Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Books QR Codes

Feel free to grab these QR Codes for your kiddos.  I recently discovered The Carpenter's Gift (thanks to my Media Specialist husband, John) and I love it!  The other three are awesome, too!  Must shares in my classroom each year. 
Also includes a QR Code recording sheet to keep kids accountable and to hekp generate discussion at home.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story

The last thing I did before leaving school for Thanksgiving break was put away my November themed books and displayed my December gems.  While there are so many good ones, if I had to pick my favorite, it would, hands down, be Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4. Full-page watercolor paintings decorate this warm, sentimental story loosely based on actual events. Rylant traces the origins of an Appalachian "Christmas Train" that travels through the mountains each year on December 23 to a rich man who wished to repay a debt of kindness he had received many years before. He faithfully returns and tosses silver packages from the caboose to the coal-town children who wait by the tracks. One such child is Frankie, who longs for a doctor's kit every year; instead he gets much-needed socks or mittens along with small toys. As an adult, he moves back to the town to live and work, having fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor. With her clear, balanced, and well-paced storyteller's voice, the author builds the anticipation and excitement that the children and especially Frankie feel at the train's annual arrival. Although the heroic profile of this child-turned-man makes him more of a symbol than a real person, his story is well told. The illustrations provide panoramic views of the Appalachian countryside, with deep nighttime blues and wintry colors, strengthening the sense of place. A well-rendered reflection on the importance of giving and sharing.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The real Santa Train

At my old school, we used to collect toys for the very same train that would travel through the Appalachian Mountains.  We would have to hire a truck to fit in all the toys the kids purchased.  To kick off the service project, we read this lovely book.  We were lucky to have the illustrator, Chris Sonepiet, visit once!  I still can't get through the book without tearing up and it's the first book I read to my class each year.    

The book is PERFECT on its own.  You don't need to do anything else but read it and the great discussions will flow.  I extend a tiny bit with a few prompts, a retell (which they love to do!) and the make words using the letters in Doctor Kit.  Totally not necessary but just a small way I extend this book.

Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (Silver Packages:An

Hope you have the book!  If not, share the video via the link above.  Let me know if you love the story as much as I do!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gobble, Gobble!

Hope you all have a lovely day
with your family and friends!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Grab these How-To QR Codes

Hope you can use these for your How-To unit!  ENJOY!  Commercial free.  SAFE!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

EASY Turkey Craft with a Scoot Twist

Isn't this adorable?

Kids cut and made own legs and waddles (this one waddle-free!)
Next year I'll have them do own bodies freehand, too. 

Easily made with Bingo Daubers/Stampers!  Each student had one on their desk and stamped their turkey until I said Scoot.  Then we scooted to the right and did it all over again.  They loved it!  If the desk had a color you didn't want (most boys didn't want pink)  OR a color you already used, you simply got to repeat Gobble, Gobble until we scooted again!

If you haven't done a Thanksgiving Day Craft but wanted to squeeze one in, try this one tomorrow. Easy and fun! The kids will love showing it off at home.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Problem Solved: A Word Wall Your Kids Will Use!

The success of any word wall depends on kids actually using it.  Yep.  Sounds simple.  But it's not.  At least it wasn't for me!

Personal Word Walls have proven to be most effective for my class.

DID YOU KNOW: An estimated 65-75% of all words we read are made up of the 220 sight words on the Dolch list? Knowing that, I'm sure we all agree that quick mastery of sight words is a must.

When I first started teaching, my wall was up too high and on the closet doors...way back in the room.  Too far away for the kids to really see it and use it.  Looking back now, I sum it up as ACCESS DENIED! Too high.  Too far away.  Kids would crowd around it and jockey for position.  A time waster.  Result: rarely used.

Then I moved on to a much smaller version under the chalkboard.  Pretty much the same problems. Too many kids gathered around it.  Not an idea place to see it yet alone use it, etc.  ACCESS DENIED!

Moved on to "Portable Walls."  Had words on a ring and kids could borrow the ring, go back to seats, write word down, and, then put it back.

A time suck for my class.  Some kids spent more time up and down out of seats than writing.

So maybe, I thought, I could give each kid their OWN ring.  I know a teacher who uses this method flawlessly and I bow down to her.  I just couldn't keep up with making sure words were added to ALL rings.  

I finally made Personal Word Walls and I'm not looking back. I used the Dolch Lists, added about ten more words I knew we'd need, and printed two-sided.  Results?  BINGO! 


Kids highlight our weekly words so they can spot those first.  I debated allowing them to add more words.  They can if they want BUT I want to encourage them to tap out the words which they are really adept at doing! 

If you've been frustrated with your word and it's not being used, try a Personal Word Wall that can be kept in their writing folder and be taken out quickly when needed.  I think you may just like it and find it as useful as I do.

You can easily make one for your class.  If you rather have a pre-made one, just click on picture above.

If you make one, I'd love to see a picture of it!  Good luck!