Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Read-Alouds

I'm linking up with The Hands-On Teacher for a Holiday Linky Party to share some of my favorite holiday and winter read-alouds.

You can take a peek at a few of my favorite Thanksgiving books here.  Today, I'd like to share my all-time favorite winter books...

The Mitten and The Hat are two of my favorite Jan Brett books.  I'm in love with the beautiful illustrations!  I could list so many of her books as favorites.


If you haven't read Trouble with Trolls, hurry out and get yourself a copy right away!  This book is so clever; your students will just love it!

The Polar Express is a timeless classic.  On the day our kindergarten teachers read this book, they sneak a little jingle bell into the pocket of each student's jacket.  This book is simply adorable!

Imogene takes it all in stride when she wakes up one morning to find that she has sprouted antlers.  Imogene's Antlers will have your students laughing out loud.

It's Christmas by Jack Prelutsky is a great introductions to poetry for young readers.

I'm sure you have a few favorite winter read-louds and activities of your go link-up!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Turkey Panini

I'm linking up with First Grade and Fabulous for a Holiday Recipe Linky Party.  

Thanksgiving Turkey Panini

When turkey dinner is over, do you find yourself asking, "What should I do with all these leftovers?"  Voila!  Turkey Panini-Thanksgiving Style. 

I am actually looking forward to the panini more than the turkey dinner itself. :) It's a family favorite, inspired by a William Sonoma recipe.

1/2 cup turkey gravy (warmed)
8 slices bread, 1/2 inch thick (I use sour dough, sweet batard, or whatever is in the pantry)
Butter for brushing
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
4 slices provolone cheese
Roast turkey meat
1 1/3 cups cooked stuffing

In a small saucepan, warm the turkey gravy and reserve for later.  Brush one side of each bread slice with butter.  Place four slices, buttered side down, on a clean work surface.  Spread 1 Tbs. cranberry sauce on each slice. Place one slice of cheese on each of four bread slices.  Top with the turkey and stuffing, dividing evenly.  Cover each with one of the remaining bread slices, buttered side up.

Place two sandwiches on a panini press or George Foreman grill.  Close the lid and cook until the bread is golden brown and crisp and the cheese is melted.  Repeat with the remaining two sandwiches.  Carefully open the sandwiches and spoon on the warm gravy.  Close the sandwiches, cut in half and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Motivating Readers

How does your school motivate students to read?  Many schools have a program in place to encourage students to read independently on a regular basis.  We have a small committee of teachers who plan a school-wide reading incentive program each year.  This year our baseball theme, Hit the Books!, has generated so much enthusiasm.

We launched the program the first school day in September by holding a big assembly.  We all came dressed in our baseball jerseys and caps.  After explaining the program to students, we showed a baseball themed Jib-Jab video.  One teacher from each grade level was represented in the video.  Students were laughing and cheering!

To participate, students must read a designated number of minutes at home each night and return a signed reading log at the end of each month.

Readers can look forward to special celebrations in recognition of their hard work. These celebrations include activities like Mystery Guest assemblies, Minute-toWin-It challenges,  free books, prizes, and baseball tickets.  

Does your school have a reading incentive program?  I'd love to hear about the great ideas you are using to motivate your students to read.  Please share!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving Read-Alouds and a Turkey Dinner

Are you wondering what to read this week?  Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving read-alouds.

Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne  (73 pages)
This is a short chapter book with a great message.  In the story, Jack and Annie take a trip back to the first Thanksgiving Day.  They are asked to pitch in and help prepare for the big meal.  Despite the many obstacles they encounter, Jack and Annie learn what it means to be truly thankful.

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons by Eileen Spinelli (32 pages)
This book is hilarious and heart-warming...Kids love it!  The entire Tappleton family prepares a Thanksgiving feast for their relatives.  However, nothing turns out as expected.  Grandmother reminds everyone that there's more to Thanksgiving than a turkey and trimmings.

Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl 
Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy 
by Kate Waters (32 pages each)
These books are authentic, informative accounts of the challenges and pride felt by two Pilgrim children.  Sarah and Samuel describe their daily lives from clothing to chores and more.  Students can compare a day in their own lives to that of these two Pilgrims. 

Just for fun, I thought I'd share a Thanksgiving culminating activity from my days as a first grade teacher.  My colleague and I teamed up to have Thanksgiving with our students.  I cooked the turkey; she brought homemade applesauce.  Parents supplied the rest.  Our principal even came to carve the turkey. Our two classes came together year after year to share this special meal. 

I just love their hats!

We served dinner for 43 children!  :)

I'd love to hear about your favorite Thanksgiving read-alouds and activities. Leave me a comment!  

I hope you have a relaxing, refreshing Thanksgiving holiday filled with friends and family!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

H is for Honor

Yesterday I had the privilege of being a guest reader in a fourth grade classroom.  Many of my intervention students are in this classroom, so I love opportunities to see them in their classroom setting.  We discussed what it means to be a Veteran and read the book H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian.  

This is a fun picture book to read, especially for intermediate students.  You can read the book two ways.  Each page has a short rhyme to introduce the word and give an explanation of its significance.  But then, in the side bars, there is more factual information to take students deeper.  Aren't the illustrations great?  I love this book! 

After reading the book we did a little acrostic activity using this theme paper I found on TPT by Alissa Manning-Telisak.  It's adorable (and free, too)!
Veteran's are brave
Every Veteran is fearless
Returns home
Attitude is right
Navy, Army, Military are important

Elite forces
Rescue help
All together
Never give up

 Thank you to the military men and women whose service protects our freedom and keeps us safe.  Happy Veteran's Day!