Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Around the World--The Lowlands: Belgium and Holland.

About three years ago I bought this book to add to my Christmas collection.  It makes me want to celebrate Christmas in all the different ways.  Or at least, pick a different country each year to celebrate the holidays.  So this year, we started by celebrating Sinterklaas.  I learned about this holiday while living in Belgium.  They also celebrate it in The Netherlands.  

Here is Sinterklass riding into town on his white horse, along with Zwarte Pete.  

St. Nick comes by boat from Spain bringing gifts for girls and boys.  Zwarte Pete, a Moor, is his famous helper.  He arrives on December 6th, officially starting the Christmas season.  

So I had the kids put out their shoes and fill it with hat to feed the white horse.  In the morning, they awoke to candy and a few toys.  

I also made delicious Speculaas, and a Flemish Beef Stew to celebrate.  So very yummy!  Click on the links, and you can try them too.  The white pepper in the cookies is absolutely amazing!  

It is so fun to learn about different cultures and their traditions at this time of year.  I even love learning about other religions and how they honor their beliefs with food, prayer, and lights.  I would love to hear about your traditions at this time of year!  Have a wonderful day, and remember that Winter Break is right around the corner!  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spiders! Oh My!

I love all these books!  I hope you do to! 

SPIDERS, by Seymour Simon

As many of you know, Seymour Simon is one of my favorite nonfiction writers.  His text is long, but eloquent.

Nic Bishop's SPIDERS
Nic Bishop is also an amazing photographer and writer.  Spiders nonfiction is prolific, which makes it a wonderful subject for all ages and reading levels.

Spiders, National Geographic
I always love National Geographic Kids books.  This book is great for young readers (first through third grade)  They always include wonderful jokes, and of course great pictures that you would expect from National Geographic.  National Geographic also has a wonderful website where you can find information on all sorts of animals.  This is a link to the Camel Spider.  

Spiders' Secrets by Richard Platt

Spiders, by Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons is one of my favorite nonfiction authors.  My favorite section of this book is her comparison between insects and spiders.  The labeling of the insect (in this case a bee) and a spider shows that they are very, very different!  I also love little extra fun facts at the end of the book.  Did you know that about 200 years ago eating spiders was a common cold remedy--well Gail Gibbons shares that spider tidbit and many more!  

Spiders, by the Editors of TIME for KIDS
Don't you just love looking at the eyes of this spider.  Shock value!  I love the camouflage spiders as well.  

A Spider's Life

Need to find out about a life cycle of a spider, this is the book for you!  See the eggs hatch and the spider-lings grow into adult spiders.  It is truly amazing.

Let's Read and Find Out, Spinning Spiders, by Melvin Berger
I love these Science Books.  They give so much information at a intermediate reading level.  S. D. Schindler's illustrations are simple, clear, and captivating all at once.  I also think you can pick and chose different sections of the book to read or have the children read.  For instance, the end of the book is all about spiders and their webs.  The authors describe different types of webs and how the spiders use the webs in different ways to capture their prey.  My favorite is the ogre-faced spider because it carries its web with it.  A close second may be the bolas spider who uses a thread of silk with a icky-sticky silk ball.  Can you imagine trying to capture your food with a line of thread and sticky ball at the end.  I certainly couldn't do it.  

Are You a Spider.  
I like these backyard books because it brings science right into our own backyard.  It reminds me of a Frank Lloyd Wright home that it is apart of nature, and nature becomes a part of the house.  What better way for students to study spiders than to find and search for them right in their backyard.  Love this book!

These next few books are just some fun books for students to look at and read.  

Now as we move away from nonfiction, and into fiction.  These are all such fun books! 

Aaaarrgghh Spider! 
I love this book!  It has fun illustrations, great repetitive text, and it is a great book to teach about point of view.  This book is written from the spider's point of view.  He want to become a pet--to the family he lives with! The first illustration is focusing on the spider, with the family upside down!
Aaaarrgghh, Spider!  A great book for point of view! 
It takes some time, but the family warms up to the spider, and the spider becomes their family pet.  The activities the spider does with the family are marvelous.  The spider never

Anansi, a tale from the Ashanti, by Gerald McDermott

I have always loved fables, maybe because they are such great stories.  My mother is a great story teller, and I have always enjoyed listening to stories.

The first video is of the actual book.  The sound quality if poor, but it is nice to see the photographs so large!

This second video, although it comes from the same source, is a different version.  

Enjoy the videos!  

Be Nice to Spiders, Margaret Bloy Graham 

This book framed my thinking about spiders, and how to treat spiders. Perhaps because of this book alone, I have no fear of spiders! It is a sweet book about a boy who gives his pet spider to a zoo.  The spider quickly gets away from the zookeeper and makes the animals super-happy by eating all the flies in the cage. But somehow the zookeepers don't realize how much the spider is helping the animals and the zoo, they see it as a nuisance and something to fear.  Once the zookeepers realize the spider's value, they protect the spider and use the spider to free the animals of flies in their cages.  A really great feel-good book!  

The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Howitt
This is the famous poem of the spider luring the fly into his web.  It begins with an innocent invitation.  Well maybe not so innocent.  

"Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly
"Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;"  

Of course the spider convinces the fly to walk into the parlour.  You can find the full poem here.  Tony DiTerlizzi received a Caldecott Honor award for this book.  There is also this youtube video of the book, that is rather entertaining.

Charlottes's Web, by E.B. White

Of course, I couldn't leave out Charlotte's Web, and Charlotte's ingenious way of saving Wilbur the pig.  A great read aloud for all ages.  

Diary of a Spider,  by Doreen Cronin

I love all these Diary books.  Such a fun way to introduce a character.  We first meet Spider in the Diary of the Worm, and this book does not disappoint.

The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle

I'm so glad that Eric Carle wrote a book about spiders!  This busy spider doesn't play with any animals because he is too busy building his web.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Suzuki Saturday: Counting Blocks

 When I saw these in the Target Dollar spot, I was thrilled!  They make great counting blocks for learning new songs, or practicing a tricky section of a song.  We had great fun building towers as we would play the same section again and again.  I also thought it could make a fun game!

Target Dollar Spot: Counting Blocks

I placed all the shapes in my trusty monkey bag, and made this worksheet.  I broke the song up into different sections, and had her play each section three times: right hand, left hand, together.  We had fun reviewing a difficult song. She enjoyed trying to pick out the different shapes and building towers with the shapes.  Not bad for one dollar!  

Suzuki Practice Game
You can find the worksheet in my drive--enjoy!  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

T-Minus Nine Days

300 × 250
Although the sale is going on right now at Teacher Pay Teachers!  Buy, Buy, Buy!  
But really, where did the summer go?  We have had a great time this summer: we had a great vacation visiting New York and Boston.  The kids were able to enjoy some fun camp experiences.  And with Emily, I was able to enjoy so many Munsch books.  
For this week's Monday Made it, I made sponge balls.  This is probably the third summer that I have made them, and I've become quite an expert!  

For this round, I made a dozen.  I bought the sponges at Target--three sponges per ball and that turned out to be about $20.00.  I did find this picture from PBS.   PBS has a great website for crafting with kids.  It's nice because so many of the ideas are located in the same spot!  
Now I'm going to try and enjoy the last days of summer with my children.  Yes, only 9 days.  I see more sponge balls in my near future, a trip to the arboretum, swimming, and best of all sleeping in.  I wish the alarm clock would just quit working all together.  I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!  
For more great ideas, take go to 4th Grade Frolics!  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It

Finally, I've added another product to my TPT store.  I have slowly been going through the If you give a ...... books and creating circular story maps.  My latest is If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake, Story Map

You can buy it here!

I thought I would also share my yummy pancake recipe with you!  It is super easy, and super yummy!

Light Fluffly Pancakes

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup chocolate chips

We have these every morning during school.  I usually add a bit more milk, and also use whole wheat flour.  I also just heat up some frozen berries for homemade berry syrup!  A great breakfast for school!

Find some great ideas for school at Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics.  

If you want some yummy recipes--go to Eating and Linking!


She has some yummy cinnamon rolls posted!  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday!

 Today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her five for Friday!  I chose to share some of the great things we did in July!  Had so much fun on our trip, and it is nice to be home.  

Love this boat--and all the history these boys learned on the tour!  This was a boat used in the war of 1812.  Very cool!  

What could be more fun than being able to feed a baby calf.  We had a great time at the Farmer's Museum. The museum tries to farm in the same manner as the 1800's.  So fun!  

Beautiful rest stops with fun rocks to explore!  These kids were troopers on our one day drive back from New York.  Love that we took the time to enjoy the rocks and stretch our legs!  

Nothing says summer like tie-dye shirts.  We dyed 18 shirts.  My niece came over to help me rinse out the shirts.  We had an assembly line going.  It was great!  

They turned out great!

Can't wait to see your week--well this actually represents my month, but it also says summer!  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Subway Stops

I'm back from my two week vacation!  We had a great time visiting family and seeing many historical sights.  I think I almost caught up with my laundry as well.  We are also back to doing some school.  My daughter loves Robert Munsch, and I let her choose the stories we read together.  So this week"s book talk is about Jonathan Cleaned Up--Then He Heard a Sound.  

Jonathan Cleaned Up--Then He Heard a Sound

In this great story, Jonathan is left in a sparkling clean living room.  When all of the sudden, he hears a sound. The wall opens up, and a train full of people walk through his living room.  This happens several times, until Jonathan decides to talk to the Mayor about the situation.  Well the mayor is no help at all!  Jonathan finally comes across a very old man who happened to be the computer of the town.  (The actual million dollar computer didn't really work, so the old man ran the city.)  Of course in Munsch style, Jonathan changes the subway station from his living room to the mayor's office.  Who would build an office at a subway stop?

I created this story map to go along with the book.   
Story Map for Jonathan Cleaned Up--Then He Heard a Sound
 I really love doing the Story Maps.  You can find this Story Map here.

I also make these subway signs.  They are based off the signs in New York City, but you get the idea!  

I made these Subway signs, just for fun!  Although they never seem to get on the train at his house, only get off.  But that again is the beauty of a Munsch story!  

Where would you want the last stop of the train?  Definitely not my living room, although you would think it might be! 

Happy Summer, and make sure to link up with Mrs. Jump for more exciting book finds!