Teaching History with Picture Books

Using books is a great way to teach children about history.  Important people and events come to life in the pages of books.  All of my choices illustrate the powerful difference that just one person can make in our world!

Read along through the blogs to discover history and social studies books for your classroom!

Hosted By:

Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli
Wangari Muta Maathai was an environmental activist, known as "Mama Miti".  She founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, which empowered the people of Kenya to combat deforestation by planting trees.  In 2004, she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter
Luis Soriano is a Columbian school teacher who loves to read.  He has a house full of books and decides that he want to spread his passion for reading to the children who live far away in the hills.  He uses his two burros, Alfa and Beto, to help carry himself (and the books) to kids in the remote areas of Columbia.

Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
This is a wonderful book to use when teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr.

I used this book as a springboard for my door decorations during Black History Month.  You can see all the details {HERE}.

The Watcher by Jeanette Winter
This book tells the story of Dr. Jane Goodall, who spent years in the Tanzanian forests observing and studying chimpanzees.  It also discusses the important work she continues to do protecting the land and animals of Africa.

Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick
It was 1860, and Abraham Lincoln was a presidential candidate.  He received a letter from 11-year-old Grace Bedell suggesting that he would look better if he grew a beard.  He does just that and during a train stop in Grace's hometown, she gets to meet him!  This book includes copies of the actual letters that Grace and Mr. Lincoln wrote to each other.

Now it's time to hop over to Minute Mommy and see Katie's choices.

 photo blog signature png_zpsv5i1fn7d.png

Picture Books with Favorite Characters

Reading a book series is a wonderful way to get to know more about a recurring character, and to encourage a love of reading.  This week we are exploring books with favorite characters in a series.

Hop along through the blogs and put together a useful list of book series with favorite characters!

Hosted by:

Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
Peter has a new baby sister and things around his house are changing.  He becomes upset because his parents are painting his furniture pink!  He packs up his favorite possessions and runs away (to the front sidewalk). He soon realizes that he is now a BIG brother, and he doesn't even fit in his old furniture, so he finally decides to help his dad paint his favorite chair pink.
This book is perfect for your Families unit.

You can also find Peter in:

Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney
We love ALL of the llama llama books in my classroom, but I especially like this one since we spend a lot of time talking about bullying.
Llama Llama is getting teased at school by Gilroy Goat.  He walks away and tells his teacher, who gives Gilroy a time-out.  After taking time to think about his behavior, Gilroy is ready to be a friend to Llama Llama, and they play together the rest of the day.

Here are just a few of the many books that Llama Llama can be found in:

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
This book is an absolute favorite in my class!
Bear is hibernating in his den when all of his friends begin to come in to take shelter from the cold stormy weather.  They build a fire, pop some corn, and have a party, all while Bear continues to sleep.  Finally some black pepper causes Bear to wake up and he joins the party with his friends.

You can pick up this sequencing freebie {HERE}.

There are a lot of other books with Bear including:

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
This book is very popular at the beginning of Kindergarten.
As Miss Bindergarten transforms her room for the first day of Kindergarten, her students are getting ready in their own way.  The students are all different animals, whose names begin with sequential letters of the alphabet.  And it is written in a fun rhyming format.

Here are just a few of the books with Miss Bindergarten:

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
This book contains 5 stories of friendship.  Frog and Toad greet the spring, tell stories, look for a lost button, take a swim in the stream, and wait for the mail.
My student enjoy listening to the silly adventures of Frog and Toad.

Some more books with Frog and Toad:

Now continue on the hop, by heading over to see what books Marypat of Just Add Students has for you!

 photo blog signature png_zpsv5i1fn7d.png

It's an Instagram Summer!

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I've been busy participating in the challenges created by Allie from The Gypsy Teacher.

Here's JULY, so far!

It has been great fun snapping pictures that relate to the theme of the day.

You are welcome to join in!  Be sure to use the hashtag - #TeacherLifeABCs

You can find my account {HERE}.

And Allie's is {HERE}.
 photo blog signature png_zpsv5i1fn7d.png

Seasonal Books for a Kindergarten Classroom

Seasonal books can help teach about the different seasons in the year.  You can explore plants and animals, the changing weather, and holiday traditions!

It's week 2 of the Summer Reading Stash Blog Hop hosted by Katie from Minute Mommy!
Today we are focusing on our favorite seasonal books!

Here are my top 5 SEASONAL books for your Kindergarten classroom!

FALL - It's Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall
This is a book about a brother and sister who plant pumpkin seeds in their garden. The story shows them taking care of the growing plants - seed, sprout, flowering vine, small green pumpkin, and large orange pumpkin - and then carving jack-o-lanterns out of the pumpkins.  The book is great to use when teaching about the life cycle of a pumpkin.

WINTER - Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
I love reading this to my students during Christmas time.  This is a holiday story of a little girl who thinks that she lost her mother's diamond ring while making tamales.  In order to find the missing ring, she enlists her cousins to help her eat all the tamales.  The story reminds us to tell the truth even though we may get in trouble.

The Mitten by Jan Brett
This is a story set in a white winter wonderland.  My students always enjoy watching the different animals squeeze into the mitten.  And when the bear sneezes, they sneeze with him - and laugh and laugh!

Each year my students love acting out the story of The Mitten.

Be sure to visit Jan Brett's website {HERE} for these free printable masks, coloring pages, activities, and lots of other fun things.

SPRING - Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
This book teaches the life cycle of butterflies in a rhyming pattern.  The illustrations are simply gorgeous!  Also includes a butterfly information page as well as tips on growing your own butterfly garden.

SUMMER - One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews
Join this little girl as she participates her favorite activities on a hot summer day in her urban neighborhood!  She plays with her shadow, draws with sidewalk chalk, heads to the playground, eats popsicles, and finally cools off in a rain shower.

After reading the book, I like to ask my students what they do on a hot summer day.  I record their answers in a circle map, and then the kids write and illustrate their favorite activity for a hot summer day!

Now click below to continue reading about more seasonal books from Katie!

An InLinkz Link-up
 photo blog signature png_zpsv5i1fn7d.png

Classroom Sit-Upons and a Sweet Treat!

Happy 4th of July!  I hope you are having an enjoyable day with family and friends!

It's time again for Monday Made It!  I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics!

For my first project this week, I channeled my inner Girl Scout!

I was never a Girl Scout, but we all know how yummy their cookies are!!  Shall we just take a moment?!?!

Well, their second claim to fame may just be their sit-upons!!!  Sit-upons are waterproof seat cushions.  They are perfect for camping, hiking, trips to the beach - anytime you need some protection from the ground.  

I decided that these would be great as an additional seating option in my Kindergarten classroom. And they are super easy to clean!

I came across Ashley Hackshaw's blog and her post about making sit-upons from vinyl tablecloths, and I decided to give it a try.  You can look at it {HERE}.

I headed to Target and snagged a cute dinosaur tablecloth!  You will also need some padding (I used a thin quilt batting) and ribbon.

I began by cutting the tablecloth into circles.  I made a circle template (17 inches) out of posterboard and then used my cutting mat and rotary cutter - but you can also trace the circle onto the fabric and cut it out with scissors.

You will need 2 tablecloth circles and 1 stuffing circle for each sit-upon.

Layer the materials - tablecloth on the bottom (wrong side up), then stuffing/padding in the middle, and tablecloth on top (right side up). Line up the edges and pin.  Then sew about 1/4" from the edge, around the entire circle.

Next I added the ribbon onto the outer edge of the circle.  I used 1 1/2" grosgrain ribbon.  You will need about 1 1/2 yards for each sit-upon.  
I began by ironing the ribbon in half.  Then I finished one raw edge of the ribbon by applying a little heat from a lighter.

I folded the ribbon around the edge of the circle and pinned it on. When I got the the end, I cut the ribbon to the correct size, allowing for a little overlap, and applied some more heat to the other raw edge of the ribbon. I sewed the ribbon onto the tablecloth circle being sure to catch all the layers - the ribbon encases the raw outer edge of the sit-upon.

I also made a few more sit-upons using laminated fabric from the fabric store.

They are easy to store in your classroom, and easy to clean.

Ooooh, and kitty approved!

These are going to be a great seating choice for my students!

My next Made It is a sweet 4th of July treat!

For the past 4 years, I have been making a Texas sheet cake for the 4th of July potluck.  And this year I did it again!

I use this delicious recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  Check it out {HERE}.

And I decorated the top with some red and blue m&ms!!  Shall we just take another moment?!?!

 photo blog signature png_zpsv5i1fn7d.png