Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Welcome back to another month of Books Teachers Love! 

I picked "Farfallina & Marcel" By Holly Keller for my April read aloud. 

It is the cutest story of an enduring friendship of a gosling & a caterpillar. The watercolor illustrations are gorgeous & engaging. 

I love using this read aloud to integrate science into my read aloud. Its also just perfect for touching back on friendship in April. My firsties usually require a refresher on that one as the end of the year slowly approaches!

In the story Marcel and Farfallina meet and become friends, spending each day together at the pond. The book flawlessly describes the stages of a butterfly's life cycle through a story of friendship.

The end of the story is a great lesson on how you can remain friends despite life's changes!

Keep hopping to find even more fantastic April read aloud planning ideas & freebies below!
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Thinking BEYOND the text

 I am sharing about how I teach my kids to think BEYOND the text.
This week we are learning all about Abraham Lincoln. I am using these books for the first time this year & loving them. I am lucky enough to have a set of six in my classroom! They are part of our social studies curriculum kits but you can order one for yourself here on Amazon. However, you can use this lesson with any nonfiction text. 

When I introduce comprehension strategies for nonfiction texts, I like to start with determining importance and questioning. My first year of teaching first grade, I taught all week long about President's Day, Abe, & George! Read alouds, writing activities, stations, group work, video clips, Scholastic News articles...you  name, we did it. At the end of the week, all my students could remember was that George Washington had wooden teeth! #teacherfail 

Through trial and error, I learned that as a teacher it is important to model HOW I gather information as I read. As an adult, determining what is important as I read or skim a text for information comes naturally. It can be difficult to SHOW students how to do this. As I read aloud, I THINK aloud. I explain to students when I read something that I think is important my 'reader brain' makes a 'ding' to tell me to remember this information. 

 I discuss what a fact is and how it can help me think BEYOND the text I am reading and spark questions for further learning. We use the sentence stem "In the text it said..." to turn and talk about facts throughout the text, it helps to frame our conversations and helps my students to begin talking ABOUT the text. 

I made this chart to continue the lesson. Once we have chosen a fact, in this case we picked "Abe's family lived in a log cabin." We can FIND and PROVE this our book, plus kids have a ton of questions about life in a log cabin. 

Once we copy our fact down, we begin to discuss what the fact is prompting us to THINK about. Most of the kids started discussing who built the house, how it was much different from out homes today, and where the logs came from. 

After discussing our thinking, we move on to thinking BEYOND the text by asking questions about the fact we found IN the text. During this lesson a bunch of my students were very curious about how they could keep the logs from rolling around! They had great ideas on what the answer may be! We decided the student's would take this question home to search for answer with family & then return to school with their answer the next day! I love when a lesson sets my students up to want to learn more and it is a total bonus that they have a baseline to open a conversation with their family about our learning at school!
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Books Teachers Love {On the Same Day in March}

Welcome back to another month of Books Teachers Love! I cannot believe I am planning for March already! This year has been such a whirlwind! 

I picked "On the Same Day in March" by Marilyn Singer as my book this month. 
march read aloud, weather, on the same day in march,

Teaching in Texas sometimes makes it difficult to teach about weather and seasons. More than once I've found myself trying to help my students understand that leaves change colors and YES snow is real. Haha!
march read aloud, weather, on the same day in march,
On the Same Day in March will take your students on a world tour while describing the weather all along the way!


 I LOVE that the book covers three subjects in one read aloud, perfect for the short month of March!To set the stage I usually hang up my HUGE whiteboard map that I keep propped in the corner of my classroom behind the door, the kids never know what it is and are always so surprised when I pull it out and hang it up for the first time each year!

I usually read it right after Dr.Seuss celebration has ended and before I break out the St. Patrick's Day books.  
march read aloud, weather, on the same day in march,  
 I read the first page and show the kids where it says "On the same day in March..." and teach them to read that part chorally on each page. It just helps keep them engaged and following the text, its a bit longer than the normal read aloud I would select!

march read aloud, weather, on the same day in march,
Thinking about all the different types of weather in the different places sets the students up to practice drawing conclusions. We stop a TON during the read aloud to find places on the map & THINK aloud about how the weather is different all over the world. We use the thinking stem "I notice..." during the lesson to help frame our conversations.

  The kiddos love learning that people all over the world have different weather on the same day! Such a neat book to help expand kids thinking! 

To grab the book on Amazon, click here!
Keep hopping to find even more fantastic March read aloud planning ideas & freebies below!
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march read aloud, weather, on the same day in march,

Sunday, January 10, 2016

{Books Teachers Love}- Groundhog Gets a Say


Welcome back to another month of Books Teachers Love! February is such a pick me up when it comes to lesson planning! January is fun with the winter theme and penguins...but I just adore Valentine's Day books, 100th Day books, President's Day, and Groundhog's Day books too! 

I choose "Groundhog Gets a Say" by Pamela Curtis as my book this month. 

It is the cutest little book, it is written from the groundhog's perspective and is a little 'ranty' in an adorable way! It starts off with Groundhog wondering where everyone is the morning after the big day. He goes on to wonder why people only seem to want his weather report one day out of the year when he has so many other talents to share! He describes them while listing out facts & tidbits about the groundhog. 

I like to use this book to start a class discussion on Groundhog's Day. I like to make a bubble map with a groundhog in the center. After we read the story the kids have so many things to add to the concept map besides the one day weather report! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Secret Santa Blog Hop {with The Elementary Entourage}

I have loved doing secret Santa exchanges since elementary school. It just so much fun to send and receive secret gifts! My awesome secret Santa partner was Alex from The Kindergarten Connection.

She put together the cutest snow themed gift for me! Look at this adorable snowmen card! I just love it.

I just loved all the details of this card, complete with super cute frames & fonts! 

I got this snowman wrapped candy bar, with a glove for his hat.

Of course, she also sent me the other glove too! Ha!

I got a fluffy pair of Christmas socks just in time for sock day at school because I accidentally packed all mine away for storage since I am in the middle of moving. 

I have a thing for ornaments that can't break, so this perfect!

Alex even made my gum into little snowmen, I don't want to use it up! Too cute!

Thanks Alex for being such a great secret Santa! I love it all! Now that I shared all of the goodies I got...I want to give you a little secret Santa freebie! 

Click the picture to grab the Christmas tree adjective poem from my shop for FREE! 

Merry Christmas y'al1! 
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

{Books Teachers Love}-The Three Snow Bears

Welcome back to the December Books Teachers Love, a monthly post about our favorite read alouds for upcoming month. Each month, you will have a chance to win 4 of the books we blogged about!

I picked a fun read for January, The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett. I have LOVED Jan's books since I was in first grade! January begins my favorite author study of the year. I so enjoy sharing my love
of these detailed children's books. 

 I use this book to extend my traditional fairy tales unit in January. I begin my unit reading aloud Goldilocks and the three bears by Jan Brett...of course! {Click photo to link to Amazon}.


My students usually know this story pretty well and really like listening to another version by my beloved author. After reading Goldilocks aloud, I read aloud The Three Snow Bears. We compare and contrast the Aloo-ki and Goldilocks. 

I love the stark visual contrasts between the characters while the two girls maintain many of the same characteristics and actions throughout the two books. 

I just adore how at this point in the year my students are really able to dissect text and make meaningful connections and comparisons. I hope this helps you plan out your January read alouds. 

Click the picture to download the freebie for comparing & contrasting these two books!
Keep hopping to see how the other bloggers use the read alouds in January!
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