Thursday, December 31, 2015

Savor the New Year

I don't make New Year's resolutions. It feels like every time I've tried, I end up feeling disappointed and beating myself up if I don't stick to them. Life is hard enough! I haven't made resolutions for several years now, and that's OK!
That doesn't mean I live my life without goals, however. But my goals are not limited to a calendar year, nor are they unattainable. They are meant to keep me mindful.

I want to savor the new year.
SAVOR
Take time to enjoy. To process things. To be aware.

That's not the same as BALANCE. Balance can be a frustrating goal because sometimes life's just too unpredictable. 
And busy! For myself that includes teaching, taking courses, creating curriculum, blogging, presenting, doing household chores, going to meetings, church, being a wife and a mom of 3, driving the kids all over the place... There are meals I never taste, shows I never watch, conversations I hear part of, books I skim through. The year flew by, and it's been a whirlwind.
But it IS possible to slow down a little bit. Go outside and take a deep breath of fresh air. Enjoy a song on the radio. Eat slowly so you can actually taste the food. Smell the flowers in your backyard. Turn your face up to the sun and feel its warmth. Listen to your child's whole story, with full attention. Enjoy a bird's song. 
Savor things.
Take some time, every now and then, to savor the experiences of the new year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Snow Much Fun! {a winter activity pack freebie}

Looking for a few fun free activities to do with your students to bring in the winter season?
FREE winter themed activity pack to ring in the season! Includes word jumbles, acrostic poems, making words activities, and more.
This freebie pack includes word jumbles, acrostic poems, and making words activities...all about winter.

Find it {here}

Find more winter activities on my Pinterest page

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Snowmen at Night...and More Snowman Themed Books & Activities!

Kids favorite snowman themed books with companion activities to go with each one.
Although it feels like spring, winter has officially arrived!
It's time to pull out the winter books, and have fun learning with 
SNOWMEN!
Kids favorite snowman themed books with companion activities to go with each one.
These are some of the most popular snowman books, and kids just LOVE them :) 
From silly Sneezy and all of his problems, to solving the mystery of the missing mitten, students enjoy figuring out solutions to the problems in the books. 
And what child doesn't love using his or her imagination to think about what snowmen do at night...or at Christmas?!

Just in time for winter, I have made some engaging & educational activities to go with each book. They are available as individual book companions...and better still, I bundled them all into one big, discounted pack.
Kids favorite snowman themed books with companion activities to go with each one.
Find it all {here}
Kids favorite snowman themed books with companion activities to go with each one.

Find more winter books & activities on my Pinterest page
Keep warm, and have a blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The BEST Christmas and Winter Books for Children

'Tis the season to get out your favorite Christmas & winter books!
Here is a list of sixteen books that my students absolutely LOVE, and some fun resources to go with each one!
A list of the top favorite Christmas and winter books for children with companion activities to go with each one.

THE POLAR EXPRESS
This Christmas classic is written by Chris Van Allsburg. It is a Caldecott Medal award winner, and has been translated into stage productions and a movie.
Classroom activities to go along with this book can be found {here}

MRS. WISHY-WASHY'S CHRISTMAS
We LOVE Mrs. Wishy-Washy, and this adorable book features Mrs. Wishy-Washy and her animal friends...all about making mistakes, being sorry, receiving forgiveness, and showing love. The spirit of Christmas at its best!
Classroom activities to go along with this book can be found {here}

THE GINGERBREAD MAN
There are so many versions of this story! I love this one by Eric A. Kimmel- it has fun characters, and a refrain that students love to chant together.
Classroom activities that go along with ANY Gingerbread Man book can be found {here}

THE SNOW GLOBE FAMILY
This book is about a tiny family that lives inside of a snow globe, in the home of a big family. The story leads to students imagining what it would be like to live in a snow globe.
I made this little FREEBIE to go along with it {here}

SNEEZY THE SNOWMAN
Poor Sneezy keeps doing things that make him melt...it's a good thing that he has friends that are there to help!
Classroom activities to go along with this book can be found {here}

FROZEN NOSES
Frozen Noses by Jan Carr is filled with winter fun, and the colorful cut paper illustrations are beautiful.
 Classroom activities that go along with this book can be found {here}

SNOWMEN AT NIGHT
Ever wonder what snowmen do at night while you're asleep? This book will give you some ideas of what could be happening!
Classroom activities that go along with this book can be found {here}

THE HAT
Poor Hedgie gets stuck in Lisa's woolen stocking, making it look like a 'hat'. All the animals start laughing at him, but it's Hedgie who has the last laugh.
Classroom activities to go along with this book can be found {here}

THE MITTEN
Nicki loses his white mitten in the snow, and animals squeeze inside of it, seeking a warm, cozy refuge.
Classroom activities for this book can be found {here}

TACKY THE PENGUIN
Tacky the Penguin is an odd bird, who doesn't fit in...and it is his unique characteristics that save the day!
Classroom activities for this book can be found {here}

THE SNOWY DAY
The Snowy Day is a Caldecott Medal award winning book by Ezra Jack Keats. The book details Peter's fun snowy day adventures.
I made this little FREEBIE to go along with it {here} 

THE JACKET I WEAR IN THE SNOW
This winter story details the main character's preparations to head outside to play. Layer after layer of clothing is added, and the story is fantastic for sequencing activities.
Classroom activities for this book can be found {here}

MOOSELTOE
 This fun Christmas story is about a father moose who works very hard to make Christmas 'perfectly perfect' for his family, but he forgets to get something very important! He saves the day thanks to his giant 'moostache' and antlers!
Classroom activities for this book can be found {here}

THE MISSING MITTEN MYSTERY
 After a fun day playing in the snow, one mitten is missing! Students love to join along as they retrace the steps of a day of fun to figure out this mystery!
Classroom activities for this book can be found {here}

SNOWMEN AT CHRISTMAS
 Similar to Snowmen at Night, this book leads its readers to imagine what snowmen do at Christmas time!
Classroom activities for this book can be found {here}

THE MITTEN TREE
 This book shares a wonderful story about giving and receiving, with a little mystery for students to ponder. It's a great winter themed book with a special message.
Classroom activities for this book can be found {here}
What are YOUR favorite winter books?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Building Sentences and Sentence Writing

Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
We started our writing unit by learning how to create
SUPER SENTENCES!
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
First we learned how to distinguish between sentences and sentence fragments.
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
Then we moved on to capitalization.
They had to highlight the letters that should be capitalized, and then rewrite the sentence the proper way. 
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.

Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
Using highlighters to show the mistakes in the sentences was a HUGE motivator!


Then it was time to talk about punctuation.
Periods, exclamation marks, question marks, quotation marks...oh my!
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
We learned that sentences are MUCH more interesting when they include adjectives.
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.

Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
Then it was time to choose some character cards, to use as the subjects of their sentences...
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.

Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
 ...and to select some action cards to create interesting sentences using verbs.
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
Next up, some time to practice writing STRONG sentences!
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.

Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.


Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
The checklist at the bottom of the page helped students double-check their work.

These little bitty character books were a fun activity to keep on practicing that sentence-writing!
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
This little flip book helped students focus on the characters, verbs/action and setting in the story. When the pages flipped, they made silly sentences!
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.

Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.

Does your class need some help with writing SUPER sentences?
Packed with lots of practice pages focusing key sentence-building skills, word cards and flip books! 
Find the pack {here}
Superhero themed unit on building sentences, using punctuation, complete vs incomplete sentences, verbs, adjectives, and more! Perfect for First Grade and Second Grade writing.
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