Friday, May 22, 2015

Five for Friday March 22

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! 

I am BEYOND excited that the book that Dr. Jean and I have been working on is coming out!

We put together our favorite reading activities that we love to use to teach literacy concepts- but that also to provide opportunities for the children to have fun learning! The experience putting together this book was just perfect.  Dr. Jean is the very best. (We all know that!)  Everyone I worked with at Crystal Springs could not have been more helpful or more kind. The editors made the book even better than I had imagined! I cannot say enough wonderful things about and thank yous to everyone there. 

Children remember what they learn when it means something.  I love these activities- and I'm so excited to share these ideas in this book!

Dr. Jean is just a genius.  She is a walking book of fabulous ideas that put children first, and is such a brilliant educator because she honestly understands how children learn and what they need.  I love and respect her and what she knows is right for children. Children are capable of learning so much. They show us that every single day. But they are still little children. Paper, pencil, and technology are great, but learning concepts with hands-on games and activities help them to really take those concepts on and remember them forever in such a positive way. (Even as an adult I prefer and learn better with hands-on learning!) Hands-on learning builds such a strong classroom family environment and strong independent thinkers and learners. 

Sometimes I see the way our education is moving for our children, and it makes me sad for them because some people who create curriculum for these little children create the curriculum just like they would create a curriculum for middle school or high school students, except with kindergarten material.  The magic is so often in the presentation- and without that magic, it's just more "stuff" for children to try to remember.

 This goes along with the Reading Recipes idea.  When you get a wonderful meal at a fancy restaurant, that restaurant wants you to remember everything about the experience of the meal- the beautiful way it looks, the way you feel when it arrives and you first see the plate of delicious food, the enjoyment you experience as you savor each bite of food, the conversation you have as you enjoy the meal, and finally, the memories you are making as you share the meal with others.  There are certain meals you won't forget- not necessarily only because of what was served, but because of everything that went along with what was served.  These activities serve up all the literacy concepts we work on in kindergarten- with 5 star restaurant memories to go along with them!  In other words, they're FUN and the kids LEARN! 

I am always looking for a learning activity to reinforce literacy concepts during rug time or as we transition from one activity to another, so Dr. Jean and I thought other teachers might be, too. We had so much fun putting these ideas together and hope that you like them as much as we do.  That is our goal with these activities.  The literacy concepts that are covered fit perfectly with any curriculum that you use.  Children will remember the concepts because of the fun way they learn them and practice them, and the laughs and interactions they have with you and with other friends as they learn. 
The pictures that go with the activities are my sweet little students!  They were such great models!

(Except that handsome boy on the cover- not sure who he is! He's not mine!) 

Here is the announcement for the book!

Announcing the upcoming release of Dr. Jean's Reading Recipes: Practical Activities from Early Literacy’s Master Chefs by Dr. Jean Feldman and Carolyn Kisloski—available for pre-order at a special low price through June 15, 2015!
Dr. Jean's Reading Recipes available at www.crystalspringsbooks.comHave you ever watched the cooking shows where chefs get a basket of ingredients and are challenged to create something delicious out of it?  Teaching can be like that, too. You get a curriculum and basket full of standards and it's up to you to figure out how to make them taste "yummy" for your students.
Dr. Jean's Reading Recipes will help you become a "master chef" with recipes you can use to spice up your reading program and make it even more engaging and effective. Including over 80 new activities and dozens of variations, Dr. Jean's Reading Recipes comes to you from master educators, Carolyn Kisloski and Dr. Jean Feldman. Together, they have developed a cookbook chock-full of classroom activities to build key literacy skills in phonological and phonemic awareness, alphabet knowledge, phonics, sight word recognition, and vocabulary development. Most require no advanced preparation or special materials, and all can be differentiated to meet the needs of the learners in your classroom. Open this book at any time of day; you'll quickly find a bounty of terrific ideas that you can adapt to your standards and the specific skills that you want to reinforce. Fully illustrated with color photographs.

(PreK-1)  160 pp.   
  $19.95  $17.75 (Pre-publication price)

From the Authors

"This book is based on scientific based reading research. Always go back to the research and you will stay on course. It’s also based on brain research and effective teaching strategies. Good teachers know the research so when someone questions what they are doing they can back it up. Above all, this book is based on common sense and balance. The more time children sit in front of a screen, the more they need movement and active learning. We know these recipes are just what you need to ENGAGE your students throughout the day! We also realize how busy you are... you can open this book and quickly find an idea that you can adapt to your standards and the specific skills you want to reinforce."
—Carolyn Kisloski & Dr. Jean

You can see these sample pages HERE.   I'm so excited for my kids to see themselves in a BOOK. They will think they're just like Piggie and Elephant! There will be no living with them for the rest of the year... 

  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes
  • Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes

Speaking of the rest of the year- we go with students until June 23.  Then, teachers go the rest of that week until June 26.  How about you?  I am thinking some of you are done or almost done.  We are very warm...  muggy...  sticky...  a little cranky...  but trying to make the best of it.  Did I mention it's humid?   

We are studying Eric Carle now.  The children love that they recognize his style of illustrating.  I use my Eric Carle Prezi ALL the time when I do our unit. Yesterday one of my little boys wanted to read Hello, Red Fox, and said, "Can I read that book? You know- about the fox- by that boy that we all know how he draws?"  The "boy" is Eric Carle, but we're getting there...

 I have videos and links to go with each book in one place so I can click on the book and have all I need. 
Of COURSE, one of the authors is Eric Carle.  These prompts are great for a writing activity to go along with the books that we read. Some are quick and some are longer if you have more time.

We wrote about The Grouchy Ladybug after we read that story.  We turned and talked about what made us grouchy.  I learned that LOTS of things make five and six year olds grouchy.

I love how this one highlighted what makes her grouchy!  She drew her bookcase with no books in it because they were DUMPED...
Here are some other ideas we have used to highlight exactly what makes us grouchy!  I love the faces.

I can totally relate to, "I can't remember things."  I love how her one leg is kicking.

This one may be my very favorite, because he said he was grouchy when his mom goes to work. When I asked him why, he said, "because my mom works like a million whale lengths away from home!"  

I always use The Grouchy Ladybug as an introduction to telling time.  It is great for so many activities!
Here is a free ladybug clock from  that is cute.

I just add two construction paper half circles with a brad so they open over  the clock when it is made, and the children can dab on black spots. The children picked up telling time to the hour and half hour very quickly this year.  We also have been practicing counting by 5's, so this made that very relevant for them.

After reading the story and practicing on my big clock for a while, we went outside to see just how big the blue whale was compared to the ladybug.  I had a piece of rope 45 feet long (the length of a average whale) and a red button. 
One child held our "ladybug" where another child held one end of the rope. 

Then, we s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out that rope to see how long a whale was. This picture was from last year, but it shows exactly what we did if I had brought my camera outside...
The children were amazed- but THEN I told them that the blue whale was twice that long or about 90 feet long! So we stretched all the way down the side walk.  That button looked pretty small!

During free choice time, I had the children come to my table to paint ladybug rocks for their gardens.  We had talked about how good ladybugs are for the garden- and, from the story, they knew that ladybugs loved eating aphids! 

First, I drew the outline on the stone.  OK- backing up, very first, my husband and I went to the creek to find many beautiful oval stones, perfect for bug-making! Then, I drew the outline:

The children picked their favorite bug stone. I had  lots of different sizes, so this was fun for them.

They drew  a little face on the front part and wrote their name on the bottom with a Sharpie.  Then, they painted the sides red and the back section black.  They put the black dots on right then with a cotton swab.  I thought they would have to wait until it dried, but it worked just fine to do it all at the same time.

When they were all dry, I shellacked them so they would be more weatherproof outside in a garden.

For our Science lesson, we watched the videos on my Eric Carle Prezi about the ladybug lifecycle and the different types of ladybugs like this one:

 And who doesn't love the Ladybug Picnic song?

This is a great book to use for so many things!

We also read The Very Quiet Cricket- partly as a subtle not so subtle reminder to try to find our inside voices. I don't know where they went.  They left about the end of April.

This writing prompt was just drawing and labeling quiet things. I love writing prompts because the children all feel successful no matter what their level. 

He got very creative with everything from the sun to an apple to pants to a sword to an eyeball!

Bless her heart for saying I am quiet! (and that is a "rainbow" not Rambo...)

He went a different route with the ninja and a sword. 

We followed up the quiet theme with The Quiet Book.  This is such a sweet book and great for conversations.   Each page shows a different kind of quiet and leads to good discussions about why people might be quiet at different times.


When despite your best efforts,  quiet just doesn't work, it's time for...brain breaks!  Brain breaks get me  the kids  through the day!  Here are a couple of our FAVORITES!

Rocking Dan Teaching Man has a great new video to get the kids moving. It's called Do the Bear Walk.  The kids LOVE it.  

I love it because he has the kids moving and then does a yoga pose or another non-moving activity. It's nonstop and we may have done it five times yesterday throughout the day..  (It was a really long day!)  They love it because he shows himself doing the activities and they got SUCH a kick out of it.
This was right after one of their writing assessments for next year.  They were ready to MOVE, bless their hearts!

We had to have a little "plank" lesson, because at first everyone just went flat, face down on the carpet.  If anyone walked in right then, they would have thought I'd cast a spell on the kids.  I contemplated just stopping the video there for ten minutes and letting them all just rest a bit, but instead, we learned how to plank. They love it!

My class also LOVED this easier version of the Cha Cha Slide because they could follow it. SO much fun!  

I added these to my Get Up and Move Prezi! I am always adding to this whenever I find a new song that we love!

Finally, we had Grandparents Day this week! 

The children always LOVE this day. It's so exciting. The grandparents come to the classroom for an hour before lunch. First, we sing our favorite songs.  We vote on the songs.  Dr. Jean's songs ALWAYS win- and we just have to narrow them down.  This year we chose Macarena Months, My Mother is a Baker, and Tooty Ta.  The grandparents LOVED them.  We also sang My Favorite Things and The Water Cycle Song with sign language.

I have three centers set up, and finish by reading Grandpa's Slippers. Then, the children go eat a special lunch with their grandparents.  The gym is decorated so pretty for everyone.

The "before" picture...

We also had a  photo booth and costumes for it!  I love Minnie Mouse!

If someone doesn't have a special grandparents, usually other grandparents are so wonderful they adopt them right into their family for the day- or they get to be my very special helper and lunch date. Everyone had someone special today!

I have done lots of different things in my classroom in the past- including having the children and grandparents make ice cream in a bag together - until the year one grandma put the cup of salt and ice right in the bag with the cream and sugar, at the same time, another was shaking her bag with all her might over my carpet, not knowing her bag wasn't sealed. My rug was a combination of salt and cream. The next year I went a different route...

This year, we made two very simple crafts. Each center only had ten minutes and I didn't want anything too in depth. I did not take ONE picture of these finished crafts- even though I meant to- it was crazy in there.  
This was the scene around ONE TABLE...

For one craft, the children wrote, "I love you to pieces!" and ripped and glued colored paper inside a heart that I had printed on cardstock.  I had all sorts of shiny paper, textured paper... to choose from. 

The other craft was the grandparent and the child each tracing and cutting out hand prints, and gluing the child's handprint on top of the grandparent's on a paper with a poem.  These turned out sweet, and everyone seemed to have lots of fun.

The third center was reading books.  I had out lots of their favorite Kris Bonnell books from Reading Reading (pronounced "Redding Reading" because it is based in Reading, Pennsylvania.) I posted about these books here. I love them. The kids love them.  There you go. 
I also put out the set of Piggie and Elephant books, too, because, well, we LOVE THOSE, too!

Our classroom books were a hit, too!  Also, I love how that grandpa comes prepared to craft with scissors in his back pocket.  Nice!

We finished up reading Grandpa's Slippers- a perfect story for the day.

I'm tired.  

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Whoo hoo -- getting published! That's so cool! (And I agree about people who tell us what to teach -- I just want to say, come to my classroom!)
    This post is full of fun things -- I love it!

  2. Yahooooooooo! The book looks wonderful! I think it's time to be a presenter and show teachers all your great ideas at conferences! I'd be in the front row! Congrats!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS! Your book looks FABULOUS- AND it's a book co-authored with Dr. JEAN! Amazing! I'm so happy for you! It couldn't have happened to a nicer person!

    Awesome blog post, too! Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Oh my gosh ~ What exciting news! I just pre-ordered . . . Can't wait to see you and get my copy autographed this summer. Congratulations! You and Dr. Jean ~ What a team! :) Anne

  5. Congratulations on your book! Love your blog & I love Dr. Jean so I know it will be an awesome book! This entire blog post was amazing! Grandparents Day looks like it was a ton of fun for everyone!
    Learning at the Teacher Table


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