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!
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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,