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.
Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sunday, June 5, 2016

On the Road Again!


So you’ve decided to take a road trip. So fun! Then five minutes into the trip (before you can even get on the interstate), your little cherubs ask from the back of the van “Are we almost there?”.  Ugh! Now what?  Last summer we went on a trip from Florida to New Jersey and then on to Michigan.  That’s a LOT of hours in the car with three little ones under 7!  Here are some tips to make your trip more of a memory than a menace.

1.       Organized Chaos

I knew we were going to be in the car a long time so I started to plan the method of attack.  They would need their own space, somewhere to keep garbage and a place for all their fun stuff.  I hung grocery bags on the head rests. In planning the fun toys they would play with along the way, I made sure they had somewhere to store it or it would be all over the van.  I’ve even seen plastic shoe storage hanging from the back of the headrest to hold little treasures.  They also needed to be an arm’s length away from each other for their own safety (if possible. You will thank me later).


2.       Gather goodies

When I was little, we went out West and my mom had a bag of surprises that she would pull out every hour or so.  By the time we got bored with something, she pulled something else out.  You can score some major fun stuff in the dollar store.  I also used my Scholastic Book points to get books on CD (at no cost to me).  Window clings, legos, books, travel Bingo, pencils (don’t forget to sharpen them ahead of time), fun erasers, activity books, binoculars, the list goes on and on.  I didn’t want them to be watching movies for 12 hours at a time.  That was just a recipe for disaster.  Of course we threw in a few movies here and there, but overall, they were playing and talking through the trip.  They also had a personal Road Trip activity book I made for them.  They colored the states we passed through, found license plates, landforms and had so much fun!  I copied them and put them in a binder so it didn’t get destroyed.  There are even pages to put pictures they took on the trip. Click Here for the Road Trip Fun Book.  This is just a sample of what is included.

3.       Snacks, snacks and more snacks!

When I think of traveling, more often than not, I think of packing snacks. Heaven forbid my sugar drops and I’m in the middle of nowhere! (That’s just an excuse).  Pack some fun, healthy, yummy treats to pass out in between movies and activities.  Another way to keep everyone’s mood up and you stopping and spending less. Also think of the degree of mess they could make in the car…just sayin’.


4.       Make Memories

My kids love to take pictures! They have an old iPod that they used throughout the trip to take pictures out their window.  I didn’t have to worry about 500 pictures I didn’t want on my phone. They had great pride in what they were able to capture.  You can make it into a game.  Take a picture of something that starts with A, or a river, forest or big city.  You can send them to a local drugstore and often get them within an hour.


5.       Take breaks!

While you want to keep trucking and get to your destination quickly, you will get more out of your trip if you take frequent stretch/potty breaks.  Make it fun. Their little bodies (and yours) shouldn’t be cramped up in the car for hours and hours.  Here’s a picture of one of our breaks. Sometimes you just need to hang upside down.


I can’t wait to see all the fun you will have this summer, even if you are just going to a cabin on a lake an hour from home.  Make memories with your family. They will remember these times with you more than all the movies they will ever watch.  I remember vividly the exciting adventures we went on as family.  Come back and share your memories with me!