Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dealing with the Death of a Loving Pet

Sadly, our family has had to deal a lot lately with the death of special dogs in our life.  We personally do not have any pets, but have grown to love the dogs of our family and friends.  It's never easy to explain to a child that they will never see their furry friend again, but sometimes a little reflection on all of the happy memories helps to ease the pain.  In his book, I'll Always Love You, Hans Wilhelm talks about the love shared between pets and humans and reminds everybody how important it is to let people AND pets know, every day, just how much they are loved.  Even if you and your child did not actually state every day that you loved your special dog, this book can help to get a conversation started about all the things that you did on a daily basis to show your love...petting, playing, walking, cuddling.  This is a book that EVERY family should have on hand.  My husband and I never realized the effect that our family's and friend's dogs had on our little ones until they were gone and this book has been a tremendous help!  Have you read any other books that have helped you and your family cope with the death of a pet?  Please let me know. I'd love to pass them along.

Lesson Plans/Activities:
1.   After reading this book, create a book of memories.  For the little ones in your life, write a different activity that you and your pets shared on separate pieces of paper and have your child illustrate the pages.  To preserve the book, laminate the pages and bind them with metal rings.

2.  Head to and create a picture book of your pet so that you will always remember the good times spent with your furry friends.

3.  Create a memorial for your pet.  Purchase a stepping stone kit from or your local craft store and design it as a memory of your pet.  Add your pet's name, date of birth and date of death.  Place it near your pet's favorite hangout in the yard.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday!

Reading Harry Potter in honor of Banned Books Week 2011 and LOVING it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Football Season!!

'Tis the season!   Football season, that is.  Check out this great book, T is for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet (Alphabet Books), by Brad Herzog.  The beautiful, oil painted pictures take us through an alphabet full of factual information about football rules, history, memorable moments, players, teams and gear.  The book is suitable for the very young, as it is an alphabet book, yet also provides entertainment and information for older kids as well!  Read the catchy little rhymes to your young football fans or get fully engrossed in the wealth of information provided on each page if you wish! You may be able to gain enough knowledge to impress the big fans in your household!! There are several versions of this type of alphabet book, including soccer, basketball, baseball, golf, hockey and iceskating.  What a beautiful gift idea for the sports fans in your life, big and small!

Here are the links to some of the other alphabet books listed above:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Mixed Up!

Product DetailsThe leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, football season is here...all signs point to fall!  As much as I love summer, I don't mind pulling out those sweaters and boots for the first time!  Check out this new book for the season, Fall Mixed Up, by Bob Razcka.  You have never read a more mixed up book!  Squirrels are flying south in figure eights, scarecrows are standing guard over candy corn sprouts, kids are wearing mittens on their heads and hats on their hands...  There are so many things we enjoy in Septober, Octember and Nocember, right?  Your students and children will laugh out loud to these crazy mix-ups!  Happy Fall, everyone!

Lesson Plans/Activities:
1.  Read the story and then have the students record all of the mix-ups they can find!  Look at the pictures AND the words!!  Children have so much fun picking out mistakes-especially when they're silly ones!

2.  After reading Fall Mixed Up, create your own Mixed Up book.  Choose a theme that goes along with your lesson plans like back to school or  Halloween.   Have each student create a mixed up page and then bind them together for a silly, themed book for the classroom!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Party Time!!

It was Brynn's second day of preschool today and you'll never believe it....Brynn has been invited to a birthday party!  This is her first invite from a preschool friend and she couldn't be happier!  Immediately, I thought of Mo Willems book, I am Invited to a Party!  This is an elephant and piggie book and we can't get enough of Gerald and Piggie! We were first introduced to Mo Willems when we received Knuffle Bunny as a gift.  While searching for other Mo Willems books, we came across the elephant and piggie series.  These books are appealing to both adults and children alike because of the animal's loving, funny relationship and the very few words per page, which makes them great for emergent readers!  These books are easy to read and entertaining.  That's not an easy combination to find!  In I am Invited to a Party!, Piggie receives an invitation to a party and asks her friend Gerald to attend.  Gerald knows parties, so this calms her nerves a bit.  Gerald then leads them through a series of silly-themed clothing ideas because they MUST BE READY! I laugh every time Gerald yells, "WAIT!"  And just wait until you see what kind of party it really is! Gerald does know parties!  Parents and teachers, make sure you have your silly, animated voices ready!  These books are much exciting when read with enthusiasm!  If you like I am Invited to a Party!, you should check out the ones listed below!  They are favorites in our house!
I Will Surprise My Friend! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Honor of Back to School Night...

The Principal's New ClothesIt's Back to school night for us tonight and I couldn't think of a better book to be thinking about as we meet Kylie's principal tonight!  This book is a modern spin off of the ever popular tale, The Emporer's New Clothes, by Hans Christian Anderson.  Mr. Bundy is a sharp-dressing principal.  He dresses in suits every day and tries to look his best.  To follow along with the original story, some tricksters sell Mr. Bundy a spectacular suit that can only be seen by certain people.  Of course, noone wants to admit that they cannot see the suit and the inevitable happens...Mr. Bundy shows up in front of the whole school in his undies!  Thankfully, all of the teachers and students hand him clothes to wear.  Underneath all of the silliness, there is a theme of honesty and conceit.

Lesson Plans/Activities:  Hand your students an empty body template and have them dress your principal in outrageous clothes!  A colleague of mine used to do this every school year and it was so funny to see the different outfits the students came up with!  Display them and then make your own classroom book.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Time for Preschool!

D.W.'s Guide to Preschool (Arthur Adventures)It's the night before preschool! Kylie is all settled in her kindergarten classroom and now it's Brynn's turn! We checked out D.W.'s Guide to Preschool (Arthur Adventures),  by Marc Brown, from the library last week and have been hooked ever since! D.W. takes us through a typical preschool morning and I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I think that Brynn is going to do great as a result of D.W!  It will be her first time away from her sister and myself, but D.W. has washed away all fears!  Brown does a wonderful job of describing typical preschool activities and procedures like painting, building and singing.  Brynn's favorite thing to do is point out all of the kids crying in one of the pictures of D.W. at drop off.  She says, "mom, I'm not going to be like those kids.  I'm going to say, "bye Mommy" because I know you're coming back!" Sounds excellent to me! Thanks D.W....I hope!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's okay to make mistakes!!

Beautiful Oops!I just came across this book and I LOVE IT!!!!  Beautiful Oops!, by Barney Saltzberg is the perfect solution to those little art disasters!  So often, little kid fingers rip pages, drip paint and creep outside the lines when creating a masterpiece.  Just like that, the picture is ruined!  Beautiful oops reminds us to use our imagination to change those oopsies into amazing creations.  What an incredible way to encourage little ones to embrace, learn from and fix mistakes when they happen.  This book clearly demonstrates the fact that it is definitely OKAY to make mistakes.  What a wonderful life lesson!  Check out this cute little video creation that I found on about Beautiful Oops!

Lesson Plans/Activities:
1. Go green and reuse papers with "mistakes" on them.  Encourage children to use their imagination to include those marks in their masterpieces to make them unique and beautiful.
2. Have older kids write about a mistake and discuss ways in which they fixed it or learned from it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting your New Readers Hooked!

Ivy & Bean's Secret Treasure Box (Books 1-3)
 As a second grade teacher, my biggest challenge as an educator was to instill a love of reading.  Most of my students knew how to read and just needed a little confidence and motivation.  I made it my job to find a series that was interesting and appropriate for each and every one of my students.  Ivy & Bean's Secret Treasure Box (Books 1-3), by Annie Barrows worked wonders!! This series is about two little girls who think they couldn't be more different.  They both don't have lots of friends and are encouraged to spend time together.  As luck would have it,  these two little neighbors spend more and more time together and uncover a loving, kind and silly relationship.  These two girls involve themselves in various adventures and have lots of fun in doing so.  Unlike other young reader series, these girls speak kindly to one another and don't use negative words like hate and stupid...two words I like to steer clear from.  Ivy and Bean are just good, clean fun!  There are currently seven books in this series geared for 6 to 8 year olds.  Number eight will be available in November.  If your little reader likes one, they'll like them all and hopefully you won't be able to yank that book out of their hands!!  Happy readers-that's what I'm talking about!  Check all eight of the Ivy + Bean books out.

Ivy & Bean (Book 1) (Bk. 1)
Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go (Ivy & Bean, Book 2) (Bk. 2)
Break the Fossil Record (Ivy + Bean, Book 3)
Ivy & Bean Take Care of the Babysitter (Ivy & Bean, Book 4)
Bound to Be Bad (Ivy and Bean, Book 5)
Ivy and Bean Doomed to Dance (Book 6)
Ivy and Bean What's the Big Idea? (Book 7)
Ivy and Bean No News Is Good News (Book 8) (Ivy & Bean)

Monday, September 5, 2011

The night before kindergarten is here!

It was a very special bedtime as we read
The Night Before Kindergarten,
by Natasha Wing. It's hard to believe it's almost time to see Kylie off on the bus! I can't wait to hear about her day tomorrow! She's so excited!! Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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