Big Ideas for Little Hands: July 2016

Summer Reading Stash: Historical

How can summer already be over?!?! I head back to in-services today. I am so not ready to put on real clothes but I guess we must. I hope that you have been able to relax and catch up on a few things and even grab some great books for the school year. 

This week we are linking up to bring you some Social Studies books to add to your library. So sit back and grab your cup of coffee and enjoy hoping around and finding some great new books!

1. Hero Dad

Ok, this is probably my all time favorite book and I cannot get through it without crying. This book really touches home since my daughter is an Army child and I teach at a school on base so all of my students have a parent in the military. Such an amazing community and I am so excited to be part of it. There is also a Hero Mom too.

This book talks about a little boy telling all of the reasons that his dad is a hero and a Superhero. It is the most precious book you will ever read and it is perfect for Veteran's Day! After we read the story we talk about how important their mom and dad's job in the Army is. Then they each write why their mom or dad is their hero and we make this adorable solider craft from Miss Kindergarten. These are the most precious things I read all year! (This is our in progress picture)

 2. I Am Abraham Lincoln & I Am George Washington

 These books are so cute and are written so that our little ones can understand the lives of each of these famous presidents. They are perfect for President's Day. They are actually part of a series of Famous People that Changed the World. Great series for the younger students. We love reading them and comparing how our lives are different then their lives. It's so funny to listen to the kids and how surprised they are when they find out they do not have all of the technology that we have today. One of the crafts that we make to go along is this cute craft from Deanna Jump. The students make their own Abe Lincoln then write about something that is important to them on his hat. Just like Lincoln's hat was important to him.

3. Martin's Big Words

This is a great book to talk to your student's about Martin Luther King Jr. I find this at times to be a difficult subject to teach about but it is one that absolutely needs to be discussed. This book helps break down the important events in Martin's life into a way that younger students can understand. It is written very simple and helps open up many discussions in the classroom. We then make this adorable Martin Luther King Jr craft from Regan Tunstall and write our dream for the future inside.

4. The Bald Eagle

We spend a week discussing different American Symbols. Each day we focus on a different symbol. One of my favorites is The Bald Eagle.

This book series is great to read throughout the week to discuss each of the different American Symbols. These are great short books that talk about how each symbol became a symbol and what the symbol means for our country. They are very easy reading books filled with great facts!

After you read about the bald eagle, you have to make an eagle of your own of course. This project is so fun because the students trace their hands and foot to create their very own bald eagle. They all turn out so fun and unique.

5. Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving

This is a great book to discuss how the Pilgrims came to America and everything they endured once they got here. This story discusses how the Native Americans helped the Pilgrim's and talks bout the very first Thanksgiving. This is such a great story to tell to talk about friendship and the importance of this holiday. After we read the story, we make these retelling bracelets so the students can go home and tell their parents about the very first Thanksgiving. These are so fun and easy to make. You can find them on Jennifer Drake's page. And I love that the students use these to remember all of the important details from the First Thanksgiving.

Are you ready for some more great Social Studies books? Head on over to Just Add Students for some more amazing books!

And head on over to Katie's blog to thank her for another amazing week of our Reading Stash blog hop!

Summer Reading Stash: Favorite Characters

Hey guys! We are back for another round of Reading Stash to help you stock up your library and get ready for the school year. This week is all about our favorite storybook characters!

 Ok, let me start with a disclaimer first. I am terrible at remembering to take pictures of my kids in action. Like I usually think about it as I am relaxing on my couch at home after the school day is over. The past few weeks I have been super lucky to find some pictures. However, this week, not so much. So to make it up to you, I will include some fun Pinterest links for some great ideas to do with each story.

I love reading storybook character books throughout the school year. Most storybook character books have many books that can be used in different themes throughout the school year so we can keep visiting the same characters over and over.

1. Pete the Cat

I love, love, love reading this story on the first day of school. And all of you know how crazy the first day of school is which is why I am a little short on pictures :) But let me try to explain what I do with the story. After we read the story a note falls out of the book and the note is from Pete!!! Pete tells the kids that he is in our school visiting so of course we have to go and find Pete. This begins our tour of the school. Each student gets a school passport and as we find clues from Pete they get a sticker of each place they visit for their passport. They can then bring this home to tell their parents about everywhere they visited in the school.

I love the idea of having the students make their own Pete the Cat too. I am definitely going to add a few of these awesome ideas from Teacher by the Beach into my plans for this year. You can check them out below.

Teacher by the Beach: Pete the Cat:

And just for fun. I was able to visit the Pete the Cat Gallery last Christmas and can I just say that I wanted to buy them all!!! But I did snacth up one for my classroom :)

2. Froggy's First Kiss

We love the Froggy books! So many great choices to read throughout the school year. I think my favorite is Froggy's First Kiss. Froggy has a crush on a classmate and wants to make her a Valentine's Day card. Such a cute book!!! After we read the story, we make this adorable Froggy or Frogilina craft from First Grade Blue Skies. I love this craft for Valentine's Day! You can check it out below.

First Grade Blue Skies: Frogilina is Here! Froggy's First Kiss Update:

Click here for link.

3. Cat in the Hat

We love Dr. Seuss stories and we spend an entire week just on these stories. To end the week long celebration, we invite our parents to come and celebrate our Dr. Seuss fun. To check out my Seuss on the Loose blog post, click here

When we read these stories we love talking about rules that we have at home and what we should do if we are home alone. We also talk about if we should ever open the door for strangers. After we discuss the book, we have fun making these cute Cat in the Hat hats!

4. Elephant and Piggy

Ok, I saved the best for last. Elephant and Piggie books are my absolute favorite!!! My teaching BFF introduced these books to me and I immediately fell in love. She would read them to my class all of the time. I totally should have recorded her reading them because she would make you fall in love with them too with her voices and expressions and just everything. Then at the end of the story, the kids go on a pigeon hunt to find the pigeon hiding on the back cover. Before they hunt they sing this chant. Teacher says one line, then the students repeat.

We're going on a pigeon hunt
We're going on a pigeon hunt
We're gonna find a pigeon
We're gonna find a pigeon
And when we find the pigeon
And when we find the pigeon

(say this part as fast as you can)
 We're going to sit as quietly as we can and put our finger on our nose until everyone finds him.

Anyways, I love using these books with our writing units to teach about voice and speech bubbles. After we read a few of them, my kids fall in love with using speech bubbles and I see them everywhere. I think I am definitely adding this bulletin board activity to my plans this year. Such a fun craft and great way to introduce speech bubbles!
Elephant and Piggie bulletin boards. Kids make elephant and Piggie using paper plates and paper cut into face parts. Then let the students choose what funny thing they are saying!:

Click here for link.

Now head on over to Laura's page for some more great books to snatch up!

And head over to Katie's page to thank her for this amazing summer link-up!

Check out some amazing Favorite Character Resources below and link yours up too!

Oceans of a Deal Week 2

I am teaming up with some amazing friends next week to bring you another round of Oceans of Steals, Deals, and Giveaways! Trust me, this is an event that you don't want to miss! There will be new deals, steals, and giveaways every day next week so stop by my Facebook and Instagram page for all of the fun!

Let me give you a little preview so you know what you can expect each day.

Monday you will definitely want to stop by for some $1 deals! Now that's a deal that you can't say no to. I will have 2 products listed on sale Monday only for $1! You can check them out below. You can also search on TPT using #MondayMadness to find all of these great $1 deals!

Tuesday is half off day! I will have 2 products on sale for 50% off Tuesday only.  I am offering two Flippy Flaps for 50% off. You can check them out below. You can also search on TPT using #2forTuesday to find all of these great 50% off deals!

I think Wednesday is the best day ever!!! Who doesn't love FREE!!! This will be a surprise so you will have to check my Facebook page throughout the day. I will have multiple Flash Freebie deals throughout the day. But hurry, these deals will be gone in a Flash! Use #WackyWednesday to find these flash freebies on TPT.

It's bundle Thursday! I will have one of my bundles on sale for 20% the already reduced price! This is a deal you don't want to miss! You can check out the bundle below. You can also search on TPT using #ThriftyThursday to find all of these great bundle deals!

Friday is Giveaway day!!!! You can enter to win tons of git cards! Check back on this post on Friday to enter below or check out my Facebook page to enter there too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you will be able to find some amazing deals this week! Check back every other week throughout the summer for more Oceans of a Deal, Steal, and Giveaways! And check below for all of the other amazing deals from amazing sellers!

Summer Reading Stash: Non-Fiction

Hey guys! I'm back for another week of Summer Reading Stash! I hope you guys are having a great time hopping around and finding new books to add to your classroom library. I know I have added a ton to my wishlist!

This week we are bringing you some great Non-fiction books! I absolutely love reading non-fiction books to my class because it shows them real pictures and gives them real information. Story books are great and fun, but you can learn so much from informational books. Before we read any book in my classroom, we look at the cover and picture walk through the book to determine if we think the book is a story book or an information book. We also talk about features that information books have that story books do not.

For this post I am trying my best to stick with books that you can use this fall with your class. And then I am throwing in a little winter bonus because they are too good not to share! So sit back, grab your drink and wishlist pad, and read on.

1. Apples

Anything by Gail Gibbons is amazing and this book is just the same! Apples teaches kids all about apples. It talks about parts of the apple, how an apple grows, things you can make with apples, and so much more. It is also written in a way that children can easily understand. The pictures in this book are also great at helping to explain about apples.

After reading this story, we do so many activities with apples. I will try to give you a very quick peek into our apple study. We always begin with labeling the parts of the apple that we learned about in the story.

Then it is time to explore our apples. We measure them, weigh them, see if they sink or float, and so much more!

We also make this adorable how an apple grows craft from Deanna Jump!

When you talk about apples, it is a must to bring in real apples! I bring in a few different types of apples for the students to taste. This is always a favorite.

And you can't eat just plain apples. You have to try everything apple! So we have a mini apple tasting party and we graph which apple item was or favorite.

The students then make a cute little apple person and they write which apple item was their favorite.

2. Spiders

Confession time, I have a slight obsession with the National Geographic Readers Kids Series. If they published it, I own it. These, in my opinion, are the BEST non-fiction books especially for young readers. The pictures are amazing and the information is in kid friendly terms and easy to read. I LOVE these books.

This book tells you everything you need to know about spiders and gives detailed pictures of spiders and everything else about spiders. The kids absolutely love looking at the pictures of these creepy arachnids. After we learn about spiders, we put our new learning into action!

First we practice labeling a spider. This cam from my Flippy Flap pack that is full of information about Spiders and fun ways to record their learning. We love making Flippy Flaps with all of our themes! You can check it out below!

Then we dive into some more hands on learning about Spiders. Both of the next activities come from Deanna Jump. First, we read in the book that spiders do not stick to their own webs because they have an oil on their fur. So to test this, we first put our fingers onto masking tape and we stick to the tape! Now we dip our fingers in vegetable oil and magically, we do not stick to the tape. Just like spiders do not stick to their webs!

Then we wanted to figure out how spiders eat their prey. In our book, we learned that when a spider bites its prey, the venom turns the prey into a liquid so the spider can "drink" the prey. To test this, each child gets a prey, or sugar cube, and tries to drink it through a straw. When this does not work, we inject the prey with venom, aka water, then try to drink the prey. Success!!! These hands on activities really help students understand and remember these spider facts and they love them!!!

3. Bats

Here is another great National Geographic Kids Reader to add to your collection. Just like all of the other National Geographic Kids Readers, this one is full of information and amazing photographs. I have learned so much from these books and the kids just soak up every word of information that they hear. Before we read the book, I have the kids write down things they know about bats on sticky notes and place them on our bat. As we read the book, and other books throughout the week, we will add to our bat. If we find out a fact is actually not true then we will put in below the bat and write misconceptions. Great way to keep the learning going throughout the week.

Then it is time to label the bat. We start out by labeling the bat together. This is from Deanna Jump.

Then the students will label the bats on their own and work on filling out the information in their weekly Flippy Flaps. We usually do one or two activities a day in our Flippy Flaps. You can check out the Bats Flippy Flaps below.

Throughout the week we also make a book of different bat vocabulary words. They love learning all of these big words and I love hearing them use them in everyday talk! This book came from Deanna Jump.

4. Pumpkins

Don't you just love Pumpkin time! All the smells and yummy things to eat! This book is all about everything Pumpkins. And of course it is another National Geographic book. Told you I love them!!! This book is filled with amazing information about pumpkins and gorgeous photographs. The book goes into detail about how pumpkins grow and different things that you can do with a pumpkin.

After we read the story, it is time to dive into more hands on learning! We pass around a pumpkin and start with just the outside and tell about what the outside of the pumpkin looks like and feels like. Then it is time to cut the pumpkin open and dig our hands into the ooey gooey inside and describe what we see and feel. I love watching the kids expressions as they stick their hands into the pumpkin. We record all of the different words they use to describe their pumpkin onto chart paper.

Then we make our own pumpkin to label. We use string for the pulp and actual seeds for the seeds.

5. Penguins

Here is your winter bonus book because it was too good to leave out of the post. And it wouldn't be right if I didn't end the post with another amazing National Geographic Kid Reader. I seriously should work for them on the side, lol. This book is another one that will not disappoint. It is filled with information about what penguins eat, where they live, how they live, how they grow, and so much more. And it is filled with beautiful pictures of these cute animals!

Of course if we are going to read about penguins we have to make this cute little penguin guy :) I got the template from a freebie by Miss Kindergarten Love.

Then it was time for our hands on fun! Penguins love to slide on the ice so we decided to test other objects to see if they would slide on the ice. We made predictions then tested our predictions on the frozen ice baking sheet! They experimented with this until every drop of ice was gone!

Then we talked about how polar animals stay so warm in the cold water. The polar animals are covered with a waxy layer that repels the water. But they also have blubber to keep them warm. We made a blubber bag to test this. I filled a bucket with ice water. Each kids got a glove then they put one hand into the ice cold water and the gloved hand into the blubber bag, filled with Crisco. They were able to feel that the blubber actually kept them warm in the cold water. They decided that they definitely need blubber to go swimming in the cold arctic water!

 I hope you found some great books to add to your reading stash. Now head on over to Kari's to get some more amazing non-fiction book ideas!

And head on over to Katie's page to say thanks for this amazing link up!

Check out these other great Non-fiction resources!!!