Category Archives: New Books

Picture Books 10 for 10 (2020) Top Ten Picture Books to Support Outdoor Learning

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I’m excited to be, once again, participating in this summer’s 10 for 10 Picture Book celebration! #pb10for10   This annual celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.  Hard to believe this is my eighth year of participating in this event! (you can read my 2019 here 2018 here,  2017 post here,  2016 post here2015 post here2014 post here and 2013 here. )  Each year on August 10th, the blogging community chooses 10 picture books on a range of themes – from diversity, to community building, to writing, to conservation.  It is an amazing opportunity to explore new picture books related to a wide range of themes.  (It can also be a little hard on your bank account, if you are anything like me!)

 2020…. A year for the record books.  As we prepare and venture into the unknown of classrooms during Covid,  many are pressing the reset button and looking for new ways to support their students learning while trying to keep everyone safe.  While there is no doubt school start up will be challenging and look very different from any other year, it may also open up some exciting opportunities for exploring new ways to teach.  Outdoor learning is one of these new opportunities.  Outdoor learning is more than just taking students outside to play at the end of the day.  It is an outdoor learning space that provides an opportunity to integrate nature into your teaching and promotes play, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

Traditionally, I have always organized my #pb10for10 around Reading Power two books for each strategy (connect, question, visualize, infer, transform).  But this year, I am breaking with tradition and focusing on a theme more fitting for the times – 10 books that celebrate nature and may inspire outdoor learning and exploring.

(Note – I found so many wonderful books for this theme, I will continue with a second post later this week!)

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1.Run Wild David Covell

This book makes me want to take off my shoes and run around outside and explore!  A wonderful reminder that there are so many adventures to be found when you put down your screen.  Lovely rhythmic text and detailed illustrations!

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2.The Not So Great Outdoors – Madeline Kloepper

The little girl in this story hates nature.  She wants her WiFi and her electricity, and she doesn’t see what the big point of this “outdoor stuff” is.  Camping with her family is not exactly her idea of fun.  But she soon discovers that the (not-so) great outdoors can be just as exciting as screens and skyscrapers.  Love this playful picture book celebrating the pleasures of unplugging and embracing nature.

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 3. Daniel Finds a Poem – Micha Archer

What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew?  Crisp leaves crunching?  A cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass?  Maybe poetry is all of these things – you just have to take the time to really look and listen.  I use this book when launching my poetry unit but it’s the PERFECT book to inspire exploring and writing.

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4. The Listening Walk – Paul Showers

What can you hear when you’re out for a walk? The tap of your shoes, the whirr of the sprinklers, the chug of the bus? This classic picture book encourages you to slow down and listen to the noises all around you.  I have always loved using this book for visualizing and teaching onomatopoeia but would be an great inspiration for taking a “listening walk” with your students.

5. Autumn Math Walk Deanna Pecaski McLennan

Outdoor learning means finding ways to integrate nature into all areas of your curriculum.  This is a wonderful series that can spark mathematical conversations with children, and be used as a guide for discovering the rich math that exists in nature.   See also Winter Math Walk, Beach Math Walk and Playground Math.

6. Everybody Needs a Rock – Byrd Baylor

This is one of my all-time favorite books to share with students.  Byrd Baylor invites readers to find their “perfect rock” and gives 10 “rock rules” to follow while searching.  So many lessons and activities stem from this book –  a perfect introduction to rocks and minerals unit in science; students can find their own rock to learn about; learning a First Nations ways of knowing perspective; students to find a special rock and write a description and about their journey to find it.  LOVE!   (Check out my OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea on this book HERE)

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7. You’re Missing It!  – Brady Smith

Sometimes, it’s parents who need reminding to turn off their phones and enjoy the sights and sounds around them.  Perfect reminder to practice mindfulness, being present and enjoying the moment.  A great to companion (text-to-text) to Sidewalk Flowers.  

8. Backyard Fairies – Phoebe Wahl

Where are those fairies?  I am certain they are here – there are clues everywhere – but I just can’t see them!   Follow a little girl as she sets out into the woods in her backyard searching for the backyard fairies.  Although readers can see them, as hard as she looks, the fairies are always just out of view for the narrator.  Delightful illustrations.  I would use this book to promote Imagination Pocket writing.  Children could also go on a fairy walk outside or draw their own fairy forest.

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9.  Finding Wild – Megan Wagner Llyod

Breathtaking illustrations and enchanting language, this book takes readers on a sensory journey though nature.  Would be a great anchor book for visualizing and sensory details.  Would also be inspiring for kids to find their wild!

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 10. The Hike – Alison Farrell

Share the joy and excitement of three friends as they head out to enjoy the great outdoors together.  I love the beautiful, lyrical storytelling and the details of nature that fill every corner of this book.  Besides the overall message of encouragement to get out and enjoy the world outside, I would definitely use this for launching scientific notebooks and labelled diagrams.

While  not  a picture  book,  this  looks  like  an  excellent  resource  (but  I have  not  read it,  myself).  12082784

Moving the Classroom Outdoors:  Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning in Action – Herbert W. Broda

A great resource of new ideas and advanced ways to meaningfully use the space on  school grounds to support student learning.  Includes research and practical examples from schools across North America. Great photos!

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found a book to caught your eye!

(Note – I found so many books for this theme, I will continue with a second post later this week!)

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 10 for 10, 2020 Releases, environment, New Books, Outdoor Learning

Favorite Middle Grade Novels of 2020 (so far!) for summer reading!

It’s August!  Eeeek!  Only one more month to catch up on our READING, so thought I’d post a list of favorite middle grade novels.   (You can read last summer’s post HERE)

Whether you know a child,  tween, or teen who might be looking for some great summer reading, or you are on the look-out for a new book for next year’s read-aloud, there is something here for everyone.

What trends have I noticed in MG novels this year?:  stories written from alternating points of view, relatable characters who stand up for injustices, and a good dose of spook!  Some very powerful books – well worth checking out!  Happy summer reading, everyone!

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A Field Guide to Getting Lost – Joy McCullough

So much to love about this book about Sutton, a girl with a passion for science and  Louis, a boy obsessed with robots who dreams of writing fantasy novels.  While the two have nothing in common, they must figure out how to get along when their parents start dating.  Told in alternating perspectives of Sutton and Luis, this book is so engaging and has such authentic characters and voice – readers will make SO many connections!  Loved it so much!

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Efren Divided – Enesto Cisneros

Raw, gripping and powerful.  Seventh-grader Efrén Nava’s world turns upside down when his mother, his Ama, his Superwoman, is suddenly deported.   Efren is left to dig deep to find courage as he struggles to look after his young brother and sister and find a way to get his Ama home.  An important book that will spark discussion about immigration policies and inequality.  Heart-breaking and heart-warming, I needed Kleenex for this one.

 

Rick – Alex Gino

Eleven year old Rick struggles with a toxic friendship and his sexual identity is as he navigates middle school feeling “different”.  Sequel to the popular book GEORGE by the same author.  This is an excellent introduction for younger tweens to the LGBTQIAP+ community, nonbinary pronouns and sexual identity.

The Blackbird Girls – Anne Blankman

Gripping historical fiction, told in two voices, tells the story of two young girls fleeing the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.  Related story told through flashbacks of one of the girls fleeing the German invasion of Kiev during WWII.   Despite the horrible events both girls are experiencing, hope and the power of kindness shine through this book.  The details of daily life in Ukraine are fascinating.  If you enjoyed the HBO series “Chernobyl”, you will enjoy this book!

A Place at the Table – Saadia Faruqi

Told in alternating points of view, sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl are each in need of a friend.  Both girls are struggling with complicated home lives and a meet in a cooking class.  Mix in a cooking contest, middle school friendships, and a much-needed lesson on empathy, this book really surprised me.  Beautifully written and rich with important themes to discuss including race, religion and immigration, friendship, family, and how to make choices to be the type of person you want to be.

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington – Janae Marks

“Just Mercy” for kids!  Zoe Washington just turned twelve and has big plans to enter a kids baking show.  Things take a turn when she receives a letter from her biological father, whom she has never met and discovers he is in prison for a crime he says he did not commit.  She writes him back and so begins a summer filled with baking, friendship, and some important lessons about the criminal justice system that is accessible and easy for a tween to understand.   Another great surprise book for me.

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We Dream of Space – Erin Entrada Kelly

I can still remember vividly watching the Challenger tragedy unfold on TV.   Set in Jan, 1986 in the days leading up to the Challenger tragedy, this book is written from the perspective of Bird, Cash, and Finch – three different siblings living in a dysfunctional family.  Erin Entrada Kelly has captured the confusion and chaos of adolescence in a heartbreaking,  beautiful way.

Dress Coded – Carrie Firestone

A modern “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret?”, this powerful debut novel is told through narration, podcast episodes, and various letters.  So many themes to explore here, including girl-power, friendship, and standing up for what you believe in.  Molly, an eighth grader, starts a podcast to protest the unfair dress code enforcement at her middle school.  So relevant without being forced or fake.  EXCELLENT!

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Me and Banksy – Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Entertaining and thought provoking story that tackles the important issues of cyber bullying and cyber security in schools and includes themes of art and civic debates.  Dominica and her friends are targeted by a cyber bully, who is posting embarrassing images of them online.  They stage a protest to show how damaging the security cameras are to the students and teachers.  I loved the funny and engaging banter between the characters. This would be a great book to prompt a discussion with tweens about privacy issues in our digital world.  

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The One and Only Bob – Katherine Applegate

The much anticipated sequel to The One and Only Ivan did not disappoint.  In the story, we follow Bob after a tornado separates him from Julia while visiting his friends Ruby and Ivan. The story is action-packed, involves a diverse array of animals, and touches on the important topic of forgiveness.  You will be laughing in one moment and reaching for your Kleenex the next.  Bob’s voice is delightful and I love Katherine Applegate’s brilliant use of language, rich with metaphors and similes:  “When he opens the fridge, the light spills out like maple syrup on a hot pancake.” So many quotes worth savoring.  LOVE!

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Music for Tigers – Michelle Kadarusman

Beautifully written coming of age story set in Tasmania.  Louisa would rather spend the summer at home in Toronto playing her violin but instead is shipped off to spend the summer with her Uncle.  This book transports the reader to the lush Tasmanian rainforest of Australia as Louisa discovers a diary of her great grandmother.  In it, she learns a rich-family history to conserve the Tasmanian tigers.

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Stand Up, Yumi Chung! – Jessica Kim

This was such a fun, heart-warming story!  Shy Yumi Chung dreams of being a stand-up comedian one day, but that is not what her Korean immigrant parents have in mind for her.  When she stumbles across a comedy camp meeting in her neighborhood, Yumi finds herself pretending to be “Kay”, an absent student, and taking her spot in the camp.  I enjoyed this book so much.  It’s heartfelt and funny with many themes including family, comedy, and being your true self.  Lots of hype about this one, and now I know why!

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My Life as a Potato – Arianne Costner

I SO SO SO loved this book! (I know I say that a lot!)  It is laugh out loud funny and a perfect read-aloud for the beginning of the year.  Hilarious, accurate story of seventh grader Ben, convinced he is cursed by potatoes,  as he navigates his way through middle school with a main quest to avoid embarrassment.  Fans of the Wimpy Kid series will LOVE this book!  The character development is amazing, perfectly capturing the voice and mindset of a typical middle school student, complete with self-doubt and girl crushes.

Ghost Squad – Claribel A. Ortega

Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters  mixed together in this action-packed fantasy about two best friends, a ghost family and a quest for a spell book.  Twelve-year old Lucely Luna likes hanging out with her best friend, Syd, and spending time with her family.   Only most of her family are ghosts and she’s the only one who can see them.  If any book will be made into a movie this year – I predict this one!

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Bloom – Kenneth Oppel

High scores on the creep scale for this one!  Bloom is the first book in a trilogy (book #2 should be released in September) by wonderful Canadian author Kenneth Oppel, set in Salts Spring Island, B.C.   Killer vines begin a global invasion, growing fast and furiously after a rainfall.  Three teens: Anaya, Petra, and Seth, each with their own unusual trait, are the only ones who seem to be immune.  What’s their secret?  Eeeek!  This one actually creeped me out!  It’s a perfect suspenseful mix of dystopia, mystery, and horror. Sci-fi fans will fighting over this one!  Can’t wait for book #2!

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Cinders and Sparrows – Stefan Bachman

Spooky, charming adventure story filled with magic, witches, and a castle filled with ghosts.  Twelve-year old Zita is an orphan who discovers she has inherited an old castle and that she comes from a long line of powerful witches.  Zita, unfortunately, doesn’t know the first thing about being a witch.  The focus on family, friendship, and belonging in this story is fresh, magical, and enchanting.  Note – this book will be released in early October – just in time for Halloween!

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A Wolf for a Spell – Karah Sutton

I so enjoyed this magical retelling of of the classic Baba Yaga story told from the perspective of a wolf who must work together with the dreaded witch to save her pack and beloved forest.  The writing has a classic fairy tale feel and the author’s fresh twists and perspectives on this classic Russian witch tale really worked.

And there you have it!  My favorite Middle Grade novels so far this year!  Stay tuned for some exciting news about ordering these books for your school!

Thank for stopping by!  Hope one or two books have caught your eye!

 

 

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Diversity, environment, Family, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Identity, immigration, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Novels, Point of View, Racism, Read-Aloud, Sci-Fi

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #10: Dusk Exploring!

Hello everyone!  This will be my LAST OLLI lesson for the school year as I believe classes are wrapping up this week.

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!) 

Before my lesson, I just wanted to say WELL DONE, everyone!  You did it!  You juggled online and in person teaching AND supported your family AND wrote report cards AND learned how to ZOOM and so many other things!  Great job!!!

THE INSPIRATION:

Summer is here!  School is almost over!  The days are longer (last night it was starting to get light at 3:30 am – yes, I was awake!) and the weather hopefully warmer. (Can you say “NO MORE RAIN”?)  With some restrictions being lifted, we want to encourage children to spend more time outside enjoying the outdoors during the summer.  I have many happy childhood memories of playing outside in the summer with my sisters.  The endless days and evenings playing in the back yard, riding bikes to the park, the back alley, the neighbour’s house – outside until the streetlights came on or my mum called us in for supper – whichever one came first.   This week’s OLLI, I wanted to share a lesson that is an ode to these outdoor summer adventures!

THE ANCHOR:

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Dusk Explorers – Lindsay Leslie

This beautiful new book invites children (and parents) to enjoy playing outdoors on a summer evening.  The story winds through the neighborhood streets, with lyrical, descriptive language and encourages readers to head out for bike riding, tree climbing, playing, and wonderful exploring.   It’s like a hit list of childhood’s best memories!  I can’t imagine any child who wouldn’t want to try out all the outdoor “dusk explorer” activities after reading even just the first pages of this book.  Beautiful illustrations by Ellen Rooney.  This book came out in early June (warm book alert!) so it is not one that I was able to find as an online read-aloud, unfortunately.  But if you order it soon, you could read it online to your class before school breaks for summer.

Watch the book trailer HERE: 

THE LESSONS:  

This is one of those books that can inspire MANY different reading and writing lessons.  Below are just some of the ideas I thought about while reading this book.

NOTE:  I would recommend discussing the word “dusk” (and “dawn”) with students before reading this story!  In my experience, some have never heard of the word!

  1. VISUALIZING – Because of the author’s use of sensory details, this is a perfect book for visualizing.  I would read this story and invite students to listen for different sensory words and images.

Click HERE for the Six Senses Visualizing Template

Click HERE for the Single Image Visualizing Template

TIP – When practicing visualizing, I don’t show the pictures to the students the first time I read.  I want the words from the story to help them create their own visual images.

       2. BECOME A DUSK EXPLORER –  It’s hard to read this book without wanting to immediately run outside and start exploring your neighbourhood!  I think the author really wanted readers to feel that outdoor summer excitement so think this would be a wonderful “enjoy your summer” send off activity to give your students!

After sharing the story, invite students to make connections to their “dusk exploring” experiences.  Ask what their favorite “outdoor” games are?  (climbing trees, running races, kick the can, hide-and-seek, lane-way hockey or basketball, firefly catching)

Tell the students that now that summer is here, there will be more time for outdoor adventures.  Invite them to become “dusk explorers” in their neighbourhood this week.  Use the “Dusk Explorer” template to record things they saw, heard, played, felt.  Encourage them to try something new like a new game.

Click HERE For the Dusk Explorer template.

NOTE:  Remind them to ALWAYS be with a parent or tell a parent where they are going.

3. WRITING – I will definitely be adding this book my list of Writing Anchor books  as it is such a great example of an author who uses senses to create images.  I was also excited to find a video from the author, Lindsay Leslie, talking about writing sharing how to develop sensory details in writing.  It’s a video I would definitely share with students!

Watch the author talk HERE: 

After watching the video, reflect on what the author was saying.  I like to explain that in science, we talk about “the FIVE senses”, but writers actually use “SIX” senses – adding the sense of “emotional feelings” in additional to physical feelings.

Invite your students to go outside at dusk one evening this week.  Have them sit quietly in one spot and pay close attention to their senses.  What are you noticing?  What do you see? hear? smell? taste? feel? (physically), feel? (emotionally).  Have them record their observations on the Six Senses of Dusk template.   Invite them to write a descriptive paragraph, using as many of the sensory words as they can.  Remind them not to just write a list “I saw… I heard…” but to use similes and interesting detail words in their descriptions such as “sometimes”, “once”, “if”, and “when”.

ie – I see the pink clouds, fluffy like cotton candy.  Sometimes, I pretend the clouds are animals playing in the sky.  

Click HERE for the Six Senses of Dusk template

For younger students, they could write about dusk using the 5 finger planner:  TOPIC, DETAIL, DETAIL, ONE TIME…, FEELING.  (one sentence for each of their five fingers)

ie.  I like to play outside when it’s dusk. (topic)  The clouds are pink like cotton candy. (detail)  The leaves rustle in the wind. (detail)  One time, my brother and I played badminton until we couldn’t see the birdie. (one time).  I like being outside when it’s dusk.  

For more mini lessons for adding details, see my new book Powerful Writing Structures.  

Additional Books to Support the Lesson:

I hope you find one or two ideas you could share with your students this week, either online or in person.  Below is a list of more summer books – some new releases and some old favorites.  Many of these would also make great anchor books for writing sensory details.   Check YouTube as some of these are available as online read-alouds.

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And Then Comes Summer – Tom Brenner

A lovely, lyrical ode to summer fun.  Great for making connections and sensory details.

Summer Song – Kevin Henkes

So excited about this brand new book – the last of Henkes’ seasonal series.

Summer Color – Diana Murray

Love this book for younger and older students – beautiful details of nature.

Summer Days and Nights – Wong Herbert Yee

Beautiful small moment details about summer with great sensory words.

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Rules of Summer – Shaun Tan

Master artist and storyteller Shaun Tan’s book about summer rules is weird, mesmerizing, dark in places but a great choice for older readers.

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Hooked – Tommy Greenwald

Beautiful descriptions of fishing, some dad bonding, and I love David McPhail’s illustrations.

Jules Vs. the Ocean – Jessie Sima

Brand new book about a young girl who attempts to build elaborate sandcastles to impress her older sister.

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Down Under the Pier Nell Cross Beckerman

Beautiful descriptions of the inter tidal zone with a dreamy, magical “endless summer” feel.

Cannonball – Sacha Cotter

Love this new summer story about family, overcoming fears, and the importance of being oneself, all in the pursuit of performing the perfect cannonball!

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The Little Blue Cottage – Kelly Jordan

Lovely story about returning to that special summer cottage year after year.

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball – A Nighttime Insect Celebration – Loree Griffin Burns

Love this idea of having a summer event to celebrate nighttime moths!  Stay up late one night this summer and discover the amazing world of moths in your own back yard.  This would be a great summer family event!

 

Teacher friends… you have been through a lot of challenges these past few months and have faced them all with determination, dedication, open minds, and open-hearts. You have supported your students through through all the ups and downs, the online and in person, and all the “wash your hands” and “don’t stand so close to me” moments!  And in case it wasn’t clear before, you have shown the world just how important the role of a teacher is in the life of a child.   Thank you.

I will be continuing to post book lists over the summer, and will return with more OLLIs in the fall!  Thanks to everyone who has been using and sharing my posts.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy summer, everyone!

Enjoy your holiday – you have earned it (x 100!)

 

 

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Connect, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Seasons, Summer

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #9: “Happy Right Now!” 

Hello everyone!  Sorry for my late post (I usually post my weekly OLLI on Monday)  Hope you all had a restful weekend and enjoyed some time with people in “your bubble”.   Report cards finished?  Well done!

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance and in person lessons.

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) 

THE INSPIRATION:

Last week, I came across a lovely quote on Instagram (forgive me, I did not record the source so unable to credit).  It read:  “I used to think that when it rains, it pours.  But now I think – when it rains, it grows.”   What a lovely way of shifting our perspective from the negative to the positive.  I often refer to this purposeful action as “practicing happy”.  While we could spend many hours discussing the negative things that might be “pouring” on us at the moment, instead, we could be “practicing happy”  by choosing to focus on the new “grows” in our lives.

Let’s face it.  It’s been a challenge “practicing happy” during these past few months.  Many of us can connect with that feeling of doom and gloom, negative energy, the dark cloud hanging over our heads… the “If only…s”.   With Covid, the recent protests, the stress of school, family, finances, and so many unknowns – it’s all been a bit much!  Being happy is hard work some days!  But it’s so important that we each try to “practice happy” even for a few minutes each day and encourage our students to do the same – helping them understand that being happy is a choice we all need to make for ourselves.  Instead of wishing for what you don’t have (or don’t have yet), we should make the most of what we do have.

THE ANCHOR:

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Happy Right NowJulie Berry

What can you do when things sometimes don’t go the way you want them to? You have a choice, you can either let it get you down, or choose to be happy in the moment. This inspirational tale gives the reader some insight on making their world as best as it can be and embracing the circumstances we find ourselves in each day.  What I like about this book is, while its main message is the importance of focusing on happy, the author also explores the notion that its okay to feel sad sometimes too.  This book is a perfect choice for exploring emotions and how we deal with them, as well as choosing happiness, even on bad days!

THE LESSON:  

Before reading the story, I like to introduce the concept of “practicing happy” by first exploring the question – “Is this glass half empty or half full?”  If possible, bring in a glass half filled with water to start the discussion.  (If you are doing distance learning, you can do show the glass half full/empty when you are zooming with them.)  Ask the students how they would answer that question.

Explain that some people may look at the glass as being half empty – and wish they had a full glass (negative mindset); others see the glass as being half full – and are grateful for the water they have (positive mindset)

Explain that how someone views the glass, the perspective they take, determines how they feel.   Being happy about a half glass of water is a choice.  Wishing you had more is also a choice.  But which feeling do you want to carry inside you?  If you always look for what you don’t have, then that negative feeling fills you up.  If you choose to “practice happy”, you will feel more positive inside.

Read the story Happy Right Now – or show the story on YouTube.   Invite the students to think about the glass question while they are reading/listening to the story.

After sharing the story with students, discuss the fact that the girl in the story was “practicing happy” , making a choice to be happy for things she had, rather than wishing things were different. She was working on being “happy about right now”!  Explain that this can be helpful when we are feeling like things aren’t working out for us or we are feeling like life just isn’t fair!   “Practicing happy” means not wishing your life away but making a choice to appreciate what we have “right now”.

Choose a few of these and invite students to “practice happy” with these scenarios.

  • I’ll be happy when the coach picks me to be in the starting line up!  But I’m happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when it stops raining!         But I am happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when my ice cream cone stops melting!    But I am happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when I can see all my school friends together!   But I am happy right now because….
  • I’ll be happy when I win the World Mine Craft Championship.  But I am happy right now because… 
  • I’ll be happy when my baby brother stops following me all around.  But I’m happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when I’m allowed to walk to school by myself.  But I am happy right now because..

Invite the students to make up some of their own:

I’ll be happy when….. But I’m happy right now because…

ACTIVITIES:

If you are working in your class, create a “Happy Right Now” collaborative poster in the Ask students: “What makes you happy right now?” Model your own (ie – being your teacher, my morning coffee, the smell of my shampoo this morning) Invite them to add and record their own ideas onto the wall poster.  Encourage them to focus on specific small, personal things that make them happy.  This would be different from, for example, Earth Day or Thanksgiving when you might be saying “I’m thankful for the sun.  I’m thankful for the forest”.  Students working from home can contribute by telling you during a zoom conference or emailing it to you.

Read any of the additional anchor books to continue exploring this theme of “practicing happy”.   Invite the students to complete the “Happy Right Now” template.  (see below)

Happy Right Now – Primary 1

Happy Right Now – Primary 2

Happy Right Now – Intermediate

ADDITIONAL ANCHOR BOOKS:  Below are other books about happiness, mindfulness, appreciating what we have, and choosing to “practice happy”!

There, There – Tim Beiser

 

Rain Brings Frogs – A Little Book of Hope – Maryann Cocca-Leffler

 

Saturday – Oge Mora

 

The Three Questions – Jon Muth

 

Hap-pea All Year – Keith Baker

 

Layla’s Happiness – Maria Hadessa

 

Here and Now – Julia Denos

 

I Think, I Am – Louise L. Hay

 

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

 

The Wrong Side of the Bed – Lisa M. Bakos

 

Good News, Bad News by [Jeff Mack]

Good News Bad News – Jeff Mack

 

Thanks for stopping by this week.  I’m wishing you all many happy moments and many opportunities to “practice happy”.  See you next week!

For more lessons on emotions, hopes and dreams, and mindfulness, see my book Powerful Understanding.

 

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Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #8: “I’m Talking DAD!”

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance lessons.

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!)  

After a very “heavy” week in the world, (click HERE for my recent book list on racism and civil rights), I decided to offer a more uplifting OLLI this week in preparation for Father’s Day.   Now I recognize that it’s sometimes challenging to focus on Father’s Day when some of our students are without a Father figure in their lives.  However, I have always found ways to encourage children to think about a special grown up in their lives who, for them, has given them support and love, whether it be a dad, uncle, grandparent or older sibling or cousin.

THE INSPIRATION:

Collin McNaughton’s Poem “I’m Talking Big” is the inspiration for this lesson.  It is a great poem for introducing synonyms and practicing triple scoop words.  Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but I’ve included the poem (all you really need for the lesson) and you can find used copies of the book at Abe Books (my favorite source for finding out of print books!)

Click HERE for a copy of the poem.

THE LESSON

Colin McNaughton’s poem “I’m Talking Big” is jam-packed with triple scoop words so it’s a perfect one to build vocabulary and encourage students to be more adventurous with their word choice.

After reading this poem, I use a simple frame to have students write their own mini synonym poems for some of our “single scoop” words including: walking, hot, small, happy, good, cold, sad, mad.

I’m Talking ________

I’m talking ________ (repeat the title)

I’m talking ___________ (1 synonym)

I’m talking _____________, ________________ (2)

I’m talking ____________, ________________, ______________ (3)

I’m talking ___________   (repeat the title)

Example:

I’m talking HOT

I’m talking burning!

I’m talking steaming, sweating!

I’m talking roasting, sizzling, blistering.

I’m talking hot!

 

The pattern frame can be adapted and used for practically any topic but for this lesson, I am focusing on their Dad or a special grown-up in their life.

Use the template frame and “write aloud”, modeling your ideas before having the students complete theirs.   The frame is easy to follow as it gives specific things to include.

Click HERE for the Poem template for Intermediate

Click HERE for the Poem template for Primary

I’m Talking Dad!

I’m talking Dad!

I’m talking _________ (name you call your dad)

I’m talking ____________,_____________, _____________  (3 character traits)

I’m talking ____________,______________,____________,___________(4 jobs your dad does)

I’m ______________,_____________,____________,___________,__________(5 “ing” actions)

I’m talking  ____________,____________,____________,____________,

___________, _________ (6 triple scoop words)

I’m talking ______________ (1 feeling)

I’m talking Dad!

Completed Poem example:

I’m Talking Dad!

I’m talking Dad!

I’m talking Popo!

I’m talking smart, funny, athletic

I’m talking taxi driver, hockey coach, lawn cutter, dog walker

I’m talking laughing, snoring, singing, tickling, fixing

I’m talking amazing, tremendous, legendary, epic, fantastic, extraordinary!

I’m talking love!

I’m talking Dad!

Lesson Extension 

I love this poetry frame and find it a great one for integrating poetry into into your content areas.  For example, with the grade 2’s and 3’s at my school a few years ago, we used it when we were exploring communities.  Here is an example of the same frame, but children chose a special place in their community to write about.

I'm Talking Vancouver

Last example… here is one about hockey!  (I’ve been missing the playoffs so thought I’d include this one written by a grade 6 student.)

I’m Talking Hockey!

I’m talking hockey!

I’m talking Canada’s sport!

I’m talking players, goalies, coaches!

I’m talking skating, puck control, shooting, passing!

I’m talking skates, shin pads, helmet, mouth guard, stick

I’m talking heart-stopping, exciting, cheering,

Thrilling, disappointing, nail-biting.

I’m talking Stanley cup playoffs!

I’m talking hockey!

 

Additional Anchor Books About Dads:f

My Dad – Anthony Browne

My Dad is Amazing!  – Sabrina Moyle

Made for Me – Zack Bush

My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Fathers – Hope Anita Smith

My Father’s Hands – Joanne Ryder

You and Me, Me and You – Miguel Tanco

My Dad Used to Be So Cool – Keith Negley

Darth Vader and Son – Jeffrey Brown

How To Surprise a Dad – Jean Reagan

 

Have a great week, everyone!  Hope these lessons inspire some ideas for your online or in-person learning this week.  Happy reading and Happy Father’s Day and Special Grown Up’s Day!

You are doing an amazing job!  There are only a few weeks left! You can do it!!!

 

 

 

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Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #7: Exploring Feelings – KEEP IT-CALM IT-COURAGE IT

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance lessons.

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)

This is a big week for educators in B.C. as schools open up and, once again, teachers, students, and parents are being asked to navigate a “new normal”.

For the last three months and for likely many more months to come, we have been faced with many “unknowns”.  Unknowns can be accompanied with feelings of fear, sadness, and worry that can, at times, be overwhelming.  There is anticipation and excitement about returning to school but these are mixed with fears and worries about keeping ourselves and our students safe and healthy.  Right now, students, teachers, and parents are all wondering: “What will school look like now?” EVERYONE is going through a roller coaster of emotions that can sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed.

I think it’s important during these first few days back at school to acknowledge these emotions, name them, share them, and talk about them.  Knowing others are experiencing similar feelings can often help to ease ours.   The most important thing we can do is to tell our students (and ourselves) that its OKAY to be feeling all of these emotions and and that they are not alone.

In addition to noticing and naming feelings, another way we can help students is to talk about actions we can take when we develop certain feelings.  Taking action can help children develop some control over their emotions.

I believe that there are three main different categories of feelings – positive, negative, and anxious – each can be managed with different actions.  Depending on what the feeling you are experiencing, you can “KEEP IT! CALM IT! or COURAGE IT!”

  • KEEP IT: When we experience positive feelings – excitement, joy, love, gratitude, peace – we want to KEEP those inside because they fill our hearts and make us feel good.
  • CALM IT: When we experience negative feelings – anger, hurt, hate, frustration, disappointment – we need to CALM those feelings and practice deep breathing and mindful techniques.
  • COURAGE IT: When we experience anxious feelings – fear, apprehension, nervous, or worried – we need to “COURAGE IT” (poor grammar, I know!) by finding courage to overcome the feelings.

(I actually just made up the “KEEP IT- CALM IT- COURAGE IT” approach to feelings for this post – and I’m kinda diggin’ it!)

My thoughts for this lesson are to share the “KEEP IT! CALM IT! COURAGE IT FEELINGS” concept with children through discussion and… wait for it… ANCHOR BOOKS!    This can be done in three separate lessons in class or invite students to work on it over the week if they are working from home.  Students can complete the template as you move through the three different feelings.

THE LESSON

Start by brainstorming feeling words. Focus on the different kinds of feelings they have been experiencing during the past few months; feelings around having to stay at home, not being with friends or family, not being at school, coming back to school, etc.  (You could likely fill an entire white board with feeling words!) Make sure you are sharing your own feelings with the students as well.  They need to know that you are nervous and worried, too!  Introduce the difference between positive, negative, and anxious feelings.

Next, ask the students, “What do we do with feelings when we experience them?”.  Discuss that sometimes, holding feelings inside can make them grow bigger.  Taking action with our feelings can help us to take control over them and that can sometimes help.  Introduce the “KEEP IT – CALM IT – COURAGE IT” actions (see explanation above)

If you want to extend this idea into several lessons, you can spend one lesson on each of these three different types of feelings.  Each lesson can begin with an anchor book and invitation for students to complete the “KEEP IT! CALM IT! COURAGE IT FEELINGS” template. 

Click HERE for the “KEEP IT-CALM IT-COURAGE IT Feelings template.

Part 1 – KEEP IT – Exploring positive feelings and actions – happy, joyful, thankful, excitement, peace, proud, amazed.

100 Things That Make Me Happy – Amy Schwartz

Love this joyous picture book that lists everyday things that make people happy.  Written in rhyming couplets – great for reading aloud!

Click HERE for the online read aloud.

After students listen to the story, students can share what things make them happy.  Explain that positive experiences create positive feelings that we can keep (in our memory pocket). Brainstorm things that make each student feel happy.  Invite students to complete the first column of the KEEP IT! CALM IT! COURAGE IT! FEELINGS template.

Part 2 – CALM IT – Explore negative feelings and actions: anger, frustration, hurt, disappointment.

Feeling explosions can happen when we experience negative emotions – anger, frustration, disappointment, hurt.  These feelings can fester for a while but can quickly grow too large to hold inside our bodies.  These emotion explosions can be difficult to manage, so helping students recognize that it is okay to have these feelings but teach them strategies to help manage them.  Rather than telling a child to “calm down”, we need to show them how, including tapping into those “KEEP” feelings from the previous lesson.

There are many books illustrating this “explosive” feeling of anger and frusration.  When Sophie Gets Really, Really Angry is one many of us know.  Sometimes I’m Bombaloo is also a great one for illustrating someone who experiences the “anger explosion”.

Sometimes I'm Bombaloo: Vail, Rachel, Heo, Yumi: 9780439669412 ...

Sometimes I’m Bombaloo – Rachel Vail

Click HERE for the online read-aloud.

After students listen to the story below, discuss connections they were making to tempers and not being able to control them sometimes.  Invite students to make connections by sharing things that trigger these explosive feelings.  Ask students what actions they could take to reduce these negative feelings:  deep breathing, thinking of happy memories, opening and closing our fists, etc.

Either of the books below are great ones for showing children some breathing techniques that can help to “CALM IT” when those negative feelings overwhelm us.

My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing: Ortner ...

My Magic Breath – Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing Nick Ortner

Click HERE for the online Read-Aloud

Alphabreaths – The ABC’s of Mindful Breathing – Christopher Willard

(This is an excellent book with lots of movement and breathing exercises the students could try!)

Invite them to complete the second column of the KEEP IT! CALM IT! COURAGE IT! FEELINGS template.

Part 3 – COURAGE IT! Explore anxious feelings and actions: afraid, nervous, intimidated, uncertain, worried.

If you have students in class this week, they will be likely experiencing some level of anxiety around being back at school.  In fact, during these past few months they have no doubt been feeling various degrees of uncertainty and anxiety about many things, as we all have.  We can help them by letting them know it’s OKAY to be feeling this way and teaching some simple and effective tools on finding courage to deal with stressors in their life.

When You are Brave – Pat Zietlow Miller

This is such a wonderful book for helping students learn to flex their courage muscles!  After reading the story (or listening to online) students can complete the final column of their “KEEP IT-CALM IT-COURAGE IT” Feelings template.

Click HERE for the online read-aloud.

REFLECTION:

Once you have introduced the students to the three different FEELING-ACTIONS and they have completed the template, reflect on what they have learned about feelings.  How has your thinking stretched?  (ie. that feelings can be positive, negative, and anxious; that we can take action with our feelings; that different actions help us have more control over our feelings; that courage can help us feel less anxious, that mindful breathing can help us feel less angry or frustrated; that remembering happy times can make us feel happy)

Simplified Lesson and Additional Anchor Books About Feelings:

For those who would like a simpler lesson, start by brainstorming feeling words. Focus on the different kinds of feelings they have been experiencing during the past few months due to having to stay at home, not being with friends or family, not being at school, coming back to school, etc.  (You could likely fill an entire white board with feeling words!) Make sure you are sharing your own feelings with the students as well.  They need to know that you are nervous and worried, too!  Choose any of the anchor books about feelings to share with your students.  (almost all of them can be found as an online read-aloud)   Identify which feelings are positive, which are negative, and which are anxious.

Primary students can write about their feelings on the My Feelings template HERE

Intermediate students can write about their feelings on the Read-Think-Connect-Reflect template HERE 

Additional Anchor Books About Feelings

(I know there are LOTS of books about feelings but I’ve tried to include ones that you may not already know about.)

Everyone – Christopher Silas Neal

Out, Out, Away From Here – Rachel Woodworth

The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions – Anna Llenas

Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) – Keith Negley

I’m Worried – Michael Ian Black

Feelings – Libby Walden

All Bout Feelings – Felicity Brooks

Visiting Feelings Lauren Rubenstein

The Great Big Book of Feelings Mary Hoffman

 

Whether you are returning to school to teach students in person or whether you are staying at home to teach students online – I’m sending you CARE and COURAGE as you bravely forge ahead into a week of unknowns.  Thank you for all you are doing, for all the time, work and care you are devoting to your students and for BEING BRAVE through it all.

Have a great week, everyone!  Hope these lessons inspire some ideas for your online or in-person learning this week.  Happy reading and happy gardening!

You are doing an amazing job!  There is a light at the end of this tunnel! You can do it!!!

 

 

 

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Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #6: Up in Garden and Down in the Dirt – Kate Messner

Hello everyone!  Hope you all had a restful weekend and enjoyed some time with people in “your bubble”.  Things seem to be “opening up” slowly,  with “in person teaching”  scheduled to start next week.  I know that the thought of being back in schools with children brings with it a range of emotion and I am sending you positive thoughts and energy as you transition to yet another version of our “new normal”.

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance lessons.

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) 

Anchor Book:

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt | Flowering Minds

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt – Kate Messner

This week’s OWWI is based on the anchor book Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal – the second book in the “Over and Under” series. (See also Over and Under the Snow and Over and Under the Pond)  I love this series and have used them extensively in classrooms.  I particularly love the clever “split screen” illustrations in this series, showing life above and below the ground.   I thought this would be a great book to inspire children to get outside to enjoy the spring weather with their families and perhaps do a little gardening!  This book has SO many curriculum connections – you could spend a week or more planning activities in science, math, art, and writing, so be sure to add this title to your STEAM collection!

This book is a delightful textual and visual celebration of gardening layered with a wonderful inter-generational story of a granddaughter and her Nana.  We follow the young girl and her grandmother as they journey through the year planning, planting, and harvesting their garden—and learn about all the animal and insect life that we don’t even see or suspect going on in the world “down in the dirt”. Added bonus is the informative back notes including an author’s note, bibliography and extra facts about the animal species encountered.

There are many versions of this book as a read-aloud available online, including the author, Kate Messner, reading it herself!

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt | Flowering Minds

 

Podcast: Going Underground: Kidlit in the Labyrinth | Curious City ...

Lessons: 

After students listen to the story online, choose from any of the lessons below – or do them all!

  • Making Connections  – in the story, the girl is learning from her grandmother about many different aspects of gardening.  What connections do you make to this story?  What activities do you like to do with your grandparents?  What are some things they have taught you?                                                                                                Click HERE for the Primary Connections template.                                                            Click HERE for the Intermediate Connections template.
  • (For more lessons on Making Connections – see my book Reading Power)

 

  • KNEW-NEW” Connections – after reading (listening to) the story, invite students to record facts they already KNEW about gardening and NEW facts they learned.  There are also spaces for visual images and questions on this page.                        Click HERE for the KNEW-NEW the template.

 

  • Art – Draw (and label) a “split screen” picture (see sample below) of “above and below” the garden.

split screen garden

  • MathStudents brainstorm a list of vegetables they would like to plant in their “garden”.  Using a grid, they can plan out their garden, deciding where each vegetable should go and how much space (grid squares) it will take up.  This would be a perfect lead in to a lesson on AREA and PERIMETER.  I found this idea on Pinterest for planning a zoo, and while I would not do zoo planning with students (not a fan of them), I thought it would be a great idea for planning a garden!               Click here for the Math Garden Planning template 

Math zoo

  • Science – What does a seed need?  Students could learn about the “Fab Five” – five things a plant needs to grow:  sun, soil, space, air, and water

 

  • How To Writing “How to Plant a Seed”. Depending on whether your students have access to a garden, they could do some actual seed planting or just learn about it from one of the anchor books listed below and then write steps and tips on how to plant a seed.  (For more HOW TO writing ideas, see my book Nonfiction Writing Power or my new book, Powerful Writing Structures.)
  • Click HERE for the How To writing template for Primary (two pages)
  • Click HERE for the How To writing template for Intermediate.

Other lesson extensions:

  • Family Gardening Project – gardening with your family – students could join or  encourage their family to grow some vegetables or flowers and could participate in the planting and caring for the family garden.
  • Family Nature Activities:  Find backyard nature activities that students and families can do in their own backyard from the Project Learning Tree.
  • Inter-connectedness of nature  – students could learn and write about how plants and insects work together to support the cycle of nature.
  • Bug study – students choose one bug they learned about in the story and do a bug study.  Don’t forget the back-notes in the back of Kate Messner’s book that lists information about all the creatures included in the story.
  • Bug Identification – invite students to download the free iNaturalist app to practice taking photos of bugs and learning how to identify them (so cool!)  https://www.inaturalist.org/
  • Author studyKate Messner is an AMAZING writer who has written dozens of picture books, Nonfiction, and MG novels. Download the Kate Messner Author Study Guide for more ideas!

Below are other recommended anchor books you could use to support this lesson, featuring books about gardening and insects.  Check Epic Books or YouTube for online versions of these books.

Lola Plants a Garden – Anna McQuinn

We Are the Gardeners – Joanna Gaines and Kids

Plant the Tiny Seed Christie Matheson

Gardening For Beginners Osborne Books

Garden to Table

Garden to Table – Katherine Hengal

In My Garden – National Geographic Look and Learn

Backyard Bug Book for Kids – Lauren Davidson

Hello World! Backyard Bugs – Jill McDonald

 

If you are interested in more gardening education, here are some interesting websites I found:

https://kidsgardening.org/https://kidsgardening.org/in particular:   https://kidsgardening.org/blog-adapting-to-school-closures/

https://www.teachervision.com/search/gardening

https://growing-minds.org/

https://www.plt.org/activities-for-families/in-your-own-backyard/

Have a great week, everyone!  Hope these lessons inspire some ideas for your online or in-person learning this week.  Happy reading and happy gardening!

You are doing an amazing job!  There is a light at the end of this tunnel! You can do it!!!

 

 

 

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Filed under "How To" Writing, Connect, Ecosystems, environment, Gardening, Math, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Science, STEM, Writing Anchor book

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #5 WANTED! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom

Hello everyone!  Hope you all had a restful long weekend and are enjoyed time away from school.  Things seem to be “opening up” slowly,  with “in person teaching”  scheduled to start in a few weeks.  I know that the thought of being back in schools with children brings with it a range of emotion and I am sending you positive thoughts and energy as you transition to yet another version of our “new normal”.

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance lessons.  You can see my first OLLI HERE (The Hike), my second HERE. (If I Could Build A School).  My Mother’s Day lesson is HERE.  And last week, my OLLI lesson based was based on the book Everybody Needs a Rock.  You can view that lesson HERE.

Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom

Anchor Book:

This week, I’m excited to share WANTED!  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom a new nonfiction book, written by Heather Tekavec and published by Kidscan Press.   This book is a such a genius idea! I love it!  I can see it being a HUGE hit with kids. (Attention TL’s!!!)  The book combines facts about rather uncommon, quirky animals and turns them into a hilarious memorable Fact File Rap Sheets.  Each double page introduces a ‘criminal’ and gives details of their ‘crime’, for example, the cuckoo who steals other bird’s nests and “lets the other mother do all the work to hatch the eggs.”

Lesson:

Of course, while reading this book, I immediately thought about how much kids would enjoy making their own MOST WANTED page about a unique, weird and wacky animal criminal.  Unfortunately, this book is so new that there is no online version, so you may need to share one of these images with them as a reference if you do not have your own copy to read aloud online.  I have also included several additional anchor books that can be found online.  After learning about some of these weird and wacky creatures, students can choose one from a list (see list below) and do a little research about them.

Click HERE for the Weird Animal Research Page

Here’s the website where I found many of these strange animals that students may find helpful for their research:  https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/outdoors-and-adventure/photos/15-of-the-strangest-animals-in-the-world-and-where-to-see-them

There are also many “Weird Animal” educational videos students could view including this one:  https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/videos/really-weird-animals/

Some key teaching points to this activity:

  • identifying the crime – helping the students turn one of the animal features into a “CRIME”.
  • criminal vocabulary: dangerous, frightening, sneaky, shady, sketchy, identity theft, bribery, burglary, hides, corruption, crime, fraud, loots, steals, pick-pockets, smuggles, disguises, trespasses, vandalizes, chases, 
  • Criminal name and Aliases – helping students come up with a clever criminal name for the animal

After students have gathered facts about their “criminal animal” (can I invent a new word: “craminal”?)  they can use the template I created based on the anchor book, to make their own “WANTED Weird Animal Rap Sheet” poster.

Click HERE for the WANTED Weird Animal Rap Sheet template for Primary.

Click HERE for the WANTED Weird Animal Rap Sheet template for Intermediate.

If you or your students prefer, they could design their own WANTED poster.  Here is a great site for free WANTED posters templates:  http://templatelab.com/wanted-poster-template/

Other anchor books you could use to support this lesson, all featuring odd or ugly animals with interesting, unusual features.  Check Epic Books or YouTube for online versions of these books.

Animals Nobody Loves – Seymour Simon

What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? – Steve Jenkins

Creature Features – Steve Jenkins 

Ugly Animals Laura Marsh

National Geographic Readers: Odd Animals (Pre-Reader) by [Rose Davidson]

Odd Animals – Rose Davidson

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The Ugly Animals – We Can’t All Be Pandas – Simon Watt

 

Have a great week, everyone!  Hope this lesson is one that you can possibly use for your online teaching this week.

You are doing an amazing job!  There is a light at the end of this tunnel! You can do it!!!

 

 

 

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Animals, New Books, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Science, Writing Anchor book

Adrienne’s OLLI (Online Learning Lesson Idea) #3 – How to Be My Mom

Hello everyone!  Hope you all had a restful weekend and were able to take a break from planning your online lessons and enjoyed some time with family and perhaps some outdoor fun.  I know some districts and provinces are in the process of gradually returning to modified versions of “in person teaching”, but most remain focusing on distance learning.  No matter what your teaching situation is at the moment, I am sending you positive thoughts and energy!

Many of you have been using my OLLI – “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  (You can see my first OLLI HEREand second HERE. ) This week, in preparation for Mother’s Day, my OLLI is all about MOMS!  Taking an idea from my book Nonfiction Writing Power from the chapter on Instructional/Procedural writing, why not have your students write  instructions for “How To Be My Mom”.   Now I realize that it might be challenging for some of the younger students to be working on this lesson at home without their mom seeing it, but you could encourage them to try working on it when mom is not looking!

As always, I like to start with an anchor book! I know there are many great Mother’s Day books out there, but every year, my “go to” book is always Anthony Browne’s “My Mum” (UK edition) or “My Mom” (US edition).  It’s simple, fun, has great illustrations, great similes, and is a perfect book for making connections!   And if you don’t have a copy that you can share online,  it is available as a read-aloud on YouTube!  Hurray!

My Mom: Browne, Anthony, Browne, Anthony: Amazon.com.mx: Libros

After watching the video, students can use the optional planner page to brainstorms ideas about their own Mom.  Using their ideas, I like to have them turn their statements about their moms into instructions using simple instructional phrases or words such as:

  Always….    Remember to…    Try to…    Never…   Don’t….  Be…  

Encourage your students to come up with ideas unique to their moms.  See example below:

How to Be My Mummy

Always drink coffee at Tim Hortons

Remember to answer the phones at the dentist office.

Never eat raw sushi (or else you’ll get sick!)

Wear your sparkly sari when you go to weddings.

Make delicious chocolate chip pancakes on the weekend.

Go walking with Auntie every Saturday morning.

Love your family more than anything.

Be smart and encouraging.

 

Here is the read-aloud on YouTube

Here is the optional planner for Primary.

Here is the optional planner for Intermediate.

Here is the template for Primary.

Here is the template for Intermediate.

You will find more “How To” instructional lessons in my Nonfiction Writing Power book and my new Powerful Writing Structures book.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great week, everyone!  You are doing a great job!

Come back again for more OLLI posts!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms, Grandmas and Caregivers out there!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Immagination, Lesson Ideas, Links to content, Maker Spaces, New Books, OLLI, STEM

Adrienne’s OLLI (Online Learning Lesson Idea) #2 – If I Built A School

Hello everyone!  Hope you all had a restful weekend and were able to take a break from planning your online lessons and enjoyed some time with family and perhaps some outdoor fun.  I am trying to do something for my mind, body, and soul every day and it’s definitely helping!

Well, I got a lot of positive response to my first OLLI ( I’m an acronym queen, so had to make one for this!  It stands for “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“) so I thought I would continue with a new OLLI – complete with an anchor book, lesson idea, and activity page.

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If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen is the third book in a series which includes If I Built a Car and If I Built a House. Highly entertaining book and a perfect choice for activating that imagination pocket!  In the story, Jack takes his teacher on an imaginary tour of his dream school.  His imaginary school is filled with wild, epic experiences,  including puppies that greet you in the morning, skydiving in the gym, and three story tall slides to get you to and from classes.  Love the retro-future style artwork (reminds me of The Jetsons!) and the rhyming is catchy and fun! (reminiscent of Dr. Seuss in the best possible way)  This book is so creative and will inspire imaginative designing and writing!  Great addition to your STEAM collection!

Here is a read-aloud of the story on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQFDyHmf9Bo

Here is thelink to Amazon:

Here is a link to an activity for Intermediate students:  (I hope it works!)

Here is a link to an activity for Primary students:

 

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great week, everyone!  You are doing a great job!

Stay tuned for another #OLLI later this week!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Immagination, Lesson Ideas, Links to content, Maker Spaces, New Books, OLLI, STEM