Showing posts with label Children's Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children's Books. Show all posts


Check out these 5 NEW and Loveable Valentine's Day Books for Children (and how to use them)!

 Valentine's Day is just around the corner and L-O-V-E is in the air!  Nothing is better than Valentine's Day at an elementary school. Young kids love to love and I find it so refreshing.  

In an attempt to channel that same love, I have searched high and low for new and amazing Valentine's Day books that have been published within the last year or so.  Here are 5 of my favorites! (As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small amount from qualifying purchases. I cross my teacher/librarian heart that I only promote things I truly believe in and love!)

How Do You Love? by Kellie Byrnes (author) and Melina Ontiveros (illustrator)

This book gives me love languages vibes.  It shows the actions of love, not just the feelings.  Spending time together, giving gifts, gestures... these are all ways to show love and this book gives some very concrete and specific examples.  

A fun activity to do with this book would be to have kids draw or write about what makes them feel loved.  

This is a Terrible Love Book - Will You Help Me Fix It? by Megan West

My students and patrons love, loVE, LOVE interactive books so I knew this would be a winner as soon as I saw it!  When I read interactive books like this, I have all students do the action with me.  For actions like 'tap this page' I choose someone who is sitting quietly to come up and tap the page.  

The Catalogue of Hugs by Joshua David Stein (Author), Augustus Heeren Stein (Author), Elizabeth Lilly (Illustrator)

I love this book because of it's fantastic content, simplicity and diversity!  Each double page layout features a simple drawing of a hug type and it's name.  The characters represent a diverse spectrum with everything from skin color, body type, ages and abilities.  The last page shows an adorable 'Family Hug' and showcases a variety of families.  

This would be a great book to read to Pre-K and Kindergarten students.  When finished, you could have children name their favorite hug!

The Mystery of the Love List by Sarah Glenn Marsh (Author), Ishaa Lobo (Illustrator)

This might be the one that I am most excited about!  Mysteries are my favorite genre and my library students know this.  Anytime I read them a mystery they get super excited because they know I'm sharing a favorite thing of mine.  In this one, Pippa discovers that SHE is on someone else's love list!  She is out to figure out who it is!

I Love You Like by Ralph Lazar (Author), Lisa Swerling (Author)

This book is adorable! I love you like the flowers love the sun.  I love you like pizza loves cheese! This book is a great way to introduce similes.  

A great activity to do after this book is to have children write and illustrate their own 'I love you like...' page to create a classroom 'Love is...' book.  

I hope you (and your students) find a new Valentine's Day book to love this year!


Old Tracks, New Tricks: Introducing Trixie, Tracky and Tinker

Old Tracks, New Tricks is an amusing new book by Jessica Peterson, published by Innovation Press.  The book stars Trixie, Tracky and Tinker as a set of tracks who get purchased and taken home to join a train set.  The three friends are in for a shock when they realize their new life is not what they thought it would be.  In their new home, the trains are in charge and order the tracks around.  Trixie, Tracky and Tinker are used to having fun and doing tricks.

Will they be happy in their new home?  You will have to read it and see!

(Please note, these links are affiliate links which means I may receive some pocket change to help support this blog and fund teaching expenses when you make a purchase. As always, the opinions are my own and I promise to only share what I truly love- cross my teacher's heart!  Also, I received an ARC in exchange for writing a review of this book and creating a free resource to go along.)

Buy Old Tracks, New Tricks here!

I truly enjoyed reading this book.  It is perfect for PK-2 and I'm excited to read it to my class.  The human character is quite a bit younger than 2nd graders, but I think they will enjoy the photograph images. 

Pre-K Teachers can use the book:
-as part of a train unit (especially the activities in the back)
-practice identifying characters
-encouraging creativity when building with tracks

Kindergarten Teachers can use the book:
-as part of a train unit
-recognizing and producing rhyming words
-counting items on each page

First and Second Grade Teachers can use the book:
-recognizing and producing rhyming words
-identify characters, setting, problem and solution
-sequence events in the story

This will be a great book to use when discussing the difference between fiction and nonfiction.  Having photographs is generally an indication of a nonfiction book, but this book uses photographs and is purely fiction.

It's also a great book for character lessons such as being kind, playing with others, taking responsible risks and being yourself.

My favorite part of the book is at the very end.  There are 2 special sections, the first is called How to Invent Your Own Track Tricks and is a great way to teach the engineering process.  The next section is called Track-tivities and has 20 activities you can do with a train set such as Painting Tracks, Train Bell Shaker and Track-tastrophe!  

You can also use these FREE word problems based on the antics of Trixie, Tracky and Tinker.  Click here to download them!


How to Make Green Eggs and Ham

One of my favorite activities to do on Dr. Seuss's birthday is to make green eggs and ham for breakfast.

At my school, student's eat breakfast in the classroom so this is really easy for me to add to it.  I've also served it in the afternoon when it fit my schedule better.

Green eggs and ham is easy to prepare- in the classroom or at home!

Green eggs and ham is simple and fast!  All you need are basic ingredients- eggs, ham, green dye, pan, spatula and heat source.  I like to use the already diced ham just to make life easier!

Over my teaching career, I have made green eggs and ham a variety of ways.  In a crock-pot.  The night before and microwave them at school.  On a griddle at school.

My FAVORITE way is on a griddle at school because cooking with kids is awesome!

(I forgot to take pictures last time I made them, so I made some at home!)

A few tips-
1.  Assemble all ingredients before hand!
2.  Work in small batches- scrambled eggs are easy but not when you are scrambling 2 dozen!
3.  Use a gel food dye- my fingers never turn green when I use gel!

Crack the eggs into a bowl and mix with a fork.  Add the green dye in the mixed eggs and stir.  Since it's a gel, you might end up with pieces of gel in the eggs.  Don't worry- when the eggs start cooking, they will melt and mix into the eggs!

Mix the diced ham into the eggs and pour- carefully- into the pan or griddle.  

Scramble quickly.  If you had gel pieces, you should see them start to melt into the eggs.

When the eggs are finished, plate and serve!

How do YOU celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday?


Read Across America- The Lorax

My school is a PBIS school and character education is a huge part of what we do.  One of our guiding rules is to Accept Responsibility.

  Responsibility is a huge concept.  According to Google, there are three definitions of responsibility-

As an adult, I understand these definitions, but they are not quite explicit enough for small children.  In our room, we define responsibility as

1.  Doing the right thing even if an adult is not watching.
2.  Admitting when you have done something wrong.
3.  Taking care of or cleaning up your own mess.

I find that admitting when you have done something wrong is the hardest for kids.  It makes sense, admitted you have done wrong goes directly against your self-preservation instinct.  NO ONE wants to be in trouble and admitting you have done wrong often leads to trouble.  

(Please note, some links are affiliate links which means I may receive some pocket change to help support this blog and fund teaching expenses when you make a purchase. As always, the opinions are my own and I promise to only share what I truly love- cross my teacher's heart!)

The Lorax is a great book to use when teaching responsibility.  The Once-ler is responsible for chopping down the Truffula Trees.  The Brown Bar-ba-loots left because the Truffula Fruits were disappearing.  The pollution from the factory caused Swomee-Swans and the Humming-Fish to lose their habitats.  

I love how the book ends too.  Asking for help can be difficult, especially when it involves admitting you made a mistake to begin with.  

I wrap up this lesson by having students write about a time they showed responsibility.  I usually model the assignment by writing about how I show responsibility by taking care of them.  They really love watching me write about themselves!

You can check out my other Read Across America post here!

There are tons of ways to use The Lorax!  What is your favorite?


Read Across America The Foot Book

Read Across America Day is coming!  This is one of my favorite days because Dr. Seuss has been so influential in the lives of students and educators alike!

Today I'm going to share 1 Math activity and 2 literacy activities that you can use in conjunction with The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss!

Feet Measurement!

Have students trace their foot on construction paper and cut it out.  Use the class collection to measure students and record how many "feet" tall they are on an anchor chart!

Writing- A great way to integrate writing with The Foot Book is to write about where you would travel.  Download this freebie by clicking here or on the picture!

Phonics- Since the oo digraph can make a long sound (as in book) and a short sound (as in foot).  Practice the sounds with a sort and sentences to be read for fluency.  Click here or on the picture to download it from my TpT store!

Check out my other Read Across America post here!


Three Ways to Insert Activity into a Read Aloud

We all know that kids need to move it, move it!  The struggle then becomes how to incorporate a little movement into the lessons without totally losing control!  I have 3 ways you can incorporate movement into your read aloud to help keep kids engaged in the story AND get some activity.

 Do a Little Dance!

Think about the context of your story.  Where is it taking place?  What country or culture does it come from?  Play some music that relates and let them dance.

While studying comparing and contrasting, we read the original Cinderella and several versions.  One of the ones we read was Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella.  Instead of a ball, Cindy Ellen attends a square dance!  Right before Cindy Ellen heads off to the dance, I played this video:

The kids LOVED it!  They got a little activity AND understood the story a little more.


Before you read to the class, go through the book and list all the actions that kids can do.  Walk, run, skip, hop, twirl, swim, etc.  

If you want the class to act out the words as they hear them, preteach the words by giving students the action you want them to do.  Then, as you read, pause so students can act out the verb.  

Another way to use this method is to just pause through out the story and call out the words you would like them to act out.

Act out the learning!

This strategy is a great way to help your kinesthetic learners.  As you get to certain parts of the story or text, students can act out what they are understanding or events that are happening.

for example, We recently read a nonfiction text about insects and the metamorphosis they go through.  Students were already familiar with the changes a butterfly goes through. When we got through that section of the text, I guided student through acting out the life cycle.  They started as eggs, emerged as caterpillars, formed a chrysalis and finally emerged as butterflies that fluttered around the room.

These are 3 of the strategies I use to incorporate reading and activity, what are you doing?


Jitter Juice: A How To Guide

When I made the move to Second Grade, I knew I had to make some changes to my first day of school routine.  I said good-bye to Chester and his Kissing Hand and hello to First Day Jitters.  

(The links that follow are Amazon affiliate links.  This means, I may receive a small commission, from Amazon-not you, if you purchase any of these materials. I cross my teacher heart that I ONLY recommend products I know, love and use!)

I wanted to turn my first read aloud into an event that would leave my class excited about Second Grade.  I did a little googling and discovered Jitter Juice.  There were a lot of recipes for how to make Jitter Juice but all of them were missing…. something. I wanted to up the wow factor and found the perfect thing….

Yes, the tiny little candies that pop in your mouth. 

Here is my recipe for how to make Jitter Juice.

Supplies and Ingredients

Before reading prep:
  •   Pour soda into cups
  •   Have Pop Rocks ready- I used to give students a sprinkle of Pop Rocks but quickly realized it was much easier to just give them all their own pouch.  If you want to give less than the whole pouch, I recommend separating it out ahead of time.  Cupcake liners work really well for this.

When I read the story, these are the things we talk about:

·       Emotions: How did you feel about the first day of school? How do you feel now that you are here? Have your feelings changed any?

·       Teacher: Did you expect Sarah Jane Hartwell to be the teacher? Why was she nervous about the first day of school?

·       Personal Emotions: I talk about how I feel lots of emotions about the first day of school.  I’m excited because I love teaching and love being around kids. I’m nervous because I am meeting all new kids and I worry about things like what if they don’t like me.  I’m also a little sad because I miss my kids from the previous year. 

After reading, I give students a cup of soda and a bag of Pop Rocks.  I tell them the Pop Rocks are their jitters or nerves and the soda is their body.  When they put the Pop Rocks go into the soda, there will be lots of bubbles and it might be uncomfortable.  As we get to know each other and settle into classroom life, our emotions start to settle, just like the Pop Rocks stop popping and settle.

Students have loved it every year. When we do our end of the year memories, at least one person brings up making Jitter Juice on the first day of school.

What is your favorite First Day of School activity?

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