Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Pete the Cat Rocks It Back to School

I have a stash of books that I use for the first week of school. I love them cause they are fail safe and of all the times in the year, this is the week I need things to go super smoothly. One of my absolute faves is this one.
I love it for so many reasons - it's cute, kids love Pete the Cat and we can sing it after. But, it became part of my B2S book collection a few years ago when I had a little boy in my class who just wasn't adjusting well. He missed home all the time. Usually all I wanted to do was grab him, hug him and tell him I kinda missed home too, but I digress… I needed him to feel good about school, about the routines and the new surroundings and so I picked up this book and started reading, hoping the whole time that he'd connect with it. As always, Pete saved the day and this kid was hooked. Hooked on Pete, hooked on the music, the rhythm, the story, all of it. As far as school was concerned, he was good to go and I had Pete to thank for it. The story just gave this kid the little bit of reassurance he needed and a great character to fall in love with.

Later that same school year, I was looking through my library for my Pete the Cat books and the basket was completely empty. After some searching, I found every single title in this little boy's read to self folder. Pete - the Cat that lasts and lasts.

Check out this great story for starting the school year off right. Plus a great freebie to go with it. Just click the pic.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Teacher Made Stuff - Reading Passages

I am constantly making stuff for my class. All school year long, all summer long, all the time.  Most often, it comes from a void that I see and need to fill. At the beginning of the last school year, I got THE group. You know, the class that just does what you ask, and to add to that, they did it quickly and quietly. I was truly blessed. After a week had rolled by, I noticed that they were all pretty much primed for reading. Their DRA levels were close together and they were ready to take that next step, but I needed something specific for them and only them. I needed some reading passages that used the short vowels and the pre-primers all at the same time. So, I made what I needed. And I thought if you can use it too somehow, then even better. Here's a peek at what it looks like. There is a coloured and black & white version for each one.

Cluck on any of the pics for the free download.

So, definitely something I used a lot at the beginning of the year. Hope you can use it too.

I'm linking this Freebie up with Teaching Blog Addict's Freebie Friday. You can find other great freebies there as well.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Picture Perfect Books - Featuring Hazel's Amazing Mother

Happy Summer! I hope you're enjoying your time off. Summer is a great time to catch up on so many things that we just don't have time for otherwise and having this extra time got me thinking about something I really LOVE - picture books. You're right there with me, I know you are.

I have to admit that when I first starting teaching, I knew of a few children's authors and some great books, but I had barely scratched the surface. Now, after so many years of reading story after story, I feel like I've gotten a handle on what books really work for me. And what I've discovered is that the books that really work for me fall into their own special category. I call them Mesmerizing Reads. For me, these books are the absolute best because as I read and watch my kids' faces, I can't help but notice how truly captured they are by the story. No one is looking out the window or playing with a dangling bracelet or elbowing their neighbour, they are engrossed in the book. And that is a magical moment for a teacher.

I think part of the reason a mesmerizing read works so well has a lot to do with how invested kids are in the story. They truly want to know what happens.  And my role at that point? I READ on…

A story that mesmerizes my kids year after year is this one.
This is the story of a sweet little badger named Hazel. She heads out one morning, along with her doll Eleanor and Eleanor's beautiful carriage, on her own little adventure. After some shopping and candy tasting, Hazel ends up in a park across town, having taken a few wrong turns.
There, she has the misfortune of meeting some unsavoury characters (bullies) who capture Hazel's 
doll and hold her ransom. The prize winning part of the story though is when Hazel's mother just "knows" that Hazel needs her and so she comes to her daughter's  rescue in true super hero style. Wonder Woman would have been proud, trust me. 

After Hazel's mother has rescued Hazel and Eleanor, Hazel's asks her - "Mother, how did you do it?"  
to which, Hazel's mother responds "It must have been the power of love." As I read this page to my kids, one of my little sweethearts said "AWWWW."  She just GOT it. I reminded myself in that moment to never underestimate the understanding of a 1st grader. They will amaze and surprise you.

Hazel's Amazing Mother is part of my Picture Perfect Books series. It's the first in a long line of mesmerizing reads that I want to share with you.
I would love to give away a copy of Hazel's Amazing Mother, I'll send it right to your door - Promise. Just use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!