Monday, April 21, 2014

Must-Read Monday---New Poetry Books for Our Classroom Collection!

Linking up for the first time with Amanda at Teaching Maddeness for Must-Read Monday!  Since I am an amazon prime addict, I always have new books I can share.  Since Amanda shared some poetry goodies--thought I would do the same.  Here are some new must-read poetry books that have been added to our classroom library this year...

UnBEElieveables by Douglas Florian

UnBEElievalbes by Douglas Florian is a beautiful picture book of poems all about honey bees.  Love how there is an informational text passage that accompanies each poem.  We used this text to kick off our poetry unit by exploring three texts related to bees--informational, fiction, and poetry.  Summer Hummer worked perfectly to demonstrate a poets use of organization, punctuation, and rich language.  It was also a superb example of how poetry can teach the reader about a topic in a different way (in contrast to an informational text). 

Enjoying this picture book made me (my arm was twisted!) order another of Douglas Florian's picture book of poems called Poem Runs. Looking forward to its arrival!

2-Digit Missing Addend & Sum QR Code Cards -- Monster Theme!

Make Magic! Do Good! by Dallas Clayton

Stumbled upon this one online, and I am so glad I did!  Make Magic! Do Good! by Dallas Clayton is a wonderful collection of poems that really speak to kids.  Themes such as kindness, friendship, citizenship, and pride come through the poet's words and illustrations. Your kids are sure to love this it!

Enjoy this video teaser animation of the poem Make Magic! Do Good!

by Betsy Franco

I shared this collection in a previous post, but I cannot say enough how much I adore this one--Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and other School Poems for Two Voices by Betsy Franco.  What a superb collection of poems to help students build fluency--AND have fun!  My students loved "performing" Whir, Whir, Zing, Zap--a poem with classroom onomatopoeia. Enjoy Anatomy Class and add this one to your classroom collection today!!

I have to be honest and say that I went a bit crazing in ADDING to our collection this year--these are just a few of my favorites... Hope you found something you too enjoy!

Fly on over to Teaching Maddeness to discover more must-reads!

Wishing you a splendid week...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Art with Rechenka's Eggs -- Pysanky Egg Masterpieces!

Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco is one of my long-time personal favorites!  I have used this beloved picture book every year, since I student taught, when this time of year rolls around. Many moons ago, pysanky eggs also became the subject of art for my kids.

My first encounter with Ukrainian pysanky eggs came when I was in college.  I had an elementary math education text with these intricate eggs on the cover, and I was intrigued with them at once.  Soon after, I came across a poster in a library media magazine of the same eggs--a photo of pysanky eggs with one pair being identical.  Since I was a poor college student at the time, I did not spend the money to purchase the poster.  BUT a friend who worked at a printing company surprised me by blowing up a small version to poster size (yes, I know this is against the rules). :0(  Anyway, I have saved the poster and bring it out for student exploration after reading Rechenka's Eggs every year. To this day, I have never been able to find the same poster, so I am sorry I cannot refer you to a site to purchase, BUT you can find other Pysanky egg posters online.

Some years students have made single eggs decorated in the pysanky style, and other years they have created a collection of eggs with two being identical like the poster.  The kids really get into trying to trick the viewers of their art by creating pairs of eggs that are ALMOST identical.    I have also varied the extent we learn about the symbols and colors used on traditional pysanky eggs and the process of making the eggs. There are many resources on line for teaching kids about the tradition and process of making pysanky eggs.  I have created some guide sheets for students that I have used from year to year as well.

This year, my second graders created some beautiful pysanky masterpieces.  I was truly impressed with their creativity and patience in creating their masterpieces.  

The first step was to decorate their eggs by drawing with pencil.  You will notice students made two eggs at a time--one pair being identical and the others almost identical (like our poster).

Then they added color with colored pencil. They again took care in coloring two eggs at a time. 

Here are their finished masterpieces!

 I recommend Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco and an art opportunity with Pysanky eggs for ANY age. Hop online to learn more about Pysanky eggs!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturday -- Fun with QR Codes!

Fun with QR Codes

Both Courtney's and my kids love QR codes! What a simple means of motivating students and providing opportunities to self-correct.

The students in the pic above are working with super hero themed inference cards created by Fun in Fifth Grade.

I have also purchased some QR code products from Caitlin Kramer.

AND I have created some myself!


The latest sets I have made are informational text QR code task cards--similar to those I purchased from Caitlin Kramer, but tailored to our explorations.  These are not posted for free or for sale because I scanned some wonderful new informational texts that just arrived in our library.  I thought the QR cards would also spark some interest in these new texts come library day...

If you have never used QR code activities with your kids, I encourage you to try some.  Lots of goodies available out there, and they are super easy to make.  I used QR Code Generator.

As the school year nears an end, I find myself reflecting back on a year, that at times seemed long and came with its challenges, to relish in my students' accomplishments.  They have come so far! So I share this quote with you all...

Don't forget to fly on over to Head Over Heels for Teaching to read more motivational ideas!

Wishing you the best for a Happy Easter!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fabulous Finds Friday--April 4, 2014

Check out these new finds with our Fabulous Finds Friday linky!

The Curriculum Corner 

As a teacher nowadays, whenever I need to find something I go right to Google and search, which is what I assume every teacher does! How did teachers look for things before Google? Anyways, I can't remember what I was looking for at the time, but I came across the The Curriculum CornerThis was such a great find! It was created by 2 educators that have made great resources tied to Common Core, but also lessons, printables, and other resources that can be used K-8. We have used their Measurement Book, which my students loved, as well as assessments and activities with prefixes. These two ladies have made their resources free (what teacher doesn't love that word :), and I highly recommend checking it out!

Reading Rockets

Another site that I found, and love, is Reading Rockets.  This site has great lessons and resources, as well as videos of authors to share with students. We will be focusing on poetry this month, and this site has videos from poets such as Jack Prelutsky, Mary Ann Hoberman, and Janet Wong. Also included are lessons using poetry to teach rhythm and rhyme (and 2nd grade CC standard :), as well as writing poetry. Fly on over and check it out!

Poetry for Two Voices

I wanted to beef up my collection of poetry books for two voices, so I search and found a couple of fabulous collections.

Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two Voices by Betsy Franco is perfect! Love this collection of poems related to many aspects of school with creativity and humor.  Can't wait for my kids to enjoy this one!  Link on the cover to learn more... A must for any poetry collection!

Perfect for this time of year---Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More: Poems for Two Voices by Carole Gerber is a gem as well.  Beautifully illustrated! 

Some Oldies with New Access

Many moons ago (about 18 years now), I purchased a collection of National Geographic Really Wild Animals VHS tapes. Yes--VHS!! Well, I have not really used them much in the past few years because of the format. Until a couple of weeks ago, I never thought of checking to see if the episodes were available for streaming on amazon.  Silly me!  I was pleasantly surprised to find my whole collection (and some others) for $1.99 an episode! If you have never heard of/seen any of these episodes, you will love them just as much as the kids do. They are chocked full of fun and information! The music videos are hilarious--AND they are narrated by the late Dudley Moore, as Spin.  Take a look!

We would love for you to link up your Fabulous Finds! Just grab our log to use in your post and link up below.  Click here to learn more about our Fabulous Finds Friday linky!


Enjoy your Friday, and have a splendid weekend!