Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Books Teachers Love: March Edition

Welcome to another monthly edition of Books Teachers Love. This month I am going to be discussing a book called, "Dino-Basketball" by: Lisa Wheeler. A few years ago, during the March Madness craze, I was looking for a book to tie in with a basketball theme. I found this book. It included dinosaurs and basketball! So, basically a win, win in a first grade classroom!

The book is about plant eating and meat eating dinosaurs playing a game of basketball. It tells the story in such an exciting way! It really gets the kids engaged!

I use this book to go over a variety of concepts with the students.
I pull out these handy, dandy posters to place on my focus wall for the week.
The focus for each lesson is at the top of the poster. This is what I teach for our mini-lesson for the day! 

Here are a few examples of the mini-lessons in action!
Sometimes, the students and I do an activity together for the mini-lesson!

Here, the students and I are learning to confirm our predictions.
We do this lesson before I read the whole book.
For the lesson, I review what it means to predict. Then, I fold a piece of paper in half. The paper has a little story on it. Before I unfold the piece of paper, students predict what they think will happen next. I wrote down their responses on the anchor chart. We then, read the rest of the story. We found out we were not correct! We then learned how to use evidence from the story to tell why our prediction was incorrect!

Here is a peek at another lesson!
(Sorry for blurry pictures - this was two whole years ago!!)

In this lesson, we look at the differences between fiction and non-fiction! We compare and contrast the two. I read a non-fiction dinosaurs book to help us out with our comparisons!

Afterwards, the students completed a cut and glue activity. Then, during read to self, they explained why the book they read was fiction or non-fiction!

Throughout our time with this book, we also go over using nouns, verbs and adjectives to help us describe the setting. We learn about pronouns and we learn to use context clues to determine the meaning of new words!

For each day of the week, there are detailed lesson plans with the common core standard that is aligns to! If you're interested in using this book in your classroom, you can find the activities here.

Now, read below for a lot more fun!!

Enter to win these books!

Find activities for more books by visiting these blogs!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

February Edition: Books Teachers Love

This month, I am coming to you with the most adorable book! It is super comical and kids will really get a kick out of it!

The book is called, "The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever!"
When I was shopping for books, this one popped up and the title just grabbed me! I love to read funny books to my kids, and this one... well, clearly it's a funny one! Just look at that title!

It's all about a boy who writes a valentine for this girl he just lllooovvessss!! Her name is Zoey Maloney. After he creates his Valentine, it comes to life. It runs away from him and tells him that he can't tell her, he loves her! It's nothing but trouble, stick to candy!! He runs into a whole bunch of friends, until finally... at the end, the boy - Leon, runs into his love! 
From there... you will have to find out what happens next! ;-)

I was really surprised to find that this book actually had a lot of meat to it. I had so many ideas going through my head as I was reading it. I couldn't just settle on one. So, I just made a whole little activity packet for it!

As I was creating this, I was thinking of all the ways this could be used. It can be used in grades 1-3. 

Grade One - support is needed and these are great whole group mini-lessons!
Grade Two- I would still do whole group. The kids could complete an activity with a partner!
Grade Three- This could be completed with a partner or even as a station activity. Last year when I taught third, I would have totally put the book at a station with one of the activity sheets! Then, come together and discuss it!

When I have a book that I do multiple activities with, I love to create a cover! At the end of the week, the kids color and staple their cover on. The kids love taking home all of their activities in a book!

The first activity I created for this book was one for predicting. There are so many adjectives in the title. Before reading, talk to the kids about each word and make a prediction just based on the title! My mind sure ran wild!

Something that stunned me when I read this book was the vocabulary inside of it! I was reading and I saw words like complicated, triumph, risky and proclaim!

I would use these cards on an anchor chart. Then, I would have my students write what they think the word means on a sticky note. From there, we would discuss and come up with a definition together. 

Then, to assess - this activity is perfect!

As always, I love to just check for basic comprehension! It also never hurts to ask students about their favorite part! If you want, you can ask them to provide a reason too!

This book is also perfect for identifying the main idea! 
So if that's something you're working on, this is a great book for it!

Then, some retelling graphic organizers. For my little firsties, I would ask them to draw pictures of each part. Second grade, we would draw a picture and write about it. Third grade could also do the same!

I hope you found some useful ideas here! 
If you're interested in any of these activities, then click here!

This month, you can win THIS book by entering the giveaway below.
You can also win the other three books that you see too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway To read about more books for the month of February click one of the books below!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Just Breathe...

This month some wonderful bloggers and I are coming to you with our plans and goals for the year! I'm going to be brutally honest here, and share some feelings that are hard for me to really talk about. Let's get started.

This is my goal this year...

to breathe..

just. breathe. because I can't do it all.

I want to do it ALL. I want to be a great blogger, the best teacher, the best mommy, the best wife, a successful tpt author, and be healthy & happy.

Well, clearly that is all just too much for one person to handle. I have a hard time with the fact that I can't possibly be all of those things. In my mind, it works, but in reality... I just can't. I am running myself into the ground and driving myself crazy to be all of those things.

Right now, I am incredibly frustrated with the fact that my teachers pay teachers *career* is more or less on the back burner. I love it, almost as much as teaching sometimes. It's my creative outlet and a place where I got to virtually meet some great people. Lately, I just can't keep up with it. I see it slowly regressing and it makes me so sad. I worked so hard for the past three years to create amazing things, but without the time to create more, promote, and share... it more or less gets lost in the midst of everything else. It makes me sad, because the work I had put into it, but I just can't continue to do what I was once doing right now.

I have other things that are much more important and valuable.

Like this little guy...

and the rest of my beautiful family...

My family is where I place my time and my energy.
My goal is to each day, take a deep breathe, refocus and realize... this is what's important. 

I have also begun to really take my health more seriously. I was really falling off the wagon there, and I could really tell. I was tired, my skin was yucky, I had no energy and I was just plain grumpy! -not to mention the extra fun I was carrying around in my legs and belly!
Not being healthy, was really making me unhappy with myself.
Getting back on the health track is something that I am going to make a top priority!
I am already beginning to feel better!

Then, when I get back to school, I have 27 little first grade babies that rely on me. I want to continue to give them everything I have.

All in all, I just need to breathe... realize, I am not superwoman. I can't do it all. It's okay. I will keep these three things at the top of my priority list and the other things I can do when I find time.
TPT will always be there, and even though I didn't accomplish my goal right now, it doesn't mean I won't reach it someday. Right now, just isn't my time and I'm learning that it's okay. I will create when I find time, it's something I won't ever be able to give up.

Thank you for reading my little goal for the year! Remember... just breathe! :)