Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mo Willems {Author Study}

On of my favorite things to hear is children giggling. Even thinking about kids laughing and chuckling makes you smile, no?!

An author study that I love to do in my classroom, that ALWAYS brings lots of giggles, is Mo Willems. Reading one of Mo Willems' books is entertaining no matter how old you are. {Sometimes I probably think the books are even more funny than my students do!}

A few weeks ago I posted this picture on instagram. My class was having a little BIG issue with using the restroom correctly {YUCK}, so I went to the library and checked out this book. Who knew a book with the word "pee" in the title could work "Bathroom Miracles"!? :) Thank you  Mr. Willems.

After reading the "Pee Book" {as it was referred to by my students} my kids were so excited to start our Mo Willems Author Study. We mastered many of our ELA standards, just by focusing on this one author. Mo Willems makes reading fun!

Here are some of the activities that we did...
We learned all about Mo Willems and examined what he does as an author and illustrator. As we worked through this unit we tried to be an author and illustrator just like him.

We examined characters in Mo Willems' books and compared their adventures and problems in the stories. Of course one of our favorite characters was Knuffle Bunny!

Pigeon was a big hit too! The kids loved changing their voices while they were reading to sound just like Pigeon.

Probably one of the favorite characters that my students got to know was Wilbur from the book Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. They were so creative when they got to dress their own Naked Mole Rat! 

Piggie and Elephant {my personal favorite Mo Willems' characters} were a huge hit! The students are still selecting these books for in their independent reading book baskets! If you don't have Mo Willems books in your classroom library...they are a MUST! I recommend purchasing hardcover ones, they will be read over and over again--getting lots of wear and tear! 

As we read Mo Willems books we discovered that as an author he uses his characters to teach us lessons. Even though we are done with this unit, my students still refer to books and characters that we read during our author study. I will randomly hear, "You should share like Piggie." or "I am a leader like Wilbur." Melts my heart! :)

If you are interested in doing a Mo Willems Author Study, I recommend this unit to you...
Included in the unit is all the chart parts, printables and crafts shown in this post! Click on the picture or HERE to go check it out!

The best part of Mo Willems' books are the joy and fun that he brings to reading...something that is so important as we develop our students as "Reading Lovers"! Here is a little FREEBIE to help you celebrate this amazing author!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thank You to Martin and His Friends {A FREEBIE TOO!}

Every year my little ones are surprised and saddened when they are taught of the injustices that people of the past faced. They are inspired by the bravery that each hero had in their fight to make changes in our society. My heart melts to see the compassion in my students' eyes as I teach them about a topic that can sometimes be uncomfortable to discuss. Martin Luther King Jr. becomes a quick hero, Rosa Parks is instantly incredible and Ruby Bridges is almost like another student that is in our own class!

Here is the journey we took to learn about Martin and his friends...

We read lots of books.

We watched a simple BrainPOP Jr. {found here} and this youtube video.

Another online resource is this Scholastic News Magazine.

We learned about Martin's Rainbow of Dreams. The students got to create a bracelet to help remember Martin's dream. I loved how they wore the bracelet for the rest of the week! 

We completed several activities and crafts from this unit.

We also did a Martin Luther King Jr. directed drawing...I always love how they turn out!
The students shared the dreams they have for making the world a better place too.

Another activity that we completed was inspired by lots of pins on pinterest and this book!
{Again, I can not take credit for this idea...I saw tons of pins on pinterest and I stole the idea.} We read the book and reflected on how things look so much better with lots of colors and diversity. The kids definitely got the connection!

{Idea inspired by Read Write Sing!}

Grab your free copy of the activity and the bulletin board pieces by clicking on the picture above! {This is an editable file (so you can personalize it with your own name) that you will open in powerpoint!}

Looking for more resources to teach about MLK? Check out these on TPT...

Hope this post helps with your MLK plans! Happy Weekend!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Lovely Happy Times and a Bright New Year!

It has been a few FABULOUS weeks since I blogged, that is because I have been busy enjoying and loving every minute of the Christmas holiday! I hope you have too! To start the holiday off, my family was here for Thanksgiving. It was such a wonderful time, filled with laughter, love, too much food and decorating for Christmas! It makes my heart happy just thinking about it! 

When I went back to school, it was a CraZy whirlwind...there was Gingerbread Week, Elf Day, Reindeer Day, Grinch Day, Holidays Around the World, Polar Express Day and our Class Party. Oh my gosh...I'm exhausted just remembering the FUN that we had. It took me a few days to recover. I think I'm getting old! ;) I have lots of pictures to share with you about all the fun we had, and over the next few days and weeks I will try to share some of my ideas with you so that maybe you could use them next year! Until then here is a blurry/bad picture of one of my most treasured gifts from a student this year! A pair of pajama pants for Polar Express Day...they even have ruffles on the bottom! Stop it...just too darn cute!

As teachers many times we get wrapped up in everything happening in school and our classroom that it is so easy to neglect time for ourselves over the holiday to really enjoy the magic of it all. I try really hard to make it a point to stop and enjoy the celebrations in my city with my favorite people. Here are some of my favorite sights...snow made out of bubbles and a 600 foot sand Christmas tree...Christmas Florida style!

I can't believe yesterday was Christmas! What!?!?! Anyone else feeling like this today?!

I have been working a little to get things ready to go back to school. When I am organized and prepared I always feel so much more relaxed and stress free! :) When we go back to school my students will be celebrating the New Year together.
The kids will get to wear party hats and we will have bubbly grape juice. 
We will sing and have a little party together!

We will read books about the New Year and learn about New Year's Resolutions. Here are some of the books we will be reading...

Then the kids will make their New Year's Resolutions!

We will learn about the months of the year and practice sequencing them.
We will also be learning about how people around the world celebrate the New Year using this nonfiction reader.

This unit is filled with all these New Year's goodies and it is on sale for just $3! Go grab your copy and let it help make the start of the New Year at school a stress-free one!


Here's a little freebie for you to start off the New Year! Just click the picture below! I hope you enjoy!


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