October 31, 2016

Informational Text

Using informational text with younger students can sometimes be quite a challenge. It seems that the text can be too difficult for younger readers. I have always tried to incorporate informational text with every unit that I have taught because my students LOVE IT! Every week I introduce new books for our topics of the week. I share fiction and informational text, almost always; they choose to reread the informational text.

As a teacher, I have always enjoyed teaching science: animals, space, weather, plants, dinosaurs....all of those fun things....you know the topics that it seems we never have enough time to teach. I try to incorporate them into my reading lessons whenever I can, that way I can cover multiple standards and have some fun!

Over the years I have created many Power Point slide shows for my students that I use as easy readers. These are so much fun to use and my students enjoy them so much. These slide shows are perfect because they can be used in a couple of different ways. You can:

  • Print the PDF, assemble the book, and use in your classroom or library.
  • Open the PDF in iBooks on your iPad for an eBook.
  • Use the PDF as a slideshow on a projector. (Just hit the down key to change slides.)
Today I am sharing a slide show that I made called "What Lives in the Forest?". I hope that you find this helpful and that your students enjoy reading this booklet!

Click HERE to download your FREE copy!

October 10, 2016

It's Pumpkin Time!

Autumn is here! This is without a doubt my most favorite time of the year! I love the cool air, and falling leaves, pumpkins and apples everywhere! This week we explored the world of pumpkins and we had such a great time! There are so many activities that could be incorporated with this topic that it could be taught for a few weeks! I am just going to share a few fun activities that we did and throw in a few Free ideas for you to grab!

We started off the week with some books added to the reading area. I always add new literature to the reading area when we start a new topic. This week we added pumpkin books. Here is a list of a few of the books that we added:

My students always love it when I bring in new books! I have quite a collection for topics that I teach and I usually checkout as many as I can from the library. Once I gather all of my books, I place them in bins that make it easier for students to pick up and move around. This gives them opportunities to find a quiet place to read with more than one book! (This cuts down on the walking around!) 

Also, during read aloud time, my student of the day gets to choose a book from the book basket to be read aloud to the class! 

Literature Activities:

One of our favorite things to do in class is to make our own books! My students really enjoy being authors or illustrators! At the beginning of the year we discuss authors and illustrators and what their roles are when a book is written. This week my students were the illustrators! 

We illustrated the book "Ten Little Pumpkins!" 

This was such a fun little book and it gives students a chance to become illustrators! This book is actually a song, and it can be sung to the tune of "Ten Little Indians!" Students read the booklet and illustrate the pictures! You can grab your own copy of this booklet HERE! This booklet also works with counting numbers 1-10! So much fun!!

This booklet gave us the opportunity to practice counting 1-10. We also worked on some other math activities in math stations this week: 

Math Activities:

We have been discussing big and small items. So in the math station I placed cut outs of big and small pumpkins. Students had to determine which was the big pumpkin and which was the small pumpkin. Then they had to match the big pumpkin and the small pumpkin by color. 

(For differentiation I also added a medium sized pumpkin for each color for those students that have already mastered big and small sizes.)

Another fun activity for the week was matching colored pumpkins!( Thank you Krista Wallden for these great pumpkins! Grab your set HERE) I had two sets of different colored pumpkins.  I placed one set of different colored pumpkins in a bowl:

Students picked a pumpkin from the bowl. Using the other set of pumpkins I chose a pumpkin and placed it on the board, the student that had the same color pumpkin came and placed their pumpkin on the board. Students loved matching the pumpkins! This activity can be used so many different ways! (Small group, whole group, math station activity,) Once we completed this activity, I placed the pumpkins in our math center so students could continue matching the pumpkins. 

Craft Activity:

Each week I try to incorporate some type of craft activity to go along with the theme. There is something to be said about giving children a chance to get a little messy and just create something. This is one of my favorite times of the week! This week we created craft pumpkins. This was a very simple activity. 

Materials Needed:

pumpkin outline
orange paper cut into pieces

Each student received a blank pumpkin and some pieces of orange paper. They used their glue to attach the pieces of paper. 

Then they colored the stem!

Science Activity: 

Science is my favorite subject (besides reading!). All students love getting messy and experimenting. Incorporating Science and Language Arts is a no brainer. Science does not have to be taught in isolation. Usually when I am planning, I try and incorporate my science activity with our theme. Students remember the activity and what they learned when it is connected to other subjects. 

Soooooo.......this week we made pumpkin slime! SO. MUCH. FUN!

For this activity you will need a few items: 

Materials Needed: 

 Elmer's School Glue (the clear kind is best)
measuring cups 
measuring spoons

I already had the top of the pumpkin cut so all I had to do was pull the top off. Students then had a chance to feel around inside the pumpkin and touch the seeds and the pulp! They loved it!

Then it was time for the magic! We mixed the borax and water in a bowl. Then we mixed the glue and water in another bowl. Make sure you mix both bowls until the mixtures have blended well. Then we dumped it all into the pumpkin. 

Students used their hands to mix everything together.....and PUMPKIN SLIME! 

This was sooo much fun and my students enjoyed it so much! 

Here is the recipe if you want to print it!

I hope you have enjoyed our week of pumpkin activities! 

September 29, 2016


This week we have been talking about transportation and different ways to travel! I always start by pulling books that I think my students will be excited about. Usually I choose different types; fiction and informational text. It always amazes me how much my students enjoy informational text. They love looking at the photos and learning real facts about different topics. I also choose books that are different ability levels. Students are exposed to many different levels. We use these all week long and students have figured out how to pair up and share the books with a partner. This enables stronger  readers to share text with readers that are not on their level. (This is not our shared reading time, this is just for the joy of sharing text and learning about a new topic.)

This is a sample of the books that have been shared this week for transportation:

At the beginning of the week I used clip art to share ways to travel using different types of transportation! (Thank you to EDUCLIPS for the great clip art) We talked about each type of transportation and discussed which mode of transportation we would like to use. 

There have been so many fun activities that we have completed this week! One of their favorites has been the transportation letter sorting activity. This is such an easy activity and it is FREE, click to download the packet!

Students sort uppercase and lowercase letters. 

After reading and completing transportation activities we made this cute "On the Road" craft. Students used construction paper to make their own road and put their cars "on the road". This was a great end to transportation week.