Monday

Let's talk picture books for SEL

Let's talk picture books for SEL



Social emotional learning is always important but even more so with living through a Pandemic and your world being upended.

Have you read The Good Egg?  It's by Jory John and Pete Oswald. This a really great way to get across the idea of self care.  See, the good egg is veeerrry good.  The egg always tries to be the very best and tries to make every other egg good too.  One day, the egg noticed some cracks in the shell! The doctor said it was the pressure the egg was putting on itself!  So the egg left to make time for itself.  It read books, had massages and went on walks.  The egg finally decided to go home but realized it didn't have to be perfect or make sure any other egg was either. An activity you can do with your kids is "It's up to you."  Give them an outline of a head.  Inside they can write what they have control over: themselves, their thoughts and actions.  Outside of the head, they can write things they have no control over: the pandemic, school closures, parents fighting.  You can only control what you can.

Next up is I Am Enough by Grace Byers. "Like the sun, I'm here to shine."  I love this poetic book about why we should each accept ourselves.  It focuses on loving ourselves, respecting others and being kind.  A great activity to do with kids is Kindness cards.  First we discuss positive personality traits and chart them together.  Then students put blank cards on their desks.  I play music as we walk around.  When the music stops, you put a kind comment on whoever's card you are standing in front of.  Once they are filled, I collect them check that they are indeed all kind and then pass them out to the kids.  They become something they can always pull out to read then they are having a bad day.

    There will be times when you walk into a room and no one is quite like you until the day you begin to share your stories." Last up is The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodsen.  I have to say she is one of my favorite authors: chapter books like Brown Girl Dreaming and picture books like Each Kindness.  She just has a way of reaching in to heart! There are always times where might feel like outsiders but once we share, we realize we have more in common than we realize.  A cool activity is Cross the room.  Students start in the middle.  Then the teacher says something like, "If you've traveled outside the US, move to the left, If not, go to the right."  As the teacher makes more statements "Eaten seafood?" "Ridden a train?"  "Used a hula hoop?", the kids will see they have more in common than they realize.   If you need some more activities, check out my products in my store

Clubhouse

Katie, from A Basket Full of Apples, Kelli, from The Beachy Teacher, and I talk about picture books on Tuesdays at 4:30 PST on Clubhouse.  Are you on Clubhouse?  It's an app for the iPhone and you need to be invited to join. Come join us to share your favorite books.  We'd love to bring you on stage to share.  There are so many great reads out there.  Help us discover them!


   

It's Spring time Let's talk picture books

It's Spring time

Let's talk picture books 




It's Spring!  Flowers are blooming, weather is warming and it's getting greener everywhere I look!  Let's discover some great reads together.

First up is one of my most favorite books! Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.  It's about Miss Rumphius who has an exciting life traveling and working in a library.  OK maybe not everyone's idea of exciting but it is mine!!  When she grows older, she settles down and decides she wants to beautify the world.  She does that by spreading lupine seeds as she walks the town.  They take to calling her the lupine lady.  And eventually the whole town is covered in lupines every Spring.  The Pinning Teacher has some great ideas on her board.  Check her out!

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Knauss is an oldie but goodie.  This little boy plants a seed.  Everyone tells him it won't grow!  But he has faith.  He takes care of it and he waits.  You won't believe what happens!   Why not have your kids create art inspired by the story?  They can use construction paper to create carrots or paint them!

Finally, a book by Kevin Henkes! He's opne of my favorite authors. I just love When Spring Comes, which is illustrated by Laura Droznek.  It is about how the whole world changes when Spring comes.  From darkness to light and color!  It is actually a part of a quartet:  In the Middle of Fall, Winter is Here, When Spring Comes and Summer Song. Spring is a great time to go out and observe.  Take your students out and breathe in the beautiful Spring air!  Maybe even do some meditation.  Then go on a scientific hunt!  What fantastic things can they find?

Clubhouse

Katie, from A Basket Full of Apples, Kelli, from The Beachy Teacher, and I talk about picture books on Tuesdays at 4:30 PST on Clubhouse.  Are you on Clubhouse?  It's an app for the iPhone and you need to be invited to join.  I learn so much on Clubhouse every time I listen.  Come join us to share your favorite books.  We'd love to bring you on stage to share.  There are so many great reads out there.  Help us discover them!


   

Sunday

Great AAPI Kids Books

Great AAPI kids Books 




What a time we are living through:The pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the AAPI movement.  It's so important we talk about these topics with our students to give them context and different viewpoints.  This week's focus: AAPI.

Let's talk about Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki and Dom Lee.  This book is about Shorty, whose life gets turned upside down when his family is put into an internment camp during WW2.  To create some type of normalcy during this difficult time his father decides to start a baseball team.  To give my students some context, I've organized field trips to the Japanese American National Museum here in Los Angeles.  At this time, JANM is offering virtual tours!  The tours there are led by people who were interned and can offer unique insight to the experience.  They've taught my students Taiko drumming and origami too.  Check them out,

Eyes That Kiss In The Corners by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho.  In this story, a young girl notices that her eyes are different from her peers.  She realizes she has eyes like her family. "They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future."  The illustrations are bright and beautiful.  Check out The Teaching Books Blog where they interviewed Joanna Ho!!

Finally, A Different Pond by acclaimed poet Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Phi.  This is a beautiful book about a father son relationship. Bao and his father go fish for food.  While they fish, his father talks about another pond in Vietnam. Beautifully told books with fantastic illustrations.  This quiet read has won so many awards and is a great read for social justice.  Here is a YouTube link to a reading. 


I love picture books but as an upper grade teacher, I also read chapter books so I need to address that too!

Diamond in the Desert is by Kathryn Fitzmaurice.  It's about 12 year old Tetsu and what his family goes through when they are interned.  As you can infer by the title, baseball has a big part in the book but it also abut family and responsibility.  The author actually did a Skype visit with my students about the book.  She was so sweet.  Here is a link to her website.  I do a close reading unit with my students which can be found here.

One I have not read to my class yet but I plan to is Sylvia and Aki by Winifred Conkling.  This story is about the intersection of the lives of Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu.  Sylvia's family was at the heart of the Mendez vs. Westminster School District case which desegregated California schools for Latino families.  Aki's family was sent to an internment camp and Sylvia's family rents their farm while they are being interned.  The real Sylvia and Aki were on a podcast together.  Take a listen.

Last is Inside Out and Back Again (not pictured) by Thannha Lai.  I've read this book every year to my kids since I've discovered it.  It won the National Book award and it is written in free verse so it is more accessible to our growing readers.  The story follows Ha as she moves from Saigon, to Guam to Alabama and how she deals with everything coming down on her.  If you need a close reading guide, find one here!

Clubhouse

Katie, from A Basket Full of Apples, Kelli, from The Beachy Teacher, and I talk about picture books on Tuesdays at 4:30 PST on Clubhouse.  Are you on Clubhouse?  It's an app for the iPhone and you need to be invited to join.  I learn so much on Clubhouse every time I listen.  Come join us to share your favorite books for AAPI!  We'd love to bring you on stage to share.  There are so many great reads out there.  Help us discover them!


   

Picture Books for Growth Mindset

Picture Books for
Growth Mindset




Growth mindset is HUGE in my class and here are some of my favorite picture books along with some tips on how to use them in your classroom.

First up, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley. This is a great place to start because kids need to know that their brains can stretch and grow.  It helps the understanding that your brain can grow and you can become smarter.  I'm assuming you've heard of Getepic.com?  I've used it a lot since we've been teaching online. This story is on there if you don't have a physical copy.

My next recommendation is The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  Fablevision learning has some great resources for teachers.  Check them out.  I'm sure you've heard of International Dot Day...that happens on September 15th and it's where kids all over the world unleash their creativity.  You can sign your class up and get some ideas here.

Finally, The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires is a great addition to your library.  This story teaches kids that we face challenges but the important thing is to persevere.  I like to use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" frame with my kids to summarize.  The little girl (somebody) wanted to build the most magnificent thing  but she couldn't figure it out so she kept trying then she was able to create something magnificent. There is even a short film on Amazon Prime narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. This book is also on GetEpic.com. 

Katie, from A Basket Full of Apples, and I talk about picture books on Tuesdays at 4:30 PST on Clubhouse.  Are you on Clubhouse?  It's an app for the iPhone and you need to be invited to join.  I learn so much on Clubhouse every time I listen.  Come join us to share your favorite books for growth mindset!  We'd love to bring you on stage to share.

Check out these educational blogs with some great insight into teaching.

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Saturday

STEM ** STEAM ** DREAMS: Let's talk picture books


Picture Books for
STEM ** STEAM ** DREAMS




Let's talk picture books for STEM...STEAM...DREAMS...ok whatever acronym you use, it means science, tech and math. Here are some of my favorites.

Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beatty. I love her books because I find them easy for the kids to put themselves into the characters. Are your kids questioneers? If you want to learn about the scientific method, follow Ada Twist! This is a great book to have kids start thinking of themselves as scientists. It's not someone else, it's you!! If you are reading some Andrea Beatty's other books, check out her website. It's a fantastic site.

My kids loooove How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk. This is a great book to have kids learn all the coding vocab in an easy relatable way. Sequence, loops, conditions, all of it! Then I would take littles to kodable and older kids to code.org to put that vocabulary into use.

Last but not least is Computer Decoder: Dorothy Vaughan, Computer Scientist by Andi Diehn. This is a beautiful full-color picture book biography about Dorothy Vaughan. She was one of NASA’s first African American managers and one of the groundbreakers on the front line of electronic computing. Best part is that this book includes hands-on STEM activities for an introduction to coding. You want something to do now? Try making a coding bracelet. I use cereal like froot loops and yarn. They make a repeating pattern to show a code sequence. Red, blue, yellow, yellow, repeat, repeat, repeat. An easy way to connect the concepts with a hands on activity.

Katie, from A Basket Full of Apples, and I talk about picture books on Tuesdays at 4:30 PST on Clubhouse. Come join us to share your favorite books for STEM!


Sunday

Clubhouse: Perfect Picture Books for Women's Herstory!


Clubhouse: Perfect Picture Books!


Have you heard of Clubhouse? It's an app that they describe as drop in audio. It's like a podcast but live. It only works on iPhone and you need an invite from a member to get in. Luckily, Katie invited me and I'm so glad. I feel like I've learned so much. I drop in and listen when I'm planning. Sometimes, I raise my hand and speak when I have a question or comment. At this moment, I'm listening to Angela Duckworth (gasp!), author of Grit. I feel like I'm learning so much.

So Katie and I decided to take the plunge and host our own room. It will start on March 9, 2021 at 4:30 PST. We loooove picture books so we decided to speak on it! I hope you love it too. Our first topic is Women's History Month!

The first title I chose to speak on: Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World (Vashti Harrison). I was sooo lucky to read about a Virtual field trip for World Read Aloud Day hosted by Flipgrid. They called it a "Flipgrid Virtual Field Trip: Celebrate World Read Aloud Day with Beloved and Bestselling Creator Vashti Harrison author of LITTLE LEADERS: BOLD WOMEN IN BLACK HISTORY." It was amazing. She spoke and even taught the kids to do her art! Always keep an eye out on Twitter for cool opportunities.

Another beauty: Be Bold! Be Brave! : 11 Latinas who made U.S. History (English and Spanish Edition) Written by Naibe Reynoso and illustrated Jone Leal. So I read this to my Second graders who absolutely loved it. Then I used some of the vocabulary to create games for them on educandy. Have you tried this site? I wasn't crazy about the quiz function because I like to do it with the kids and all the kids had different quiz orders. But my kids especially liked the word function. As a teacher, you put in the words. I used journalist, performer, activist etc... Then the site gives you a link with three games your kids can play: word searches, Spell it (like Hangman) and Anagrams. The word search gives the kids the words. The others do not so I put them in the chat to help them out!

Image from NYTimes.com

Last but not least, Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker and Jessica Curry, illustrated by Brittany Jackson. This beautiful girl was starstruck when she came upon the image of the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sweet story about the power of art. I can see having an art lesson after this book where the colors really pop just like Amy Sheffield.

Hope you enjoy these ideas and I hope to see you in Clubhouse!

      

Saturday

Cool Google Slides Tips and Tricks

Cool Google Slides 

Tips and Tricks


CUE Los Angeles just had their CUE Palooza today and my mind is blown 😲 by everything I did not know about Google slides.  I'm going to give you a few of the tips and tricks I learned today.

First, if you want to know how I made the top image, I created it in slides.  Then I downloaded as a .png so I could use it as an image.  I like to save images and insert as backgrounds in my slide decks so the kids can't edit them.

Explore tool

Maybe it's just me but I did not know what that star thing at the bottom was!  It always bothered me- I was trying to get rid of it!  No more.  Once it opens, it will search the web and your drive for anything you want.  And it will even cite sources.  Isn't that cool?

Tables

I've always used tables for data.  However, you can also use them for questions.  Looks neater!  Use the paint bucket to color the cells.


Quick Color Picker

The Chrome Web Store has a ton of extensions that will make your life easier.  I wanted the colors to match so I went to the Chrome Web Store and downloaded Quick Color Picker.   I was able to use the eye dropper to pick up the color in the background so it would look better.  No need to do this, I just wanted it to match!



Spelling Help

Make sure to teach your kids about this!  First go to Tools >> Spelling >> Underline errors. That way it will underline the errors and give them suggestions for spelling when they click on it.


More Space!

Last but not least.  You can use the sides for directions...like way off the slide.  And because I used the explore tool to find those images, they are all cited correctly when you click on them.


I hope you learned something knew.  
Can't wait to teach these things to my kids.

Visit these great blogs to learn 
more fantastic tips.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
      
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