Category Archives: Picture Book

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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Filed under Connect, Family, Father's Day, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Writing Anchor book

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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Filed under Connect, Emotions, Feelings, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Writing Anchor book

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? New for Spring 2020 (Read, Sniff, Share!)

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It’s actually Tuesday but better late than never!  Sniff! Sniff!  Can you guess?  I’m in book sniffing heaven!  I am extremely fortunate to receive copies of new books from exceptional Canadian publishers twice a year.  Thank you to Orca Books, Raincoast Books, and Kids Can Press for sharing your new spring titles with me so I can share them with everyone!  Hooray for new books!  Check out more #IMWAYR posts on  http://www.teachmentortexts.com/ or http://www.unleashingreaders.com/

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What If Bunny’s Not a Bully?  – Lana Button (Kids Can Press)

I loved this book! Unique and important look at bullies through the lens of inclusion, empathy and second chances.  Lovely rhyming texts and adorable illustrations are delightful making this a perfect read-aloud for your Pre-K, K, and Gr. 1 students.

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Why Do We Cry? – Fran Pintadera

A little boy asks his mother why we cry and she gently explains all the different emotions expressed by tears: sadness, anger, loneliness, frustration, confusion, and happiness. Wonderfully expressive illustrations and so many beautiful moments.  LOVE!  Oh my.  This is definitely an “Adrienne” book!  Filled with poetic language, imagery, metaphors, deep thinking questions – a perfect anchor for writing and also for teaching “Transform” and nudging our thinking about the concept of crying.  (I would use this book with the “one word” activity -“cry”).

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A Stopwatch from Grampa – Loretta Gabutt (Kids Can press) 

A simple and touching story about a child coming up to terms with his/her grandfather passing away.  This book features a gender-neutral main character (no first name or pronouns used) experiencing the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) in a sensitive and subtle manner.  This is a perfect choice for discussions with children about their emotions, particularly the feeling of loss.

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What Grew in Larry’s Garden – Laura Alary

A lot of punch packed into 32 pages of this book, based on a true story of an elderly man and his “pay it forward” attitude.  While gardening is a big part of the story,  you could use it for so many themes including friendship, problem solving, small acts of kindness, community action and the power of kids to help make change in the world.   I would use this book to launch a unit ways to support our local community.

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I Got You a Present! – Susanne McLennan and Mike Erskine-Kellie

Fast-paced, lively story for younger primary students about a Ducky who is trying to buy his friend the perfect birthday gift.  Bright, fun illustrations – this would make an engaging read-aloud, great for making connections and illustrating the concept of “determination”.  LOVE the surprise ending!

We are Water Protectors – Carole Lindstrom

This book focuses on the indigenous perspective and would be a great one for discussing pipeline issues and standing up for environmental injustices.  I enjoyed the story but equally the back notes, which provided important background information about the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Gorgeous, colorful illustrations.  I would pair this with The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson.

Hike Pete Oswald

Beautiful celebration of parent-child relationships and the magic of the wilderness.   This story follows a child and father as they experience a hike together.  It is nearly wordless and a perfectly paced adventure that invites readers to appreciate the beauty of nature along with the child and father; to pause, wonder, and marvel at the views they experience on their hike.  Gorgeous watercolor illustrations.   I LOVE hiking and I LOVE this book!

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Snow White and the Seven Robots – Stewart Ross

Cute sci-fi twist on Snow White with robots instead of dwarves.  When the wicked step queen abandons snow white on a planet, she uses the space ship to build herself some robot helpers.  I was not aware of this “twisted fairy tale” series by Stewart Ross until now but am excited to check his other books including Octo-Puss in Boots and The Ginjabread Man.  

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Help Wanted: Must Love Books – by Janet Summer Johnson

A book about loving books?  Yes, please!!!!  This is such a delightful story about a young girl who sets out to interview potential “bed-time story readers” to replace her dad (she fired him!)  Next comes a string of familiar fairy tale characters applying for the job, but each one seems to have a problem (Sleeping Beauty falls asleep during the interview;  Gingerbread man steals her books and runs away).  Such a cute premise and I love the determination and spunk of Shailey, the main character.  Lots of chuckles with this one!

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The Boreal Forest: A Year in the World’s Largest Land Biome L.E. Carmichael.

Beautifully illustrated reference book about the seasonal changes of plants and animals in the Boreal Forest.  Not so much a “sit down and read in one setting” book but a perfect one for “snip-it read alouds”.   Lots of great descriptive, triple-scoop words (there is a lot of onomatopoeia) and amazing details about the forest.  I learned a LOT!

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Bringing Back the Wolves – How a Predator Restored an Ecosystem – Jude Isabella

Fascinating description of the 1995 reintroduction of wolves into the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park, after they were all but eliminated by hunters in the late 1800’s.   Gorgeous illustrations and simple nonfiction narrative style that younger readers will understand.  This is an excellent book to illustrate the concept of inter-contentedness of ecosystems.  I would pair it with Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker.

The Keeper of Wild Words – Brooke Smith

Shocking true story: the most recent Oxford Junior Dictionary, widely used in schools around the world, removed 40 common ‘wild words’ (words connected to nature) from their dictionary.  Their justification was that “wild words” like apricot, blackberry, dandelion, and buttercup were not being used by enough by children to warrant their place in the dictionary. (Seriously?)  One might infer from this drastic decision that children are becoming less and less engaged with the natural world so less likely to have the need to use these words.  GULP!  YIKES!  HELP!  I first learned about this shocking removal of words from the exquisite book “The Lost Words” by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by the amazing Jackie Morris.   While this book is stunningly beautiful, its sheer size (and cost) makes it less of a classroom book and more of a coffee table or gift book.  But the story itself needs to be be shared and so I am THRILLED to see this more accessible version for younger readers.  It weaves the story of a grandmother electing her granddaughter as the “Keeper of Wild Words” because the only way to save words is to know them, use them, and cherish them.   This book is a celebration of shared love between generations, nature, and words.  I can’t wait to share it, to inspire children to become more familiar with “wild words”, and to encourage some “wild writing”!!!  Buy this book.  Share this book.  That is all.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hoping one or two books have caught your eye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Activism, bullying, Community, Emotions, Grief, IMWAYR, Indigenous Stories, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, JK-K, New Books, Picture Book, Transform, Writing Anchor book, Writing Anchors

IMWAYR – It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? First new picture books of 2020!

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It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Three cheers for Mondays and long weekends and new picture books!  I’m excited to share my first blog post of 2020 (thanks Susan from Kidsbooks for some of these titles!) featuring a few 2019 titles I missed and many 2020 #warm book alert releases!

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Maybe: A Story About the Endless Potential in All of Us

Kobi Yamada

From the author of What Do You Do With A Problem? and What Do You Do with An Idea? comes another inspiring book.  “Have you ever wondered why you are here?” I SO love books that begin with a deep thinking question.  And so begins this story about making your own way in the world,  marching to the beat of your own drum, and making a difference in the world.  Could there be a more perfect anchor book for Powerful Understanding?  I don’t think so!  LOVE!

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Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots Michael Rex

Don’t trust everything you read! Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. A humorous, informative book to show students that for some things you need more information to make a choice.   A great introduction to the difference between facts and opinions – a MUST for every library!

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The Old Truck – Jarrett Pumphrey

Loved the simple, retro feel and the lino cut illustrations of this “The Giving Tree” like story.   A simple poetic narrative about family, farming, perseverance, dreaming, and the passage of time.  An old truck works hard on a farm for years for the family, until it finally stops and is abandoned. Years later, the daughter of the farmer who owned the truck (now grown up) returns to live on the farm, repairs the truck and puts it back to work on the farm. Great circular story with themes of hard work, industrious women, and taking care of “old stuff”.  Great writing anchor for point of view, imagery and personification.

Snail Crossing – Corey R. Tabor

Give a little kindness – and kindness will come back to you.  Snail spots a cabbage patch across the road, and is determined to taste of that delicious cabbage. Snail has a few set backs during his journey, but in his steadfastness to have that cabbage, he shows a little kindness to others, and receives in-turn something more than just a plump cabbage. Adorable story of friendship.

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Old Rock (is not boring) – Deb Pilutti

This book surprised me!  Spotted Beetle, Tall Pine, and Hummingbird think Old Rock’s life must be boring because he just sits there in the same place, but as Old Rock tells the story of his life, the three are amazed with all he’s done and seen.  So many things you could use this book for – a great read aloud, introducing geology, timelines, not to mention a great anchor book for teaching point of view, predicting, descriptive narrative or autobiographical writing.  Lovely, gentle illustrations.

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Humpty Dumpty Lived Near a Wall – Derek Hughes

Incredible, political and edgy, dark but strangely uplifting.  This fractured fairy tale picture book is definitely one I’d use with older children.  A great anchor book for questioning and inferring and would spark great conversations about author’s intent.  I was mesmerized by the incredible pen and ink detailed illustrations.  Leaves readers with lots of questions at the end – another reason why I would recommend it!

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In a Jar – Deborah Marcero

If you could capture something in a jar – a memory, a place, a feeling – what would it be?  Is there anyone who has not thought of bottling a favorite moment, a favorite day, a beautiful sight?  This gorgeous, heartwarming picture book begins with one little bunny who loves collecting things in jars and unfolds into a beautiful story of friendship.  Charming, joyful story.  I can’t wait to read this aloud to children and talk about what they would “bottle up” to share!

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Lawrence – The Bunny Who Wanted to Be Naked – Vern Kousky

If the title doesn’t trigger giggles, this story will!   Lawrence’s mother likes dressing him up in fashionable, unusual outfit!    Lawrence just wants to be naked and hop in the grass like the other bunnies.  Lawrence doesn’t want to hurt her feelings, so comes up with a plan to help her see things from his point of view.   I laughed a lot and know that many children will be able to make connections!

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The Heart of a Whale Anna Pignotaro

Sigh.  Wipe the tears.  This is such a beautiful story of kindness and empathy, loneliness and love.  Poetic (think similes and metaphors), imaginative, exquisite watercolour illustrations.  When whale sings his song, some feel calm,  others cheer up, some drift off to sleep.  But Whale is lonely and longs for the company of another whale.  The ocean listens to his lonely sighs and carries his wish into the ears and hearts of some other whales – who soon find him and fill his empty heart.  Such a beautiful story of the need to be loved.  Stunning.

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Almost Time Gary D. Schmidt

Ethan is waiting for the sap to run so he and his father can make a new batch of maple syrup.  He marks the time by going to school, sledding, and waiting for his loose tooth to come out.  Finally, the big day arrives; his tooth comes out and the sap is running – and he helps his father make the syrup.  A tender father-and-son story about waiting for something, the passage of time, the change of seasons, and the excitement of reaching a goal.  Great for making connections to having to wait for something, as well as learning where maple sugar comes from.

Thanks for stopping by!

I hope one or to two of these new books have caught your eye!

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Connect, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Kindness, New Books, Picture Book, Point of View, Powerful Understanding, Question, Read-Aloud, Writing Anchor book

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Final Favorite Picture Books of 2019

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As 2019 comes to an end, I wanted to focus on some of the picture books that were released late in the year,  but that can’t be missed!    From books about friendship, family and traditions, to celebrating nature and special places – there is something here for everyone!

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The Scarecrow  – Beth Ferry

He never rests.
He never bends.
He’s never had a single friend,
for all the woodland creatures know
not to mess with old Scarecrow.

And so begins “The Scarecrow”, my favorite picture book of 2019.  So much to love about this gentle, heart-tugging picture book. With gorgeous artwork by the Tan Brothers (The Night Gardner) and gentle rhyming text by Beth Ferry, (Stick and Stone) readers are pulled into the wheat field where an old scarecrow has stood throughout the passing of many seasons. The local animals are naturally afraid of scarecrow and the excluded scarecrow has never known a friend. But being excluded from community doesn’t stop the scarecrow from showing kindness to an injured baby crow. And as the scarecrow cares for the baby bird and a relationship forms, the lonely scarecrow discovers purpose.
This book invites conversations about being kind to neighbors in need and that everyone is capable of loving and caring for each other no matter who they are. Will be adding this to my Powerful Understanding “OTHERS” book list! LOVE this book SO SO much!

The Cool Bean Jory John

“It seemed like there were two types of beans in the world. There were the cool beans and the beans like me.”  It’s hard when the beans you used to hang out with are now the Cool Beans and you’re just you.  It happens.  But it’s never easy.  (I made many connections to this one!)  This “too-cool-for-school” theme is the third picture book from the bestselling author of The Bad Seed and The Good Egg. 

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My Ocean is Blue – Darren LeBeuf

“My ocean splashes and crashes / and echoes and squawks. // My ocean laughs and hums.”  Love this joyful seaside romp in the follow up to My Forest is Green.  This book is filled with gorgeous paper cut illustrations and overflowing with literary techniques – similes, personification,  and amazing sensory details.  Great anchor for exploring nature, visualizing and descriptive writing.  Not a focus, but certainly noticed and appreciated the girl exploring the ocean has a physical disability.   Many reasons to add this book to your collection!

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Fly! – Mark Teague 

Delightful wordless picture book about a mama bird trying to convince her little one to learn to fly while the baby prefers having food brought to him.  Young readers will enjoy the humorous ideas the little bird has about alternatives to flying and parents will relate to the frustration of the mama bird!  Mark Teague’s illustrations perfectly capture the actions and expressions of a defiant toddler and frustrated parent.

The Love Letter – Anika Aldamuy Denise

This book is SO adorable, I can hardly stand it!  Hedgehog, Bunny and Squirrel find a love letter, and each one thinks it’s meant for them.  But where did it come from, and who is it for?  So sweet seeing how feeling special made a difference in the lives of all the animals.  Such a great read-aloud and a perfect new book for Valentine’s Day!

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Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao – Kat Zhang

Perseverance and family traditions are the themes in this delightful, colorful story.  This little girl is trying so hard to make the perfect bao as others in her family can do but she just can’t get it right.  Charming characters and great illustrations!  This would be a great book for talking about family and cultural traditions.

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Sulwe – Vashti Harrison

Sulwe is a little girl whose skin color is darker than anyone else in her family.  She tries to do anything she can to change the color of her skin, but nothing works.  Breathtaking illustrations with a positive message in self esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within.   This will be added to my Powerful Understanding “Self” book list and also a great anchor book for teaching similes!

The Favorite Book – Bethanie Deeney Murgula

This book was so much more than I expected.  While its central theme is “having favorites”, it focuses more on HOW we go about choosing them and what influences our choices.  LOTS to discuss here and would make a great read-aloud when teaching personal preferences.

Caspian Finds a Friend Jaqueline Veissid

Gentle, imaginative story about loneliness and the friendship that develops between a boy and a polar bear.  Absolutely gorgeous illustrations and heart-warming story.   I loved this one and will be adding it to my “Friendship” book list.

Seeds and Trees Brandon Walden

A beautiful fairy tale for older students with a wonderful message on the power of words!  We always have a choice—we can speak up-lifting, healing words, or we can speak words that are dark and full of despair and hate.  We also have a choice of what we do with the words that are spoken to us.  Powerful message, lots to discuss, and great for inferring theme.  Great book for “Action-Reaction” lesson!

The Map of Good Memories – Zuzanna Celej

When war forces Zoe and her family to leave their city, she draws a “map of good memories,” so that they will always be with her. A simple, effective refugee story and a great anchor for connecting and writing about “Special Places”.  I love the idea of having students create their own “Map of Good Memories”.

I Wonder K.A. Hale

What do clouds taste like? Do my toys miss me when I’m gone? How do clocks know what time it is? Do tires get tired? What are boy ladybugs called? Do trees dream?
A delightful celebration of wonderings and questions to ponder.  The illustrations are magical. A wonderful book to inspire students to think deeply and wonder about the world! LOVE this one!

The Hike – Alison Farrell

Layers of love for this book that celebrates hiking, adventures, friendship and the great outdoors.  It’s tender yet lively, poetic yet scientific, magical yet natural.  Three friends and their dog head to the woods for a hike.  As they wander the woods, they record their observations in a sketchbook.  I love how the lyrical text is woven with detailed labelled diagrams of all that the children observe on their hike.  This would be a wonderful anchor book for observing details in nature and descriptive writing.  I love hiking and I love this book!

Fairy Science – Ashley Spires

Anything by Ashley Spires is sure to be a winner.  This book introduces young readers to to the scientific method in an easy-to-understand way. There’s even a little experiment in the back for budding scientists to try.  Esther examines the fairy world with a critical eye and tries to explain natural phenomena using science.  A great anchor book for science, critical thinking and fairy fans everywhere!

The Serious Goose – Jimmy Kimmel

Late Night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has written and illustrated this hilarious book aimed for the Pre-K and K readers.  This book will have readers giggling at this very serious goose who refuses to smile and the various attempts to make him do so.  Lots of fun and interaction with this one.

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Who Wet My Pants? Bob Shea

This book, while funny, includes many important themes that can stimulate connections and discussions:  embarrassment, blame, compassion, and forgiveness. Reuben the bear, while delivering donuts in the campgrounds discover that “someone” wet his pants.  And while he accuses his companions, one after another, of being the one responsible, his patient friends assure him that accidents can happen.  Very funny read-aloud and I really like how the friends show empathy rather than make Reuben feel worse by teasing him.

The Boring Book – Shinsuke Yoshitake

An interesting exploration of what it means to be bored.  We follow a young boy as he explores the how’s and why’s of being bored and eventually develops a new understanding – being bored is a choice.  Great illustrations.  For those familiar with my “One Word” activity for transform, this would be a great anchor book for that lesson, using the word “bored”.

Stretchy McHandsome – Judy Schachner

How can you not love a book called “Stretchy McHandsome”?  How can you not love a cat with the same name?  This delightful book is about the youngest of nine cats who sets out from his cardboard box to explore the world and meets a stretchy friend.  For cat lovers everywhere – but you don’t have to love cats to fall in love with Stretchy McHandsome!

 

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found one or two new books to add to your classroom or library collections!  This will be my last post of 2019.

Happy Reading and see you in the 2020!

 

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Filed under 2019 releases, New Books, Picture Book, Powerful Understanding, Reading Power

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Best Books for Building Class Community

Well… for many of us – tomorrow we head back to school to begin a new year.  These first few days and weeks are filled with many emotions, new routines, and, let’s face it – a fair share of chaos!  But nothing is more important in these first weeks than establishing your class community.  Creating a positive, welcoming, accepting place will help students feel more connected, empowered, and invested in learning.  Reading stories to your class and engaging in discussions is one of the best ways I know to begin this process.  While there are dozens to choose from, here are a few of my favorite picture books for building a positive learning environment in your class:

(Note:  This is not intended to be a list of “Back to School” books – which are really only shared during the first few DAYS of school.   This list is meant for sharing and discussing over the first few WEEKS of school, while you focus on building your classroom community.   For favorite “Back to School” books, see my post here.)

All Are Welcome – Alexandra Penfold

Oh my.   This book.  It’s a must read for every teacher to share in the first days or week of school.  A wonderful, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity, inclusiveness, acceptance, and celebration of all cultures in a school community.   I hope this book ends up in EVERY library in EVERY school EVERYWHERE!  If you are familiar with my “One Word” transform lesson – the one word I would use with this book is, of course, “Welcome”.

The Day You Begin – Jacqueline Woodson

“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.”  And so begins this poignant, powerful story by the amazing Jacqueline Woodson (Each Kindness, The Other Side, Brown Girl Dreaming).  If there is only ONE book you read this summer – this is it.  This is a must-own book for teachers,  librarians, and parents, and a must-share for all kids, no matter their ages.  I am absolutely in love with this story of pride in self, fear of not fitting in, and ultimately belonging.   A PERFECT book for sharing at the beginning of the school year to help build a welcoming community in your classroom and a perfect reminder that we are more alike than different.

Each Kindness – Jacqueline Woodson

Another one of my favorite books by the amazing Jacqueline Woodson is about bullying – the subtle kind of bullying –  the ignoring and whispering and refusal to acknowledge someone. I think this kind of bullying can be the worst. This book is heart-breaking and poignant.   I love the metaphor of the stone making rippling waves in the water representing the effects of kindness upon others and the not so happy but very realistic ending.   Such an important story to share and talk about.

The Invisible Boy – Trudy Ludwig

This powerful, heart-breaking story is one of my very favorites.  Brian is so quiet, he is “invisible”.  He is not included, invited to birthday parties or is really noticed.  Then Justin, the new boy, arrives and works with Brian on a class project, giving him a chance to shine.  This gentle book is a valuable one to include in your class collection, showing children how small acts of kindness can help others feel included.  The illustrations by Patrice Barton are soft and gentle, just like Brian.  LOVE!

Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! Trudy Ludwig

From the amazing team who brought us “The Invisible Boy”, Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barton’s new book “Quiet Please, Owen McPhee!” is a must have for a first week read-aloud to help build your classroom community. Owen McPhee loves to talk… and talk and talk and talk! (connections, anyone?) But when he develops laryngitis one day, he discovers the the value of being a good listener. Wonderful depiction of the social dynamics of a busy classroom with a gentle message about the importance of listening. LOVE!

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We Don’t Eat our Classmates – Ryan T. Higgins

Oh my goodness – SUCH a funny book!   Yes, there will be many “back to school” books being released this month… but this is definitely the one I recommend.  So fresh and funny, but teaches empathy so beautifully.  A perfect read-aloud or gift for that young one who might be experiencing “back to school jitters”.

                                                 How to Be a Lion  Ed Vere

Melt my heart.  I love this book.  SO simple yet such an important message:  there is more than one way to do something. Or be something.   Leonard is not your typical lion. Leonard is not fierce but enjoys the great outdoors and loves words.  He befriends Marianne, a poetic duck and, together, they compose poems.  When other lions hear about unconventional Leonard – they confront the pair.  A unique and beautiful story about celebrating individuality and diversity; for standing up for your gentle self and befriending who you want.  SUCH a great book for building classroom community!

I’m the Best! Lucy Cousins

Some children like to brag.  And while the line between being confident and being a “swagger-bragger” is often thin, it is an important distinction to discuss with your students.   This cheerful, humorous book is a wonderful way to spark that discussion.  Dog is “the best” at everything and likes to tell his friends all about his “amazingness”!  Eventually, his friends are tired of his bragging so they start a little bragging of their own, helping Dog realize how it feels to be on the receiving end of a “swagger-bragger”.   I love how this book gently shows how bragging impacts others.

Steve, Raised By Wolves – by Jared Chapman

LOL!  This book is hilarious and would make a brilliant back to school read-aloud for any grade! Young Steve is literally raised by wolves.  Mother wolf sends him on his first day of school with this advice:  “Just be yourself!”.   So Steve proceeds to do just that – howling in class, shredding homework, marking his territory, drinking from the toilet and pouncing on his classmates!  His behavior does not go over well!  In the end, Steve saves the day and helps to find the class pet.  Great book for discussing appropriate school behavior as well as what it means to “be yourself”

Do Unto Otters:  A Book About Manners – Laurie Keller

Based on The Golden Rule, this book reminds young readers to treat others the way you would like to be treated. Simple message that being kind and using your manners will go a long way when interacting with other people.   Love the word play and puns and quirky, fun illustrations.

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices – Sally Derby

I love this unique look at the first day of school told through the voices of six diverse children, ranging in age from kindergarten to grade 5.  Each child tells the story of their first day of school, beginning with the night before where readers will see that even children who are older worry about school and who their teacher will be.  Excellent book for inferring, voice and point of view.

The Bad Seed – Jory John

This humorous tale of a bad sunflower seed who eventually turns good makes a great read-aloud for primary students.  Sunflower is a BAAAAAAAAAD seed!  How BAAAAAAAAD?  He cuts in line, lies, doesn’t listen, has no manners…the list goes on!   I like how this book explores how he got to be so bad as well as focusing on his transformation to the “good side”.   Expressive illustrations – lots of laughs but great message.

What if Everybody Did That? – Colleen M. Madde

A wonderful book for teaching your students about following rules, making good choices, consequences of action or being conscious of your community – perfect for the beginning of the year.   What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick has simple, up-beat text,  colorful illustrations and gives a new perspective on how our choices impact the world around us.  A good reminder to us all – before you do anything or say anything, ask yourself, “what if everybody did that?”

 This School Year will Be The BEST! – Kay Winters

Fantastic beginning of school read-a-loud. Great for starting the conversation about what students are nervous about, thinking about, and hoping to get from school.  Also a great anchor for writing about school goals and wishes for the new school year ahead.

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Be Where Your Feet Are! – Julia Cook

A simple, child-friendly book about mindfulness and creating a positive classroom environment.  Too often, our students are overbooked with school, homework, projects, sports, extra-curricular activities, family time and so much more.  The main character in this book is so focused on his band tryouts that he can not focus on anything else.  Mindfulness tips are included in the back of the book and would be great to kick off a class created list of ways students can work together to be present as individuals, supporting each other throughout the year.

Thanks for stopping by!  What is your favorite book for building class community?

 

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Filed under Class Community Building, IMWAYR, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Point of View

It’s Monday- What Are You Reading? Spring into Third Term with New Books (part 1)

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

With Spring Break quickly coming to an end and third term quickly approaching, I thought I would focus my IMWAYR post on some new releases for sharing in your class this spring.   There are too many to include in one post so look for Part 2 next week!

Florette – Anna Walker

Loved this whimsical and wonderfully illustrated book of a young girl who searches for a way to bring the green life of her country garden to the new city she just moved to. Simple, elegant text.  Great for making connections to change, adjusting to change and urban gardens.

Harry’s Hiccups – Jean Little

Lots of connections and plenty of giggles will emerge from this laugh-out-loud story by the amazing Jean Little.  Vibrant, colourful illustrations and a surprise ending make this a must share read-aloud.

Buttercup’s Lovely Day – Carolyn Beck

A day in the life of a grateful-for-the-simple-things-cow named Buttercup.  With lyrical, rhyming prose, Buttercup takes us through her day describing everything she loves about being a cow and the world around her. Gorgeous and bright illustrations. A great anchor book for inspiring writing about life’s simple pleasures.

Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest – Sarah Hampson

Pigeons unite!  When the pigeons in the city feel disrespected, they decide to stage a protest and disappear until the people acknowledge their importance and decide to treat them with kindness (in exchange for less bird droppings on their heads).  Lovely watercolor illustrations by Kass Reiss.  I liked the historical background about the relationship between people and pigeons. This book is longer so I would definitely use it with middle grades to prompt discussions about protests, getting along and respecting others.

I Walk With Vanessa – A story about a simple act of kindness – Kerascoet

Looking for a new book about bullying, empathy and kindness?  Here it is!  This is a simple, powerful wordless picture book about being the new kid, bullying, stepping up and not being a bystander, and simple acts of kindness that can make a difference.  Based on true events.  I love this book and perfect for inferring and making connections.

Wordy Birdy – Tammi Sauer

Wordy Birdy loves words and she talks – A LOT!  Hilarious, fun, fast-paced read-aloud (you have to talk really fast when you read it!) with an important message about the importance of listening.  I really loved Birdy’s friends – Squirrel, Rabbit and Raccoon. Even though she annoys them and can’t be quiet, they are extremely patient and tolerant of their friend.  Large, colorful illustrations and great speech bubbles give it a graphic novel feel.

Elmore – Holly Hobbie

Holly Hobbie, author of the Toot and Puddle series, has created another adorable character in Elmore.  Elmore is a happy porcupine who longs for a friend.  So he put up a sign on a tree saying “Friends Wanted.” But then he overheard the other animals talking about how prickly he is.  Endearing story about making the most out of your circumstances, loving yourself, and different forms of friendship.  Expressive illustrations will prompt many collective “Awwwww’s” from your class!

I Am Enough Grace Byers

An affirming celebration of all sides of us – the hard and soft, the peaceful and wild, the right-side-up and the upside-down. This book is an invitation for every girl (child) to be herself and love herself, while honoring her differences from others. I love the positive message it sends all us and reminds us to be kind to each other and that we all have a special place in the world.  Lovely song-like rhythm and lively illustrations.

If I Had a Little Dream – Nina Laden

Beautiful folk-like art in this book about appreciating the world, through the eyes of a child.  A wonderful celebration of the wonder of the world – the joy, love, and beauty that is part of each and every day.  Rhyming text, this book is intended for the younger readers and would make a wonderful anchor book for K-2 to inspire writing and drawing about things in the world we are grateful for.

Be Kind – Pat Zietlow Miller

What does kindness look like?  This thoughtful, introspective look at what it means to be kind and empathetic toward others, from the viewpoint of a child.  This is definitely one of my new 2018 favorites because it’s such a fresh look on kindness.  I leave you with these three words:  SHARE THIS BOOK!

Ebb and Flow – Heather Smith

One summer,
after a long plane ride
and a rotten bad year
I went to Grandma Jo’s.
It was my mother’s idea.
Jett, what you need is a change of scenery.
I think she needed a change of scenery, too.
One without me.
Because that rotten bad year?
That was my fault.

And so begins this poignant story, in free verse, about 11 yr. old Jett who has made a terrible mistake and is spending the summer with his Grandmother in Newfoundland to get some perspective and hopefully forgive himself.  Fresh, engaging voice – this is a lovely, sad, ultimately hopeful story.   I was surprised by how captivating and emotional I felt reading this book.  Would appeal to both reluctant and avid readers, as well as make a great read-aloud for middle grades with an opportunity for classroom discussions about empathy, resilience, courage, and responsibility.  I loved Jett’s voice and fact that the reader does not know the mistake he has made until well into the story, leaving space for questioning, predicting and inferring.  Surprisingly powerful read.

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

Watch for New Picture Books for Spring – Part 2 next week!

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Filed under 2018 releases, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Kindness, New Books, Picture Book