Monthly Archives: January 2021

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