Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Magical Adventure: A Trip To The Library

Hi! I'm Ayn and I am a Ga. Pre-K teacher, serving 4 and 5 year olds in an inclusive setting. I share my classroom adventures on my blog, little illuminations

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Ever since I can remember, I have had a great love for books. Some of my greatest adventures took place between the pages of magical storybooks. As a child, I loved to go to the library. I would get so excited when the Bookmobile would come around. I could step right onto that bus and pick out an armful of books that would help tide me over until my next trip to the library. 

Today, with cable tv, internet, movies on demand, etc. It seems many are too busy to visit the library. One of my favorite field trips near the beginning of the school year is to take the children to the library. Many of them have never been before and don't realize the amazing treasures held within the walls of the local library. I am thrilled when, inevitably the children go home and tell their parents about this magical land they have visited with me and beg to go on their own. Some even report back that they have gotten their very first library card! 

As a preschool teacher, I check about 20-25 books a week to share with my students. On our visit, I taught them how to pick out a book and we also returned a few that I had checked out the week before.

We stepped into the children's story area and had a marvelous time listening to a couple of stories. This time, our children's librarian used a feltboard to help bring the story to life. In the past, we've seen skits and puppet shows! Check out your local library for children's programs--most offer some sort of program and they are free! 

The children's librarian read several books that were new to me but they are definitely be on my "must have" list now! "Dog's Colorful Day" (with the feltboard above) and "The Book with No Pictures" were instant hits with my class!


After our visit, we took a few minutes to talk about the the things we saw and learned at the library. The children are keen observers and pointed out things I had not even thought to point out to them!

I am a firm believer that they key to raising a good reader is to instill a love for reading and books. If we show children that we enjoy reading, they will want to read, too! 

You may want to read a few books about going to the library to help get them excited about your library visit. Some of my favorite children's books about the library are:




Stop by and visit me anytime at or visit the little illuminations fanpage on facebook! And be sure to check out PreK+K Sharing EEE!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Joone by Emily Kate Moon

Hi! I'm Carolyn from Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together.  Today I want to share with you my favorite book, Joone, by Emily Kate Moon,  because it's such a wonderful addition to any child's bookshelf,  and a perfect mentor text for teachers.

You know how sometimes something (a piece of furniture, an outfit, a book) just "speaks" to you? Well, the moment I saw the cover of Joone, this book spoke to me.   Here's proof that it's my favorite book.  I can't even put her in my shelf with the other books, because I love to see her little happy face! (By the way, the Skittles are for my little late bus kids who put up all the chairs for me! They do all this work for me and get one Skittle-  or two or three.  I have willpower not to clean out the jar.  Some days it's harder than others...) Anyway, back to my post!


Here is how Emily Kate Moon describes her sweet character:

Why, Joone is the cutest little girl to hit the pages of a children’s book! She does cartwheels, collects rocks, and spells her name with a smiley face... need I say more?

This description is from Amazon:

Joone likes the color orange, ice-cream sandwiches, and playing outside. She lives in a yurt with her grandfather and her pet turtle, Dr. Chin, who rides around on her hat. Grandpa teaches Joone something new every day. Sometimes Joone teaches him something new, too, like how to make a daisy chain. Together they enjoy life’s small joys—sunsets, tree houses, and most of all, each other.

Emily Kate Moon’s debut picture book is a charming tribute to the outdoors and a tender portrait of a grandfather and granddaughter’s loving relationship. Fans of Ladybug Girl, Freckleface Strawberry, and even Dora the Explorer will fall in love with this independent, free-spirited little girl.

My favorite detail of the book may be the fact that she spells her name, Joone,  with a smiley face instead of a "u."  That made her special right from the start.

Joone is a great conversation starter for a lesson about being yourself.  Children need to hear and know that it's okay to be different, and have unique talents, likes, and opinions- that's what makes each child who  he/she is and what makes us all special.  After the children hear all of Joone's fun and different interests, they immediately start thinking of  and sharing their own.

In fact,  my friend and our technology teacher, Jen, loves Joone so much that she bought it for everyone to sign for her friend's baby shower, because she said she wanted the little girl to grow up just like Joone.  What a fun, special idea!

As a teacher, you would think Emily Kate Moon wrote this just for us.  I just used it as a mentor text this week for adding details to illustrations and writing.  We talk about adding at least 5 details to our pictures.  We "decided" on this number because they are five, so that's just perfect.

After we talked about what details are (something that adds more information and tells us more), I began our lesson by reading this page of Joone to the students, without even showing the picture.

When they heard a detail, they had to hold up one finger.  This page- with only this much text-  gave us five great details about Joone.  We shared the details after I read the page. When I showed the children the illustration, they could see so many more details from the wonderful illustration!

Joone is also a perfect mentor text for small moments and narrative writing.  It's hard to find good books to introduce this concept for writing.  This book is full of special, small moments, and it lets the children see that those special, small moments make wonderful stories to tell and write about in their own books!

I made some writing prompts to use after you read Joone to your class.  If you would like a copy of them, just click on the picture!

We drew our own pictures of Joone! They loved adding Dr. Chin (her turtle) on top of her hat.

Emily Kate Moon has a wonderful website.  She shows real, true examples of her work.  The kids were amazed.  They could really see how even a famous author sketches, plans, and makes decisions about what to draw and write.  They can see the process at work!

Many times I think children (even adults) don't consider all the steps that go into that finished product.  We read a book and take for granted that it looks so polished and doesn't have a mistake in it!  I think the children loved seeing this process so much because their work is always a work in progress.

Plus- this was probably their favorite part of the story!

Joone thumbnail sketch - Emily Kate Moon

Filthy Joone Sketch - Emily Kate Moon

Pencil and gouache of Joone - Emily Kate Moon

Emily shared this great printout at her website to teach children how to make a daisy crown (one of Joone's FAVORITES!) I cannot wait to do this with my class in the spring (except we'll need to use dandelions because we have LOTS of those, but...  it will be a beautiful flower crown, nonetheless! Joone would approve, I'm sure.) You could also send this paper home with the children after you read the story, so they could try to make a crown at home. She has a sweet coloring sheet for Joone, as well.  

Thank you for stopping by and meeting my sweet friend, Joone.  If you haven't met her yet, I can't wait until you do.  You'll just love her.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Zombies Are Coming!! and spiders, and bats, and pumpkins.......

I believe in hands on Kindergarten.  Hands on First Grade too.  As a matter of fact I cannot think of a grade that could not use a good healthy dose of hands on.  Hi!  I'm Terri Izatt from KinderKapers and I wanted to talk to you about using stuff in your classroom.

Numbers is the first place I think of using stuff....all kinds of stuff to touch and count and manipulate.  Five year olds are very tactile.  They are not that far removed from the stage where absolutely everything goes into a the mouth.  Their fine motor skills still need work so big things are better, and I am always on the lookout for great things my Kinders can use as manipulatives for math.  The more they touch, move, and manipulate stuff, the easier it is to understand those abstract things we call numbers.

Halloween isles are filled with good things to use.  When I saw a package of eyeballs I just knew I needed them.  It didn't take long to realize that if I added a cauldron I would have all I needed to play a missing addend game.

The game is great for many different grade levels.  It is simple, but the math concepts and thinking can be complex.  The more you get your students talking about what they did, and what they were thinking, the deeper their understanding will be.  Using math talks and sentence stems is a great way to get started.  Here is one work mat I made to go with the eyeballs.
and here is one to use with those bat or spider rings.....

The game simply goes like this....take a certain number of things (in this case eyeballs or rings), count them so you are sure of how many you have.  Then while everyone hides their eyes, you put some in your container.  Everyone looks and tells you how many they see.  Now for the many are in the cauldron?  When they tell you (right or wrong), ask them how they knew.  "What were you thinking?"  It is GREAT to get more than one way to figure out the answer.  Check the cauldron to see if they were right.  More discussion, especially if someone was mistaken.  How could they think differently, what could they have done differently?  My quickest student couldn't tell me how he knew.  When he stopped and thought, the words he used were all wrong.  So we talked about finding the words to explain our thinking.  Building vocabulary...building number sense...getting ready to add and subtract.  All wrapped up in this simple game.

You can create a simple recording sheet by inserting a table and some cute graphics onto a powerpoint slide.  I made this one to use in a center with my cauldron and eyeballs.
This one is free in my store:

You can change this game as often as you want.  I use jingle bells at Christmas and white pompoms in January.

You can use seashells, party favors, glass stones from your floral department, counting bears, dinosaurs, frogs, and let your imagination run wild.  Limit the number of manipulatives for struggling students and increase the number as students are ready.  Turn their recorded games into number sentences when they are ready for more abstract thinking. 

Most important...Have Fun (but don't let the Zombies get you)!  Happy Halloween!

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