Sunday, December 29, 2019

My Favorite Book Finds This Year

I know all these books may not have been published this year, but I discovered them this year. 

These are my favorite picture books and chapter books to use with younger kiddos:

I do a unit on Native American culture and it is very important to me that the focus of that is not feathers and fringy vests. This book is a beautiful story that poetically describes traditions and how important they are to Native American culture. Foods are a big part of what we pass down generation to generation and there's even a recipe for fry bread to try with the kids.

 As a supporter of animal rescue organizations (and owner of a rescue) this book just tugs at my heartstrings! A dog is asking everyone in the community if they can adopt him and only gets rejection until the postal worker who has been delivering all his letters invites him to stay with her. Yes, I am crying. :) 

I LOVE when I read a book to my students and I learn something new! This book is about the man who ended up starting Black History Month but it is also about how little things can affect someone's life. Fate works in mysterious ways-people have an effect on the lives of others and may not even realize it.

I think this book is a great way to introduce students to the vocabulary of coding. She is programming her robot to help her build a sandcastle and uses things like loops to do that. It also shows how you have to be very specific in what you are asking your computer to do. 

I cannot believe I never heard of this story. Two girls borrowed a camera (a newfangled invention at the time) and came back with a picture of fairies. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed they had captured true fairies. They stood behind their belief for years. This is the #1 most widely shared photo in history and it was all a hoax! Lots of opportunities for discussions of ethics and "fake news" with this one.

This is also a touching story about a refugee family. Lubna has a best friend she can share her trauma with-it's a pebble. Until she meets a little boy who may need a friend as well. Beautiful illustrations and of course a timely topic for discussion. We painted our own rocks that the students could use kind of like worry beads.

I am always looking for books that I can use to help my students develop empathy. I think this is one of those books. Winslow is a baby donkey who lost his mother and who no thinks will survive. He does with the help of a little boy who refuses to give up on him. 

I do a lot of activities where we try to see things from another perspective-this story is written from the perspective of a tree. A lovely chapter book about acceptance.

Did you read anything this year that you could use in the classroom? I'd love to hear your recommendations.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

One Little Word Resolutions with Kindergarten

Today was the last day of school for our students and yes, I made them do activities. :)

For the last decade or so, my resolutions have been One Word. I asked my students to think about what their goal is when they return in January. What is one thing they want to do better? They want to be be more...? I had them sound out their word if they could and then decorate it.

They came up with some thoughtful words:





pick up trash










Friday, December 13, 2019

Gingerbread Professions

We read :

We talked about what other professions there were and what a gingerbread cookie of that profession could do. I asked them to draw who would be chasing them and make it a story but you know it's that time of year-where getting them to put in effort is like pulling teeth! :) 

Here's what they came up with:

Gingerbread fairy-not sure this is a profession, but.... :) 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Better to Give or Receive?

Thinking about ethics, we often discuss taking a side and then defending it. I asked my students whether it was better to give presents or receive presents. I've done this activity with previous classes and usually I get a lot more answers saying to GET presents. This group this year has a lot of heart and is always thinking about others. Kind of gives you some hope for humanity, doesn't it?