Showing posts with label arts and crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arts and crafts. Show all posts

February 25, 2021

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing + STEM Activity

A Visit from St. Nicholas... also known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas... by Clement Clarke Moore is a traditional Christmas poem that has inspired authors to write parodies, satires, and their own versions of it.  Are you familiar with The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing?  Children's author Natasha Wing was so inspired by 'Twas the Night Before Christmas that she wrote a St. Patrick's Day version for children to read!  Keep reading to learn more about The Night Before St. Patrick's Day and how you can tie it into a STEM/STEAM activity for your students.

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing is a book inspired by 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Read the book then build a leprechaun trap!
(This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2016.)

February 4, 2021

The Mermaid and the Grumpy Old Clam by Kirk Kirkpatrick

Kirk Kirkpatrick recently released his first children's book called The Mermaid and the Grumpy Old Clam.  The Mermaid and the Grumpy Old Clam is a sweet story for young readers about a mermaid who goes swimming with her fish friend.  While they are swimming, a grumpy old clam on the ground opens his mouth and snaps it shut on the mermaid's tail.  Oh no... the mermaid is stuck!  How will she get away?  How will her fish friend help her?  Keep reading to learn more about The Mermaid and the Grumpy Clam, how the mermaid gets away from him, and for a simple... yet fun... enrichment activity for your students.

Learn about friendship and story elements with The Mermaid and the Grumpy Old Clam by Kirk Kirkpatrick. Includes a fun math center activity.

January 24, 2021

Multicultural Children's Book Day 2021

Multicultural Children’s Book Day is an online children’s literacy event that occurs on the last Friday of every January. Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen created Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) several years ago as a way to celebrate diversity in children’s books while also getting diverse books into the hands of young readers, parents, teachers, and librarians.  Each year authors and publishers from around the world donate books to MCBD for bloggers to read and review.  This year I received three children's books:

🍎 Evelyn Del Ray Is Moving Away by Meg Medina
🍎 A Unicorn Ate My Homework by Julia Inserro
🍎 From My Window by Otávio Júnior

Keep reading to learn more about these three titles, how you can use them in your classroom, and where you can purchase them!

It's Multicultural Children's Book Day 2021! Learn about these new books: Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away, A Unicorn Ate My Homework, & From My Window #readyourworld #kellysclassroomonline

January 17, 2021

Guest Post: Marvelous Masks by Nicole Billick

Using children's books to introduce vocabulary words to young readers is an important strategy used regularly by preschool and elementary school teachers.  Children's books can expose readers to new words that don't ordinarily come up in day-to-day conversation.  For example, in Marvelous Masks by Nicole Billick, readers learn about the different types of masks and who wears them.  Some of the vocabulary words in Marvelous Masks will be familiar to readers... such as cowboy, doctor, and superhero... but other vocabulary words... such as chemist and blacksmith... may be new to them.

In this guest post, author Nicole Billick talks about her book Marvelous Masks and where she got the inspiration to write it.  She also describes some activities parents and teachers can use with their children and students when they finish the book.  Keep reading to learn more about Marvelous Masks and the author!


(This is a guest post written by Nicole Billick.  To learn more about guest posts, please visit my About Me page.)

January 10, 2021

Will You Always Be Here? by Nadine Damo

Once upon a time, many moons ago I used to be a preschool teacher.  I taught preschool for a few short years and really enjoyed that experience.  It was nice to plan lessons without having to worry about standardized tests, being able to focus on social skills, and making learning fun for the little ones.  We ate snacks, sang songs, played with toys, made crafts, and read lots of books.  One of my favorite times of the day occurred after lunch.  We would turn down the lights, read a soothing story, play some soft music, and tuck the children in for the naps.  Zzzzzzzzzz.

It was important to read soothing books during that time... exciting books would fire the children up, making it hard for them to settle in for their naps.  Nadine Damo recently published her first book called Will You Always Be Here? which is a good example of the kind of book I would have read way back when.  It's a soothing story about a baby owl who is anxious about many things but finds comfort and reassurance in his father's... and Father's... strength and guidance.  Keep reading to learn more about Will You Always Be Here? and for a simple arts-n-crafts activity you can make with your students.

Learn about a Father's love when you read Will You Be Here? by Nadine Damo.  Includes a lesson plan and directions to make a torn paper owl craft.

January 5, 2021

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn

恭喜发财
Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Chinese New Year is here! During Chinese New Year it is custom for parents and grandparents to give lai see (also spelled leisees) to children in their families. Lai see... also known as lucky envelopes or lucky money. . . are small, red envelopes that contain a sum of money. People give these envelopes to other people to wish them good luck and prosperity throughout the upcoming year.

Learn about Chinese New Year, lai see (leisees), and the importance of caring for one another when you read Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn.
(This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2017.)

Love Grows Love by Lauren Grabois Fischer + STEM Activity

Empathy is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s a foundation for acting ethically, for good relationships of many kinds, for loving well, and for professional success. And it’s key to preventing bullying and many other forms of cruelty.
-5 Tips for Cultivating Empathy, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Empathy is the ability to be aware of and sensitive to another person's thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  It's the ability to 'put yourself in their shoes' and is the foundation for kindness, tolerance, and compassion.  It's also an emotional skill that needs to be taught.  

One of the ways teachers and parents can help children learn empathy is through reading and discussing empathetic children's literature.  Reading Love Grows Love by Lauren Grabois Fischer is a good book to use when starting that discussion.  In Love Grows Love, we see children... and flowers... experiencing different emotions.  Their faces clearly depict how they are feeling.  Children will be able to look at the illustrations, identify how each child and flower are feeling, and see a cause and effect relationship between the children's emotions and the flowers'.  Keep reading to learn more about Love Grows Love and for a science/art activity that will reinforce this book's message!

Love Grows Love by Lauren Grabois Fischer sends a message of love and empathy. Read Love Grows Love then make some seed paper to grow some love!

December 23, 2020

Lexi's Special Tooth Fairy Pillow / El cojín especial para El Ratón Pérez by Ann Morris

Losing a tooth is a significant event when you're a child. How many of us wiggled and wiggled our loose teeth to get them to come? How many of us had parents or grandparents who tormented us with threats about tying a long string from around our loose teeth to a doorknob... just so they could slam the door and make those loose teeth come out? When those loose teeth finally came out, that's when the excitement happened! We could FINALLY put those teeth under our pillows and hope for the tooth fairy to leave us something nice in exchange for them while we slept. What would we find in the morning?  Money?  Sweets?  Small Trinkets?  

Lexi's Special Tooth Fairy Pillow / El cojín especial para El Ratón Pérez by Ann Morris (Lexi's Tooth Fairy Pillow for short) tells the story of a grandmother whose granddaughter lost a tooth.  The granddaughter was worried that the tooth fairy wouldn't come if she didn't have a tooth fairy pillow.  Lexi's Special Tooth Fairy Pillow is written in both English and Spanish, so it can be read and loved by children who speak one or both languages.  Keep reading to learn more about the story and how to help children make a tooth fairy pillow of their own!

Make your own tooth fairy pillow after reading Lexi's Special Tooth Fairy Pillow/El cojín especial para El Ratón Pérez by Ann Morris. English-Spanish.

December 18, 2020

Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about The Saint Nicholas Day Snow by Charlotte Riggle.  In that post, I wrote about the benefits of reading a story multiple times to help students improve their comprehension of the story.  Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong is another story in which students can benefit from reading multiple times.  It lends itself well to choral readings, dramatic play, and music... making repeated readings of Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers FUN!  Keep reading to learn more about Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers and how you can integrate it into your language arts lessons.

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

December 14, 2020

What's in the Box? A Barefoot Books Subscription Box Product Review

As a teacher and children's book blogger, I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting products that classroom teachers and homeschooling parents could use while teaching.  I recently received a promotional subscription box from Barefoot Books to take a look at and see if it's something my readers could use.  After opening the box and investigating its contents, I can honestly say that YES this subscription box is something my readers can use while teaching.  It'd be perfect for teaching geography and other social studies skills.  So... what's in the box?  Keep reading and find out!  

PS.  Read all of the way to the end of this blog post so you can enter a giveaway for your own Barefoot Books subscription box.  The giveaway ends December 22, 2020.  No purchase necessary.

Learn about the Barefoot Books subscription box with this unboxing blog post and product review. What is in a Barefoot Book box? Let's find out!  #kellysclassroomonline

(This is an unpaid review of a Barefoot Books subscription box.  I was given a promotional subscription box in exchange for my HONEST review.)

December 5, 2020

How to Make a Milk Carton Gingerbread House

Making milk carton gingerbread houses is a traditional craft that elementary school teachers have been making with their students for decades.  They are fun to make, wildly popular with the students, and can be integrated with a wide variety of children's literature.  (Need I go down the endless list of gingerbread themed books, poems, fingerplays, and rhymes?)  To make milk carton gingerbread houses, you will need empty milk cartons from the school cafeteria, royal icing, and lots and lots of holiday candies.  Keep reading for more information!

Learn how to make little gingerbread houses out of milk cartons, graham crackers, royal icing, and holiday candies. Perfect for your class's Christmas parties!  #kellysclassroomonline
(This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2015.)

How to Make Cinnamon Scented Christmas Ornaments

Not too long ago, one of my friends was talking to me about some Christmas ornaments she and her granddaughter made together.  They made the ornaments out of applesauce and ground cinnamon, which surprised me.  I had no idea ornaments could be made that way!  (What rock do I live under?)  As proof, she sent me her recipe and the photos in this post.  She gave me permission to share here 'secret recipe' on my blog.  Read on to learn this 'secret recipe' so you can try making them too!

Learn how to make cinnamon scented Christmas ornaments from applesauce and ground cinnamon. Recipe included. Perfect gifts for children to give.  #kellysclassroomonline
(This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2015.)

November 30, 2020

Zester the Zebra and His Missing Stripes by Christen Conrad

Early readers start learning about story plot and structure right from the get-go.  They learn that stories tend to follow a pattern and how to identify the story elements within that pattern.  The basic story elements include:
  • characters (the main people or animals in the story)
  • setting (where and when the story takes place)
  • problem (the biggest problem in the story or decision that needs to be made)
  • solution (how the problem is solved or the final decision made)
Zester the Zebra and His Missing Stripes by Christen Conrad is a fun, fast-paced story with easily identifiable characters, setting, problem, and solution that could be integrated easily into a language arts unit about story elements. Who is Zester the Zebra? How did his stripes go missing? How can you integrate Zester the Zebra and His Missing Stripes into your lessons? Keep reading to find out!

Learn about story elements and friendship with Zester the Zebra and His Missing Stripes written by Christen Conrad. Lesson includes a fun zebra craft.  #kellysclassroomonline

November 14, 2020

Goose Farm Adventure by Kenyetta Obie

About two months ago, I wrote about a children's book called Grow! How We Get Food from Our Garden by Karl Beckstrand.   Grow! was a rhyming book about all of the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers we can harvest from our gardens.  Today, I am writing about another children's book about gardening.  This one is called Goose Farm Adventure (affiliate link to Amazon) and was just released this autumn by author Kenyetta Obie.  Like Grow!, Goose Farm Adventures teaches children about the foods that come from the garden.  Whereas Grow! was a rhyming book that played with words and alliteration, Goose Farm Adventure is an alphabet book about a little duck who goes on a visit to his grandparents' house and discovers what they have growing in their backyard.  Both are really good books and can be used together.  Are you curious to learn more about Goose Farm Adventure and how you can use it in your classroom?  Keep reading to find out more!

Learn about story elements, gardening, fruits, and vegetables in this fun alphabet book by Kenyetta Obie.  Early childhood to kindergarten read aloud.

November 4, 2020

Goo on My Shoe by Jacqui Sheperd + STEM Activity

When teaching reading to young or struggling readers, teachers often use poetry as one of the strategies to help them.  There are a lot of reasons why we use poetry:

🍎 Poems tend to be brief and easier to read.
🍎 Repetitive reading and mastery of poems build students' confidence.
🍎 Choral reading of poems encourages hesitant students to read out loud with the others.
🍎 Teachers can use poetry to teach word recognition skills and build vocabulary.
🍎 We feel emotions when we read poetry.  Talking about those emotions helps to build a better understanding of ourselves and others.

Goo on My Shoe (affiliate link to Amazon) by Jacqui Sheperd is a story for young readers that is written in poetic form.  It has a likable main character and a storyline that will keep students engaged and motivated to read.  Read on to learn more about Goo on My Shoe and how you can integrate it into your language arts lessons.  There is even a simple goo recipe for you to make with your students!


Learn about rhyming words, words with the /oo/ sound, and how to make your own goo with the book Goo on My Shoe by Mari Schuh.

November 2, 2020

Leaves in Fall by Mari Schuh

Autumn... also known as fall in some parts of the world... is the transitional season between the heat of summer and the cold of winter.  In the northern hemisphere, autumn lasts from mid-September to mid-December and from the beginning of March until the end of May in the southern hemisphere.  Autumn is marked by changes in the environment such as:

🍎 Leaves changing colors and falling from the trees
🍎 Temperatures dropping 
🍎 Days getting shorter while nights get longer
🍎 Animals making preparations for winter
🍎 Farmers harvesting their crops

Mari Schuh recently wrote a non-fiction book called Leaves in Fall (affiliate link to Amazon) for early readers in which she describes what happens to leaves during autumn.  Full-color photos and kid-friendly vocabulary are used throughout her book. Read on to learn more about Leaves in Fall and how to integrate it into your lessons at school.

Learn about the colorful autumn leaves in Leaves of Fall by Mari Schuh.  Read Leaves in Fall, go on a nature walk, gather leaves, and make a collage.

October 16, 2020

Great Cape o’ Colors by Karl Beckstrand

Great Cape o' Colors... fully known as Great Cape o' Colors - Capa de colores (affiliate link to Amazon)... is another fun book written in English and Spanish by Karl Beckstrand.  In this book, Karl Beckstrand introduces new colors and professions to children.  He also encourages children to use their imaginations and indulge in a bit of make-believe.  Keep reading to learn more about Great Cape o' Colors and how you can use it as inspiration for making a class book.

Learning color names in English and Spanish with Great Cape o' Colors - Capa de colores: A Story in English and Spanish, written by Karl Beckstrand

September 30, 2020

Matching Costumes by D.G. Driver

Matching is an important early childhood skill that helps in the classification of objects. Matching is the identification of the same or similar objects based on their common properties. Being able to match like and similar objects, themes, characteristics, numbers, etc. is a skill that will continue to be taught well into elementary school and beyond.  Matching Costumes by D.G. Driver (affiliate link to Amazon) introduces us to a little girl who uses her matching skills to pick out Halloween costumes for her and her puppy.  Keep reading to learn more about Matching Costumes and for a simple language arts lesson to go with it.

Language arts lesson and creative response for Matching Costumes by DG Driver. Children draw matching Halloween costumes for themselves and their dog.

September 26, 2020

The Adventures of Noah by Lori Brown

Animal shelters provide an important service in our communities.  They bring in dogs, cats, and other animals who are homeless or unwanted.  The people who work at animal shelters make sure the animals get proper food to eat and clean water to drink.  They also clean their cages, take the dogs on walks, and provide medical treatment to the animals as needed.  It is estimated that as many as 62 million dogs and 64 million cats are in animal shelters across the United States.  Some of these animals will be adopted into loving homes.  Unfortunately, many will not.  The Adventures of Noah (affiliate link to Amazon) tells the story of one lucky puppy who finds his 'happily-ever-after.'  

Adjectives and characterization with The Adventures of Noah by Lori Brown. Noah is a rescue dog who found his forever home. Based on a true story.

September 23, 2020

Mindfulness and Sensory Bottles in the Classroom

For years, preschool teachers and homeschool families have used mindfulness bottles (also called 'sensory' and 'calming' bottles) with their students.  They use mindfulness bottles to help a child who is experiencing anxiety or other overwhelming feelings to calm their emotions.  What are mindfulness bottles and how are they made?  How are they used?  How can they be used in the classroom? Read on to learn the answers to these questions! 

Mindfulness bottles (aka: sensory bottles) can be used in the classroom to help students deal with overwhelming emotions. Directions to make a bottle.