day with my students. For the next seven days, I'll be sharing some of my strategies for a Happy Last Day of School.  Here's the first!

1. Read Your Favorite Book!

This post includes a helpful resource to share with parents about helping children at home with literacy skills.

Reading to the students is one of the most important things a teacher can do. 

See this blog post to see some of the benefits of reading to children: The Importance of Read Alouds!


I'm sure you've already read your favorite book to your class. Maybe more than once! I'm willing to bet that same book might be a favorite of the students as well!

But reading it again on the last day of school leads to some very special memories. 

I like to leave my students with those warm feelings for books, don't you?

Here are some of my very favorite books to read to children. (Click these for affiliate links to Amazon.)
          
Here's a little "Dollar Deal" you can send home for parents and caregivers: How to Help Children at Home with Literacy Skills.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 1: Read your favorite book! This post includes a freebie to share with parents about helping children at home with literacy skills.


Making Friends is an Art!

Julia Cook has written a number of children's books dealing with sensitive issues. 

In her books, she has amazing ways of dealing with tough subjects in a child friendly, fun way! 

 Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related freebie!
Learn more about this author and her books at her website HERE.

I read Making Friends Is an Art!  to my class the other day, and I'm so glad I did! (Explore image for affiliate link to Amazon.)
Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related freebie!

The story is about the brown pencil in a box of colored pencils. It is jealous of the other colors because they get more use, and are well liked. Red, especially, is so popular that it's been sharpened down to a stump!

Brown explores friendships with the other colors, and finds out that in order to have friends, one has to be a friend, and their first friend should be themselves!

As Brown explores himself, through the help of his color friends, he finds out he is the combination of all the other colors!


We stopped to chat several times throughout the book to discuss the different personality traits.  "Yellow always does what's right, do you know anyone like that?"  Yes, they did!  "Who do you know that's like Pink, and always listens?" They had plenty of answers (including their teacher!)  The one that really made me smile was their response to Purple, who has hopes and dreams... they all said themselves!  (Don't you love kids?) My favorite part was that they included all the kids in the class in their comments, not just the "more popular" children.

After realizing that Brown was the combination of all the other colors, I simply had to give the kids some time to explore with paint so they could see for themselves!
Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related resource!

Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related resource!

Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related resource!

Don't you love kids and paint? It really has a magical effect on them! (And they are amazingly quiet while painting!) I did happen to notice that most of the children included some BROWN in their pictures!

In Making Friends is an Art! Julia Cook personifies colored pencils with human characteristics. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get children to think about the character traits of their classmates.

Going along with the ART theme, I've designed a Friendship Palette for the children to take the character traits that Julia Cook gives the colored pencils in the book, and find classroom friends with the same character traits.

It was a great opportunity to look for the best in their classmates!

I made two versions of the Friendship Palette, one in color, and one that's more "printer ink" friendly, where the children can color the individual backgrounds themselves. Explore the image below for a link to this resource!
 
Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related resource!

There are two options for sharing classmates: The children can draw their classmates in the ovals, or the teacher can provide photographs.  I chose to use photographs, and I chose to go a little crazy in order to avoid popularity contests or children being left out. Since I have 17 students, I made 17 different collections of photographs and rotated the faces so there were 11 per page, and each page was different.  (I'd show you, but I don't post my students' faces in public!)

It was totally worth the extra effort for me, as the children had no trouble fitting their 10 random classmates into all the spaces on the friendship palette.  Of course, their own picture went into the center for brown!
 
The children had fun, and spent time thinking about their friends and character traits!
 
Plus, I'm really glad I chose this book!  It was just perfect for my class! 
 
See the image or see HERE for your resource!
Can you believe how many great books she has?  
 

You can buy this book and several others at her website HERE!

 
Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related resource!

 
  


Camping Theme Week

I've been having another great week with my students! We are celebrating camping this week, and it's been grand fun!

Camping Theme Week! Here are some ideas for turning your classroom into a camping area, and make learning and reviewing skills fun!


As with any unit of study, I start with plenty of good literature:


I happen to own some camping gear, so I brought that in to show the kids. I also encouraged the children to bring in flashlights and sleeping bags. They are having a blast during reading time. They crawl right into the sleeping bags and read with their flashlights. Don't you love working with kids with imaginations?

Another thing I found in my cellar: one of these little tents from when my daughter was little.  (Yes, I know, I really need to clean out the little kid toys from my cellar, she's 20!)



It's super easy to set up, and the kids absolutely love it! It set the scene for our camping theme, and it a great place for reading or playing a learning game!

Of course, most of our classwork at this point is review work, so we're working on writing camping stories, squeezing in camping ideas in math, reading, and even science and social studies!  
 
We're learning camping safety and loads about the animals in the woods!

Here's one of my most popular resources, the Buggy Syllables game, which my students absolutely love!  I love it because it's great practice for decoding multiple syllable words!  

Camping Theme Week! Here are some ideas for turning your classroom into a camping area, and make learning and reviewing skills fun!


The above resource is included in my Camping Learning Bundle! I'm real proud of this one! It has a ton of activities to practice literacy and math skills, and since it has the camping theme, it makes everything more fun! 
 
Camping Theme Week! Here are some ideas for turning your classroom into a camping area, and make learning and reviewing skills fun!

Looking for digital resources? Here are a few camping themed Boom Learning cards for some fun review! 
Camping Theme Week! Here are some ideas for turning your classroom into a camping area, and make learning and reviewing skills fun!


And last, but not least, here's a nice warm fire for roasting marshmallows!

Yep, the kids love this!  

See THIS POST for more pictures of Camping Week!

Do you have any other great camping ideas?

Camping Theme Week! Here are some ideas for turning your classroom into a camping area, and make learning and reviewing skills fun!






Beach Week!

Kids love themes, and what is a better theme for the classroom than going to the beach?
Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"


No, we're not going to the ocean, I'm just trying to think of fun ways to get them working and learning these last few weeks.  

Here's what we're going to do during Beach Week:


1. Literature! First of all, there will be plenty of literature!  Here are some books I've found with a seashore or beach theme: (Click the title for an affiliate link to Amazon to find more about the book!)


I have a feeling I'll find more great books as I go through my classroom library as well as my school library.  I like to read several examples of fiction as well as nonfiction to give the children a real feel for what we're studying. 

2. Music and Sounds! Next, to set the mood:





Here is a Youtube video of ocean waves and sounds: very peaceful! Great background sounds!

Or try this one! I'll be playing this one when they're painting or creating!

2. Writing! After all this seashore learning, We're going to have to do some writing!  I made up some paper with a seashore theme (see image at top of page!)  For this freebie, click HERE.
 
Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"


4. Beach Towels! Of course, I really have to get the kids into the feel of the ocean. I'll be inviting them to bring beach towels next week. My plan is to let them take out their towels during Independent Reading time. I'll play my ocean sound CD, and they can pretend to do my very favorite summer activity... reading at the beach!

5. Beach Themed Centers!  Here's my Seashore Learning Collection Literacy and Math Centers: click the image for the link!
 
Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"


  Want a little more ocean fun? Here's some Science and Social Studies activities, many of which focus on water! Science and Social Studies Activities for Summer

Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"

What ideas do you have for Seashore Week?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"

Earth Day Resources and Deals!

I'm a big fan of Earth Day. 

Earth Day Resources and Deals! Looking for ideas to help your children think about Earth Day? Here are several ideas as well as some dollar deals!

I think looking out for our world is VERY important and it needs to happen now. 

Each and every one of us needs to do what we can to help this place be around for our grandchildren and our grandchildren's grandchildren.

As with most special days, I always celebrate every Earth Day with plenty of good literature.  

Here are some of my favorite children's books with an Earth Day theme:     

  • Earth Day is an ABC book, and makes a great introduction to the concept of protecting the environment.
  • The Lorax, is classic Seuss!  He tells about a mystical land of fantasy, which, in true Seuss fashion, is a much deeper real story.  Even my second graders understand this valuable lesson.
  • The Wump World is a fun book to read to the children and NOT show the illustrations (even the cover) until the children have had a chance to show the Wumps and Pollutians that they visualized while listening to the story.  Another great story about a fantasy world with very real lessons!

This one is a new discovery to me, and my new Earth Day Favorite

  • A River Ran Wild is a story that dates back to the days the Native Americans ruled this area, and respected the earth. It continues through European settlers, the industrial age, and attempts to clean up the river. This book is based on a local river, which makes it near and dear to my heart, but it's got a valuable message about protecting our world. My students became very upset when they saw what happened to the beautiful river. See THIS BLOG POST for more about this book, and an art activity to go with it.

After reading, I intend to have the children do some opinion writing and/ or explanatory/ informational writing based on what they have learned about protecting the environment.

Here's a collection of writing paper with the Earth Day theme that I'll be using.  
Earth Day Resources and Deals! Looking for ideas to help your children think about Earth Day? Here are several ideas as well as some dollar deals!


See this link to download this dollar deal: Earth Day Writing Paper

Plus, here's a little song to encourage Recycling! Click the image to download Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

Earth Day Resources and Deals! Looking for ideas to help your children think about Earth Day? Here are several ideas as well as some dollar deals!

 How are you honoring Earth Day this year?

Earth Day Resources and Deals! Looking for ideas to help your children think about Earth Day? Here are several ideas as well as some dollar deals!






Maple Weekend

It's the end of winter here in New England, and we're enjoying a New England tradition:  Maple sugaring!

Maple Weekend: Facts, videos, and books to help children learn about how Maple Syrup is made!

Over the last couple of weeks, we've seen many a maple tree with buckets attached!  Yep, when the days get warm but the nights are still cold, that's the right conditions for getting that sap flowing! They collect that sap and boil away!

  • Did you know it takes 40 - 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup?

I love to use children's literature to teach science and social studies concepts.  
This topic includes both, a little history of the New England area, plus the science of trees and sap, as well as states of matter and evaporation!

Want to learn more about how maple syrup is made?  Here are a couple of informational books for kids about the process.  

Here are a few realistic fiction books that share the experience of maple sugaring:
It's truly a fascinating process!  There are several "Sugar Houses" in my area, and a true hint that winter is nearing an end.  The State of New Hampshire officially declared this "Maple Weekend" and many Sugar Houses are opened to the public this weekend!

Here's a little video I found on Youtube that demonstrates the process.

Doesn't it make you wonder how people figured out that draining trees of sap and boiling it like crazy would make a yummy liquid?  Did they try oak trees and pine trees?  How did they know to drill a hole in the tree and put a bucket underneath?  

Here's one fiction book that suggests how it might have happened, back in the days when Native Americans lived peacefully with the earth in the New England area:
Don't you just love books that put you in a totally different time and place? Historical fiction is one of my very favorite genres, how about you?

Do you have maple sugar farms where you live?


Maple Weekend: Facts, videos, and books to help children learn about how Maple Syrup is made!


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