First Friday Freebie #3: weather here or there

On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World's Weather, by Marilyn Singer

On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World’s Weather, by Marilyn Singer is another one of my favorite books. It can help broaden students’ perspectives as they “journey” around the world exploring the various types of weather and events that can all occur on the same day. It is amazing how varied that one day can be, depending upon where you are on the globe.

To give your students an opportunity to explore this same concept, use the interactive map I put together (click here for pdf file).


By following the links embedded in the map, your students can go on their own adventure around the world to compare the weather in various places on the same day in March.

Create a chart of the findings and/or have students use the data from the webcams to illustrate their own pages of a book based on Singer’s text.

additional resources:


. . . . . . . . . . . .

I’ve also added another set of Daily Visual Challenges to my TpT store. First person to contact me gets a free copy. Happy almost spring! 🙂

DVC: March

First Friday Freebie #2

President’s Day is fast approaching. The Impossible Patriotism Project by Linda Skeers is one of my favorite books this time of year. As Caleb and his classmates discuss what patriotism means to them and create projects for parents’ night, your students can also be challenged to define and illustrate patriotism through their own eyes.

I enjoy using ABC books with my students. It’s a fun way to encourage discussion and collaboration and to assess where their understanding is on a subject. Plus they make fun additions to the classroom library and nice references for students throughout the year. Laminate the pages back-to-back (to create double-sided pages) and bind together, and they will be durable for extended use.


You can find my “Patriotism Is…” ABC book template here (First Friday Freebie #2). Enjoy!

Learning Never Ends

Last week I participated in an online webinar, and it still has me pondering and creating ways to incorporate more visual support into the classroom. Laura Candler‘s “Using Graphic Organizers to Create Reading Mini Lessons” webinar was full of useful info and strategies for incorporating graphic organizers into reading lessons based on the Common Core Standards. Her ideas are based on years of teaching experience in the classroom, and her presentation is supplemented by visuals and activities from her book Graphic Organizers for Reading. She even offers some free resources to get you started, so be alert if you add this webinar to your professional development! 🙂

Looking for more than graphic organizers in the reading program? Visit Laura Candler’s virtual file cabinet. It’s bursting with resources to support your students’ learning.

Visual Literacy in Action: Travel Posters

To help students focus on setting and its importance to a story, here’s an idea for a creative book project: The Travel Poster!

Can you guess which book this is from?

With the help of several mini-lessons on identifying and describing settings and some travel agency posters hung around the room for inspiration, my students created these:

Where would you like to go? 🙂

Looking for some ideas to teach setting? Try these activities from ReadWriteThink

Story Map

Utilizing Visual Images for Creating and Conveying Setting in Written Text

Visual Literacy in Action: Shadow Boxes

As useful as the typical book report can be to help students respond to what they have read and practice their summarizing skills, book art projects like shadow boxes and dioramas are fun ways to take students’ responses one step further. Using paper crafts, collage, and sculpting and working with shapes, form, size, and perspective, students can illustrate the key setting or an important scene from their story.

These types of projects grab the attention of fellow students, family, and friends and provide children with authentic opportunities to share more about what they have read and why it was (or wasn’t) of interest to them.

Visual Literacy in Action: Summer Collage

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn. . .” Thus Natalie Babbit begins her timeless story Tuck Everlasting.

Well, around here it seems that we are indeed ready to drop into the chill of autumn. And the first day of school is just around the corner!

Instead of the typical “What I did Last Summer” essay, why not change it up a bit and have your students create their very own summer collages. The picture above is an example of a collage depicting some of the key settings and themes of Tuck Everlasting, but the idea for a summer collage would basically be the same:

1. have students brainstorm lists of their summer activities (family vacation, books read, sleep-over at friend’s, camp, enjoying a popsicle on a hot day, baking cookies with grandma, visiting the library, etc.)

2. encourage them to “think deeper” than their everyday activities: Did they learn a new skill or work on a hobby? Do they think about things differently now that they are starting a new grade? Did any of their summer experiences change who they are or what they believe/understand about life?

3. provide magazine, ads, etc. for students to browse through and collect pictures (and words, too) that represent their summer activities and themes

4. encourage students to take time to try out various arrangements to create the collage that they like best before they glue everything down

5. provide time for students to share their creations and the activities and meanings behind them

6. display for others to enjoy

This could easily work into a written format, too, but the experience of thinking about their summers in visual form and sharing as they work together is not only a valuable part of learning but a great start to incorporating more visual literacy into the classroom this year.