Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #17 – The Sound of Snow

I originally created OLLIs when schools in my province of British Columbia shut down last spring due to Covid19.  While we are now back in class, I know there are many districts still juggling virtual and in-class support.  These OLLIs can be used both in class and virtually person.  Either way, I hope you find some ideas that you can use with your students to lighten your load just a little this year!  

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books in case you missed any of them:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)

OLLI #13 (Harvey Slumfenburger)

OLLI #14 (New Year’s Resolutions)

OLLI #15 ( 100 Things That Make Me Happy)

OLLIE #16 (Leaving Our Heartprints) 

THE INSPIRATION:

It doesn’t often snow on the west coast of BC, but this past weekend,  a rare winter storm blew through our neck of the woods.  Likely not a “storm” by East Coast standards, but for people in the lower mainland, even a few centimeters results in a whole lot of snow joy!  Since Covid restrictions have been put in place, there aren’t many opportunities for community gatherings.  This past weekend, however, I think every single person, young and old, two legged and four, emerged from their indoor bubble and ventured outside to walk,  pull or ride a sled, build a snowman, or make a snow angel.  To add to the snow excitement, the stars aligned with the snowfall occurring on Family Day long weekend and Valentine’s day.  Pure magic.  So I thought it best to capture this rare occurrence in this week’s OLLI!  

THE ANCHOR BOOKS:

Ten Ways to Hear Snow – Cathy Camper 

This story follows a girl on a walk to visit her grandma the morning after a big snowfall.  Her grandmother is loosing her sight and Lina is going over to help her make some traditional Lebanese food.  Along the way, she notices various ways to hear the new snow that’s all around her.  I love anchor books you can use for several different lessons. SO many curriculum connections in this book including awareness and attention to nature, onomatopoeia, empathy,  family and cultural traditions, cultural food, and connection to grandparents.  This 2020 release is definitely being added to my Reading Power “connect” list, as well as my Powerful Understanding “SELF” – grandparents and “OTHERS” – empathy.  

  Watch Youtube Read Loud HERE

Snow Sounds – An Onomatopoeic Story – David A. Johnson

Sweep, crunch, swoosh, scrape . . . All night long, snow falls silently, blanketing the world in white—and a creating a very noisy day!    This very simple story is told using only sound words.  A perfect anchor book for teaching onomatopoeia and highlighting the sounds of snow.  

Youtube Read Aloud HERE 

Lesson – Option 1 – The Sounds of Snow

It was hard to choose just one lesson to for this anchor book – it could be used for multiple different purposes.  I decided to focus on the sensory details because I liked the idea of the different sounds of snow. 

  • Ask students what snow fun they experienced over the long weekend.  Invite students to share some of their experiences with a partner or to the whole class.  Don’t forget to share some of your own snow stories! 
  • Reflect on the fact that you had been focusing on snow activities, but that you now wanted to narrow the focus to snow sounds.  Explain that, when you first think about “the sound of snow”, most people might say “Well snow doesn’t make any sound.”  But invite students to think of sounds connected to the activities they just shared.     (ie  Action is sledding – sound is “whoosh!”, action is walking – sound is “crunch!” 
  • Explain that a sound word is not the action but the sound connected to the action.  Depending on your grade level, you can introduce the term onomatopoeia  (when a word describes a sound and actually mimics the sound of the object or action)
  • Invite students to share some of their action-sound connections. Record them on the board or chart stand
  • Tell the students you are going to read a story about a girl who discovers 10 different snow sounds. 
  • Read the anchor book Ten Ways To Hear Snow    YouTube Read Loud HERE 
  • Optional additional anchor book:  Snow Sounds  YouTube Read Aloud HERE 
  • After reading, invite students to add the sound words from the book to your list.  Point out that some of them aren’t actual words but groups of letters that make the sound.  Invite students to add new sound words to the list you started before the story.  
  • Pass out Snow Sounds template and invite students to brainstorm snow “actions” and “sounds” 
  • After their templates are complete, model how to use some of the sounds to write a Snow Sounds poem: 

        Snow Sounds  – A. Gear

         Pssssh! Snow falls gently to the ground

                   Crunch! Crunch!  Boots make noisy tracks

         Beep! Beep! Cars shout at each other

         Wheeeee!  Kids sled down the slippery hill

         Ouch!  Someone falls on the ice. 

         Sccccrrritch! Screept! the shovel clears the sidewalk 

  Option 2 – The Six Senses of Snow       

While the previous lesson focuses on only the sounds of snow, this lesson expands into all of the senses.  I can either be taught by itself or as an extension to the previous lesson.  

  • Ask students what snow fun they experienced over the long weekend.  Invite students to share some of their experiences with a partner or to the whole class.  Don’t forget to share some of your own snow stories! 
  • Ask students what the five senses are.  List them on the board or chart stand.  
  • Explain that the five senses are used in science when we are describing how humans receive sensory information.  Explain that the five senses are used in writing when a writer wants to create a visual image.  Writers often use 6 senses by adding emotion and feeling into their writing.  
  • Create a 6 box chart on the chart stand or board – label each box with one of the senses, including emotion. 
  • Begin with sight and ask the students to think about what things they saw while outside in the snow.  Brainstorm and record words into one box.  
  • Move to the next box and ask students to think about the sounds of snow.  What sounds do you remember hearing when you were outside in the snow.  Record their ideas in the box.  Depending on your grade level, you may introduce the technical term for a sound word is onomatopoeia. 
  • If you haven’t already read the story, tell the students you are going to read a story about a girl who discovers 10 different snow sounds. 
  • Read the story Ten Ways To Hear Snow  aloud (Youtube Read Loud HERE) or  Snow Sounds – An Onomatopoeic Story  Youtube Read Aloud HERE  
  • Review the sound words from the story.  Add them to The Six Senses of Snow  list
  • Depending on your grade, you can either continue brainstorming the other senses or invite the students to continue independently.  You can download the template “Six Senses of Snow” here
  • These sensory word collections can be used for turning into a short descriptive paragraph or a sensory poem.  
  • For poetry, students can select one idea from each of their senses plan and add details to it:  

  The Six Senses of Snow by A. Gear

I see the snowflakes fall, covering the ground with a blanket of white.

I hear the whoosh of the sled and my sister’s squeals as we fly down the icy hill.  

I taste the cold metal of snow melt on my tongue as it turns into water

I feel the sting of cold, wet mittens on my fingertips

I smell the cold air, crisp and fresh and damp. 

I feel the sadness that the snow won’t last forever.  

Or students can create more of a list poem with their snow senses:

Snow Senses – A. Gear

Snow excites

Snow sprinkles

Snow sparkles

Snow whooshes

                   Snow crunches

Snow slips

Snow soaks

Snow hurts

Snow sloshes

Snow scrapes

Snow rolls

                   Snow whispers 

                  Snow sloshes

                  Snow melts. 

Other Snow Lessons (see additional snow books below)  

Making Connections 

After the rain and slush have washed the snow away,  our memory pockets remain filled with new snow stories ready to share.  So this week, why not spend some time making connections and capturing those memory pocket snow stories?  Read any of the books listed above or below and invite students to make connections to their snow experiences.  

Visualizing – 

I often use books about seasons and weather when I’m teaching or practicing visualizing.  Choose any of the recommended books below, cover the cover, read the story and invite students to visualize while you read.  Pause after a few pages and invite them to either turn and talk about what they visualize, or they can do “quick pics” on a paper.  

Event Stories – 

Personal narrative stories that retell an event are often how I teach students about transition words. 

  • After reading one of the snow books, invite students to think about their “snow day” activities.  Invite them to list them in order and tell their partner – retelling their day in the snow.   
  • Students can then use a 6 box or 4 box paper to record their day in sequence – ie – got dressed in snow gear, walked to the park, went sledding, fell off the sled, went home, had hot chocolate. 
  • Model adding transitions words to each box – Then, After that, Later on, etc. 
  • This plan can then be used for  re-telling or writing their event stories.   See the full lesson in my Powerful Writing Structures book  

Additional Snow Books: 

There are dozens of snow themed books, but for this particular lesson, I wanted to focus on more on realistic “memory pocket” stories of a recent snow fall, rather than the more imaginative “Snowmen at Night” types of stories.  

Snow – Cynthia Rylant 

Youtube Read Aloud Here (story start at 41 seconds)

My Winter City – James Gladstone

 YouTube Read Aloud HERE

So Much Snow! – Robert Munsch

YouTube Read-Aloud Here

Snow – Uri Shulevitz

                                                                              Youtube Read Aloud Here

When Winter Comes – Discovering Wildlife in Our Snowy Woods – Aimee Boissonette

Perfect Snow – Barbara Reid

Youtube Author Read Aloud

Red Sled – Patricia Thomas

Youtube Read Aloud

Blizzard – John Rocco

YouTube Author Read Aloud HERE 

Under and Over the Snow – Kate Messner

YouTube Read Aloud Here

Tracks in the Snow Wong Herbert Yee 

The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats 

Youtube  Animated Read Aloud HERE 

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy snow day lessons to all!  

 

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Filed under Lesson Ideas, making connections, New Books, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Poetry, Seasons, Snow Books, Social Responsibility, Winter Books

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #16 – Leaving Our Heartprints

I originally created OLLIs when schools in my province of British Columbia shut down last spring due to Covid19.  While we are now back in class, I know there are many districts still juggling virtual and in-class support.  These OLLIs can be used both in class and virtually person.  Either way, I hope you find some ideas that you can use with your students to lighten your load just a little this year!  

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books in case you missed any of them:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)

OLLI #13 (Harvey Slumfenburger)

OLLI #14 (New Year’s Resolutions)

OLLI #15 ( 100 Things That Make Me Happy)

THE INSPIRATION:

As we turn a page on a new month and start to prepare for Valentine’s Day, most of us will be talking to our students about kindness.  Why not use this month to inspire a little heartprinting in your class!  This lesson comes directly from my book Powerful Understanding (Understanding Others – page 101-103, 121), but in case you don’t have a copy, here it is!  

THE ANCHOR (Primary) 

A World of Kindness – Anne Featherstone

This simple book outlines clear, concrete examples of different ways you can be kind.  From waiting your turn, to helping someone younger – this book is a great starting point for discussing “actions of kindness” that leave heartprints on others.   You can find the online read aloud – HERE 

Note:  The read aloud narrator on Youtube starts by greeting “grade 1’s” so you may wish to just start the video a few seconds in if you don’t teach grade one!  

The Anchor – Intermediate

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed – Emily Pearson

One of my very favorite anchor books for introducing random acts of kindness and discussing how an ordinary deed can change the world.  While it looks like it would be more geared for younger readers, the message is for everyone!  A wonderful story about the ripple effect that kindness can have and a bonus math lesson on expediential growth at the end!  

You can watch a video of the read-aloud HERE  

The Lesson

  • Begin with the “one word” activity.  Write the word “Kindness” on the board or chart stand.  Invite students to think about a connection, a visual image, and a feeling connected to that word.  Have students share their ideas with a partner and then brainstorm out.
  • Create a class web, recording their ideas around the word using one color of pen.  Tell the students you are going to come back to this web at the end of the lesson to see if our thinking has stretched.  
  • Show a photo of a footprint in sand.  Ask the students what it is and how it’s made.  Show a picture of a handprint and ask the same thing.
  • Write the word “heartprint” on the board.  Ask students what they think it might be – discuss in partners and with the class. 
  • Explain that a heartprint, like a footprint or handprint is something that you leave behind.  But unlike a footprint or handprint, you can’t actually see it.  But you do feel it inside your heart.  
  • Ask students how someone might leave behind a heartprint.  Invite students to share some ideas.  Discuss that leaving heartprint is often done quietly, without being asked.  Depending on your grade, you can introduce the concept of “random acts of kindness”.  
  • Share the anchor book A World of Kindness.  Invite students to listen for ways to be kind and leave heartprints.  
  • After the story, discuss examples of kindness from the story.  Discuss how the acts were sometimes very simple.   Leaving a heartprint doesn’t have to be big or involve “buying someone a present”.  It could be as simple as letting someone go first, or giving someone a compliment.  
  • Revisit the One Word activity “kindness” on the board and invite students to reflect on the word.  How has our thinking about this word changed or stretched?  Invite students to share and record new ideas, using a different color felt, to show the change in thinking.
  • Explain that this month is Family Day and Valentines Day – both days give us opportunities to leave heartprints at home and at school
  • Create a T-chart and brainstorm ways they can leave heartprints at home (clean up my room, take out the garbage without being asked, thank mother or father for cooking the supper, do a chore in secret, share a toy with your brother or sister) and at school (leave a positive message on a sticky note on someone’s desk, clean out someone’s desk, hold the door for someone, let someone go infront of you) 
  • Plan a Heartprint Week in your class next week.  Invite students to come up with ways they will leave heartprints for others.  
  • Pass out the template “Leaving My Heartprint” for students to complete.  They set their goals at the top and then complete the bottom at the end of the week.  

         Download the template HERE

Additional books about spreading kindness: 

Here are some additional books about kindness you can share throughout your Heartprint Week.  I’ve tried to include options for both primary and intermediate ages.   If you don’t have a physical copy of the book, many are available as online read-alouds.  Just google the title and search “video”.    One important theme I would try to include is how one person’s small act kindness can make a huge difference to many.  Don’t forget to revisit the word “kindness” and add new thinking to the One Word Activity after you read.

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What Does it Mean to Be Kind? – Rana DiOrio

When We Are Kind – Monique Gray Smith

Lend a Hand – Poems About Giving – John Frank

The Can Man – Laura E. Williams

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The Jelly Donut Difference – Maria Demondy

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch – Eileen Spinelli

How Kind! – Mary Murphy

The Pink Umbrella – Amelia Callot

The Love Letter – Anika Aldamay Denise 

Plant a Kiss – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

The Mitten Tree – Candace Christiansen

 Be Kind – Pat Zietlow Miller

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The Kindness Quilt – Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Tomorrow I’ll l Be Kind – Jessica Hische

The Day it Rained Hearts – Felicia Bond

Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light – Apryl Stott

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Heartprinting, everyone! 

 

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Filed under Kindness, New Books, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Social Responsibility, Valentine's Day

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #15: 100 Things That Make Me Happy

Hello, everyone!  Well, it’s mid-January and the January blues may be creeping in!  Time for another OLLI and time to spread a little happy in your class!  For those getting ready for 100th Day – this lesson will be a perfect fit! For those who aren’t – there is never a wrong time to focus on gratitude for simple things that bring us joy! 

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)

OLLI #13 (Harvey Slumfenburger)

OLLI #14 (New Year’s Resolutions)

THE INSPIRATION:

As primary teachers prepare to mark the 100th day of school, I thought this lesson would be one way to mark the day by finding and spreading a little “happy” (x 100!) in your classroom!  Mid winter blues, Covid, (will it ever end???) – we could all use a little happy in our lives!  Finding joy in everyday things and demonstrating gratitude is something can all practice.  Even if you don’t celebrate 100th Day in your class – this lesson can be adapted to any grade and great chance for you and your students to “find some happy”!  

THE ANCHOR:

100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz

100 Things That Make Me Happy – Amy Schwartz

A lovely, charming, rhyming list of things that make most of us happy.   I love this book for so many reasons: the abundance of gratitude for simple things in life, the whimsical rhyming that makes it easy for kids to read and reread, the feeling of joy that comes from thinking positive thoughts with our students, and, of course, the connection to “One Hundredth Day” celebrations.   You can find the online read aloud – HERE

The Lesson

  • Begin with the “one word” activity by writing the word “happy” on the board.  Invite students to think about the word. Specifically, ask them to make a connection, create a visual image, and attach a feeling connected to the word.  (because this is a feeling word, invite them to think of other words that might be connected) 
  • Invite students to share their connection, visual image, and feeling with a partner.  Ask some to share and record their ideas onto the chart, around the word “happy” to create a class web.  
  • Tell them you are going to read a story about “happy”.  Invite them to pay attention to their thinking because you will be coming back to the word after you have finished reading
  • Read the story or show the video of the read-aloud.  You can find the online read aloud – HERE
  • After reading the story, invite the students to “re-visit” and “re-think” the word “happy”.  Has anything changed?   (you may want to steer them in the direction that this book made you think about how easily happiness can be found in small, simple things.  This book also made you feel thankful that there are so many things in the world that can bring us joy – we just have to notice them)
  • Invite the students to brainstorm a list of things that make them happy.  Remind them that the happiness in the book was found in things other than material things (toys, video games, etc.)  Encourage them to include experiences, places, and people as well as objects on their list.  
  • Invite students to share their list with a partner and then invite them to share out as you record their ideas to make a class list.  
  • IF you are celebrating 100th Day – this could be the start of creating a class list “100 Things That Make Us Happy”.   Students could contribute their ideas as you record them on a large class list.  
  • Pass out the template Things That Make Me Happy.  Model your own, showing how you draw a picture and write about it underneath.   
  • You can download the Primary Template HERE 
  • You can download the Intermediate Template HERE 
  • You can download additional Happy Lists HERE (short list) and HERE (long list)
  • Depending on your grade, this could be incorporated into a writing lesson, using “magical detail words” (See Powerful Writing Structures – page xxx).  After students write what makes them happy, they can add a detail using the word “Once, When, If, or Sometimes”    example:  Reading a book makes me happy.  Sometimes, I sniff the pages to fill my lungs with book joy.   OR  My dog Maggie makes me happy.  When I come home, she always meets me at the door and wags her fluffy tail.
  • Students can share their happy pages with a partner.  
  • Create a class book or display on a bulletin board: “Div. 5 is Finding Happy!” 

Additional Books About Happiness and Gratitude: 

Below are some of the other recommended books that encourage us to “look for happy” and be grateful for the little things.   

Taking a Bath with a Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy – Scott Menchin

100 Things I Love to Do With You – Amy Schwartz

  100th Day Worries – Margery Cuyler

The Favorite Book – Bethanie Deeney Murguia

Hap-Pead All Year – Keith Baker

My Heart Fills With Happiness – Monique Gray Smith

A Good Day – Kevin Henkes 

This book is also great for TRANSFORM for younger students.  What makes a bad day?  What makes a good day?  

All the World – Liz Garton Scanton

Thankful – Eileen Spinelli

The Thankful Book – Todd Parr

Thanks for stopping by! I hope this lesson brings a little happiness into your classroom and into your heart!

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Connect, Feelings, Gratitude, Gratitude, Lesson Ideas, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Writing Anchors

Reading Resolutions 2021! Let’s Go Genre Jumping!

What section would I find you in, in a book store? Fiction? Biography? Travel? Cook books? Children’s Section? Self help? How many books will you read this year? 1? 3? 9? It’s a new year and what better time than to set some READING GOALS for yourself and your students? Setting Reading Goals is a great opportunity to motivate your students to expand their reading interests and introduce your students to a wide range of different genres. Why not make 2021 the year you and your students go “genre jumping!” and motivate your class to explore genres they may have never read before?

The Lesson:

  • Write the word “genre” on the board. Ask students what the word means. Explain that a genre is another word for a “category”. Using genres is a way of organizing things like music, movies, and books by identifying different types or categories.
  • Brainstorm or give examples of different genres of music ( jazz, rock and roll, rap, classical) and movies (drama, comedy, thriller, documentary, romance)
  • Ask students to brainstorm with a partner different genres of books that they know. Record them on the board. Depending on what grade you have, you may or may not need to provide suggestions!
  • Show the Genre Jumping slideshow to review the different genres, showing an example of each.

Download the Genre Jumping slides HERE

  • Invite students to think about which genres they tend to read more of, favorite, etc. Discuss “favorites” of the class. You may even want to create a graph of your students’ genre preferences.

You can download a Genre Graph HERE.

  • Explain that often, once readers discover a genre they like, they tend to stick to it. Pass out the Reading Resolution template. Download HERE: 2021 Reading Resolutions – Genre Jumping template. Primary Version HERE: 2021 Reading Resolutions – Genre Jumping PRIMARY
  • Explain that: This year, I’m encouraging everyone to try to expand their reading horizons by reading some different genres. Remember: you won’t know until you try! Setting some Reading Resolutions can help motivate you to expand your reading interests.
  • Explain that the class is going “Genre Jumping” in 2021! The goal is to try to read as many different genres as you can. “How many you try is completely up to you! You are only competing with yourself!”
  • Invite students to complete the survey on the second page, selecting their “go to” genres, as well as the genres they may have never read before. Invite them to set a goal for how many genres they think they will try to read this year.
  • Explain that the sheet is for them to keep track of books they read from different genre categories. Likely, they will set their goal from now until the end of June.

Final Thoughts:

  1. This is not intended to be used as “reading homework”. I would never “make” students read books that they may not be interested in. I also am not a big fan of home reading logs (kids read – parents sign) as I don’t think they promote a love of reading.
  2. The goal is not to “FINISH” the sheet, but to set a goal and try a few new genres. There is no PRIZE for “finishing”.
  3. I ever “reward” kids for reading. The reward for reading is reading itself! Just say no to giving prizes and pizza for reading! That being said, however, if I do have a student who I feel legitimately reads a book in all 18 categories, I may quietly present them with an Indigo gift card. But not for a “prize” – but more for the “pride”.

Lesson Extensions

Genre of the Month – Depending on your grade level, “Genre Jumping” could be something that you carry on for the remainder of the year. Each month, you could have a “Genre of the Month”, set up a “table with a label” with books of that genre, discuss the specific features of that genre, and focus on this genre for your read-alouds. Now there are more genres than months left in the school year… so you may have to narrow down your monthly choices.

Book Talks – Invite students to present a book talk on one of the new books/genres they have been exploring. Link this to persuasive writing and teach them the difference between a descriptive book talk (purpose is to share story summary and highlights, favorite character, highlight, lowlight, insight, etc.) and a persuasive book talk (purpose is to try to convince others to read the book).

I found this website which has free printable of the different genres that includes a frame for a book report.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you feel inspired to inspire your students to do more “genre jumping” this year. Putting the perfect book in the hands of a student is one of the most rewarding things about being a teacher. Sometimes, it just takes one book to spark a flame of book love in a child. Let’s see if we can spark a few flames this year!

I’d love to hear about your “genre jumping” experiences! Please post and use the tag #genrejumping and tag me #readingpowergear (so I will see it)

Have a great week, everyone and happy “genre jumping”!

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Filed under Genres, Literature Circles, OLLI, Reading Resolutions

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #14: Happy New Year Lessons

Happy New Year to all of you!   I do hope you were able to enjoy the break, take time for yourself, your family, and your friends.  I know that the year ahead holds a great deal of hope and anticipation but that those feelings are mixed with the worry and fear that things are still not as they should be.  As teachers, we face uncertainty and concern that we aren’t doing enough, but are working harder than we have ever worked before.   It’s going to get better, I believe that.  And in the meantime, be kind to yourself.  Do what you can and know that it’s enough.  

I’m happy to know that my OLLI lessons are proving helpful for both your online and in-class lessons.  Hoping these New Year’s lessons (one for Primary and one for Intermediate) will help you and your students find ways to launch into 2021 with a positive outlook!  

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)

OLLI #13 (Harvey Slumfenburger) 

THE INSPIRATION:

It’s New Years – and that is always a time for us to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead.  While we have faced many challenges in 2020, there were some “silver linings” that unfolded as well.  Reflecting and being grateful for those moments and events is an important exercise for our students (and for all of us!).  Moving into 2021 with a positive outlook will help your students begin the new year with a little hope.  

The Lesson – New Year’s Resolutions (Primary)

THE ANCHOR: 

Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution  – Pat Miller

As Squirrel makes visits around the forest, she learns about New Year’s resolutions and helps her friends get started on theirs. If only she can think of a resolution of her very own!  This book introduces the concept of “New Year’s Resolutions” to younger students and a good one to share during the first week back.

Start the Lesson:  

  • Write the words “New Year’s Resolution” on the board and invite students to share their ideas about what it means.  Discuss why people might make resolutions for the New Year. 
  • Brainstorm some typical resolutions that adults often make:  ie – lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, get more sleep, read more, play less video games, etc. 
  • Discuss why resolutions may be hard to keep. (ie – habits are hard to break, etc)
  • Share the book “Squirrel’s Year’s Resolutions” (in print or on YouTube)
  • After viewing or reading the story, review what a resolution is.  Add any new ideas to the board. 
  • Explain that making a resolution at the start of a new year can help you set a goal to try to become a better person.   Discuss that the resolution should be something realistic and attainable
  • Brainstorm some possible resolutions –
        • keep my room cleaner
        • help around the house more – offer to help
        • read more books
        • do my homework after school not after dinner
        • call my grandma once a week
        • play less video games 
        • be nicer to my brother
  • Pass out the template New Year’s Resolutions – Squirrel and Me!  Download the template HERE
  • On one side, they draw and write about Squirrel’s resolution, on the other side, they write their own.   Model your own on the whiteboard or chart stand.  
  • My 2021 Selfie, adapted from a lesson in Powerful Understanding (Self), is an optional art activity.  Download the template HERE

 

The Lesson – Highlights, Lowlights, Insights, Goals  (Intermediate)

Supporting your students to reflect on their learning and behaviour independently will help them become well-rounded individuals as they move through their schooling and beyond.  Helping students to develop “reflective habits of mind” is a key component in education now and the start of a new year is an excellent opportunity to begin this practice.   (For more ideas on developing reflection in your classroom click HERE)  

  • Explain that a New Year is an opportunity to look back at some of the things that happened last year, reflect on them (both the good and the bad) and learn from them.  This reflection can help us learn, grow, set goals and take action.   
  • Explain that a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future.  
  • Write the words “HIGHLIGHTS, “LOWLIGHTS”, “INSIGHTS” and “GOALS” across the top of your white board.  Explain that 2020 was certainly a year of challenges and “lowlights” but reflecting on the “silver lining” can help us gain new perspective and insight.   
  • Brainstorm some of the highlights of last year.
        •  no school 
        •  went to the park more
        • more time with family
        • learned to play cards, knit, play piano
        • lots of video games
  •  Brainstorm some lowlights of the past year:
        •  Covid-19
        •  no school
        • no hockey (sports)
        • lots of people got sick, died
        • couldn’t see friends or  grandparents
        • no school
        • no holidays
        • crowded in the house
        • broke my arm
  • Discuss what an insight is: something you learn based on your experiences and your reflections.  Example – you and your best friend stop speaking and you don’t know why.  You think about it for a while, reflect on the last couple of months, and your realize that you have not been very kind, not responding to texts, teasing a little, picking fights.  You ask yourself why?   After thinking about it for a while, your insight is that your friend was doing better in school and you were a little jealous.  So you started being just a little mean because you were trying to somehow get back at him/her.   
  • Explain that insight comes from thoughtful reflection.  When we gain insight, we can become more aware of our actions and what we can do differently.  The result is we become a better, stronger person.  
  • Ask students:  What insights have we gained this year, during the pandemic?  What have we learned about ourselves?  What surprised us? What will we do differently, now that we know more about it? 
  • Explain that our insights can help us set goals for the future.  Model example:
      • HIGHLIGHT – we didn’t have to go to school for a few months
      • LOWLIGHT – I missed seeing my friends and teachers 
      • INSIGHT – School is actually an important part of my life and I shouldn’t take it for granted
      • GOAL – I am going to appreciate school more and work harder. 
  • Pass out template My New Year’s Resolutions 2021 Download the template HERE
  • “My 2021 Selfie”, adapted from a lesson in Powerful Understanding (Self), is an optional art activity.  Download the template HERE

Additional Books to Celebrate the New Year: (check YouTube for online versions)

Our 12 favorite new year's books are perfect for your January lesson plans or at home with your children. These are great for preschool, kindergarten, or first grade students.

The Night Before New Year’s – Natasha Wing

Natasha Wing’s “Night Before” series is a favorite with young readers.  The Night Before New Years is a fun story about how a family celebrates this special evening.

Our 12 favorite new year's books are perfect for your January lesson plans or at home with your children. These are great for preschool, kindergarten, or first grade students.

New Year’s Day 

People around the world have different customs to welcome in the new year. Learn the history of New Year’s Day, and read about all of the different traditions that make it fun!  This is definitely a must for your New Year’s book list if you are teaching students about traditions and customs!

Bringing in the New Year – Grace Lin

This lively, colorful story follows a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. A perfect introduction to this holiday for young readers.

Our 12 favorite new year's books are perfect for your January lesson plans or at home with your children. These are great for preschool, kindergarten, or first grade students.

P. Bear’s New Year’s Party – A Counting Book – Paul Owen Lewis 

This book counts down to New Year’s Eve, while teaching numbers, counting, and telling time! This book is popular with teachers, and students will enjoy the story and the simple illustrations. 

Shante Keys and the New Years Peas by Gail Piernas-Daenpor

In her quest to find some black-eyed peas, Shante discovers the different ways that her neighbors celebrate the New Year. A story of diversity and traditions that children will really enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope this lesson helps you as you start your first week of 2021.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy New Year!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post to help your students set some Reading Resolutions for 2021!

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Filed under Connect, Lesson Ideas, New Year's Resolutions, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book

GEARPICKS Holiday Book Gifting 2020 Part 2 – Book Gifting for Tweens

Last week, I posted PART 1 of my Holiday Book Gifting ideas, focusing on books for your younger readers. You can read the post HERE. This week, I am excited to share my picks for gifting those tweens in your life! I’ve tried to include books for all interests and hoping one will be a perfect match for that reader in your family!

For the Sci-Fi Fan

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Bloom by Kenneth Oppel

Kids ages ten and up will get sucked into this unputdownable science-fiction novel about a strange rain that causes alien plants to sprout. The plants climb up buildings, destroy crops, and devour animals and people. Only three teens are immune to the mysterious plants, and nobody knows why. This action-packed book is the first in an exciting new series that will keep kids up all night.

For Your Imaginative Animal Lover 

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The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington

Kids that like animal stories will likely get lost in this magical book. Lexington can speak telepathically to elephants, and they can speak to her. When the elephant Nyah sends her a mysterious message, Lex gets caught up in a spooky and magical adventure that may provide answers about her past.

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Skunk and Badger Amy Timberlake

Skunk and Badger join a list of literary “odd couples” in children’s literature, much like Frog and Toad or Elephant and Piggie. If you’re looking for an early middle-grade book to read with the kids, this is a great one. Reminiscent of the 100 Acre Wood and Wind in the Willows, and filled with quirky, memorable animal characters, this friendship story has both humour and thoughtful themes. Jon Klassen’s illustrations add to the fun.

For your Budding Environmentalist

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Music for Tigers Michelle Kadarusman

A coming-of-age story set in the dense rainforest of Tasmania. This book explores so many different themes – family, legacy, friendship, animal extinction, autism, and environmental conservation. Louisa is sent to spend some time at her Uncle Ruff’s bush camp in Tasmania when she would much rather practicing her violin for her big audition. While at the camp she meets her great-grandmother, through her journals, a new friend in Colin, and a once thought extinct Tasmanian tiger named Ellie. Ah-Mazing! Love this book and love that it incorporates Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

For your Historical Fiction Fan

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The Blackbird Girls – Anne Blankman

This is a moving story about two girls whose friendship develops during the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Told in alternating perspectives and different periods in history, this story shows that hatred, intolerance, and oppression are no match to the power of friendship. Fascinating and innovative.

Folklore and Fairy Tale Fans

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When You Trap A Tiger – Tae Keller

Know someone that likes family legends, folklore, and fairy tales? If so, you’ll definitely want to add this middle grade novel to your shopping list. Filled with magical realism, a magical tiger, Korean folklore, challenges and deals and family ties, this novel is about finding the courage to speak up.

Humour

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Wink – Rob Harrell

Ross Maloy just wants to be a normal seventh grader but with his recent diagnosis of a rare eye cancer, blending in is not an option. Based on author Rob Harrell’s real life experience, this book is packed with comic panels and incredibly personal and poignant moments. It is an unforgettable, heartbreaking, hilarious, and uplifting story of survival and finding the music, magic, and laughter in life’s weirdness.

For Fans of Realistic Fiction

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The List of Things That Will Not Change – Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead is known for her realistic middle grade stories and her latest book is amazing. Bea is thrilled that her Dad is going to marry his boyfriend and that she’ll finally get a sister. As the wedding draws closer, Bea learns that nothing is simple when you’re forming a new family.

For Your Adventurer

The Last Kids on Earth: June's Wild Flight by Max Brallier

The Last Kids on Earth: June’s Wild Flight – Max Brallier

It’s not hard to see why The Last Kids on Earth series is such a popular series. These action-packed books are full of monsters and adventure with black and white illustrations splashed across every page. The series has even been adapted into a Netflix show. This book, featuring June, is set between the events of The Midnight Blade and the upcoming sixth book in the series.

Fans of Survival Stories

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Red Fox Road – Frances Greenslade

A thirteen-year-old girl on a family vacation becomes stranded alone in the wilderness when the family’s GPS leads them astray. A compelling survival story for ages 10 to 14, for fans of Hatchet and The Skeleton Tree. Exquisite sensory detail!

For Graphic Novel Fans

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Doodleville – Chad Sell

Calling all artists! This magical graphic novel is for readers with a big imagination and a love of art from the creator of Cardboard Kingdom. It’s a funny, imaginative world called Doodleville created inside main character Drew’s sketchbook. The only problem is that her doodles don’t stay in the sketchbook, including a not-so-friendly monster named Levi. Full of friendship, humor, and fun, this graphic novel will be a big hit!

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Nat Enough – Maria Scrivan

Delightful graphic novel about navigating friendships in middle grades – making friends and losing them.
This is a great graphic novel for middle grade readers. It not only teaches kids what real friendship looks like, but it also teaches them to focus on who they are instead of who they aren’t. This is the first book in the Nat Enough series, but the second book in this series has just been releasedForget Me Nat

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When Stars Are Scattered – Victoria Jamison

Based on the real-life experiences of Omar Mohamed, this heartbreaking yet hopeful graphic novel gives readers insight into the life of a refugee. When Omar gets the opportunity to go to school, he is excited. He knows an education could enable him and his younger brother to get out of the refugee camp where they’ve spent most of their lives. But going to school also means leaving his brother behind to fend for himself every day. This book is a perfect example of how graphic novels can introduce important and timely issues that will resonate with readers. EXCELLENT!

For Hockey Fans

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Hockey Super Six on Thin Ice – Kevin Sylvester

Lots to love about this series! It’s not only about a group of six friends who love to play hockey, but also an evil genius, some mutant squids who form an opposing team, and a magical blue light that gives everyone some unexpected skills on the ice. It’s funny, entertaining, and also focuses on the importance of teamwork.

Thanks for stopping by! I do hope you found 1 or 2 titles that you can gift to the tween in your life.

Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday and well deserved break. Enjoy this time to recharge, reflect, and read-read-read!!!

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Animals, Art, Diversity, Fairy Tales, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Holiday books, Literature Circles, Middle Grade Novels, Novels, Refugee, Sci-Fi, social justice

GEARPICKS Holiday Book Gifting 2020 Part 1 – Toddlers, Beginning and Early Readers, and a little Festive Fun!

Give Books

Stuck trying to think of something to buy that baby, toddler, or young reader in your life? Why not gift them with some BOOK JOY????   Welcome to the 2020 edition of my Holiday Book Gifting post!   I hope you find one or two books to gift to a special reader in your life this holiday season!  (Book Gifting for Tweens coming out soon!)

Happy reading and gifting everyone!

For Toddlers

The Babies and Kitties Book – John Schindell

Anyone who is looking for a board book to give to a new baby – this is it!  ADORABLE photographs and rhyming text celebrates all the ways babies and kittens are alike.  Off the chart on the cuteness scale.   This is the follow up to The Babies and Doggies Book (which I had never heard of but it’s beyond cute as well!)

No More Naps  – Chris Grabenstein

Look at this cover!!! Can you stand it?  How can you not make connections to that face?  With  just a few words and simple drawings, this story captures the emotional highs and lows of a toddler, as well as the poor folks having to deal with them.  LOVE this one!

Delightful Picture Books

The Box Turtle – Vanessa Roeder

Terrance the turtle is born without a shell so his parents strap on a box.  All is well until the other turtles tease him and Terrance begins a search for a new shell.  Another off the chart on the cuteness scale but also a lovely message about being yourself and loving who you are.  Not preachy – just sweet.

Find Fergus – Mike Boldt

Hilarious story of a bear who is VERY bad at hiding.  This one will have you and your kids laughing out loud!

The Barnabus Project – The Fan Brothers

One of my favorite picture books of 2020, The Barnabus Project is a stunning story both visually and emotionally.  Barnabus is half elephant and half mouse (think Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolph) so is banned to the basement of the Perfect Pet Shop with the other “Failed Projects”.  Love this story.  Hug this story.  Share this story.  

Polar Bear in the Snow – Mac Barnett

So, so clever! A perfect combination of words and illustration pulls the reader in and makes them pause at each spread.  Simplicity, beauty, and wonder – this is picture book perfection!  LOVE!

The Snow Fox – Rosemary Shojaie

A charming story about cherishing old friends and making new ones that takes readers quietly through the four seasons.  Gentle and calm and with beautiful illustrations.  This is a cozy-curl-up-and-read-together kind of book!

The Grinny Granny Donkey – Craig Smith

Another sequel to the wildly popular, viral sensation “Wonky Donkey” series.  This one is about Grandma Donkey and, like the others, is filled with cute, tongue tied rhythms.  Lots of fun!

Grumpy Monkey Up All Night – Suzanne Long

Love this new edition to the Grumpy Monkey series.  This one will have you laughing at Monkey who is determined to stay up all night!

Attack of the Underwear Dragon – Scott Rothman

This is a fun, rhyming tale of a young boy who loves the Knights of the Round Table and dreams of one day joining their ranks as an assistant Knight.  Perfect for anyone who loves Knights, dragons and underwear!

Not Me – Elise Gravel

“Who’s responsible for this mess?”…”Not me!”  Hilarious book all parents will relate to!  The “Not Me” monster comes to life in Canadian author Elise Gravel’s new book.  Available in French.

New for Beginning Readers

Cat Kid Comic Club: From the Creator of Dog Man by [Dav Pilkey]

Cat Comic Club – Dav Pilkey

Dav Pilkey is back with a new graphic novel series about a cat who starts a comic writing club.  Such a great book for inspiring creativity!  Why not gift your budding cartoonist with this book and a blank comic book (see below) so they, too, can draw comics like Cat!

Blank Comic Book for Kids

A perfect gift for your budding cartoonist.  An entire book filled with blank comic book frames and empty speech bubbles!  LOVE this for home but a great one for having on hand at school!

The Bad Guys in THE ONE?! – Aaron Blabey

For the BAD GUY fans in your family, here is the latest in the series.  Soon to be a major motion picture!

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure  – Jeff Kinney

For Wimpy Kid fans, here is a new series by Jeff Kinney.  This one is filled with adventure, fantasy, quests and LOTS of LOL moments.

Fun Facts

The Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Creatures – DK Publishing

Calling all Unicorn and Dragon lovers!  This one is packed full of “facts” about all the mythical creatures you can imagine.  Beautiful illustrations

400 Minecraft Tricks – Jimmy Wong

This book would likely not appear on any of my GEARPICKS recommended lists – but for the obsessed Minecraft player in your house, this one might be a big hit!

Two Truths and a Lie – It’s Alive – Ammi-Joan Paquette

Perfect family fun for the holidays.  This book is jam-packed with stories that are too crazy to be true and asks readers to separate the facts from the fakes! Also available in a Histories and Mysteries edition.

For the Family Foodie

MasterChef Junior Cookbook – Christina Tos

A perfect book for the budding foodie in your family.  Filled with great recipes, tips and tricks, nutrition, and amazing photographs.  Yum!

A Little Festive Fun

Would You Rather? – Christmas Edition

Great stocking stuffer and perfect for engaging the whole family with hilarious festive “would you rather” scenarios. Perfect for sitting around the table between courses!

I Spy Christmas Book

For a little quiet time or lap snuggling, this book is perfect for toddlers who might need a little calm as they search for hidden Christmasy things!

Jack and Santa – Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett is such a clever writer and his Jack series is just hilarious for beginning readers.  Here is the latest that has Jack worried when he finds himself on the Naughty List.  Great twist at the end!

Happy Narwhalidays – Ben Clanton

I adore Narwhal and Jelly stories – simple graphic novel format for your beginning reader.  This one is filled with more delightful and funny adventures wrapped in Christmas cheer.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 8 Nights of Chanukah – Eric Carle

Beloved author Eric Carle brings everyone’s favorite little caterpillar along to introduce the littlest readers to Hanukkah in this colorful counting book.  This simple board book takes readers through the 8 nights of Hanukkah and the wonderful traditions and symbols of the Festival of Lights.

The Joyful Book – Todd Parr

Todd Parr never disappoints and his delightful new book looks at all the simple things that brings us joy.  Signature illustrations – his books always make me feel good when I read them!

Mistletoe by Tad Hills

Mistletoe: A Christmas Story – Tad Hills

Such a sweet story about a mouse who loves to play in the snow and an elephant who prefers to stay inside.  A gentle, funny (the last page is HILARIOUS!) story about friendship and gift giving, just right for the Christmas season.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you were able to find a special book for that special someone!

Stay tuned for Book Gifting Part 2 for your Middle Grade Readers – coming out soon!

Happy Reading and Holiday Gifting, everyone! 

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Christmas, Holiday books, New Books, Picture Book, Winter Books

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #13: Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present

Hello, everyone!  Thanks to all for your positive responses to my OLLIs!  It’s great to know that these are being used and are helpful for both your online and in-class lessons.  Hoping this lesson will help you and your students fill your classroom with happy memories!    

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)

THE INSPIRATION:

It’s Christmas –  my very favorite time of year.  And while this year will look different in many ways, one tradition that remains in our house is our Christmas book collection.   When the decorations come out, so does the tub of holiday books.   When my boys were younger, I bought them each a new Christmas story every year.  Each story brings back memories and feelings from when they were young and the magic of Christmas filled our home.  There were a few favorites that always ended up at the top of the bedtime reading pile.  One of those favorites was Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present by John Burningham.  (Just the name “Slumfenberger” alone was a hit!!!)   I’ve read this book out loud I would guess over 60 times and it never ceases to delight.  There is something comforting about the journey Santa takes, the repetitive language, the compassion, the kindness of those who help Santa on his journey, the importance of the individual, and the extraordinary message of the Christmas spirit.  I have read this story aloud every year to to every grade from kindergarten to grade 7.  I never tire of it, and nor do my students.  

THE ANCHOR:1629865

Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present – John Burningham

Early one Christmas morning after returning from his annual delivery, Santa discovers one present still in his sack — a gift for Harvey Slumfenburger who lives at the top of the Roly Poly Mountain, far, far away.  Santa’s reindeer are asleep and one of them is sick.  Santa is tired, but he knows Harvey only receives one gift a year and it’s the gift he brings him on Christmas Eve.  So, he sets back out a very long journey on foot . . . by plane . . . on skis . . . until he reaches Harvey’s hut on the top of Roly Poly mountain. There, he delivers the last Christmas present.  “I wonder what it is?”  The last line of the book is one of the best endings because it invites the reader to think, to predict, and wonder just what Santa gave this little boy for Christmas.  

The Lessons

Predicting 

One of my favorite things about this book is that the reader never knows what gift Santa leaves for Harvey.  While we can use the clues of the size of the package to narrow down the choices, the possibilities are endless.  I love having children really think about what they think Harvey might want given that he only receives one gift all year.  

  • Begin by inviting the children to brainstorm a list of things they would like for Christmas this year.  Share with a partner.
  • Tell the students – what if you could only have ONE gift – which one would you choose?  Share with a partner.
  • Explain that this is a story of a little boy who only ever got one present each year from Santa Claus.  I wonder what it is? 
  • Read or share the story on YouTube (HERE)
  • After the story ends, invite the students to think about what gift Santa might have left for Harvey.  Discuss clues that will help with the prediction (ie – size of package; possible age of Harvey; ) and also what Santa may have thought would be a good choice for Harvey.
  • Invite children to share their ideas. 
  • Pass out the Harvey’s Christmas Present temple and invite the students to draw and label what gift they think Santa brought.    Click HERE for the template. 

Story Mapping and Sequencing

Because this book follows Santa’s journey to Harvey’s hut at the top of Roly Poly Mountain,  it works very well for re-telling, sequencing, and “de-constructing”.  (If you have a copy of my book Powerful Writing Structures, you can follow the “Event Story” lesson on page ). 

Students can use the Story Box template to map out Santa’s journey.    Click HERE for template 

Additional Lessons:

Visualizing – This book paints many pictures in the readers’ mind and is one that lends itself well to practicing visualizing.  Read the story aloud to the class WITHOUT showing telling them the title or showing them the or any of the illustrations.  (cover the cover with butcher paper or play the YouTube with audio only)  Invite them to practice visualizing the story.  Pause and invite students to share “what they see” in their mind.  Students could also draw sketches images while you read, or draw the one scene that “sticks”.  What does the “Roly Poly” mountain look like?  What does Harvey’s hut look like?  What’s inside Harvey’s package?   Make sure to show them the real illustrations afterwards!  

Questioning and Inferring – This book invites many questions and works well for practicing questioning and inferring.  Among some of the questions I have had from students:   Why are their only two reindeer?  How did the Reindeer get sick?  What did Santa bring Harvey?  How did Santa get home?  Why does Harvey only get one present?  How would Harvey feel if he woke up on Christmas day with no presents? 

Reader’s Theater – This book would make would be a wonderful one to use for Reader’s Theater becuase of the repetition and the various “characters” that help Santa on his journey.  Students could act out the parts, while a few take turns being the “narrator”.   Older classes could perform for their buddies.   

Additional Christmas Classics for reading and sharing: 

Below are some of the other favorite holiday classics from my collection.  Hoping there are one or two you can add to yours!  All make amazing read-aloud to share with your class or your loved ones at home.  

Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? – Jan Brett

 In her classic detailed Nordic style, Jan Brett tells a delightful tale of a young boy from Finland and his ice bear who help to scare away a group of trolls who are coming to gobble up a Christmas feast.  This book is a wonderful read-aloud, great for predicting and questioning.   My son would laugh every time I got to the line “Have a bit of sausage, kitty!”  These trolls certainly won’t be knocking again next Christmas!  

The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher  Robert Kraus (author of Leo the Late Bloomer) 

This book was first published in 1969 and was one of my favorites when I was younger.  I sadly did not keep a copy of the book but was thrilled to see it re-issued.  This book is such a fun read-aloud.  Great rhyming patterns which sound rather “Grinch” like at times.  While the villagers are sleeping, the Cookie Sprinkler Snitcher comes and steals all the cookie sprinkles so the mothers cannot decorate their Christmas cookies in the morning!  Lots of great connections for those of us who love to decorate those Christmas cookies!

 

Little Robin’s Christmas– by Jan Fearnly 

This book was first published under the title “Little Robin Red Vest”. It is a sweet story of a generous robin who has a vest for every day of the week.  But leading up to Christmas, he gives away each one of his vests to different chilly friends who need something to keep warm. By the time Christmas arrives, poor Robin has no vest and begins to freeze on the rooftop… when a surprise visitor delivers a special gift.  I love this book – it is a tender story with a message of sharing and kindness.

Little Tree – e.e. cummings 

“Little tree  little silent Christmas tree   you are so little   you are more like a flower  who found you in the green forest   and were you very sorry to come away”   This book is an illustrated version of e.e. cumming’s beautiful Christmas poem about a brother and a sister who find a tree in the streets and bring it home.  While they are walking home with it, they speak to the tree, asking it questions and comforting it.  This is a favorite of mine – the illustrations are soft and calming and the tenderness in which the children care for the tree is heartfelt.

The Snowman – Raymond Briggs 

Long before “graphic novels” had made their debut, Raymond Briggs brought us this classic wordless picture book which is written in the style of a graphic novel.  This charming story depicts a young boy’s adventure with a snowman who comes to life one night in his dreams.  The book has been turned into a Christmas “wordless” cartoon set to music that is apparently as classic in the UK is as the Grinch is in North America.  This story is magical, whimsical, delightful.  I have a “The Snowman” stuffy that plays the music from the movie – that’s how much I love this book.   Also comes in a board book.  

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss. (first published in 1957 – and still going strong!)   

No list of Christmas classics would be complete without the Grinch.  Every Who down in Whoville has memorized this amazing story of the true meaning of Christmas.  And in an age of outrageous consumerism – it’s a good one to revisit and remind ourselves that what is most important at Christmas is not an upgraded bamboozle or cardinker – but being “heart to heart and hand in hand” with those we love.   I read this story every year.  I watch the TV show every year.   I never will I tire of it.

The Polar Express – Chris VanAlsburg  (1986 Caldecott winner)

This book is a holiday tradition in our house, as I’m sure it is in many homes.  Every year, before my boys go to bed on Christmas eve, I read it aloud.  They are young men now, but still sit enjoy this book on Christmas Eve.  After reading the last page, I take out a small bell from my pocket and ring it – making sure that we can all still hear the sweet sound.  I am all grown up but I can still hear the sound of the bell.  Can you?

It’s Christmas, David! – David Shannon.  

David Shannon wrote a book when he was five using the only two words he knew how to spell:  “no” and “David”.  When his mother passed along his keepsake box when he was an adult, he discovered the book… and the rest, as they say,  is history!  In this holiday version of the popular “David” series, we follow David as he snitches Christmas cookies and peeks in closets, and as usual, has trouble staying out of trouble!  A delightful, funny read-aloud with lots of possibilities for “making connections”.

Christmas Cookies – Bite Size Holiday Lessons Amy Krouse Rosenthal  

In these “Cookie” books, Amy Krouse Rosenthal cleverly uses the analogy of making and eating cookies to define and illustrate important concepts such as respect, trustworthiness, patience, politeness, loyalty, etc.  The book reads a little like a dictionary – each page sharing a new word and example.  In this Christmas Cookies version, she includes holiday-related words like joy, patience, believe, celebrate, peace and tradition.  One of the things I love about Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s books is how simple they are – and this one is a perfect example – she  incorporates larger words that indirectly teaches children the meaning through the text.  This book is a perfect Christmas read-aloud in a classroom and would also make a wonderful holiday gift!  Adorable illustrations!

The Christmas Quiet Book – Deborah Underwood 

How many different kinds of quiet leading up to Christmas are there?  How about – “Searching for presents quiet,” “Getting caught quiet”, “Hoping for a snow day quiet” and the “shattered ornament quiet“.   I made connections to every page!   I loved the original The Loud Book and The Quiet Book so again, was excited to see the Christmas version.  The illustrations in this book are adorable – soft, gentle and quiet.  LOVE this book!

Snowmen at ChristmasCarolyn and Mark Buehner  

In this delightful follow-up to the popular Snowmen at Night, we follow snowman on a Christmas adventure while the rest of the world is sleeping.  The illustrations are magical – every time I read the book I see something new!  A wonderful, fun read that would lead to great art and writing activities.

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas – Melanie Watt  

Christmas would not be complete without Scaredy Squirrel!  My students have grown to love his insecurities, his worries, his cheesy grin and all his fears.  This holiday safety guide is filled with practical tips and step by step instructions to help readers prepare for a perfect Christmas, Scaredy style! From making Christmas crafts to dressing “holiday style” to choosing the perfect tree – this witty, laugh out loud book will delight Scaredy fans everywhere!  I love using these books to teach students about text features – labels, maps, fact boxes!  Have your students create a “Scaredy Squirrel” version of “How To” instructions for their favorite holiday activity!

Carl’s Christmas – Alexander Day   

The “Carl” books were, for me, my first real experience with the wordless picture book genre.  The original Good Dog, Carl book was published in 1996.  The premise of the books is a Rottweiler named Carl who is left in charge of the baby while the parents go out.  Sounds ridiculous, I know, but somehow, it works.  Day’s illustrations require no words – they tell the story seamlessly.  In this book, Carl and baby prepare for Christmas, go shopping, do some Christmas baking and have a reindeer encounter!  My boys LOVED Carl books when they were younger.  If you have never read a Carl book – you are missing something special!

The Jolly Christmas Postman – Janet & Allan Ahlberg

The Jolly Postman is back again, this time on Christmas Eve. He is off on his rounds where we meet some familiar characters and some new ones. When reading this to my class, they loved to identify who the characters were and who they thought he would visit next.  A delightful interactive book – filled with traditional rhymes with new witty twists..and beautiful illustrations.  Most of the letters contain activities for the children to do such as a game or jigsaw etc.  Such fun! 

Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever –  Matt Tavaras

How did Santa end up with all those reindeer and why are there eight of them? Do they like living at the North Pole?  This origin story by the author of Red and Lulu will answer all of those questions and more.  Absolutely stunning illustrations.  This book has been mentioned in several best-of-the-year lists.  A great book for “Knew-New’s”!!!

Red and Lulu – Matt Tavares 

This recent addition to my Christmas collection is absolutely stunning.  A male and female cardinal get separated when the giant tree they call home is cut down and hauled away.  Red (the male cardinal) follows the truck to find Lulu (the female), but he can’t fly that fast and loses sight of it. The countryside turns to a city scape, and that’s where a reunion, traditions, and new beginnings are found.  Beautiful, touching story about perseverance and love.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope this lesson brings you some Christmas joy!

Stay tuned for upcoming posts with some holiday book gifting ideas!

Wishing you and your loved ones near and far a VERY happy and WELL DESERVED holiday.  Look after yourself and enjoy the magic of the season.   Happy Holidays, everyone!  

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Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #12: Map of Good Memories

Hello, everyone!  Thanks to all for your positive responses to my OLLIs!  It’s great to know that these are being used and are helpful for both your online and in-class lessons.  Hoping this lesson will help you and your students fill your classroom with happy memories!    

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

THE INSPIRATION:

One of the things I love is when an anchor book can be used for multiple lessons.  The Map of Good Memories is one of those “multi-purpose” books that could be used as an anchor for many lessons.  One lesson might be to introduce immigration and to highlight the challenges facing families when they are forced to flee their home because of war and leave their memories behind.  It could be used for making connections to places in our community.  It could be used for practicing visualizing (don’t show the pictures and invite the students to visualize and create their own map)

But since I have a small obsession with books about maps (is there anything that can’t be mapped???) I thought about linking this book to mapping.  When I realized that this book was about mapping memories – I thought of combining memory pockets with mapping!   If you could “map your memories” – what would you include? 

THE ANCHOR:

The Map of Good Memories Fran Nuno

As her family prepares to flee the war-torn city of her birth, Zoe maps out the favorite places where she has spent the happiest times of her life, creating a “map of good memories,” so that they will always be with her.  At the end of the story, she discovers a secret message (shape) within the map. It made me wonder what shapes or patterns we might see if we made our own maps.

The Lesson:

Part 1

  • Write the word memory on the board or chart board.  Ask students what a memory is.
  • Discuss that memories are made from experiences we have in our that we remember.  Explain that memories often have feelings attached to them. These feelings can be happy, sad, scary, worried, etc.
  • Ask students where our memories are kept?  If you have done any lessons from Powerful Writing Structures or Writing Power, you can connect this to brain pocket writing, specifically “memory pockets”
  • Ask students to think about favorite places in and around their home and community where they have happy memories (favorite family restaurant, park, store, school, special tree)  Share some of your own.
  • Tell them that the story you are going to read is about a girl who has to leave her home but before she goes, she wants to make “a map of good memories”.  Invite the students to listen for the places she incudes on her map.
  • Read the story or share the read-aloud video (below)

 

Part 2

After reading the story, explain certain places can become extra special because of the experiences we have there and the people we visit these  places with.  While we might not be able to go to some of these places now, it’s nice to think back on the happy times we shared there and hopefully will again, soon.  Where do you love to go?  Think of all the places you have been to that are special to you.  

Invite the students to brainstorm places in their neighbourhood where they have experienced happy memories.  Ideas may include: 

  • favorite family restaurant
  • school
  • soccer field 
  • friend/cousin/grandparent’s house
  • favorite store (collectibles, video game store, toy store, etc.)
  • favorite park
  • swimming pool or skating rink
  • favorite back lane for street hockey

Using the My Map of Good Memories planning page, model how to list special places on one side and the happy memory connected to that place on the other.  Encourage students to record the actual name of the place.  ie – instead of “park”, write “Hillcrest Park”.  

  • Little Mountain baseball field – My happy memory of playing little league
  • Superstore – My happy memory of going shopping with my mom
  • Oodles of Noodles – My happy memory of eating noodles with my family

Part 3

After the students complete their planning page, model how to “map” the memories on My Map of Good Memories page.  Draw a picture of one of the places from your list and label it.  Depending on your grade level, students could create a key on the side, listing the place and happy memory.  

Students can color their maps when they are finished.  Like the book, invite them to track their happy memories (using a pencil first!) and see what “shape” they create.  

The example below is a teacher model of a Map of Good Memories from https://thelinkingnetwork.org.uk/    (Love the luggage labels! )

map of good memories

Additional Books to Support This Lesson:

Mapping Penny’s World Loreen Leedy

I have used this book often to launch a mapping unit with primary students.  Lisa is learning about maps in school.  She can create a map of anything and decides to map her dog, Penny’s, world!  Great information about map features including keys and scales.   

Mapping My Day – Julie Dillemuth

Spunky Flora teaches readers how to read, draw maps, and develop spatial thinking skills in this fun, interactive book.  

My Map Book – Sara Fanelli

Maps of everything from your bedroom, your day, and your stomach!  Perfect inspiration for your mapping unit.  

I Know Here – Laurel Croza

A young girl is moving from a rural home to a big city.  She spends the days before her move revisiting her favorite places for the last time.  

Shi-shi-etko – Nicola Campbell

A young indigenous girl spends the last few days before leaving for residential school collecting “memories” of her home and the land around it.

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All the Places to Love – Patricia MacLauchlan

A classic from Patricia MacLauchlan about special places and the people we share them with.  This story begins as Eli is born and, as he grows, he learns to cherish the people and places around him.  Eventually, he passes on what he has discovered to his new baby sister, Sylvie.  

For more lessons on connecting and visualizing, check out my book, Reading Power, 2nd edition 

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay safe, everyone.  I know these days are challenging and it’s sometimes it’s hard to find happiness amidst the worry. Hoping this lesson will help everyone find some happy memories to focus on.   

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Community, Connect, Identity, immigration, Lesson Ideas, Mapping, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Powerful Writing Structures, Visualize, Writing Anchors

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #11: If You Come to Earth

Hello, everyone!  When schools shut down last spring, I wanted to find a way to continue to support teachers as they went to online and virtual teaching.  OLLI lessons (Online Learning Lesson Ideas) were weekly lessons, based on a picture book, that teachers could either use for remote or in-class lessons.  Since then, teachers have continued asking when I would be posting them again.  And while I can’t promise I will be posting a new one every week, I will do my best to post as many as I can!

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

THE INSPIRATION:

One of the most important messages making its way into children’s literature is the need to care for the earth and for each other.  When writing my book Powerful Understanding a few years ago, I noticed many authors finding unique ways to share this important message to children through their books.  This week’s OLLI features one of my new favorites for this theme, inspired by the author’s travels for UNICEF and Save the Children.

THE ANCHOR:

If You Come to Earth: Blackall, Sophie: 9781452137797: Books - Amazon.ca

If You Come to Earth – Sophie Blackall

“If you come to earth, there are a few things you should know…” 

This gorgeous, thoughtful book imagines a child explaining Earth to a visitor from another planet. Both good and bad things about our planet are highlighted, with the overarching theme that our world is a beautiful place and it all works better if we help one another. Kids will love looking at the wonderfully detailed scenes on each oversized page.

This book is inspired by the thousands of children Sophie Blackall has met during her travels around the world in support of UNICEF and Save the Children.

Watch the author, Sophie Blackall, read the story aloud HERE

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THE LESSON:  

Start the lesson by inviting the students to imagine an alien had arrived on earth and their class had been invited to help introduce our planet to them.  What would we want to tell them about it?

How would we describe Earth to a stranger?  The land, the people, the animals?  How would we explain different countries, culture, diversity, kindness, war?  What positive and negative things would we want them to know about living here on Earth?  

Begin to create a large brainstorm web in the classroom.  In the center of the web, write “What is Earth?”  Depending on the grade you teach, you may wish to prompt children to think about different sub-topics connected to Earth such as:  people, land, water, weather, animals, earth problems, earth blessings, earth tips.  Download a planning page HERE

Screenshot (72)

Begin to brainstorm ideas for each topic.  This lesson could actually take several days to complete.   I would also invite students to add to the web, as they think of new ideas.

After one or two days of recording ideas, read the story If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall or show the video of the author reading the story aloud.   This will likely stimulate additional ideas that you can add to extend the class web.

Depending on your grade level, I could see this developing into a class project or a class book.  Each student could take on a different topic to describe:  People, Animals, Land, Water, People, Weather, Diversity, Problems, Blessings, Tips.   Using the whimsical voice of the author, research would not be required, but better to capture the natural voice and insight from the children.   You can use the student template HERE

Additional Books to Support This Lesson:

Below is a list of additional books that would support this lesson.

We Are Here – Notes for Living on Planet Earth – Oliver Jeffers

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This is How We Do It – Matt Lamothe

The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book: A journey through every country in the world by [Lonely Planet Kids]

The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids

Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams

 If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche

Thanks for stopping by this week.  I’m hoping you have found some inspiration or an anchor book you feel excited to share with your students.  The Earth is our home.  We need to take care of it and each other.   It’s that simple.

For more lessons on this theme, see my book book Powerful Understanding.

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Diversity, Ecosystems, environment, Lesson Ideas, Multicultural, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book