read alouds

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Books Teachers Love: April Read Alouds

Welcome to a monthly post called, "Books Teachers Love." If you're new to this series, welcome!! Each month, eleven other bloggers and I share ideas for our favorite read alouds for the upcoming month! There are almost ALWAYS free activities included in some of the posts!

My book that I'll be talking about today is an adorable one called, "The Little Raindrop."
It's about the Little Raindrop and all the places it visits when it falls out of the sky. It such a sweet story. It also really lends itself into discussing the water cycle!

This book not only lends itself perfectly to the water cycle, but also sequencing. It's one where you could teach the Circular Story Sequencing. Circular stories follow a round pattern. It begins and ends in the same way like the Mouse books, seasons of the year or life cycles. It has a predictable series of events that returns to the starting point.

To model the circular story structure, I would first help students identify the KEY details in the story: the ones which we feel are most important. I found 6 to be my magical number for this book. Something students could do first is illustrate the 6 key details on 6 different raindrops like you see above.

After students illustrate the important key details, then they can write about each one on the raindrops with lines. 

These raindrops would be fun to place on a large piece of paper and make them into mini-flip books in a circular motion.

If your students are ones that need a little help with just comprehension of the key details, then you could also use the pre-typed key detail raindrops that you see in the picture above. Students order the details, then illustrate to show they can comprehend those parts.

To find the raindrop templates, click here. They're FREEBIES!

If you would like to WIN THIS BOOK and three others, enter the giveaway below.
Also, check out the other great books from the other bloggers by clicking their links!

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Leprechaun Notes

If you're one of the those crazy teachers like me that allow your students to build leprechaun traps inside the classroom, then you definitely want a fun follow up for the kids!

I want my students to find something fun waiting for them at their traps from the leprechaun in the morning! I came up with notes with a picture of our crazy leprechaun that has been causing havoc in our classroom all week long!

I wrote the notes to my kids with my left hand so they didn't think that I WROTE THE NOTES! They would totally make the connection.

I also tried to make a lot of the notes connected to the trap that the kids made!
Like the one you see below, his little note said, "I saw that hole."
The little girl made a hole at the top of the box so the leprechaun would fall inside! It's behind the grass.

If you're interested in using the notes with your kids, you can find them here!

I can't wait to see my student's reactions tomorrow!

HANDS ON - Jamie O'Rourke Character Analysis Project

It's officially the week of St. Patrick's Day! That means it's time to really ENGAGE the kids so we aren't peeling them off the ceiling! I started some St. Patrick's Day themed stuff a little early. Last week we read the book, "Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato." This is such a great book! I highly recommend you add it to your classroom library collection!

When we first began reading this book on Monday, we did a simple prediction and confirmations of predictions lesson. Tuesday, we did a nice little retell. I love starting the week off that way to get the kids to really understand the story. Wednesday-Friday we were all about analyzing the two main characters: Jamie and Eileen!

We started analyzing the characters by discussing their outside traits, what we see with our eyeballs.
We wrote down their outside traits.

After writing their outside traits I gave the kids body outlines for a boy and a girl. Students were instructed to use the outside traits to draw Jamie and Eileen as best as they could. Students had to really attend to the outside traits of the character in order to draw Jamie and Eileen. It was an awesome way to see who notices key details. We don't just need to practice it when reading, but in all areas of our lives. This was a great way for the kids to see that.

On Thursday, I read the book again to students. This time our purpose was to identify inside traits for the two characters based on their actions and words. We stopped and had a LOT of discussion. The students came up with amazing words to describe both characters. Naturally, I forgot to take a picture of it! Anyway, after we came up with words to describe the characters inside traits, the students wrote the outside trait on a note card folded in half. Then, on the inside students provided evidence from the story to explain why they chose that trait for the character. They had so much fun. They were aloud to work by themselves or a with friends during this activity. I let them choose. There was all sorts of great conversations going on during this activity. Students were referring back to the book to look for evidence. I mean, what more can a FIRST GRADE teacher ask for! 

As you can see above, the note cards for inside character traits went inside the bag. Then, students also labeled the outside traits on the outside of their bag.

On Friday, students compared and contrasted the two characters. I didn't snap a picture of their writing but I gave them the following sentence starters:

"Jamie and Eileen are the same because..."
"Jamie and Eileen are different because..."

The students used their knowledge of the characters to compare and contrast. They wrote these in a pot of gold writing template. This activity was done at the very end of the day on Friday and they wanted to take their projects home to show parents so no picture! Oh well, you get the idea!

Have a great week! Thanks for stopping by!