I was recently introduced to the Spriggles Motivational Books for Children series. I have used many different character education and nutrition programs in my classroom over the years and they all seem to have one thing in common, they’re B-O-R-I-N-G and the kids don’t like them. However, Spriggles seems to have broken the mold; their books are very engaging and memorable for young children. There are currently three titles in the series: Health & Nutrition, Inspiration, Activity & Exercise.
The topics of Spriggles books are so important, especially for young children, these are things many of them are no longer being taught at home. As a Title 1 teacher I have worked exclusively with at-risk populations for more than 15 years and I can attest to the fact that character education, health, and nutrition must be taught in the classroom now to ensure our children become productive members of society in the future.
- Play in the park shark.
- Go play blue jay.
- Keep on tryin’ lion.
- Aim high butterfly.
- Get a good night’s sleep sheep.
- Try a carrot parrot.
- Take a bath giraffe.
I have updated the pictures on the Word Wall and Classroom Library pages. My new classroom theme is “Growing Readers” and is done entirely in a garden motif. I transformed my classroom library into a garden, I was inspired by an idea in Debbie Diller’s latest book, Spaces & Places: Designing Classrooms for Literacy. You can read all about the items pictured below and ideas on how to implement both areas on the Word Wall or Classroom Library pages. The large banner above the word wall that says “We’re Growing Readers in Pre-K” is from Vista Print.
I was at Barnes & Noble recently browsing the shelves for good read alouds for preschoolers. One of the first books I saw when I entered the children’s section was If I Were a Lion
by Sarah Weeks. If you teach preschool or kindergarten or you have a child between the ages of 2-6 they will adore this book! If I Were a Lion ranks right up there with the ultra-popular No David! series by David Shannon. I always wished there was a female version of David because it is so stereotypical that the naughty child is male, well my wish has come true because the main character in If I Were a Lion is female. The story is about a little girl who misbehaves and is sent to time out. It has all the elements of a great read aloud for young children; the text is written in rhyme, the illustrations are very well done, and the story is told in first person by a little girl who uses her imagination to tell the reader who she really is. When I read this book aloud to a group of preschoolers in my model classroom they were enthralled by the wild antics of the naughty little girl. They made spontaneous parallels between the main character in If I Were a Lion and the main character in the No David! series. If I Were a Lion is a must have for every preschool teacher and parent.
Another book that caught my eye in B&N was The Marvelous Toy by Tom Paxton. The illustrations are spectacular and grab the reader from across the room. This book is actually based on a song written by Tom Paxton which I had never heard before. I was looking for a book that would fall into the memoir genre to read aloud to my students. After reading The Marvelous Toy it definitely qualifies as a memoir, the story is about a young boy who receives a very interesting toy from his father. The toy does many interesting things but you never know what it is, this was fantastic because it led to lots of great discussion with the students about what they thought the toy might be. The end is also very touching, I won’t give it away but it leads to even more great discussion. The book comes with a CD so you can listen to the song and play it for your students. I have included a video of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing The Marvelous Toy, apparently John Denver also covered it.
Above you can see the Dramatic Play center, I LOVE the compact kitchen unit instead of all the big pieces. You can read more about this center and the items found there on my Dramatic Play page.
You can read more about the Block Center here.
I just read a new book titled I Love Letters!: More Than 200 Quick & Easy Activities to Introduce Young Children to Letters and Literacy by Dr. Jean Feldman. I Love Letters!is a literacy goldmine for pre-k and kindergarten teachers! It’s chock-full of fun, simple ideas to teach literacy that you can implement in your classroom quickly and easily. I wouldn’t let the title fool you though, this book address many different aspects of literacy, not just letters. The topics covered are:
- Print Knowledge
- Oral Language
- Student Names
- Songs to learn letters and sounds
- Games That Teach
- Family Involvement
Some of my favorite ideas that appear in the book are pictured below:
Mystery Letters I usually do this activity very early in the year to introduce students to their names. They look great on display in the classroom and the kids enjoy making them.
If you’re looking for ways to increase student engagement and make learning fun and meaningful then I Love Letters!: More Than 200 Quick & Easy Activities to Introduce Young Children to Letters and Literacy is the book for you! Your students will learn more and have fun doing it when you use these great ideas!
What are your favorite fun ideas for teaching literacy skills?
The following pages have been updated:
Ocean: Added new ocean syllable mats and counting mats
Farm: Added new Where is the Cow? positional word book
Thanksgiving: Added new Where is the Turkey? positional word book
I will be adding more positional word books, syllable mats, and counting mats to other pages soon.