Thursday, April 30, 2015

Top 10 Plant Books for Emergent Readers

Who doesn't love the Plant Unit.  There are so many activities to do with students to truly engage their learning.  Students should be touching and planting and sorting and experiencing plants.  From growing seeds in a glove to growing grass in a cup..AND books are the best compliment to that unit.

Here are my Top 10 Books.

1. The Tiny Seed

There is no end to my love for Eric Carle and "The Tiny Seed."  There is so much in this beautiful book that can be AND SHOULD BE shared with students at all levels.  Not just lessons of plant parts and what a plant needs, but also lessons of what can help the plant and what can hurt the plant.  Lessons on birth and death and rebirth.  There are obvious connections to science, but this book lends itself to great lessons in math.

2. Growing Vegetable Soup

This book is great in it's simplicity.  Some students have never imagined growing their own soup.  Soup comes out of a can.  This idea is exciting to them.  Go with it.  While introducing this book to a class I asked, "Does soup grow on plants?"  One boy looked at my sweetly and said, "Oh Mrs. Collier, I think you are so silly.  Soup doesn't grow on plants, real soup grows at the store."  Oh, if it was that easy.  This is another great book to revisit when you need to discuss fractions.  They cut the vegetables into pieces...and make "real" fractions.

3. Eating the Alphabet

Mmmmm...along the lines of "Growing Vegetable Soup," this is a fun book to introduce students to some fruits and vegetables they've never seen before.  

4. Planting a Rainbow

This book shows all the colors of the rainbow in the plant world.  Ask parents, grandparents, community members to send in magazines (Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle and Good Housekeeping).  Build a rainbow in your room with their cut-out pictures.  They can write about colors and plants.

5. Flower Garden

This is one of my favorite books for teaching drawing conclusions, predicting, and inferring.  Throughout the book you wonder why they are buying the materials for a plant box.  It also shows a garden in a unique place...a window sill.  Most students have never thought of gardens like this.  They can write about what flowers they'd plant in their window...and why.  

6. The Apple Pie Tree

You may have introduced this book in the fall.  It's the perfect book to show the changes of the seasons.  I also LOVE the illustrations...Shari Halpern is amazing.  That being said, revisit the book!  Reintroduce the book.  Show them the book again and ask them to look at the book with a different set of eyes.  

7. It's Pumpkin Time!

This is another revisit!  Don't put the pumpkin book away in November...just transfer it to the plant bucket in your classroom library.  When they see it a second time, they pay attention to the plant life cycle not just the pumpkin becoming a Jack O'Lantern.

8.  Tops and Bottoms

This book is another discussion about where food grows.  They are quick to tell you they would NEVER eat roots or leaves or flowers for that matter.  Oh, how surprised they are!  They are delighted that Bear is tricked by Hare, as well. 

9.  I'm a Seed

This is a cute book about 2 seeds;  a marigold and a mystery seed.  As the book progresses students will see how different the plants are and start predicting what is growing.  This is also a wonderful easy reader that can be tackled by young students.  

10. If You Plant a Seed

Before I read the book I knew I would love it.  How can you not love a book written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson?  I was able to meet him a few years ago at a conference and he is as generous to teachers at conferences as he is to students reading his books.  This book goes far beyond the life cycle of a plant.  He wants students to know sharing with your community always provides a greater reward than imagined.  The students were captured by the story and I even had someone gasp at the aftermath of the struggle.  "Oh no, what will happen now?"  Exactly what we want our students to ask...if we don't share, what will happen? 

These are my suggestions.  I hope you enjoy the books, but more than that I hope they inspire and capture the heart and minds of your students.

If you'd like a Sampler Set for my new TPT set, All About Plants, CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Flowers and Showers...Pre-Write Maps Part 2

Pre-Write Maps like Double Bubble, Flow, Multi-Flow, and Tree Maps are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.
Yesterday, we talked about Brace Maps, Bridge Maps, Bubble Maps and Circle Maps.  They are perfect for pre-writing.  But, there are more!

Double Bubble Maps

Pre-Write Maps like Double Bubble, Flow, Multi-Flow, and Tree Maps are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.
These are a great compare and contrast activity.  Similar to the Venn Diagram, the Double Bubble provides adequate space for both comparing and contrasting.  You would be surprised how quickly students can create these on their own...with a little help from you.

Flow Maps

Pre-Write Maps like Double Bubble, Flow, Multi-Flow, and Tree Maps are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.
Flow maps aren't new...they are a perfect sequencing map.  Students can order the steps in the plant's life then write a story about the events.  Anything that can be sequenced, can be put on a Flow Map.  We have used Flow Maps for changes in the community, changes in seasons, and changes in the life cycle of a person.

Multi-Flow Maps

Pre-Write Maps like Double Bubble, Flow, Multi-Flow, and Tree Maps are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.
The Multi-flow map may be a new map to many.  It's the perfect map for cause and effect.  The left side starts with the "cause" or the "what?"  The right side continues with the "effect" or the "why?"  Using the map above...what can  cause of the seed to change?  If you put sun, water, and soil in the top box on the left, you can put a growing plant it in the top box on the right.

Tree Maps

Pre-Write Maps like Double Bubble, Flow, Multi-Flow, and Tree Maps are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.
Pre-Write Maps like Double Bubble, Flow, Multi-Flow, and Tree Maps are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.
Finally, the Tree Map...it's a great way to sort or classify.  There are 2 examples about plants.  The first example sort by what a plant needs and what are the parts of a plant.  The second example is for the intermediate learner, sorting trees that are deciduous or coniferous.





What do you think about Thinking Maps?  I love them!

Enjoy another set of FREEBIE Thinking Maps, CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers...and Pre-Write Maps Part 1

Pre-Write Maps like Brace, Bridge and Bubble are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.

UGH!  I'm not sure what we all hate more rain or testing.  I think if you ask teachers right about now...it's testing.  At least the rain washes away all the pollen.

I haven been THINKING about Pre-Write MAPS after my presentation about Pre-Write Maps at John Tyler Elementary School in Portsmouth.  Here are some quick ideas for flowers and showers.

Brace Map

Pre-Write Maps like Brace, Bridge and Bubble are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.
Pre-Write Maps like Brace, Bridge and Bubble are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.

 Brace Maps look at the parts that make the whole.  The first example can be used with primary students, simply labeling the plant.  The second example can be used for more advanced learners.  Students label the plant, then can analyze the what each specific plant part does for the plant.

Bridge Map

Pre-Write Maps like Brace, Bridge and Bubble are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.

The Bridge Map can be used to show a relationship or make an analogy.  Students are asked to match the weather with the appropriate activity.  The weather can go on the top and the activity on the bottom.  You would read it..."In the sunshine, I can go swimming JUST LIKE, when it's windy, I can fly a kite JUST like, and so on.  This leads to an easy writing activity!

Bubble Map

Pre-Write Maps like Brace, Bridge and Bubble are more ways to gets kids to think about their writing before they write.

Bubble Maps are great for describing something and using adjectives.  Here's an easy bubble map for our earliest learners.  This is a perfect way for early learners to use color words.

That's it for tonight.  More tomorrow night.

Here are some quick FREEBIES...CLICK HERE

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Babies are EVERYWHERE!

Welcome to the next hop of your Poetry Blog Hop.


Shared Reading in Kindergarten

Shared Reading in kindergarten is such a quick time of the day.  It's 10 minutes.  10 little minutes. What can you teach with 10 minutes?  If done correctly, that 10 minutes is so powerful.

Week 1 - Whole Group Poetry

Each week students are introduced to a new poem during calendar time.  The poem will have a reading, math, science, or social studies connection.  While teaching half-day kindergarten (that's right a full curriculum in 3 hours), we had to have our poems connect with another skill.  These poems are typically 4 lines.  This provides support our early readers need to be able to repeat the poem and interact with the words and lines.
In addition to reading the poem every day, students are asked to locate word wall words, cvc words, capital letters, end marks, rhyming words and more.  BUT to make shared reading really count it can't end on Friday.  The poem has been updated and corrected.  If you downloaded it prior to 6:00 pm, you will want to download it again.  Sorry.

Whole Group Writing

Students can also create a Bridge Map for Spring Babies.  A Bridge Map makes comparisons and teaches analogies.  When completed the Bridge Map can be read, "The pig has a piglet JUST LIKE the duck has a duckling JUST LIKE the chicken has a chick..."  After the Thinking Map is created by the class, students can create their own Bridge Map in a Science Center AND can write about babies i the Writing Center.

Week 2 Independent Activities

Homework

My students know the following week they will take home the poem.  There is a choice board for shared writing activities.  These activities are based on Bloom's and are parent choice.  The students need to choose 2 activities to do with their poem for homework.

Poetry Center

The following week the poem is also in the poetry center.  The students can complete one of two activities.  The first, and easiest activity is simply reading the activity, locate the word wall words by circling and coloring them yellow, illustrating the poem and reading it to a friend.  The second requires the student to fill in the word wall words appropriately, illustrate, and read to a friend.  Typically, the easier is done the first semester and the latter is done the second semester.

Art Center

Students will create an art center relating to the poem.  The art will also have a copy of the poem on the paper.  Students must read the poem to someone else before their center is complete.

Week 3 More Independent Activities

Pocket Chart Center (Modified)

I call this center the "Modified" Pocket Chart center because I don't actually use a pocket chart.  The poem is typed out of order, students must arrange the poem correctly, illustrate and read the poem.

As you can tell the theme of our shared reading poem is practice, practice, practice.  This leads to improved comprehension and increased fluency.

Read-to-Self and Read-to-Someone Center

Students are given a typed book to read during their Read-to-Self time.  This book can be independently read with the students locating the word wall words, pointing for 1-to-1 accuracy, and/or fluency.  Students can also use this book as a partner read or read to someone book.
As you can tell, your Shared Reading is more than a 4 line poem.  It's the springboard to independent centers, writing topics, and plenty of activities for weeks to come.


If you would like a FREEBIE Spring Babies Poetry Pack, CLICK HERE!






Follow the HOP to Stories and Songs in Second



Special thanks to the following for fonts and clip art for the hop.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Follow me on Bloglovin'

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Forgive this silly post.  Trying to get my blog "registered" with "Stuff."  We'll see how it works!




Spring Break Fun

Part 1 - OBX

After Easter at my parents, my husband and I decided to spend a few days of "US TIME" at a friend's place on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We are lucky enough to live within 1 hour of this great place.  We spent time looking for sea glass, eating, and enjoying each other's company.  


Part 2 - A FREEBIE arrived!

Have you ever entered a blog give-away?  Well, I won one.  I was so excited to win free clipart from Krista Wallden.  She is amazing!


Part 3 - CHECK OUT MY NEW DESIGN!

I can't believe how wonderful my new blog design is.  Shanon and Blogs Fit for a Queen were wonderful to work with and I am delighted by the outcome.  I still have to figure out some of the buttons and links, but I am thrilled.  It was just updated today!

Part 4 - A Presentation for SVRC

I am excited to travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia tomorrow and present a "Routines in Writing" workshop to the Shenandoah Valley Reading Council Spring Event.  This will include my favorite "T" words:  teaching, training, and TALKING.  Another bonus:  My mom is going with me!  Stay tuned for some pictures.

Part 5 - Randolph College Alumni Soccer Game

Finally, my Spring Break will finish at the Randolph College Alumni Soccer Game this Saturday night in Lynchburg.  Our oldest plays soccer for Randolph and our youngest has committed to play there next year.  We couldn't be happier. It's a great college with a great soccer program that builds men, not just players.  It's truly a family.  The picture I'm posting is 2 years old...I need to take a new one this weekend!


Part 6 - A Blog Hop

I've spent part of the day getting my blog hop post ready to go live Friday.  It's all about Poetry and Shared Reading.  I think you'll love it.  And there will be FREEBIES at each stop!

We didn't really have any big plans for Spring Break, but it's turned out to be pretty amazing!

Here's a quick FREEBIE for the spring!  Enjoy!