Wednesday, December 21, 2016

1 Informational Text at a Time: Winter Bundle #2




 We just love using National Geographic kids informational texts in our classrooms and decided to  pick three great titles for this bundle. 'Polar Bears' by Laura Marsh was a perfect choice from their selection. We started our four day lessons for this book by looking at the key ideas and details about polar bears. For day two we dove into the point the author was making and located evidence that supported the author's point throughout the text. Finally, students used what they learned to write a nonfiction flip book and compliment it with a cute polar bear craftivity. 



For our next selection we picked 'Penguins!' by Anne Schreiber. Your students will love the cute and playful photographs of penguins in this text. We started this close read by asking and answering questions about penguins. We included an option where students can write their own questions about penguins or use the questions we provided. The second lesson had students focus on what information they learned from the photographs. Students wrote the information they learned from the text and compared it to the information they learned from the pictures. For the last day, students used all of their new knowledge to write three facts about penguins on the adorable penguin craftivity. 

Our final selection for this pack was 'Wolves' by Laura Marsh. Thanks to familiar fairy tales, students are naturally drawn to these scary but intriguing creatures and will definitely enjoy learning more about them. We began the first lesson by categorizing key details about wolves on a graphic organizer. During the next lessons, students returned to their organizers to write additional facts they learned about wolves as they revisited the text.  In the second lesson, the class made connections between the text  and the text features to help distinguish between the sounds humans hear wolves make and what wolves are actually communicating to one another. For the third lesson, students wrote an informational booklet on wolves. These lessons were finalized as students painted a howling wolf art piece.

We hope you and your students enjoy these informational texts as much as we do! You can purchase each of these lesson plans separately or in a bundle by visiting our TpT store
Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

K-1 December Read Aloud Selections


Here are some of our favorite books to read to kindergarten and first grade students during the month of December...

This first story is one of our very favorites (and the students love it too!) Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh and J. otto Seibold is a clever tale about Olive the dog, who mistakenly sings the wrong words to the classic tune, "All of the other reindeer..." and believes she must be a reindeer too. She quickly heads to the North Pole to assist Santa on his busy trip around the world. Luckily, her dog skills are just what the team needs to overcome the troubles they encounter along the way. After our initial reading of the book, we will discuss the problems and adventures presented throughout the story and look closely at how Olive helped to correct each problem. In our next lesson, we will revisit some of the words and phrases that elicit feelings, define what they mean, and discuss what type of feeling each word or phrase represents. During the third lesson, we will compare and contrast Olive's and Santa's character traits by finding evidence in the text and illustrations that demonstrates what each character says, does, thinks, and feels throughout the story. To complete our lessons, the students will write their opinions about other animals that might be able to help Santa pull the sleigh and will also complete a cute craftivity to display their writing.

 When we spotted Ninjabread by C. J. Leigh, illustrated by Chris Gall at our school's Scholastic Book Fair, we knew we had to include it in our December lesson plans.  This adorable spin on the classic Gingerbread Man will definitely be a hit with our students.  We thought our kids would enjoy making connections with the original tale, so we chose a classic version by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara Mclintock for this comparison.  To begin, we will read the Gingerbread Man and ask our students text dependent questions.  We will discuss story elements and our students will complete a basic story map.  The next lesson, we will read Ninjabread Man and discuss the same story elements, using the same graphic organizer.  The Ninjabread Man has some fun vocabulary, so we planned a simple vocabulary lesson in which the kids will illustrate the meaning of some of the unfamiliar words from the story.  The last lesson, students will be ready to compare and contrast the Ninjabread Man with the Gingerbread Man.  We decided to create two differentiated versions to cover this skill.  One option will be a Similarities and Differences Chart, the other a Character Comparison.  As a culminating activity, students will have the opportunity to create their own version of a  _______bread Man. 





We can't resist any of the Snowmen books by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner.  Snowmen at Christmas is no exception.  This magical story depicts the imagination of a sleeping boy on Christmas Eve.  As he dozes off, he wonders how snowmen celebrate Christmas. The rhyming story and beautiful illustrations will surely enchant our kids as they learn about the various ways the snowmen celebrate the holiday.  After our first read, we will have students complete a simple snowman graphic organizer to recall key ideas and details from the story.  After revisiting the story in the second lesson, we will use a "what it is, what it is not" sheet to define and dive into some difficult vocabulary words.  For the third lesson, we thought it would be fun to have students compare and contrast the way snowmen celebrate Christmas with the way they celebrate Christmas.  Students will create a snowmen scene as a fun art project that represents the story.    
Our last pick is an old favorite from the Julie Sykes Santa collection. 'Hurry, Santa!' is an enjoyable read. When Santa's alarm doesn't go off on Christmas eve, it's just the start of his problems. He trips over his pants, can't find his reindeer because they are off playing in the snow, and he crashes his sleigh. Students will enjoy brainstorming and writing about the things that cause Santa to be late after reading the story the first day. The second day lesson plans will guide students to look at what the text is saying compared to what the illustrations are showing. To finish up with this story students will write a letter to Santa and tell him what they would get him if they were to buy him a present and complete a cute craftivity. We also included an optional compare and contrast activity so students can compare late Santa to the traditional Santa. 


You can purchase each of these read-alouds from our Teachers Pay Teachers store. Your students will love these read-alouds and you will love meeting so many Reading Literature Core Standards. Download our free scope and sequence to see what standards are being taught in each read-aloud.

You can also purchase these in a bundle to save money.