First Friday Freebie: Lending a Helping Hand

Each year as September 11 nears, I begin thinking about the best ways to honor this day, to help people’s sacrifices never be forgotten. For young students who did not live through this day in 2001, it can have little, if any, meaning, but all children can understand the importance of lending others a helping hand. So that has become my focus for this year.

One creative way to help students begin to see the positive effects even seemingly small acts of kindness can have on others is through a study of the life of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. Born September 26, 1774, his legacy lives on centuries later and can be explored through texts and resources like these:

Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg

 

Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh

 

Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd

Johnny Appleseed Enchanted Learning activities

Johnny Appleseed biography

 

Seeing Johnny Appleseed’s impact on the world can help inspire your students to make a difference in the lives of those around them. Even small deeds can make a difference… just like planting one apple seed at a time.

Using this month’s freebie, the Helping Hands activity, students can share ways they plan to use their hands to help others.

helping hands

 

Need more inspiration? Here are ten other stories that show the power of a helping hand:

Always Copycub by Richard Edwards

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams

A Frog Thing by Eric Drachman

The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord

The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern and Marni Backer

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

New York’s Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Jones

The Three Questions by Jon Muth

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.

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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 #9: Flower Seeds and Lifelong Dreams

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.

Over the years, these themes have quite naturally become a part of the way my classes commemorate Patriot Day, September 11th. Although young students today have no personal memories of that event, they can still join others in service and work to promote beauty, happiness, and good in the world.

This month’s freebie is an activity based on the story of Miss Rumphius to help students identify practical ways they can change the world for the better.

Click here or on the picture below for a pdf of the activity: includes directions, worksheet, templates, and examples of completed display.

change

whome

See previous September 11th posts for other books, activities, and resources.

For the Love of Reading Freebie

0ebd2-bookwhisperer

I have continued to be inspired by this summer’s book study over at We Read, We Blog, We Teach. It is interesting to see Donalyn Miller’s Book Whisperer ideas being discussed and pondered from so many different perspectives (and grade levels).

One thing that has really stood out to me throughout the whole book is the value of sharing the love of reading. When everyone in the classroom community is active in the discussion of books, the conversations and learning opportunities are richer and more meaningful.

So how do you engage your students in these conversations? What avenues are available for them to share the books they have enjoyed and broaden their own reading lists?

Here is a book recommendation form I created that you could use to encourage your students to share what they have read. It provides space for a re-creation of the cover to aid classmates as they search for the book themselves, two areas for sharing highlights from the story, and 1-5 star rating system. (click here for pdf)

BookRecommendation

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).

MarchMap

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:

 

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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

Happy President’s Day

easelly_visual

Looking for a new way to introduce more visuals into the classroom? Try easel.ly. You can get started by “recycling” one of the many vhemes (visual themes) provided or build your own. There are many graphics, icons, and fonts to choose from, too, as you create and customize your own infographic.

Have fun creating and picturing information in new ways!

p.s. I have another freebie available here (Book Response Task Cards: President’s Day Theme).

The activities included on the task cards are based on the stories and illustrations in the following books (and aligned to CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.1, 3.3, & 3.7):

Visual Literacy in Action: Daily Visual Challenge

I used a version of these Daily Visual Challenges with my third grade classes, and I’ve been working on updating them into a format that can be shared. I just posted the first set (for February) in my TPT store. You can preview the Daily Visual Challenges here and download a free sampler.

DVC_paint

DVC_phoneI’ve found them to be a great way to incorporate more visual literacy practice into each school day. They encourage students to be observant, train them to strengthen their memory recall, and provide them with opportunities to dive in and explore meanings of visuals.

How do you incorporate visual literacy practice into your day?