Saturday, March 12, 2016

Books & Brackets Blog Hop!

It's a Books & Brackets Blog Hop!


I'm excited to join an awesome group of bloggers to talk about some of our favorite books to use in the classroom during the month of March. We're sharing some FREEBIES and have some GIVEAWAYS for you, too! 

I decided to share one of the activities our first graders do for St. Patrick's Day. 

We send a letter home to our parents and students explaining that we know that the leprechauns messed up the kindergarten classrooms last year and played pranks on the kindergarteners. We don't want the same thing to happen to our first grade classrooms. So this year, we're going to make leprechaun traps to try to catch the leprechauns before they get into mischief in our classrooms.


Sometimes we have the students bring in materials from home to build the traps at school (a great partner or small group activity). Other times we have had the students make the traps at home and bring them to school to set them up in the classroom.

In preparation, we read and learn about St. Patrick's Day. The book I'm highlighting is brand new to me. It's the perfect book to read before sending the students off to create their own leprechaun traps.

It's called How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace. The illustrator is Andy Elkerton.


A leprechaun tells the story in rhyme. He describes how he'll make a scene in each place he enters. He explains that leprechauns are really quick and will NEVER be caught. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and vivid. It shows the traps that the leprechaun encounters and easily outwits. The story ends with a challenge: the leprechaun won't get caught unless a PERFECT trap is designed. He asks the question, "But who will that child be?" Isn't that the perfect introduction and motivator for building a trap? I can't wait to read it to my students!

I created a packet of leprechaun activities to have some fun as we learn and celebrate St. Patrick's Day.


It includes leprechaun drawing and writing activities and a leprechaun roll and draw partner game that's just for FUN!


Students can design and write about a leprechaun trap.


They draw and write about leprechaun pranks, too. You'll find more leprechaun activities in the packet. It's a FREEBIE! You can download the packet HERE!

I'm having a GIVEAWAY for a free copy of How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace. You can enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter our Teachers Pay Teachers® gift card GIVEAWAY! You can enter to win a $75.00 gift card below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue our blog hop for more fantastic March ideas, free resources, and a chance to win 14 more books! Have fun!


Hop back thru on Monday to see if you've won any of the books or are the GRAND prize winner of the TPT GIFT card!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Kindness Matters

Today I'm sharing some of the kindness activities I'm planning for the week before Valentine's Day. It's our I Teach First February Link Up. We are sharing some ideas, activities, resources, and some FREEBIES, too!


My school will be participating in The Great Kindness Challenge. We have four main school rules. BE KIND is at the top of the list.

Be kind.
Be respectful.
Be responsible.
Be safe.

Our school decided to take the kindness challenge to help create a kindness culture. This will be our second year participating in the challenge. It's an opportunity to focus on kindness in a bigger way. The official date for the kindness challenge this year was January 25-29, but schools participate at a time that works best for each school. Valentine's Day and kindness go hand in hand, so we're celebrating during the week leading up to Valentine's Day.

The school-wide kindness activities will include a checklist of 50 kindness challenges, a kindness art contest, and class kindness banners for a "Wall of Kindness." We'll also have a spirit day: "Peace, Love, and Kindness." Students will dress up in hippie attire. Kindness quotes over the intercom will start our mornings. The quotes will also be written with chalk on the blacktop areas of our school.

If you want to participate in The Great Kindness Challenge, you can find out more about it HERE.

I'm planning complementary activities in my classroom and wanted to share some of my favorite kindness-themed books.


One of my favorites is Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli. It's a heart-warming story about a lonely man. He receives a package one day with a note that says, "Somebody Loves You." He  thinks he has a secret admirer. His happiness has him interacting with others with kindness. At the end, he is surprised with the kind and loving way others return his kindness.

Little Red's Schoolhouse  has a wonderful Storybook Study of Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch that I will use with my students. Click on the picture below for a preview.


Another book that's perfect for first grade is Pink Tiara Cookies for Three by Maria Dismondy.


It's a story about a new girl who moves into the neighborhood and how two friends work thru accepting her into their friendship.

Jen at Sparkling in Second has a great blog post about the book and how she promotes kindness in her classroom. I will be using her Kindness Cards {free download} in my classroom. 


The Potato Chip Champ: Discovering Why Kindness Counts by Maria Dismondy is a story about a boy (loves potato chips) who has everything and wants for more and learns an important lesson about kindness from a boy who has very little. You can listen to Maria Dismondy read her book HERE.

The next book is beautifully written and illustrated.


The book is Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. It's about a new girl in school who tries to reach our to other but is ignored. It is a lesson on how even a small act of kindness can make our world a better one.

I created some Kindness Printables to use during the Kindness Challenge. You can click on the picture below to download.


If you want to join the Kindness Challenge or just want to promote kindness in your classroom, I hope you've gotten some ideas here. They fit well with valentine-themed activities. If you're looking for Valentine's Day activities that support kindness, check out Valentine's Day Writing for Firsties.



I'd love to hear about any books or activities that you use to promote kindness in the classroom.



Saturday, January 23, 2016

So. California Winter Blog Hop

Hi everyone! I've gotten together with some wonderful southern California teachers for a blog hop and giveaway. We're sharing some of our favorite southern California places, and we've have some winter freebies for you, too! You can enter our raffle for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. Our blog hop is hosted by Kristen at Easy Teaching Tools.


I just love that sunny southern California has so many places that we can enjoy. You don't have to travel very far, and you can be at the beach, the desert, or even skiing in the mountains during the winter.


We have beautiful weather and beautiful beaches. I grew up on the coast, so one of my favorite places is the beach. I think it's probably the #1 spot for most people who live near the beach. There's so much to do from surfing and swimming to fishing and walking on the beach. The sunsets are amazing!


I also think we have the most amazing views. These are the Flower Fields that come alive in the spring. They're a big tourist attraction. You can even see the ocean peeking up from the background.




We have theme parks galore! Some of my favorite parks to visit are the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, Balboa Park, and Disneyland, too.

Here's a WINTER FREEBIE for you. It's called How to Build a Snowman. Click on the picture below to download.


It's a sample from one of my most popular writing packets,  Winter Writing for Firsties.


For a chance to win an AMAZON GIFT CARD, enter below. Then hop on over to Heidi's fantastic blog, Glitter is Everywhere. Just click on the button below for more southern California favorite spots and freebies.

Glitter is Everywhere