Sunday, February 28, 2016

Are you ready for Dr. Seuss Week?

We are just a little more than half way through February, but its time to start planning for the events coming next month.  In less than two weeks, March 2nd, it will be time to celebrate NEA's Read Across America Day, in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday.  Read Across America Day started as a way to motivate kids to read. We celebrate football with pep rallies.  We gather together to remember that Character Counts.  Why not do something to get kids excited about reading?  Those were the very thoughts that got this party started in 1997.

With the release of the new found Dr. Seuss book this year, there are lots of new resource ideas.  You can download this Read Across America activity guide from NEA's website.

Dr. Seuss books have been family favorites in our house for years.  Here are some of our favorites.  With the birth of our first child, my brother-in-law started us on a ever-growing collection of Dr. Seuss books.  For early readers, The Foot Book and One Fish, Two Fish... have repetitive and predictable texts.  However, before our children were ready to read, they loved being read to.  My oldest daughter and son loved for me to read Are You My Mother,  They loved their father to read Go, Dog. Go!  Their favorite part was the dog party at the top of the tree! My favorite has always been Green Eggs and Ham.  I just love the rhyme and the ending, when Sam realizes in fact, that he does like green eggs and ham.

Growing up, I'm sure you had your favorites.  I wonder if they were our favorites too...

I've listed our family's top 10 Dr. Seuss books here.  
#1 Go, Dogs. Go!

#2 Green Eggs and Ham

#3 Are You My Mother

#4 The Foot Book

#5 One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

#6 The Cat in the Hat

#7 There's a Wocket in My Pocket

#8 Ten Apples Up On Top

#9 The Sneetches

#10 How the Grinch Stole Christmas 

And now we have the newly found book titled What Pet Should I Get?  I was so excited when I realized this was a great book to launch our Opinion Writing Unit.  It spurred great conversations about which animals would make the best pets and why.  My students loved it!

Our library has a limited number of these classics, and I'm sure every teacher in our school will want them for their classroom.  So to make sure my students have access to them I created QR codes for 20 of these great books!  If you are not familiar with a QR code, it is a code that can be scanned by a QR code reader app, which is available as a FREE download here for an iPhone or here for an Android device.  Or you can visit your app store on your device.  You simply use an iPad, iPhone, or other tablet style device to scan the QR code.  For my QR Codes: 20 Dr. Seuss Stories for Read Across America,  a video will appear with someone reading the book.  These videos include the words to the books, so students can read along,  not just be read to.

Grab your copy of QR Codes: 20 Dr. Seuss for Read Across America from my TPT store now, so you'll have time print them and laminate to last for years.

So on March 2nd, during reading, and at a few other key times during the day, our focus will be on celebrating the wonderful stories brought to us by that wonderful American writer and illustrator Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Here is the official Dr. Seuss site, which features games, printable activities and information about Dr. Seuss himself.

If your school has a subscription to Brain Pop, Jr., click here for a great movie about Dr. Seuss.  If not, here is a more lengthy biography video from You Tube, without ads, but I suggest you view it first. Its about 10 minutes long.

In the comments section below, I would love to hear what Dr. Seuss stories were your favorites when you were growing up or even now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Activities for Presidents' Day

I love teaching my students about these two great men in our history:  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Although they lived nearly a century apart, these two men contributed so much to our country.

George Washington:

Abraham Lincoln:

Say Yea for Presidents Day offers several fun ways to learn about these two great men, including bubble maps, word scrambles, board games and craft activities.  I hope your kiddos will enjoy these activities as much as mine do.

To get a FREE set of coin charts, go to an earlier post titled Say Yea for Presidents Day.

I would love to hear from you...  Just click on the "comment" button below.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Black History Month

There are so many teaching themes in the month of February:  The 100th Day of School (for some), Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, Presidents' Day and of Course Black History Month.  I have a series of Reader's Theaters that I love to use, and I focus on two of them during this month to feature famous black Americans and also cover my history standards.  Many have heard of Frederick Douglas, but how about Mary McCloud Bethune?  Both were key figures in our history.  Mary McCloud Bethune established the first school for black girls, and eventually a college, which included both male and female African Americans, called Bethune-Cookman College.

My kiddos love to read these Readers Theaters over and over.  A readers' theater is different than a play in that the focus is on reading, just as the title suggests.  A play, has props, scenery, and the script is committed to memory.  However, in a readers' theater, students hold their scripts in front of them and focus their efforts on expressive reading.  My students always look forward to the introduction of a new historical figure in Social Studies, with the anticipation that we will have a readers' theater script for that person.  I have made several scripts to support the study of the historical figures featured in the 3rd grade curriculum, and many of these figures are also important to the curriculum of other grade levels as well.

During February, to support Black History Month, I pull out my readers' theaters on Frederick Douglas and Mary McCloud Bethune.  To take a closer look, click on the images below.
Here is what one of the pages looks like...

In these scripts, I've included groups, as you see Cheerleaders here, that will provide more support  for struggling readers.  It also helps to increase the number of participants for each reading.

Here is a picture of the readers theater I have written for Frederick Douglas.

My next blog post will be on Presidents'  Day and Valentine's Day activities and resources!  

I would love to hear from you...  Just click on the "comment" button below. 

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