Earth Day Activities

I absolutely love Earth Day!  We're pretty big on recycling, reusing, composting, and reducing waste all year round.  But when April rolls around, I can't wait to really focus on ways that we can all help take care of our precious planet.  The future of our planet is in the hands of our kiddos, so why not give them the tools to help take care of it!


Here are some of the ways we learn about the Earth and what we can do to make a difference.

We are lucky enough to have a school site subscription to BrainPop, Jr.  There are so many fantastic videos with kid friendly language.  During our Earth Day unit, I like to use two of the videos with my Kindergarteners.


There are also some great songs on YouTube all about Earth Day.  Some of our favorites are from Harry Kindergarten and Jack Hartmann.




I am obsessed with collecting great children's books (what teacher isn't!?!).  My Earth Day collection has certainly grown over the years.  More recently I've found some great reads to share with my kiddos.  Here are a few of my favorites.  You can click on the books to find them on Amazon.

  

We learn all about recycling and sorting our items into different categories.  This interactive crown is always a crowd pleaser.  Students cut out the pictures and glue them on the correct label to make the crown.

We also create these fun Natural Resources Mobiles.  The students learn about renewable and nonrenewable resources and ways to conserve.  We also talk about alternatives to using traditional natural resources such as electric cars vs. gas.

These Language Arts Centers are all about the Earth!  Our Write the Room activity is full of Earth Day words for students to find.  It's such a great activity to get the kids up and moving.  Earth Day Scrambled Sentences are great for emergent readers.  We do many versions of write the room and scrambled sentences throughout the year so they are very familiar activities for the students.  Our Earth Day sort is also a great independent activity!

We do a lot of writing about the Earth throughout our unit!  I have lots of different options both with and without lines to meet the needs of my students. (And I forgot to take a picture of our final writing products, ugh!)  "Our Earth Day Family Plan" is a fun option to send home for homework or to make the home-school connection and to get families thinking about how they can help protect the planet.  

You can find all of these activities in my Celebrate Earth Day Unit on Teachers Pay Teachers.

What are some of your favorite Earth Day activities?  Comment 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, 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.
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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.
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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!


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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?

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