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“One Family” is one you need for Thanksgiving!

Posted by on Nov 18, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but it’s a challenge to find Thanksgiving picture books that connect with kids (I find many “pilgrim and Indian” books that are cringeworthy with stereotypes). This year,  I’m focusing on the “thanks” in Thanksgiving and sharing One Family by George Shannon with pictures by Blanca Gomez.

The simple counting book is elevated here to show the beauty of what a family can be.

Counting up to ten, we see all kinds of inclusive loving groups: two dads and their daughter (all with different shades of skin), grandparents and kids, a family where the dad and his sons are wearing turbans, a mix of adults and kids where it’s not clear what the relationships are but who cares because they’re smiling and together. On the last page showing all the people we read, “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

Use this book to inspire your students to write and draw about their own families. To continue the counting 1 to 10 structure, students can write about what they are thankful for this holiday. Pair this with the wonderful new nonfiction book Families by Shelly Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly if you want to compare and contrast to hit the Integration of Knowledge & Ideas standard. I count you among my many blessings!

One Family by George Shannon with pictures by Blanca Gomez
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It’s allergy-safe, no cost, promotes reading = it’s the perfect Halloween treat!

Posted by on Oct 25, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Every year at Halloween, a kid (maybe your own) asks for a scary book and you think, how scary is scary for this kid? Do they like zombies, or are carrots that eat bunnies more their speed? Trick or Reaters will help you find just the right book – and give you free bonuses like audio clips of first pages to entice readers.

Trickorreaters.com is loaded with book recommendations from authors like R. L. Stine to Grace Lin to Melanie Watt. Use the Scare-O-Meter to decide how scary you want your stories to be, or select by age (from two years old to fourteen) or by genre. Want a scary story about witches for a nine-year-old? Trick or Reaters will give you book suggestions like “The Gravedigger’s Son” by Patrick Moody, treat you with an audio clip, a book excerpt, or a book trailer, and help you find the book at your local library or bookstore.

Print fun flyers from the website to tuck into goody bags or to hand out on Halloween night, and use Trick or Reaters all year long to find books that are the exact right amount of scary!

https://www.trickorreaters.com
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I’m New Here

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Early Learning, People Smart, Print Concepts, Readers' Theater, Self Smart, Uncategorized | 4 comments

I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien It’s September, the start of a new school year. I have no apples for you teachers, but I do have the perfect back-to-school picture book to teach empathy and point of view: I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien.

Maria, Jin, and Fatimah are new to their schools and to the United States. Through their stories, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to hear a new language, to see a new alphabet, and to try to pick up a new set of classroom expectations. “Back home… I knew just what to do.” All of your students can relate to the unsettled feeling of a first day in a new classroom. With I’m New Here, you can expand upon that feeling to help your students empathize with people who are new to our country. I love that Anne Sibley O’Brien not only shows what it’s like to be an immigrant, but how we all learn from each other. On one page, O’Brien writes from Jin’s point of view, “I am learning from others. And they are learning from me.” Jin asks a little boy, “How to spell cloud?” The boy responds, “C-L-O-U-D.” Jin holds up a piece of paper with Korean characters on it. “This is cloud in Korean.” “Cool.”

Michelle A., a gifted kindergarten teacher of English as a Second Language students and a remarkable friend, told me about Step Inside thinking. After you’ve read through the book, ask your students to “step inside” a character and imagine that they are Maria, Jin, or Fatimah. Students can write and draw from the perspective of the character, describing what was a challenge and what helped. You can turn this book into a readers’ theater script for students to perform, or have students take on the roles in an impromptu performance as you reread the book. As a class, you can talk and write about what you all can do to help a new student feel welcome. Whether or not you gain a new student during the year, all of your students will gain a wider, more empathetic perspective from I’m New Here.

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Here Come the Humpbacks!

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Body Smart, Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Key Ideas and Details, Michigan Author, Nature Smart, Range of Reading, Science, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Here Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre illustrated by Jamie HoganHappy March, everyone! This month I’m sharing a terrific informational picture book about humpback whales and a fabulous, free activity guide that will have your students up and moving as they process information. For those Nature Smart students who’re fighting the winter blahs, this kind of reading will be especially meaningful.

Here Come the Humpbacks! written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan is a nonfiction book detailing the migration of a humpback whale calf. Sayre gives us all the excitement of the treacherous journey that spans over 1,500 miles and doesn’t skimp on rich vocabulary or solid information.

After reading the book, your students can review what they’ve learned and “act out” the migration of a humpback. (Go, Key Ideas & Details!) Curious City has a wonderful, free humpback migration game you can download with step-by-step instructions and printables for 10 stations for students to visit. To add another layer of fun, go to YouTube and let kids hear the sounds that humpback whales make. (For more information about Curious City and its free children’s book engagement materials as well as book giveaways, please visit: curiouscitydpw.com. You’ll thank me later.)

I’ll be in New Jersey in April giving a seminar on early literacy skills for preschoolers and kindergartners. Please keep your fingers crossed that we’ll be enjoying tulip blossoms and not ice storms!

For more information about the author, please visit: aprilsayre.com.

For more information about the illustrator, please visit: jamiehogan.com

 

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