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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!

 
  


5 Patriotic Options for Veterans Day or Any Patriotic Holiday

We spent a lot of time the last couple of days talking about what a veteran is, and why it's important to honor them. 

 
(I always like my kids to know WHY we get a day off!) True, they're due for a break (as well as the teachers! We survived a marathon day of teaching and parent teacher conferences this week, we deserve a day off to recover!)
Five Patriotic Options for Veterans Day (or any Patriotic Holiday): Books, videos, music, and other resources to help students learn about Veterans Day!

1.  First of all, there are books! I absolutely love to introduce concepts to the children through quality literature! I admit. The Wall gets me choked up every time I read it. As I read it yesterday, the children were totally silent. (My group is NEVER totally silent!) It affected them deeply.

    


     


2.  Next, I like to show some videos. I try to time it so we watch a video on Thursday during snack time, since Thursday is popcorn day in our school. It just seems appropriate! Here is a patriotic video that is great, and the kids really take to it!

 
3.  I play music frequently through the school day. I make sure I have music playing in the morning as the children arrive, but I also make sure they hear music at different times of the day. Sometimes it's soft background music, and sometimes it's lively, fun music. Both kinds of music have their place. Here are a couple that I love!

      

   
4.  I did this Veterans True or False activity with my students on Thursday, and it was awesome! Interestingly, our assistant principal came in while we were playing the game, and told the students he was a veteran. My students broke out into applause! (I was so proud!) Of course, most of my little boys went nuts when they found out he drove a tank! Click the image or click HERE for the link!

Five Patriotic Options for Veterans Day (or any Patriotic Holiday): Books, videos, music, and other resources to help students learn about Veterans Day!

Got active students? After the kiddos have read this text, they can have a blast moving around to answer the questions to Reading Comprehension for Active Learners: Freedom isn't Free!
Five Patriotic Options for Veterans Day (or any Patriotic Holiday): Books, videos, music, and other resources to help students learn about Veterans Day!

5.  Here's a freebie that I did with my students on Friday.  They wrote thank you letters to Veterans! Their notes were heartwarming and proud to me they really understood how lucky we are to be Americans, and have these wonderful people risking their lives for our freedom!
Five Patriotic Options for Veterans Day (or any Patriotic Holiday): Books, videos, music, and other resources to help students learn about Veterans Day!

Don't forget the brain breaks! Here's a freebie that might come in handy! Patriotic Brain Breaks

Five Patriotic Options for Veterans Day (or any Patriotic Holiday): Books, videos, music, and other resources to help students learn about Veterans Day!

How do you celebrate Patriotic Days?





















Five Patriotic Options for Veterans Day (or any Patriotic Holiday): Books, videos, music, and other resources to help students learn about Veterans Day!


Making Addition and Subtraction Facts Stick

I've been wracking my brain for years, trying to think of a way to get those basic facts to stick! 

 
There is way too much math that depends on knowing the basic facts, so we want the little ones to go beyond the "counting on fingers" or "counting on in your head" stage!
Making Addition and Subtraction Facts Stick: This post tells about a system for addition and subtraction facts that is research based, effective, easy to use, and foolproof!
We've been using this sequence for learning facts at my school, and I must say, the kids are getting it! We all know it's not a good idea to introduce all the facts at once. There are 200 facts to be learned, and learning them in some systematic way is necessary. My knowledge of brain based learning tells me we need to help the children make connections, use visuals like color and pictures, practice frequently, add a social component, and make it fun. This will all help those facts stick!
 

I've taken 8 basic patterns and made 8 color coded sets of cards to be practiced based on these concepts:  plus one families, plus 10 families, plus 9 families, sums of 10, doubles, doubles plus 1, plus 2 families, and the remaining facts.  The "families" include 2 addition and 2 subtraction facts for each fact.  (For example, 1+8=9, 8+1=9, 9-1=8, and 9-8=1 are all connected.) These connections help children remember! I've even included a game that's connected to the cute little pictures on each card.

Practicing the facts is only half the challenge.  The other challenge is showing mastery.  

I've included assessments with each set. There are 2 basic assessments with each family. The 2 assessments are both similar. I just thought you'd like a second option so they aren't taking the exact same assessment each time. Each assessment has 5 columns of 10 facts. I give the children one minute to complete as many facts as they can. (The timing helps distinguish between the kids who know the facts, and the kids who still need to figure them out.) I have found that kids that get 20 - 25 facts in a minute are definitely ready to move on to the next level. (This, of course, is up to you.) Some kids really need a one on one assessment with the cards, as their writing skills just can't keep up with their thinking skills.

Want to check it out? See the image below for the freebie version of the first set along with the assessments. Addition and Subtraction Fact Fluency Freebie!
 
Making Addition and Subtraction Facts Stick: This post tells about a system for addition and subtraction facts that is research based, effective, easy to use, and foolproof!

How do you help the facts stick?


Making Addition and Subtraction Facts Stick: This post tells about a system for addition and subtraction facts that is research based, effective, easy to use, and foolproof!

Tips for Keeping Creative Sub Plans

Did you ever notice it's easier to go to school sick rather than go through the trouble of writing up sub plans? I stayed ultra late at school last night making plans for today's sub. (I'm not known for leaving early anyway, but last night was totally ridiculous!)
 

Tips for Keeping Creative Sub Plans: Feeling sick? Taking the time to prepare sub plans ahead of time makes life a little easier. This post has several ideas, including several freebies you can print and put into your own Sub Tub.


I've learned to keep a tub of emergency plans. I have a folder for each day of the week, and detailed descriptions of  my day inside each folder. I also have a binder that includes emergency information, procedures, and management ideas.  

I also keep folders for each subject that is filled with already run off materials ready for an emergency day. After having subbed at every level, I know how important it is to have clear, easy to understand directions so the kids stay engaged and don't have any opportunities to make the sub crazy.

The trick is to have the folders all updated to include materials that the children can do which isn't necessarily dependent on something the children are learning now.

Tips for Keeping Creative Sub Plans: Feeling sick? Taking the time to prepare sub plans ahead of time makes life a little easier. This post has several ideas, including several freebies you can print and put into your own Sub Tub.

Good ideas to have on hand:

1. Practice on a skill that needs frequent review, like math facts, sight words, or parts of speech.
2. Writing prompts.
3. Vocabulary builders.
4 . Mini units that can be done in a day.

Here are some examples of things I keep in my sub tub or leave for subs:

I always keep a supply of these letter writing pages. I usually make a set with one letter addressed to everyone in the class. Then they choose one and write to that person! This is a "win-win" activity. Everyone writes a letter, and everyone gets a letter! (Explore image for this resource.)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Letter-Writing-Template-5166035?utm_source=blog%20post%20sub%20tub&utm_campaign=Classy%20Mail

This number booklet to 1,000 can be used any time of year.  (Explore image for freebie!)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Count-to-1000-Booklet-Freebie-5165506?utm_source=blog%20post%20sub%20plans&utm_campaign=Count%20to%201%2C000%20freebie


Here's a math game the kiddos can play over and over, and all they need is a deck of playing cards! It practices addition skills, and gets them thinking about strategies! No, we don't do the gambling version! (Explore image for freebie!)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Adding-Multiple-Addends-Twenty-One-5144939?utm_source=blog%20post%20sub%20plans&utm_campaign=Twenty%20one


There's always an opportunity for kids to come up with a themed ABC booklet.  This is a fun activity to start off by reading an ABC book or two.  (Explore image for examples and freebie!)
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/ABC-Book-Freebie-147996?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=ABC%20book%20freebie


Here's a mini-unit that can be done any time of year: (Explore image for link!)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camping-No-Prep-Activities-1261359?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=No%20Prep%20Camping

If you find a couple of books about camping, you've got yourself a mini-unit in a day! Fun activities that practice important skills!

I happen to have a number of "no prep" activities you can find HERE. Most of them are seasonal, which adds to the fun! (I go straight to these sets if I'm going to be out!)

Now I suppose you're wondering why I was at school so late last night if I have all these ideas...  Well, I just hadn't updated my files from last year, and my schedule is totally different!  Now that the files are updated for the year, next time I'm sick will be easy peasy!

Tips for Keeping Creative Sub Plans: Feeling sick? Taking the time to prepare sub plans ahead of time makes life a little easier. This post has several ideas, including several freebies you can print and put into your own Sub Tub.


Count to 1,000 Freebie Booklet

Some of my students have been struggling with counting once they get over 100. I decided to give them a hand and have them make some booklets where they can count to 1,000 with little help. 

Count to 1,000 Freebie Booklet. Download this freebie and watch your students develop a deeper understanding of our number system up to 1,000, and have fun as well!

The kids started working on their booklets on Friday and they were totally into it!  You couldn't hear a peep in the whole room!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Count-to-1000-Booklet-Freebie-5165506

To make this freebie booklet, click the image above or click here: Count to 1,000 booklet.

I have a few games and activities I play with the children with these booklets. 
  • First, I have them trace the numbers, each hundred in a different color. 
  • Then, we play "find the number". With a small group, I'll name a 3 digit number and have a race to see who can find that number the quickest.  (I'll give a token to the first few to find that number.)
  • Then I'll let individuals call out 3 digit numbers for classmates to find in the booklets.
  • Then we call out numbers for them to name the number before or after.
  • I'll bet you can think of other ways to get the children to search their "Count to 1,000" booklets to help them get to know Number sense!

For a more complex resource, with more differentiation options, click the image below or see here: Count to 1,000 booklet.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Count-to-1000-Booklet-2314760?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=Count%20to%201000%20booklet

You have the option of making booklets with the numbers already there, having the children fill in most of the numbers, or having the children write ALL the numbers.  I had my second graders fill in the numbers, one page at a time. The first hundred were easy for them, but when they got to the second hundred, many of the children needed assistance.  Going through this process will really help the little ones understand our number system and its patterns, and help them develop their number sense!
 
Count to 1,000 Freebie Booklet. Download this freebie and watch your students develop a deeper understanding of our number system up to 1,000, and have fun as well!


Why Do We Practice Nonsense Words?

Brain research tells us that learning needs to be meaningful. We need to connect our learning with things that are important in our lives. Typically, it's not too tough to convince children that reading is meaningful. In fact, reading has its own reward: as you get better at reading, the books and stories get better.  

Why Do We Practice Nonsense Words? Most kids prefer to use real words in context, but here are a few reasons why learning to read nonsense words matters.

It's a little tougher to convince children why we practice reading nonsense words. Despite what I've heard from some, it's not to have more successful test scores on the DIBELS tests.  

This is what I tell the kids: 

to practice the "sounding out" skill, so we'll be better at figuring out new words!


if we practice the "sounding out" skill with actual words, the visual memory can get in the way of this skill, and they're not actually practicing the "sounding out" skill, they're just recognizing the word from the way it looks.  Therefore, we use nonsense words.

Of course, there are some children who are strong sight word readers, and feel they pretty much know all the words.  

So we talk about some of those ten dollar words they'll see as they grow as readers.

Words like Constantinople, or Emancipation Proclamation, or Deoxyribonucleic acid or even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!  

Here are some activities I do to practice that "sounding out" skill.



Why Do We Practice Nonsense Words? Most kids prefer to use real words in context, but here are a few reasons why learning to read nonsense words matters.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Nonsense-Word-Card-Sort-and-Board-Game-549557?utm_source=syllables%20blog%20Post&utm_campaign=Nonsense%20Word%20Game

Multisyllable nonsense word game: Buggy Syllables

Why Do We Practice Nonsense Words? Most kids prefer to use real words in context, but here are a few reasons why learning to read nonsense words matters.

What do you use to help your children practice looking for letter sounds and patterns in new words?


Why Do We Practice Nonsense Words? Most kids prefer to use real words in context, but here are a few reasons why learning to read nonsense words matters.

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