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Spreading Kindness With The Jelly Donut Difference

I am always on the lookout for books that teach children about kindness and ways they can make a difference in the lives of others.  Author Maria Dismondy's books are some of my favorites to use in the classroom.  Her books teach important character building lessons and are perfect for my Kindergarten students.  

Maria's newest book, The Jelly Donut Difference, is a story about generosity and kindness.  The story of twins, Dexter and Leah, and their neighbor Ms. Mavis is an example of how the smallest gesture can make a big difference. It is a story of traditions, family, and thinking of others.  Maria provides an awesome reader's guide with resources for using this book in the classroom!

Want to know how to make a difference in someone else's life?  Just ask a Kindergartener!  The book sparked a discussion about the ways we can show kindness toward others. 


As teachers, it's important for us to continue to have these important conversations with our students.  They are our future and reminding them that they each have the power to make a difference in the world with even the smallest act, will help to ensure that the world is a better place for all of us.

Ready to add this book to your classroom library?  You can find it here on Amazon.  Or better yet, enter the giveaway below to win a copy!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase, at no extra cost to you.  This helps to support the blog so I can keep it up and running and share ideas with you.  The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.

Favorite Books for February


February can be a fun and exhausting month in the classroom!  So many celebrations in such a short month can keep us very busy.  Today I'm sharing some of my favorite books to use with my Kindergarteners throughout the month.  You can click on the images to find the books on Amazon!

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase, at no extra cost to you.  This helps to support the blog so I can keep it up and running and share ideas with you.  The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.


First up are some of my favs for Valentine's Day!  There are so many to choose from that I had a hard time narrowing it down.  Here are my top 5 picks for sharing the love:

This furry little monster finds it hard to fit into a place where he is different from everyone else.  He heads out in search of someone to love him for who he is and finds acceptance when he least expects it.  This story is wonderful for talking about similarities and differences as well as why it is important to be inclusive.  Everyone needs love!

Cornelia Augusta collects hearts that have rained down to make very special Valentines for each of her friends.  I love how this book teaches the kids to think of others and what they would like.  It's a great way to combine creativity along with being thoughtful!

We love Crankenstein!  This sequel to the original is hilarious and points out some of the possibly annoying things about Valentine's Day and that not everyone has the same opinion about holidays.  Would be great to use with an opinion writing unit!

Who doesn't absolutely adore Splat the Cat?!  He is one of my favorite characters.  His crush on Kitten is so charming.  This is a fun story of how one can feel very vulnerable when expressing feelings for someone you care about.  But if you take the chance, you might find just what you're looking for.  

This book may not be written specifically for Valentine's Day but I had to include it here.  With Bob Marley's beautiful lyrics, the illustrations demonstrate how people can show love by working together to make the world a better place.  The message of this book is so powerful and widens the definition of love beyond what kids might first think of when talking about Valentine's Day.


February is also Black History Month!  Once again, I find it hard to narrow down a manageable list of favorites so here are just a few of the ones I love to read with my Kinders:

Inspired by the first African American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, a little girl works to make her own dreams come true.  I love this story of perseverance!

Such a beautiful book that traces the history of slavery, segregation, and the civil rights movement.  It's a must have for me in the classroom.

If you read my blog or follow me on social media, you know that I'm a huge baseball fan.  I love sharing the story of Jackie Robinson with my students and this version is one of my favorites.


My list of favorite February books would not be complete without talking about President's Day.  There are also many, many fantastic titles to use with our kiddos around this topic.  Here are a few that I love:

A great introduction to the holiday, this story mixes a fictional story with facts about the Presidents as well has the holiday itself.  I like to use this book at the beginning of our Presidents Unit.

I cannot say enough good things about this book!  The book shows different children and the qualities they have for becoming POTUS.  I love the diversity of the children as well as the strengths they share.  It allows all of the students to see that any one of them can be the President, too!

This book is a great introduction to just how hard it is to be the President as well as what it takes to go through the election process.  It's told from the point of view of six different characters as if they were running.  It takes a very complex process and breaks it down for kids.



What titles do you love to read in February?

I'm always on the lookout for more wonderful books to add to my classroom library.  Share your favorites in the comments below!


Let's Talk Resolutions

I used to always think that I had to make a New Year's resolution each year.  I'd be great about it for like 2 or 3 weeks, maybe even through the month of January.  But ever so slowly, I'd give up on whatever I resolved to do.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist so it never felt good to feel as if I'd failed and I couldn't follow through.


As I've gotten older, I've realized that long term resolutions don't work very well for me.  I do better with short term goals that I can focus on and check off the "to do" list so to speak.  This isn't to say that I never set long term goals...I do.  But I try to not be so hard on myself and just take things one day at a time.

This year, I decided to try something different.  I have some short term goals that ultimately will help me accomplish a long term goal.  The best of both worlds, right!?!  If you know me in real life, you know that I'm a pretty organized person.  I like to have my ducks in a row, I'm a total planner, and chaos makes me crazy.  But then I have certain spots in my life where things just sort of....pile up.


Yeah....it's like Monica's secret closet.  I have areas at home and in my classroom where I put things to deal with later.  Then later comes and I don't deal with them!  So I've decided that each month, I'm going to tackle one space at home and one space at school that needs to be gone through.  I'm going to purge and get better organized so that it doesn't take me so long to find the things I need.  I'm hoping that if I handle it in small chunks, I can feel the small successes that will eventually lead to a less cluttered life!  

For the month of January I've set the following goals:

Home - organize my jewelry 
School - organize my guided reading materials
Wish me luck!  Ha!  

Do you make New Year's resolutions?  What are you hoping to accomplish this year?  

Let me know in the comments or link up with my friends, Jessica and Kristi!

 Pelicans & Pipsqueaks


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Favorite Books for January

It's a brand new year!  I love coming back to school after winter break feeling refreshed and ready to take on the second half of the school year.  My kinders show so much growth in this half of the year.  And with the beginning of a new month comes new units and new themes. I'm excited to share some of my favorite books to use in the classroom throughout the month of January with you!

Living in a part of the country where you have to drive 3-4 hours to find snow, makes it difficult to teach the seasons.  I like to bring the seasons into the classroom through hands on activities and rich children's literature.  Here are some of my favorite books about winter and snow!  You can click on the images to find the titles on Amazon.

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase, at no extra cost to you.  This helps to support the blog so I can keep it up and running and share ideas with you.  The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.

Fiction

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
One of my absolute favorite books ever!  Such a beautiful story of a boy exploring a day in the snow.  This book is fantastic for retelling, sequencing a story, and talking about what you can do in the snow.  If you are an Amazon Prime member, then you also have access to the animated production of this fabulous story!

The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming
Written to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas, a young boy receives all of the things needed to build a snowman!  The students love to read along with the predictable rhythm of the text.  The illustrations are beautiful, too!

The Winter Train by Susanna Isern
This book is absolutely beautiful!  It's a wonderful story of friendship and working together.  The story also shows the transition of the season from fall to winter.  

NonFiction

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft & Richard G. Van Gelder
The "Let's Read And Find Out Science" series is one on my favorites to use in the classroom.  This is a great book to compare and contrast with The Winter Train.  This is a fantastic book for introducing vocabulary such as migrate, hibernate, and den.  It introduces students to the different ways animals cope with the winter months.

Over & Under the Snow by Kate Messner
Such a beautiful nonfiction picture book that explores life under the snow during winter.  I love teaching my students about the world under their feet.  They are always surprised to learn just how much is going on in places they cannot see.

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino
This is a great nonfiction book all about the science of snow!  Student learn how snow forms and the book includes real photos of snow crystals.  I love to use this book during our Snow Science unit (you can read more about that here).  The explanations are very clear and engaging even for little learners.

What books do you love to read in January?

New Year's Writing Activity

I can hardly believe that 2017 is almost here!  This past year has had plenty of ups and downs but I'm choosing to focus on the positives of 2016.  As we look at the new year ahead, many of us are beginning to set goals and make resolutions for the new year.  When we return to school in January, I love to talk with my Kindergarteners about their own hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

Here are a couple of my favorite books for talking about the New Year.  Just click below to find them on Amazon!

     

As a class, we love to share our goals with each other.  I write students' ideas down on chart paper to help spark ideas for those who are having a harder time coming up with a goal.


We love to make class books!  Once our goals are set, we write about them and put our pages together in a book.  


You can grab this freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers shop by clicking on the image below!
There are 3 different sentence frames and a book cover in color or black & white.


What are your goals for 2017?
Share them in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.

Teaching Kindess



With everything that we are expected to teach in a single school year, it's hard to find time to focus on the social-emotional skills that our students so desperately need.  I have found myself pushing these lessons to the bottom of the list over the last few years to make more room for writer's workshop, reader's workshop, math instruction, science, and more to make sure I am hitting all of the standards.  What I've noticed is that the population I work with needs these lessons more than ever and I miss teaching them.

As I drove in to school this Wednesday, I thought about my lesson plans for the day.  I thought about my phonics lesson and the teaching point I had ready for reader's workshop.  I thought about the math games I had prepped and ready to go.  Yet, none of it seemed as important as talking to my Kinders about the meaning of kindness.  So, I pulled into school, threw my lesson plans for the day out the window (which anyone who knows me, knows that's unheard of!), and decided to give my students what I thought they needed the most in this moment.

We started our discussion about kindness with this amazing book!

You can find it here!


It sparked a wonderful discussion about the ways in which we can be kind to others, both at school and in life.  I was so impressed with the compassion, thoughtfulness, and empathy that my students demonstrated.  We brainstormed a list of ways we can show kindness toward others.


I created this writing page for my students to share their ideas.  I just adore the way they represent their thoughts through drawing.



You can grab the writing pages for free in my TPT store, here!

How do you encourage kindness in your classroom?






This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.

Hands On Pumpkin Science


It's pumpkin time!  I absolutely love this time of year.  Routines and procedures have been established and my kindergarteners are ready to dive head first into our science units.  Our pumpkin theme is spread out over two weeks in October but it could easily be done in just one.  The prep is minimal.  All you need are a few different pumpkins (many grocery stores will donate the funnier looking pumpkins to teachers!), a tub of water, something to measure with (we use linker cubes), and some carving tools.

Week 1

Investigating the Outside of the Pumpkin


We begin the unit by observing the outside of the pumpkin and talking about what we notice.  Students discuss size, shape, color, texture, temperature, similarities and differences, etc.


As all good scientists do, we record our observations and investigation results in our Pumpkin Journals.

We also count the ribs (lines) on the outside of the pumpkin and measure the height using linker cubes.

  

Then comes the real fun!  Will the pumpkin sink or float?  We always make a prediction before testing it out.

  

We also learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin.  I love these's Read and Find Out" books for science topics.



Week 2
Investigating the Inside of the Pumpkin

Students love to get their hands on their learning.  They can't wait to get inside the pumpkin to find out what's in there!  Estimating the number of seeds is always a ton of fun.  It's great for counting to 10 and skip counting.  We use counting mats to help us keep track.


  

It's amazing just how many seeds can be inside a pumpkin!

Last, we work on labeling the parts of the pumpkin that we find.


After 2 weeks of pumpkin fun, we celebrate by roasting pumpkin seeds!


You can find all of the activities and journal pages in my Pumpkin Science unit.


What are your favorite pumpkin activities?

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.





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