Sunday, November 27, 2016

 Welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you're in the U.S) and are getting excited for the Christmas season.  To help you get your class ready for the quick few weeks you'll be there,  I'm joining with some amazing teacher-authors to share some of our most wish-listed items in our stores.  We hope you will find some much needed resources and see what other teachers have said about them.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site-wide sale Monday and Tuesday November 28-29 so get your carts ready!

I wondered what all the fuss was about with interactive notebooks. I thought they looked cool, but what's the big deal.  Now I'm hooked! This Interactive notebook bundle was a spin off of my K-2 regions bundle (below).  I know not a lot of K-2 teachers may get to the regions of the U.S., but I'm sure 3-5 grades do.  This U.S. Regions bundle takes the boring pages of a geography book and bring them alive! Short of visiting the states themselves, this pack will excite your students as they learn more about this amazing country! Color, cut and glue pieces into a notebook which becomes more than just taking notes as they interactively move pieces and review information they have learned.
As a kindergarten teacher and mom of two boys (and one girl), I often try to think like a boy. What would a boy like to do in school? What  better way to learn than to use Legos! Print out in color and laminate or place in sheet protectors. The students can build right on the mats, or use them as a guide as they build on another surface. The mats could also be printed and used as letters for a word wall or your classroom alphabet.
They are differentiated to fit many learning needs.
A beginner learner is going to simply build and identify the letters. An on-level learner will complete the letter and the on-level worksheet. An above-level learner will build the letter and complete the more advanced activity.
The alphabet mat which contains all the letters on one page, can be given to each student and has many uses.

When I got to my new school 4 years ago, I was told to teach the regions of the U.S. but there was no curriculum for kindergarten. This unit was what got me started on TPT.  After a couple of years of editing and fine-tuning each region, I came up with a product that I love to teach and the kids love to learn from.  I figured if I needed it, maybe other teachers were looking for something too.  And the rest, is history...(or geography).  Each unit includes everything you need to teach your k-2 students about the region of the Midwest, West, Southeast, Southwest and Northeast. Included in this pack are Thinking maps, matching, cut and paste, sentence building, an assessment and end of the unit report.

Hop on over to the lovely hostess of this lovely link up, Amanda from Daisy Designs! Click the picture below to view other teacher-authors and their top 3 wishlisted items!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Stone Soup

Since coming to my new school four years ago, I have fallen in love with the deep seeded traditions we continue each year.  These activities have been going on for years, some even for decades! We try to do a couple of fun activities per month. Apple Day, Pumpkin Day, Praise and PJ's...the list goes on and on.  Not only is it super fun for the kids and teachers but they're learning at the same time! Imagine that ;)  I always start our day with "I know it's a fun day, but fun day does not equal crazy, so we still follow the rules. If we do, we will all have a better time!"  They usually do pretty well. Because guess what? They're kindergarteners and they need to have down days to just have a good time. It's what we called "Developmentally appropriate." (insert sarcasm here for all my friends who know what I mean).

On Stone Soup Day, we ask the students to bring in one ingredient to make our soup.  Everyone gets a turn to put it in the slow cooker. They can't believe how easy it is! To those students you know that won't bring anything, we tell them to bring pepper and salt or another ingredient that doesn't make or break the soup (croutons for the topping). Ingredients may include: Potatoes (already diced), Celery, Chicken Stock, Cooked pasta (add the last 30 minutes), carrots, peas, tomatoes and any other veggie you would like to add. And of course some stones (washed of course)! Some students are in charge of bowls or spoons. Don't forget your can opener! (I've done that before) Croutons and grated parmesan cheese are great toppers.

You can either read Stone Soup on that day, or in my case I read it during Creative Writing that week. We read the story and did the following writing activity. That way by Friday, they already had an idea of what we were doing. One student even brought in our stones!

This activity is not only meant to help them begin to see what a sentence looks like, but to be able to follow directions and work on their fine motor skills

Day 1

After reading the story, I passed out the page of vegetables to be colored and cut. I told them if they felt comfortable they could cut closer to the veggies.  Some students aren't quite ready for that step so I added the dotted lines for their convenience. I then put them in a zip top bag and wrote their name on it. That was one class session. If you're in a district that dictates your time to the minute, you could put these in a center or for early finishers so you aren't taking class time to color.


Day 2

We review what we did in our last class together and get started right away with writing and making the pot.  We have 20-30 minute writing class and we were able to finish in just two days.  Ahead of time I cut a 2 inch strip along the short side of a black piece of construction paper (below).  Either you can have the students cut that small strip in half or you can do it for them.  They draw large ovals on each of the two smaller pieces and cut them out. I draw a large example on the board and they did a great job.

The next part is the trickiest.  You may want to pre-draw the curves on the bottom of the pot or let them give it a shot. I drew an example on the board of how to draw the curved (rainbow) line at the corners to create a curved look. You could also just tell them to draw a big hill and it would be more of a rounded pot or kettle.

They glue the handles to the back top on the sides so they are sticking out.  Then together you make a list of vegetables and they fill out the "I made a yummy soup with my friends" page. This is a great time to emphasize using the word "I"in writing. They glue this on the front and you staple their bag of veggies on the back (make sure to open the bag, staple, then close it or they won't be able to open their bag).

Now they have a fun activity to go home and share with their family! You could even include a picture of them making or eating the Stone Soup on the front as an extra special memory.  I've attached this activity for you to do with your class! Click the picture to the left to download it.

I'd love to hear how you celebrate Stone Soup day and if you try this activity, tell me about it!
Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Classics Never Grow Old


It's time to celebrate! It has been a fun six weeks with you all!  I hope you've gathered a great pile of books to enter into the new year.  We end this summer's blog hop with a celebration giveaway!  Check out the Rafflecopter at the end of the post. 
 I've tried to nail down exactly why these books are classics to me.  I had each one of these titles on my bookshelf growing up and they were read to me several times during my bedtime routine.  My mom would read them with special voices and the librarian would introduce them to us on our weekly trips to the school library.  Along with these great story comes great memories...that is what makes them classics to me.

A Chocolate Moose for Dinner by Fred Gwynne

I remember hearing this book for the first time during a trip to the school library.  I thought it was hilarious!  I learned various idioms that I hadn't known before and the pictures still remain in my mind.  It's a great book and will keep the kids chuckling to see a car diving into a pool for "carpool".  A great story to introduce idioms or just for fun!

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

This is a beautiful true story of Miss Rumphius or the "Lupine Lady" and how she spread beauty around her community.  She planted lupines, a beautiful flower that still blooms along the coast of Maine until this day.  I love to read this book and make finger printed lupines with purple and white paint. Something about this story just captivated me as a child.  The pictures are beautiful and the fact that it is based on a true story makes it even more amazing.

Tiki, Tiki, Tembo by Arlene Mosel

I know I've mentioned my mom and her amazing talent to use voices during stories before, and here it is again.  I love how she rambled off Tiki, Tiki, Tembo's loooonnnnnngg name off as this Chinese tale was told.    I have acquired a few copies of the book and after I read it to my class, they all snatched them and attempted to reproduce his name.  They want me to read it again and again.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

This is such a great book for children and adults. We can all relate to Alexander as he mopes through the worst day he's experienced in his short life. I pull this out when I'm having a rough day and read it to the class.  Silly enough it makes me feel a little better and it keeps the class quite so I can regroup.  We talk about days they've had like that and how we can make the best of a rough situation.  It's also a comforting book for students as they realize that other kids have bad days too and they're not alone.

The Mitten by Alvin Tresset

Oh, the Mitten! The possibilities are endless! I remember the orange cover and bright blue and white pages as I snuggled in my Laura Ashley floral sheets.  This particular version is a classic for me, but there are also many other versions that are available.  The students love guessing which animal is going to pile into the mitten in the middle of the snowy forest. If you choose to use the Jan Bret version, she has some great resources on to use on her website.

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

I love books by Virginia Lee Burton. Sometimes they are a little lengthy for kindergarteners, but I love the homey comfort they give.  Written in 1939, it explores life in a world so different from ours is today.  On the edge of newer technology, Mike and his steam shovel battle to be the best and work the hardest in a land that is ever changing and working harder and faster. A great story on friendship that can also be paired with Paul Bunyan.  These two stories share the similarities of friendship and working hard in a changing world.
Sadly, you will have to wait another week or two (once school gets up and running) to have your final book lists.  However, to make you feel better, I've added the linky for any related products you may have as well as a Rafflecopter giveaway of $25 for TPT!
Please follow each store and you will be entered!  Raffle closes on Friday at midnight.
It's been a blessing to share with you all, please fill up your bookshelves!


Hop on to our next stop, the fun is just beginning!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Stupendous Titles in Social Studies

Welcome! If you have joined us each week, thank you! If not, you can start by clicking here.  We have been hopping through our bookshelves to share our favorites in children and young adult literature.  My hope is you will walk into this year with a STASH of great new books!  This week is near and dear to my heart.  I hated history growing up, but as a teacher I see such a need to continue to teach it and make it exciting.  At my new school (three years ago) I was given the task to teach the regions of the U.S. along with seasonal social studies/history topics but there was no curriculum.  That is actually what got me started on Teachers Pay Teachers! I couldn't find what I needed so I made my own. I found others were dying for the same information!  Many schools have gone to a newspaper-like social studies form of curriculum.  There isn't much time to teach it nor substance to the material.  So what better way to fill the gap than to share this info during a read aloud!

Here are just a few of my favorite go to Social Studies books for Kindergarten.  These are a little more on the basic level.  It can be a challenge to find a children's book that teaches social studies and historical topics on a primary level.  Often I open the book to find a full page of text.  Not the kind of thing a kindergartener will sit through. 

God Bless America illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

I love to teach my students songs like this.  Each page has a different phrase from this familiar song.  A family of adorable bears travel around the "Land that I love" as you sing along.  Kids love songs, especially when most of them haven't heard it!  Have them go home and teach it to their parents.  We even made a class book.  I put them in pairs and they each illustrated apart of the song.  You will hear them singing it all day long.  And parents will be impressed that we are still teaching these classics.  It gets my American pride up and kickin'!

Me on the Map by Joan Sweeny

I just love this! Me on the Map takes a complex concept of where we live and what a map is and puts it on a primary level.  I live in Florida and it cracks me up when students look at me and say "my cousin lives in Florida!" ...and so do you... ha ha!  By the end of the year my students are able to recognize the names of various states around the country.  We can't get to that point without starting with the basics.  I've created a map unit that follows Me on the Map.  Joan Sweeny has also written other books along this line.  I stumbled upon this amazing fact over the summer when I somehow acquired Me and the Measure of Things! If you'd like to simplify maps for students, check this out:

I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr.

I think this book is what got me started in the thought that little guys can be taught social studies concepts like this at an early age.  Sure anyone can memorize the pledge, but what on the earth does it mean?  This book goes line by line with adorable pictures and explains what each part of the pledge really means.  Some words are complex for even older children to understand and this book brings it down to a kindergarten/1st grade level.  One of my favorites and it is getting worn out!  My kids no longer say "and to the rePUBLIX for which it stands"...

Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful by Scholastic

These are just a couple of titles in this series by Scholastic.  There are many more books created in this same format that cover our nation's history.  Again, each page shows a different line of the song or poem accompanied by beautifully captured photos.  Students will be captivated by pictures from all over our beautiful country while learning more incredible songs from our country's history.

National Symbols Series by Lerner Publications Company

There are many books in this series as well such as the ones I have pictured: Mt. Rushmore, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, Our Flag and the Lincoln Memorial.  Again, these are written on a level that a young primary student can understand.  Honestly, since these topics aren't often discussed at home or on T.V., it is often the first exposure they have to all these topics and they eat it up!  I plan to do a Patriotic unit for February to go along with President's Day this year and use these books.

I had a blast sharing my favorite social studies/history books with you this week! It's become a great passion of mine.  Go grab them all and share them with your little patriots!

Don't forget to grab your booklist from our Favorite Friends last week!

*If you're interested in other social studies themed ideas, visit my store by clicking my logo below. Thanks for stopping by!

Hop on over to Julie for more amazing titles!

An InLinkz Link-up
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Favorite Friends

Oh my, I know I say this every week, but this week it was REALLY hard to choose my favorite characters.  I think most of them speak for themselves but here we go!

Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain

These books are amazing to teach a myriad of character lessons.  I think there is a book for every topic you can ever think of with these fun-loving bears.  If an issue comes about in your class, go grab a corresponding title and show them how others deal with these problems.  Kids have a very easy time finding where others are making mistakes as I read these stories.  If a child is dealing with a specific problem, you can send home a book for them to discuss with their parent as well. Berenstain Bears books teach basic life skills that are becoming a lost art.

Clifford by Norman Bridwell

I'm so excited to see one of our favorite friends has made his way to Kohl's! If you're not familiar, Kohl's features a different author and places their books and stuffed animals  on sale for $5 each. The proceeds go to a good cause and you can't beat the price!  I was able to snag Emily Elizabeth and hope my friend can grab a Clifford for me at a different store.  Stay tuned to see how I will be using books and their buddies this year in my room!
Clifford is timeless. I remember watching a filmstrip in preschool that was a Clifford book.  (For those of you who are too young to know what a filmstrip is it was kind of like Netflix for books...without the internet ;).  Clifford is an excellent example of a good friend.  However, his large size tends to lead him into some troubling situations.  Kids love this gigantic dog!

Little Critter by Mercer Mayer

Oh Little Critter! This spunky little monster sometimes has a little attitude as he learns tough lessons in life.  Similar to the Berenstain Bears, Little Critter offers a wide range of situations that children find helpful and entertaining.  There are also hidden friends for them to find on each page.  Love the illustrations and detail that Mercer Mayer provides.  Stop part way though the story and allow the students to discuss with each other how Little Critter should solve his dilemma or how they think the story will end. 

Curious George by H.A. and Margaret Rey

I learned an interesting fact about the authors of Curious George. They were Jews that fled Europe during WWII and escaped to New York.  They were published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941 and later asked to write more about this curious little monkey and his friend the Man with the Yellow Hat.* This makes me love George even more!  What a beautiful part of history to come out of such a tragic situation.  I think we can often relate George with a little boy or girl in our rooms.  This past year I had several! They make me smile, they get into trouble but boy, they have a good time doing it!  I also notice they learn leaps and bounds because of their curiosity.  George learns a lot about the world around him, gets into trouble and tries to make it right in the end.  Students also have a modern day movies that have brought him back into view.  I love Curious George!

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems

Sometimes I think I live under a rock.  Where have Elephant and Piggie been all my life?! (I admit this ashamedly) I just discovered their books this year...I know, I know... But the good news is I'm hooked!  I was looking for books to help me teach speech bubbles and there they were (along with their friend Pigeon)!  These two adorable friends go through the ups, downs and sillies of life together.  The kids will love the funny ride they will go on with Elephant and Piggie.  I don't think I've seen a Mo Willems book I didn't like!

Carl by Alexandra Day

What child do you know that doesn't love dogs?!  Sure there are cat lovers out there, but most of them love a great dog story.  Well, Carl books are perfect! Carl goes about his day often caring for a little baby and keeping it out of trouble.  Alexandra Day illustrates these books beautifully with great detail, words?! Yes!  These books are amazing for students who are non-readers or just beginning to read.  They foster storytelling.  For those who are great readers, these books are excellent for teaching how to write a narrative that matches the picture.  You could have the whole class write about one page, or they could each write about different pages and then put the book together and see if it makes sense.  The possibilities for wordless books are endless!
As promised, I have TWO booklists for you this week.  The first is a HUGE list of seasonal books from Beginning of the Year all the way to the end!

The second booklist is a BEAUTIFUL collection of amazing non-fiction titles!
Hop on over to my friend Julie at Big Ideas for Little Hands. She always has amazing pictures!

An InLinkz Link-up

*Information found at
Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No Lying! Superstar Non-Fiction Titles


Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons

I love Gail Gibbons.  She's an excellent resource for non-fiction titles.  It's not always easy to find books in this genre that meet the needs of a kindergarten classroom.  They are very informative with less text on each page than most books like this.  There is even an additional information section at the end including a glossary.  Stock up on Gail Gibbons!

Birds by Kevin Henkes

Like I said, it can be challenging to find a non-fiction book that doesn't have too much text but still informs young readers.  This is a simple introduction to various birds.  It is a narrative-style book that still provides ample information.  A great addition to an animal unit or even seasons.  Not the typical Kevin Henkes book but beautifully illustrated and well written.

Commotion in the Ocean & Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae 

Well, if you aren't drawn to this series of books just by looking at the cover, not much will.  I definitely judge many books by their covers and these do not disappoint.  These beautiful, bubbly, colorful illustrations will draw your students in while they learn about animals in various habitats.  Andreae also has an entire line of books similar to these including barnyard animals and bugs.  Very few books can include rhyme with non-fiction material.  Andreae nails it!

Bugs A to Z

This book has simply beautiful photos.  It is an absolute must for any classroom library.  Boys will especially devour these pages.  It covers almost every bug imaginable from A to Z.  Students can see the bugs up close with their names and descriptions.  Perfect to bring out when you do your insect unit or in the spring.  If you're not a fan of bugs, you may not enjoy the large pictures but your students will!
Next week I will have two booklists for you.  With the conference this week (I can't wait!) I will have more time to get them together for you. 
Hop over to Julie at Big Ideas for Little Hands and see more amazing Non-Fiction Titles!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

TPT Giveaway and Super Dollar Deals!

I'm joining Kelly from An Apple for the Teacher for another amazing giveaway.  I've picked a few of my activities that are normally $2-4 and am offering them to you for $1 for the length of the giveaway! Check out my store for freebies and many engaging activities for under $5!

This is a great pack to catch up all your kinders or to challenge your preschoolers.  They will learn skip counting, number lines, number words, formation and ten frames!  Practice 0-10 here and for more fun I also have numbers 11-20 ($3).

These flip books are great for learning about various famous explorers.  It is a great place to start teaching students about research.  It covers 12 different explorers.  Each flip book includes a flap for their birth, family, training, explorations and maps.  This basic design is perfect for K-2 starting to research.

This is quite a deal!  These posters are not just cute posters to put up on your wall, but an entire behavior system.  This pack includes 18 different posters in 8 different colors.  Each color also includes a blank poster for you to write your own message.  The posters are hung vertically and student are encouraged to move from the middle (green) upward toward the top. You create your own rewards (extra recess, e-mail home, treasure box, sticker) and consequences (if they move their clip down).  This is the first place in my room that my students want to show their parents on open house night.  They LOVE the bright colors and the rewards that come with their hard work.  Also included are papers to send home to parents as a behavior report. This works great for RtI documentation and your own records.

This pack is great all year round! It can be used for your regular American symbols unit, Constitution Day, Labor Day, Flag Day, Memorial Day or even send it home for the 4th of July! It includes readers, Thinking Maps, vocabulary and fill in the blank activities.  Bring history alive with this fun pack!

Now for the EXTRA-good goodies!

Prize: $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway organized by: An Apple for the Teacher
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter.  Giveaway ends 7/13/16 and is open worldwide.
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog?  Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Wednesday, July 6, 2016

There is a Season

Welcome to our second Summer Reading Stash blog hop! We had a blast last week collecting amazing titles to help teach character to our students. You can view this hop here.  Stay with me to the end of this post and you can snag a super freebie that goes along with it!  This week I'm joined with more phenomenal teachers to share a handful of our favorite seasonal books.  The stash is getting bigger! I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that it is so difficult to choose just a few titles among the hundreds of books I have.  Seasonal stories are especially challenging.  I keep special books in order of how I use them throughout the year in banker boxes so they don't get mixed up with the rest.  When it's time for Christmas books, for example, I pull them all out and place them on a wire rack for me to read aloud to the students and for them to enjoy.  I don't usually keep books that are just for myself up on a high shelf.  I want them to enjoy the books I've read and I usually can find a cheap copy of the same book if it's a favorite.  Without further ado, here are my favorite books to start off the school year!
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
This is probably my favorite book that teaches the importance of following rules.  Officer buckle loves rules and teaches them to students.  They are very bored with his delivery until a new friend enters the scene; a police dog named Gloria.  Together this dynamic duo shows how fun it is to follow rules.  I pair this book with discussions on rules and fun activities.  This is great time to demonstrate what a rule looks like done correctly, as well as incorrectly.  I like to choose students who are a little more challenging to show the class what it looks like to follow a rule correctly.  More often than not, they know exactly what it should look like and take pride in teaching the class.
Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin
Always a favorite character, Pete the Cat shows how to be calm and cool on your first day of school.  He rocks on his guitar in his new shoes all over school.  It's a fun sing-song story that shows different places throughout the school.  They love to guess where he will go next.  I love me some Pete the Cat!
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray
This is an absolute must to the beginning of your school year.  Many of our kindergarten students are new to our school (if they didn't go to our preschool).  They are even more nervous about who everyone is and where everything is.  First we read this book.  The kindergarten teachers bring in all the ingredients to make gingerbread (from a box) in a cake pan (shaped like a gingerbread man). They get so excited and all help mix it up. We also have one of the administrators help us.  She makes a big deal about promising to watch the gingerbread man while it bakes.  When we come back when it is supposed to be finished she opens up the oven and it's gone! We frantically search the whole school, learning where everything is. All the older students play along because they remember doing it when they were in kindergarten.  Exhausted and disappointed, we go back to class where we find him on the table and they are so excited!  We enjoy a yummy snack after lunch. Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by Bonnie Lass and Philemon Sturges
I have loved this rhyme since I was in first grade. We use it to learn everyone's name.  This year we made a fun book as a class, where they cut and paste their names onto a page, and I took their picture taking a cookie from a jar.  We enjoy a cookie as a treat after.  This is a great book to store at the library station!  Click the picture here to snag this freebie.

As promised, I've also included a freebie book list of all the character books we shared last week.  Print this out and put it in a binder to reference throughout the year.  There are even spaces for your own favorites!
I've had a super time with you today! Hop on by to Whole Hearted Teaching for more great books! I know MY stash is growing!
With much love,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Building Character Through Books

Welcome to this summer Book Stash blog hop! We will be hopping around to teacher's bookshelves from all over the country.  Each Wednesday, we will be sharing with you a few of our favorite books from several different genres/topics.  By the end you will have an amazing list of books to start your school year with! Stick with us and we will have a grand finale in the beginning of August! Click the blog button below our posts to hop on to the next blog.  Also stop by to grab some great resources at the linky below.

Boy, I did not realize how hard it was going to be to narrow down my favorite books on building character to just 5.  My name is Katie and I have a children's book addiction.  I have a very hard time saying no to books.  My mom instilled the love of children's books in me as I was growing.  Most of the books that are my favorite are because my mom had an incredible ability to change her voice and make you feel like you were in the book.  There were certain books that my dad was partial to and I remember them specifically as "his" books. 
Here I have a mix of old classics and new favorites.  These books teach children how special they are, how to be brave and comfortable in the skin they are in. 













Crysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

I start the year with this book as we talk about our names and how special each one of us are.  I love the real feelings Crysanthemum goes through. Each child can relate to feeling awkward or like they don't fit in sometimes.  She begins confident, then her friends tease her and there is a very sweet ending.  It's a great springboard for a discussion on how she handled feeling like an outcast.

Tacky the Penguin  by Helen Lester

I remember my librarian reading this book just a few years after it had been published.  I couldn't wait to get my very own copy when I began to build my library.  Tacky is a quirky fun little penguin, but he doesn't quite fit the typical penguin mold.  He is rather an annoyance to his fellow penguins, but they soon find out that his quirks are actually a blessing to them all.  When books take the focus off people and put it on animals, kids eat it up.  In this story we can see how we can each use are talents, abilities and sometimes "quirks" to help others.

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

This book has very large, colorful pictures that depict every feeling a child might go through.  This is especially helpful for students who struggle with their emotions.  Each page defines a different emotion through specific colors and illustrations.  After each emotion would be a good time to pause and talk about a time when they have felt that way and what helps them (if it is a negative emotion).

Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

I saw this book when I took a children's literature class in college. It was another book I just had to have.  The illustrations are detailed and colorful. It is an adorable story of a little girl who is different and just doesn't mind one bit.  It will teach your students to stand tall no matter what their circumstance is. 

Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski

This adorably illustrated story is a super addition to any classroom library.  Woolbur is a hilarious little sheep that just doesn't act like most other sheep.  His mother and father wring their hands and worry that he just doesn't fit in.  "Grandpaa" sees things a little differently.  Each year I have one or two "Woolbur's" in my class.  They are natural born leaders and it is important to talk with your class about how we can influence and lead others in a positive way. 

These are just a small sampling of books that will give your students the confidence to be who they were created to be.  When they are feeling less than adequate, pull one of these out and show them they aren't alone and they are amazing!

Stay with us each Wednesday from now through August 3rd! Next week there will be a super booklist from this week and we will be displaying our favorite seasonal books!
Hop on over to Kari at:
As always with love,

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Summer Slump

Welcome to this TpT giveaway hosted by An Apple for the Teacher!  Grab some a yummy summer drink, catch some summer tips below and register for a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card! Also, check out the other teachers joining me in this giveaway.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I think I am in good company in saying this.  Every summer, after school is out, I go into what I call a summer slump.  It took me a few years of teaching to understand what was going on and why.  Now that I know what is coming, I begin preparing before the end of the year. Each year, the transition gets easier.  Having three young children, I can't just sit and watch Netflix all day, but even when I could, it began to get depressing and boring.  We run around crazy all year long, hardly stopping to go to the bathroom and eat sitting down.  Then summer comes and in between professional development and planning for the upcoming year, it is a hard adjustment to a slower life. 
Here are some tips for a relaxing, productive summer.  Hang out until the very end to take part of the giveaway!

  1. Keep a general schedule

Kids have had a strict schedule all year too and the adjustment can be just as hard on them, if not harder.  I used to think it was crazy to have a schedule during the summer, but now I realize my children need it.  Of course I don't strictly enforce it to the minute and daily activates change, but they like knowing what is coming next.  I've attached a general plan that we follow for the day during the summer.  Even if you don't have kids, try to have some sort of plan or goal for your day.

     2.  Set aside time each day for work and play

You have worked hard all year.  Enjoy sitting in the sun for an hour or drink coffee out of an actual mug instead of a travel cup. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty about enjoying down time.  Also take time each day/week to do some planning for the upcoming year.  This way you won't feel so much pressure during pre-planning.  Most of all, have fun with your family! This is when lasting memories are made.

    3.  Look for summer activities around town

  • Local libraries are an excellent place for free fun inside during the heat of the day.  My kids love to get books on CD and movies. 
  • Many local movie theaters offer $1 or free shows in the morning.  They show previously released kids movies.  
  • Splash pads are all around now and often are free or very inexpensive. 
  • Check out local attractions for seasonal passes.  Kids museums and science centers are great places to spend a hot afternoon. 
  •  My friends set up a "pool hop" schedule and all meet at each other's pools throughout the summer.

Below are some links of fun summer activities that are free or inexpensive.
          101 Things to do with Kids
          Fun Summer Activities

    4.  Let kids have down time

Each day (especially when my toddler naps) I have the older two either lie down or do a quiet activity like read or draw.  This allows for their minds (and voices) to take a break and it gives me an hour or so of time for myself.  A definite necessity!

   5.  Continue a hobby

Especially if you do not have kids, the summer is a great time to pick up that book you've wanted to finish all year or those knitting needles you put away.  Hobbies are a great way to refresh and recharge your body and mind.  If you do have kids, teach them one of your hobbies or learn a new one together!

And now for the goodies!
Click the link for some super *free* summer resources!!

Prize: $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway Organized by:  An Apple for the Teacher
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 6/18/16 and is open worldwide.
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