Monday, January 28, 2013

Perfect Penguin Picks

School was closed today due to icy conditions.  It's the perfect reason to share my favorite penguin book picks and a word sort freebie.  

Little Penguin's Tale by Audrey Wood
Little Penguin is a delightful bird who wanders off on an adventure  while his Grand Nanny is telling a story.  He learns an important lesson along the way. 

Penguins by Gail Gibbons
This is the perfect non-fiction companion to Little Penguins Tale.  Students can learn all about where penguins live, how they grow, and what they eat.

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
Tacky isn't your average penguin.  This story illustrates the advantages of being an individual.  If you enjoy this story, try reading Three Cheers for Tacky, too.  Your students will love this odd bird!

Penguins by Emily Rose Townsend
This book is another great non-fiction choice, written in simple words that young students can grasp.

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
Mr. Popper is one of my favorite chapter book read-alouds for the primary classroom.  Old fashion fun and laughter fill the pages. 

And now for a freebie...

Making Words is a great activity to use in a whole group setting or at a center.  You can download a little penguin word sort here.  I'm just starting to post files, so I would love to hear what you think about this sort.  Please leave feedback.  :)

Time for you to share...What are your favorite penguin picks?  I'd love to know!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Read-Alouds

Hi-hip-hooray!  We had a little snow and a two hour delay today.  It got me thinking about a few of my favorite winter read-alouds.  

Missing Mittens by Stuart Murphy

     In this rhyming book, the animals on Farmer Bill's farm are each missing a mitten.  This is a great book to explore odd and even numbers.

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft & Richard Van Gelder

     Find out how animals cope with winter's worst weather.  This is a great book to introduce the words migrate, hibernate, and adapt.

The Twelve Days of Winter by Deborah Lee Rose

     This winter story-song tells the story of a teacher who introduces students to a new winter activity each day.

The Mitten by Jan Brett & The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt
     In this Ukrainian folktale, a boy's lost mitten is found by the woodland animals.  Reading both versions provides an opportunity for comparing and contrasting.  

The Hat is a great companion book to The Mitten.  Click here to visit Kristine's TpT store for a super cute venn diagram (freebie) to use with these two books.

Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett

     I've mentioned this book in another post.  It is so clever!  If you do not own this book, run right now and get your copy.  Your kids will love it!

Swim, Polar Bear, Swim! by Joan Stimson

     Polar Star has difficulty learning to swim in this beautifully illustrated picture book.  This book offers great lessons on unconditional love and perseverance.

Elmer in the Snow by David McKee

     Elmer's friends learn that hot and cold are only relative-and both can be fun.

The Magic School Bus in the Arctic by J. Cole & B. Degen

     Take a ride on the Magic School Bus to learn about heat.  This book is a great introduction to the topic of heat and insulation.  There is a fun experiment with insulating toast slices on the last page.

What are your favorite books and activities for the winter months?  Please share!  :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

MLK Day Activities


Here are a few of my very favorite read-aloud books to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport is a fabulous read aloud.  If you plan to read just one book about Martin Luther King, this should be the one.  I love the inspirational quotes on each page.  Although segregation is a difficult topic to tackle with students, this book opens the door for thoughtful discussions. 

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo is another good choice for younger children.  The text is written in clear, easy to understand words for children.  The scratch-art style illustrations are beautiful! 

Here are a few other books worth checking out too!



One activity my students  enjoy is Readers' Theater.  I love Readers' Theater, too, because my students want to read the scripts multiple times.  It's a sneaky way to get children to practice fluency and expression (and it builds self-confidence as well).  

I found a cute little play, Big Words, Strong Words by Bobbi Katz, that is perfect for Readers' Theater.  You can download it here from Scholastic.   

Another activity I use often with my students is word sorting (or making words).  Students use a set of letter tiles to build words and write them.  I can focus on particular phonics skill that we are studying or allow students to explore patterns on their own.  The goal is to discover the 'Mystery Word' by using all the letter tiles to form one final word.  

I created three word sort activities for Martin Luther King Day to share with you.  This is the first time that I've posted a document to Blogger, so I'm crossing my fingers that it works.  Just click on the links below to download the files from Google Docs.

Dreams Sort                   Freedom Sort                       Birthday Sort

I would love to have your feedback about these sorts, so please leave me a comment.  

What do you do to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in your classroom?  Please share!  :)