Lift Off to Literacy: to the ISS and Beyond

Happy International Literacy Day! 🙂

How do you plan on adding an extra minute of literacy today?

What about tweeting an astronaut?  You can connect with them here (astronauts in space now) and here (NASA astronauts).

Your students just might…

twitterpic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • or get one of their own questions answered!

Plus learning to communicate in 140 characters or less could lead to some lessons in creativity and clarity.

The sky really isn’t the limit with this as students read and send messages to the ISS and beyond. 😉

 

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Picture Book 10 for 10: My Top Ten Favorite Books About Community

I am excited to participate in this year’s Picture Book 10 for 10 hosted by Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning and Cathy Mere of Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community.

Here’s my list of ten books to share with students as you work to build and strengthen your classroom community throughout the year:

1.

One of my new favorite picture books is Because You Are My Teacher written by Sherry North and illustrated by Marcellus Hall. Throughout this story, the students experience wondrous adventures together as they learn about the world – a learning community at its finest.

2.

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelusky, & Lane Smith also helps to reinforce the idea of community and its importance in our learning as students and teachers work together to meet their goals.

3.

Each time I read the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, I am inspired by Alice’s dedication to her dreams and her quest to make the world more beautiful. She learns the meaning and value of community in her travels and at home.


4.

The Mitten by Jan Brett is a fun reminder that community members need to share and look out for one another.

5.

The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord is another book that helps students focus on the idea of what a community is. In this story it takes a village to succeed, through cooperation and each person using his/her unique abilities and resources.

6.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes illustrates what can happen when there are problems in communities as well as what can happen when those differences are resolved. Communities are strongest when everyone feels valued.

7.

Nora the Nonapus, written and illustrated by fifth-grade students of Estes Hills Elementary in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, provides some unique insights into the feelings various members in our community may have. It covers the insecurities and embarrassment that often come from being “different,” how bullying hurts others, and the bravery it takes to stand up and do what is right.

8.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox is another favorite. In this story, community is created as a young boy takes time to listen and learn about the people around him, building friendships and sharing memories along the way.

9.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin is another story that illustrates the importance of sharing our skills and talents with those around us. Just like snowflakes, we are all different. Bentley’s community (and the world!) was blessed by his love of snowflakes through the research and pictures he shared.

10.

The Impossible Patriotism Project by Linda Skeers is a favorite book to share around President’s Day. However, its message is fitting during any time of year. It’s important to remember those missing from our communities. Communication is key to keeping those bonds strong.

And there you have it, my (current) top ten, which I am sure will change the next time I discover a new favorite book. 🙂

What stories do you like to share with your students to help the community building process in your classroom?

Exploring the World from Our Classrooms

One of my new favorite picture books is Because You Are My Teacher written by Sherry North and illustrated by Marcellus Hall.

In addition to the catchy lines and beautiful illustrations which kids love, this story shares a great message of what true learning is all about.

When we bring creativity and opportunities for observation, imagination, and “destinations” into the classroom, our students’ learning is enhanced through curiosity and deepened engagement.

So let them…

What creative things have enhanced your students’ learning because you are their teacher?

We Had No Idea What Alexander Graham Bell Sounded Like. Until NowRead more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/we-had-no-idea-what-alexander-graham-bell-sounded-like-until-now-37585123/#yzIiwRdP47QWQjyq.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
We Had No Idea What Alexander Graham Bell Sounded Like. Until NowRead more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/we-had-no-idea-what-alexander-graham-bell-sounded-like-until-now-37585123/#yzIiwRdP47QWQjyq.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
We Had No Idea What Alexander Graham Bell Sounded Like. Until NowRead more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/we-had-no-idea-what-alexander-graham-bell-sounded-like-until-now-37585123/#yzIiwRdP47QWQjyq.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

First Friday Freebie: Oh the Places You’ll Go…

with GeoGuessr! (or try its newest version here)

This fun geography game has you guessing world-wide locations using clues from photographs. You can scroll and zoom to look for signs, view the landscape, explore the skyline, travel down the road, and more.

Each game is made up of five rounds. The closer your guess is to the actual location, the more points you earn. Maps are also provided during the rounds to help you see how close (or far off!) your guess is.

As you can expect, some places are easier to guess than others, depending upon your knowledge of the various climates, landscapes, languages, building styles, and such around the world.

This month’s freebie is a two-page GeoGuessr Record Sheet.WhereInTheWorld

Your students can use it to record their observations, guesses, and points to compare and track the growth of their critical thinking skills and geography knowledge.

For a fun challenge, they could also see if they can beat me! 🙂 Click here for my game results.

February Daily Visual Challenges – updated

I recently updated my February set of Daily Visual Challenges to include 28 days’ worth of problem-solving, thought-provoking, creative fun. The added variety allows you more flexibility to pick and choose the challenges that work best for your class and makes them usable year after year.

DVC_F

Feb15DVC

Find out more about my Daily Visual Challenges here.

Daily Visual Challenge sets for February, March, and April are available in my TpT store.

 

First Friday Freebie #6: Weather Tracker

For a fun end of year/summer break activity, share this weather tracker form with your students. They can continue to practice their observation, reading, and recording skills as they read weather forecasts and keep track of the daily weather patterns.

WeatherChartsample(click here for pdf file)

Sites like Intellicast, Accuweather, and The Weather Channel provide daily forecasts and other weather/seasonal information.

The information can then be analyzed by:

  • graphing highs and lows
  • graphing precipitation
  • graphing humidity
  • comparing forecasts to actual weather reports
  • charting the phases of the moon.

The Freeology site has graph paper, observation charts, and timelines which could be used for analyzing data.

First Friday Freebie #5: Eye Spy!

A key to strengthening visual literacy is improving observation skills. With this in mind, here is a fun nature scavenger hunt that will not only have your students scouring the school yard and sky, they will also be working on various skills such as observation, coordination, and possibly cooperation. Click here for pdf file.

EyeSpyScavengerHunt

additional resources: