Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Holiday, A Book Club, & A Sale

Hello, friends!  I hope that you had a very merry Christmas week.  I know I sure did.  My husband and I celebrated our anniversary at a local restaurant.  While we were there, the band No Last Call stopped in for a surprise Christmas performance.  It was so much fun!  We spent the rest of the week visiting with family and friends.  Now we are home relaxing.

One thing I enjoy about having time off work is the chance to tackle the books on my never-ending reading list.  

So far, I've checked off two books on the list, What Child Is This: A Christmas Story and Divergent.

What Child Is This: A Christmas Story 
Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-old Matt and eight-year-old Katie have both had enough of foster homes.  Katie wants only one thing for Christmas - a family to call her own.  Matt dreads facing Katie's disappointment when her wish of being adopted doesn't come true. 

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is far too easy to lose the true meaning Christmas.  I loved how this heartwarming story delivered a message of peace, hope, and love.  It put me in the Christmas spirit!

Synopsis:  In Beatrice's world, society is divided into five factions, or groups, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue.  Each year on "Choosing Day" all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. Beatrice must choose between staying with her family and being who she really is.  She makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.  Beatrice also has a secret, that she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death.  She soon discovers that unrest and growing conflict threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society. Her secret might help her save those she loves...or it might destroy her.

This book hooked me from the very first pages.  It has adventure, romance, suspense, and so much more.  If you enjoyed reading The Hunger Games and The Giver, then Divergent is for you.  The movie is coming out in March…I can't wait!  But before then, I'll be reading the rest of the series.  :)  

What have you been reading lately?  I'd love to know, so leave a me comment.  Then go link up with Michelle at Big Time Literacy and share your favorite books with the Book Club.

Finally, I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year!  To celebrate, I'm offering 20% off in my TPT store.

Enjoy ringing in the New Year with your friends and family.  I hope 2014 brings you health and happiness.  :)

Friday, December 27, 2013


There are so many great books to read with students during the winter months.  A few of my favorites include Penguins! by Gail Gibbons and The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins.

Gibbons provides wonderful descriptions of penguins using illustrations to make specific distinctions. This is a fun nonfiction text to use as part of a penguin unit or to win over kids who are reluctant to read nonfiction.

The Emperor's Egg
Jenkins describes what life as an Emperor chick is like.  I enjoyed the hybrid style of this book: the main text is written in a narrative format, while additional text is written in smaller italics and provides factual information.

Both books are perfect for a shared reading experience; the kid-friendly language and illustrations are certain to capture students' interest while teaching them interesting facts about these fascinating birds.

If you plan to use either of these books with your students, you may want to check out my Let's Read About Penguins! Nonfiction Book Study pictured below.  It's packed full of activities to accompany the books.  Click on the picture learn more.  :)

Let's Read About Penguins! 

Comprehension Questions
K-W-L Chart
Vocabulary Cards and Recording Sheets
“Let’s Compare Books” Venn Diagram
Penguin Action Words Study
“Let’s Compare Birds” Venn Diagram
Penguins Can-Have-Are Chart
Penguin Report Mini-Book Template

If you are looking for more winter picture book ideas, visit Reading Toward the Stars for Book Talk Thursday.  While you're there, you can link up a few of your favorite winter books too!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Facebook Frenzy!

It's Facebook Frenzy time!  Join in the fun and hop from page to page picking up excellent free literacy resources.  I'm part of the Grade 3 ELA/ SS groupyou are going to love the treats we have prepared for you.  :)

There are 13 different Frenzies happening at the same time.  You can hop through a few of them or do them all.  Resources range from K-12 in Math Science, ELA, SS, and Music.  There's even a hop just for clip art collectors.  Just open the map and click on a starting point or visit my Facebook page to begin (link at the top on the right).

There are amazing freebies to be found, but you'll have to hurry since they'll only be available this weekend.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gingerbread Baby and The First Annual Holiday Cookie Swap

I simply love Jan Brett's work.  The stories are sweet and the illustrations are captivating.  One of my favorite picture books for this time of year is Gingerbread Baby.  Jan Brett's version is a twist on the classic tale.  Students love it!

Summary:  It all begins when Matti opens the oven too soon and out jumps a little Gingerbread Baby. He leads Matti's mother and father, the dog and cat, and a whole colorful cast of characters on a rollicking chase through the village and into the forest, staying just out of reach, daring them to catch him along the way.

Here's a little clip of Jan Brett baking cookies, drawing a a picture of the gingerbread baby, and reading the story.  It's perfect for sharing with students! 

Going along with the gingerbread theme, I have a holiday recipe to share.  I'm joining up with one of my blogging buddies, Emily, from The Reading Tutor/OG for a virtual cookie swap.  

I'm sharing my recipe for White Chocolate Chip Ginger Snaps.  I came across this recipe a few years ago at a neighborhood cookie exchange. My family gobbled down the ginger snaps, and they quickly became a favorite recipe.  I hope you enjoy them too!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Time 2 B Thankful

My blogging buddies, Bex, from the Reading and Writing Redhead and Molly from Lucky to Be in First are hosting conversations about what makes us thankful.  What are you thankful for???


November is the perfect opportunity to take a time-out from life to reflect on the many blessings we've been given.  Years ago I read the book, Simple Abundance, and kept a gratitude journal.  I loved the process of counting my blessings each evening.  It brought so much positivity into my life.  While I've strayed from the actual journaling exercise, I still consider myself quite blessed.  Here are some of the many blessings for which I'm so thankful.

I am surrounded by caring, supportive, fun-loving friends and family. My heart is full.  :)

I'm thankful for you, too.  I appreciate each comment and email you send.  I've learned so much from from you along the way.  I've grown as a teacher and as a person by being a part of this teaching and blogging community.  For that I am truly grateful.

How about you? For what are your thankful this season?  Link up with the Reading and Writing Redhead and Lucky to Be in First and share!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Enjoy every precious minute you are able to spend with your loved ones.  :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gift of Reading Blog Hop

Welcome to Read With Me ABC. You have arrived at...  

At each blog stop, you will be gathering Reading gifts and freebies.  In each post you will find a picture of a snowman with a letter on it. Collect all of the letters to solve the mystery quote to enter the giveaway. Record all of the letters on your recording sheet and follow each blog along the way so that you can enter the amazing giveaway at the end!

The hop is set up as a loop, so you may start anywhere along the hop, but if you would like to start at the beginning you may go to A Day In The Life of A Title I Teacher's blog.  This is also where you will go after you finish the hop to enter the giveaway!

Trouble with Trolls, by Jan Brett

Jan Brett visited a local venue yesterday on her fall book signing tour.  I'm sure you are not surprised to learn that tickets were sold-out long before  the event took place.

She has a wonderful collection of holiday and winter-themed picture books that are *perfect* for this time of year.  If you haven't looked her up recently, you may be surprised at the sheer volume of picture books she has written.  She also has a wonderful website packed with digital treats for you.  If your students write her a letter, she will send them a pack of goodies.  My students loved getting mail from authors.  :)

I especially love the book, Trouble with Trolls.  In the story, Treva is having trouble with five greedy trolls who keep snatching her dog.  Her clever ideas prove to outwit the trolls time after time. Your students are certain to love this tale.  

My gift to you is a set of activities designed to support and enrich your instruction of Trouble with Trolls.  Just click the picture to download it. This is a new item in my store.  I would appreciate it if you left a sweet comment on TPT for me.  Enjoy!  :) 

UPDATE:  The freebie hop ended at 8PM Eastern Time.  This item is now available on TPT for $4.

My secret letter is...

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you and your students will enjoy this gift of reading. If you would like to be the first to know about new posts, giveaways, and blog hops follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image below. 

Don't stop now... Hop on over to the Comprehension Connection to visit my good buddy, Carla, and pick up another amazing reading gift. Happy Holidays! 


If you get lost along the way use the Hop Map below to easily pick back up where you left off! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Terrific Turkey Tales

It's time to talk turkey. Thanksgiving turkey, that is. Here are a few of my favorite picture books starring our feathery friend. :)

Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy

Turk's parents are proud of him.  He's the biggest, strongest, most graceful bird at Wishbone Farm. "He's a dancer," says his mother. "He's an athlete," says his father. "He's a goner," says his little brother, Runt. But no one ever listens to Runt.  Will Runt keep his family safe this holiday season?

Run, Turkey, Run!

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching.  The farmer is 
searching for a plump bird for his feast.  Turkey must find a place to hide.  If he can't outsmart the farmer, there’s only one thing left to do, outrun him.  Run, Turkey, run!

A Plump and Perky Turkey

It's Thanksgiving time in a small town, but all the turkeys have skipped town.  The townspeople need turkey for their feast.  They devise a clever plan lure an unsuspecting turkey to town. Peter takes the bait, but will he fall for their trap?

Turkey Trouble

Turkey is in trouble, BIG trouble.  It's almost thanksgiving, and he's the main course.  After many hilarious attempts to conceal his identity, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise. 

Speaking of disguises, aren't these little turkeys the cutest?

Need more Thanksgiving book suggestions? Click {here}.

Blog Hop Announcement!  

Please join me Friday for the Gift of Reading Blog Hop. Several literacy teachers have joined together to offer you freebies and a chance to win one of three Teachers Pay Teachers gift cards.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

October SLANT Box Reveal

This week went by in a blur.  After two very long evenings at work and a slew of parent-teacher conferences, I felt weary.  It was wonderful to wrap up the week with a little surprise on my doorstep when I finally made it home.  Hello October SLANT Box!  :)

Have you heard of The SLANT Box Exchange? SLANT stands for Sending Love Across the Nation to Teachers.  It's a monthly gift exchange for teachers hosted by Lessons with Coffee.   I love, love, love this idea!  

The SLANT Box Exchange

I spent this past month getting to know two amazing teacher-bloggers, Laura from Enchanting Learning and Terry from First at Bat.

Laure is my first match; she teaches kindergarten and sent her SLANT Box my way.  From baking (and eating) to drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and watching movies, Laura and I have so much in common. Here's a little peek at the goodies she selected for me

I sent my SLANT Box down south to Terry in Florida.  Terry is a first grade teacher and a gifted writer.  I've enjoyed following her thoughtful "I Am Thankful" posts on Facebook.  She has a warm heart, strong faith, and beautiful grand-babies that she showers with love.  

This project was super fun.  It was wonderful getting to know Terry and Laura.  I'm looking forward to continuing these new friendships.  

Don't forget to hop on over and visit them at First at Bat and Enchanting Learning.

If you'd like to participate in SLANT, visit Jameson at Lessons with Coffee.
Special Announcement:  Come join me Friday for a Gift of Reading Blog Hop.  You can grab up some great literacy freebies and enter a giveaway for one of three TpT Gift Cards.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



I've been boo-ed!  Now it is my turn to do some boo-ing!

Maybe you’ve seen or heard of this fun game in your neighborhood or even at school…This is the blog version!  A big thank you goes out to Carla at the Comprehension Connection for thinking of me!

Here is how it works:

If you’ve been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.

1. Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!

2. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else),
or freebie(s) that you love!

3. Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don’t boo someone again:  I’ve Been Boo-ed.  Don’t forget to tell them that they have been BOO-ED!

4. Link up here with First Grade Friendly Froggies so that others can find you and read about your October ideas!  And while you are there… check out the other great blogs!

Here are a few of my favorite October activities:

Created by Ashley Reed
Halloween Safety Book {Freebie}:  This is a great mini-book to emphasize the importance of staying safe while trick-or-treating. 

Created by Melissa Dalton
The Case of the Candy Snatcher {Paid Item}:  We are actually doing this lesson tomorrow in fourth grade.  I can't wait!  Students are so excited.  I posted the clue cards around the classroom.  Students will read through the details of the case.  Then they'll record clues about the suspects on a graphic organizer and draw conclusions about the thief.

Created by Anita Bremer
Autumn Writing Pages {Freebie}:  Love, love, love these writing center posters.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and fall words are featured with corresponding pictures.  Super cute!


So now it's my turn to boo a few of my Pennsylvania blogging buddies. Time is running short on Halloween, but I know these bloggers have awesome fall and Thanksgiving themed activities to share.  :)

That First Grade Blog
Mr. First Grade
Two Friends in First
Sweet Rhyme - Pure Reason
First Grade Teacher Lady

Happy Halloween!