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Teacher’s Pets #24 Paul Needs Specs

Paul Needs Specs

Paul Needs Specs

 

PAUL NEEDS SPECS
written by Bernard Cohen
illustrated by Geoff Kelly
Kane/Miller Book Publisher
ISBN: 192913261
$15.95
Ages 5-9

Paul asked, “Has the world gone fuzzy, . . .?” What a scary feeling to have your world blur in front of your eyes, especially when you are a child no bigger than Paul. The world hadn’t gone fuzzy or blurry or misty or foggy . . . well not really. But, Paul’s eyesight did. Author, Bernard Cohen takes us on a trip to the eye doctor. What a strange place that is! Paul tries many different lenses. Some make him see fat and some make him see tall and I wonder if some do nothing at all. Then Goeff Kelly adds his zany, very psychedelic illustrations, which will make readers howl. This book should definitely allay the fears of any child who needs to get glasses. PAUL NEEDS SPECS is a real eye-opener.

This review was originally published on SmartWriters and on donnaodonnellfigurski.com

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Paul needed specs because everything was fuzzy and blurry,” said Greg.

“Specs are some kind of glasses,” said Katie-Erin.

“Paul was bumping into things,” said Zach.

“I felt bad for him,” said Lucy, “because he was upset.”

“Paul felt kind of weird because everything was foggy,” said Anya.

“Well, if I needed glasses or spectacles,” said Philippe, “I would freak out.”

“Yeah! It would be pretty crazy, if I had to get glasses,” agreed Kurtis.

“They don’t make you look bad,” said Sarit.

“They just make you look unique!” said Marta with a grin.

“Right, because sometimes people don’t want to blend in with the crowd,” said Juan.

“Hmm, I think glasses always make you look smart,” said Philippe.

“This book reminds me of when I got glasses,” said Sarit, “but I don’t really wear them much.”

“Sometimes people tease people with glasses.” said Zach. “Sometimes they call them four eyes . . . uhhhh, no offense, Juan.”

“None taken,” said Juan.

“Well, I think teasing is a mean thing to do,” said Becky.

“I don’t understand why people have to tease people with glasses. There’s nothing wrong with them,” said Katie-Erin.

“It just makes them different . . . and different is all right,” said Marta. “Different is better than being the same.”

“Yeah!” said Pritka. “If we were all the same you couldn’t tell who was who.”

“And, kids wear glasses for their own good,” said Anya. “Who cares what other people think?”

“There’s a poem,” said Lucy. “It goes, ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’”

“I sort of agree,” said Kurtis, “It should be normal for people to wear glasses.”

“I just don’t get it. They’re just glasses. What’s bad about that?” asked Marta.

“Yeah!” said Sarit. “What’s bad about glasses? Sometimes they make you look smart.”

“Like teenagers!” said Pritka with a giggle. “Teenagers get glasses to make them look smart.”

“I just think it’s crazy calling people names just because they wear glasses,” said Greg. “If they take them off they can’t see.”

“Well, in all my life of having glasses . . .,” said Juan, “since kindergarten . . . nobody has made fun of me.”

TEACHER TALK

To SEE or NOT to SEE Health/Science

Most of us take our vision for granted. It’s there and we don’t much think about it. It’s not until we lose a sense do we become more aware of it. To raise sensitivity in children and make them more aware of their sense of sight, try the following activity.

#1 Split the class into teams with three members each.

#2 Give each team a paper bag filled with several familiar objects, such as a crayon, pencil, eraser, sock, mitten, penny, barrette, rubber band, paperclip, glue stick, etc.

#3 Two team members place blindfolds over their eyes.

#4 The first blindfolded team member chooses an item from the bag and, without looking, describes the item to the second blindfolded partner.

#5 The second blindfolded partner, also without looking, uses the clues his partner gives him to try to identify the object.

#6 The third team member is not blindfolded. His job is to record his teammates’ answers on paper, but he may NOT offer any help to his team.

#7 The team with the most accurate guesses is the winner.

JUST ADD “ed” Language Arts

Paul bumped, tripped, dropped, and spilled. Hey, that was a lot of past tense verbs

Have the children make a list of past tense action verbs and record them on the chalkboard or on chart paper. Next, using the list, have the children locate the verbs that fall into each of the patterns below. You may want to take it slow and practice each rule for several days before progressing to the next rule.

#1 Some verbs are made into past tense simply by adding “ed.” For example knock/knocked and work/worked.

#2 Other verbs need special operations. Notice the verbs that fall into the CVC pattern. (Consonant – Vowel – Consonant) They need to follow this rule, “Double the final consonant and add “ed” . . . like this, hop/hopped, slam/slammed.

#3 Then there are the verbs that end in “e”. They have a special rule to follow, too. “Drop the final “e” and add “ed.”

#4 Don’t forget verbs that end in “y”. That rule looks like this. “Change the “y” to “i” and add “ed”. Some verbs that follow that rule are cry/cried, try/tried.

Now have fun using all the rules to categorize the verbs that the children listed on their chart. Hey did you notice I used a past tense verb in that last sentence?

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

CHILDREN TODAY: Four Eyes Can Be Fabulous:
http://childrentoday.com/resources/articles/foureyesfab.htm
When your child starts wearing glasses:
http://www.sptimes.com/News/041901/Floridian/When_your_child_start.shtml

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

Baby Duck and the Bad Eyeglasses by Amy Hest
Glasses (Who Needs ‘Em?) by Lane Smith
Glasses for D. W. by Marc Brown

January 9, 2015 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Teacher’s Pets #23 Myrtle

7260204MYRTLE
written by Tracey Campbell Pearson
illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson
Farrar Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0-374-35157-0
Ages: 3-6
$15.00There are bullies everywhere, but don’t you hate it when you find them in your own back yard? Once at the grocery store checkout as I waited patiently, grasping a bunch of broccoli, a woman pushed her overflowing cart right in front of me. Every day on my 20 mile commute to school, there are cars that bully their way into the line exiting the highway. Can’t they see the 50 cars waiting, patiently? HOW RUDE! That’s what Myrtle would say and I fully agree with her. “RUDE! RUDE! RUDE!” These are the bullies in my back yard.When Frances moved in, Myrtle found a bully in her back yard, too. Frances was downright mean and Myrtle was downright scared. Snakes and monsters and mean songs would scare me, too. No one deserves to be bullied. So, when Aunt Tizzy told Myrtle of the nasty lions she met in Africa and their mean lion roars, Myrtle got to thinking. She grabbed her brother’s hand and set off to face her fears. She felt bigger! She felt stronger! And, she was ready to stand up for herself . . . a very liberating feeling! I think I’ll take a lesson from Myrtle. Just wait . . . the next time someone tries to push her overflowing grocery cart in front of me, I’ll just bop her on the head . . . with my broccoli. Well . . . maybe not.

Tracey Campbell Pearson hit on a very timely topic . . . one that visits and revisits children in every age and at every stage. It seems, unfortunately, that there will always be bullies. I remember them when I was a child. Definitely, not fun! Ms. Pearson’s whimsical illustrations add a welcome lightness to a serious problem. Young readers will gain confidence as Myrtle did, as they realize that they are not alone in the “BULLY” world and they CAN do something about it.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Frances was Myrtle’s neighbor,” said Philippe.

“Myrtle and her baby brother didn’t like their new neighbor,” said Tony.

“That’s because she was mean,” said Philippe.

“Myrtle had a good life until Frances came,” said Marta.

“Then every time Myrtle went outside,” said Juan, “Frances played a trick on her.”

Tony shook his head. “Frances sure does mean stuff,” he said.

“Like she was making monsters and singing bad songs,” said Sarit.

“And,” said Becky, rolling her eyes, “she put rubber snakes on the ground.”

“And, she put gum on Myrtle’s brother’s ball,” said Lucy. “Then it stuck to his nose!”

“She was really like a bad kid,” said Sarit.

“I wonder why Frances was so mean?” asked Katie-Erin.

“She was a bully!” said Pritka.

“I think Frances was mean,” said Anya, “because she wanted people to pay attention to her.”

“Maybe she had a bad life,” said Marta.

“Or, maybe she was just jealous of Myrtle,” said Sarit, “because she had a good life.”

“Frances wasn’t born mean,” said Juan. “It’s not somebody’s instinct to be mean. It’s their choice.”

“Well, Myrtle was feeling really sad,” said Sarit.

“And, she was very, very, scared,” said Marta.

“It’s actually not your choice to be scared,” said Anya.

Sarit agreed. “Yeah!” she said. “It comes up to you. You don’t know you’re going to be scared.”

“So Myrtle’s parents called her Aunt Tizzy,” said Marta.

“Myrtle’s aunt was very brave and intelligent. She told Myrtle that she wouldn’t even let a lion scare her,” said Sarit.

“And she made Myrtle laugh,” said Jake.

“That’s right,” said Juan. “Then Myrtle realized that if her Aunt Tizzy wouldn’t let lions keep her away from the jungle, Myrtle wasn’t going to let Frances keep her away from having fun.”

“Myrtle really faced her fears,” said Marta. “She stood up for herself and said, ‘HOW RUDE!’
And her life came up great again.”

“But, I wonder if Frances learned her lesson?” asked Kurtis.

“Well, if Frances is mean,” said Philippe, “she won’t get the right respect.”

“Yeah, she’ll be ignored by everybody,” said Kurtis.

“But, I mean . . . come on . . .” said Juan. “Nobody can live without friends!”

TEACHER TALK

YOU BIG, BULLY Health (Part 1)

Bullying comes in many different forms and they are all hurtful. Teasing and calling names are two of the most common forms of bullying for young children, and most children can recall at least one incident where he or she has been a victim of bullying.

Have children identify as many bullying actions as they can think of. Then record them on a class list.
Ex.:
1. Calling Names
2. Teasing
3. Hitting – Kicking

Next, have children suggest ways to overcome bullies and record these answers on a class list, as well.
Ex.:
1. Tell an adult – A Parent, Teacher, Lunchroom Aide
2. Stand up for themselves – Tell the bully to stop.
3. Ignore the bully – Walk away.

Then, have the children suggest reasons why someone might act like a bully. Again, record the answers on a class list.
Ex.:
1. Looking for attention
2. Making themselves feel more important
3. Feeling insecure themselves

Last, split children into small groups and have them conduct their own discussions. Roam around the room to eavesdrop to be sure that each group understands the concept.

YOU BIG, BULLY Health (Part 2)

Have children volunteers role-play a variety of bullying situations. To get more real reactions, you might prefer the children to use puppets for the role-play.
Ex.:
Bully Role-Play Situations
1. Gabe takes Mike’s pencil and won’t give it back. He threatens to tell the teacher on Mike about something that Mike didn’t even do.
2. Maura tells Ginny she won’t be her friend if Ginny won’t go to the store with her, even though Ginny will get in trouble with her mom.

AN EMOTIONAL LOOK AT BULLYING: from A to Z Health

Make a list from A to Z of as many bully-related feelings as possible – both from the bully’s point of view and the victim’s point of view. After the list is made, have children decide which feeling/emotion belongs to which character.

Ex.:
Angry…………..bully or victim
Brave…………..victim
Confused………victim
Disturbed………bully or victim
Excited…………bully
Fearful…………victim

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Sort It – Bullying http://www.sortit.org.uk/bullying.htm#you
We Can Work It Out! http://members.aol.com/pforpeace/WorkItOut/color.htm
What Kids Say about Bullying
http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/poll_bullying.html

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

HOOWAY FOR WODNEY WAT by Helen Lester, Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
RECESS QUEEN by Alexis O’Niell, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
BOOTSIE BARKER BITES by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Peggy Rathman

January 2, 2015 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teacher’s Pets #22 Whose House

Whose House?
Whose House?

WHOSE HOUSE
Written by Barbara Seuling
Illustrated by Kay Chorao
Gulliver Books Harcourt Children’s Books
ISBN: 0-15-216347-6
Ages: 3-7
$16.00

Houses come in so many colors and sizes and shapes. Some are tall and skinny and rise high into the sky. Some are kind of fat and have acres of land around them. That’s called s-p-r-a-w-l-i-n-g. Some are in big buildings called apartments and some are tiny, little cottages or bungalows. Houses are made of wood, brick, stone, or mud, and some are even made of ice. There are castles and palaces and mansions. There are igloos, and houses made of grass, which have thatched roofs. I’ve seen purple houses and bright yellow and green houses. Once, I even saw a pink house with blue shutters. That was pretty scary unless, of course, pink and blue are your favorite colors. So, with so many different kinds of houses, how can you ever choose which house is exactly right for you?

Well, you could try them out just like the young boy in WHOSE HOUSE did. On his journey to find just the right house, he visited a beaver’s lodge and a bee’s hive. They weren’t right for him. He tried out a hollow log, too, but he learned that that was better for a frog. This rhyming picture book written by Barbara Seuling and illustrated by Kay Chorao will have young readers testing out all kinds of houses . . . until they find the one just right for them. And . . . maybe . . . just maybe, it’s the one they are already living in.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“This is a book about houses for animals and humans,” said Philippe.

“Every animal keeps safe in their homes just like in our homes,” said Jake.

“I think this book is about the perfect house,” said Marta.

“I like the way that Barbara made the kid in the story always want to live in a different home,” said Kurtis. “I think that the boy was trying to look for something more than just his ordinary house.”

“It’s weird,” said Jake. “He had a house.”

“He had his own bed, too,” said Kurtis. “So, why was he looking for another house?”

“He wanted to see other houses,” said Anya.

“Maybe he was trying to find a better home,” said Juan. “A better place than where he lived.”

“He might try living in a squirrel’s home or a mole’s home,” said Kurtis.

“Or maybe he just wanted to see where other animals’ houses were,” said Hannah.

“Everybody has their own way of homes,” said Juan. “Beavers live in lodges made of mud and sticks and birds live in nests.”

“I would not like to be a bird,” said Katie-Erin.

“And he couldn’t live with the bats,” said Greg, “because he couldn’t sleep upside down.”

“Actually, some kids can hang on monkey bars like that,” said Olivia and she laughed.

“He couldn’t fit in a beehive either,” said Sarit.

“Yep! He would get stung,” said Philippe.

“Well, maybe he was just looking for facts about other homes,” said Jake.

“I relax, eat, and sleep in my home,” said Pritka. “But, it would be fun to live in a different home,” she said.

“A house for me is a place where I study,” said Philippe.

“A good house for me,” said Keisha, “is a little brick house with a little, cozy bed.”

“Well, I would like to live in a mansion because it’s humongous,” said Lucy.

“I’d like to live in the White House because there are probably a lot of bathrooms in there,” said Juan.

“I’d like to live in a future house like space people,” said Philippe, “because their houses have monorails.”

“Almost everyone has a home,” said Juan. “Even if it’s a tree, hole, or pond . . . it’s a home.”

“Well, I think my home is just right for me,” said Becky. “But, I would never leave my house without telling my mom or dad.”

“I think the boy was thinking about what it would be like in other homes,” said Juan. “But in the end, he realized that one house was right for him . . . and that was his own.”

TEACHER TALK

THE SHAPE OF THINGS Geometry

What do a pumpkin, a shoe, and gingerbread all have in common? Why, they are all houses, of course. Peter put his wife in a pumpkin. Silly man! The old woman lived in a shoe with so many children . . . well, you know the rest. And a gingerbread house is good enough to eat. Houses come in many different shapes and sizes and children can discover the many shapes in their own houses.

Introduce and discuss the following geometrical shapes. (square, rectangle, circle, triangle) Have children locate and name shapes in their classroom.

Ex.:
Rectangle……chalkboard
Triangle……….letter “A”
Circle…………clock
Square……….bulletin board

For HOMEFUN, ask them to search their homes and make a list of geometrical shapes they find.

Ex.:
Rectangle……door
Triangle………roof
Circle…………doorknob
Square……….windows

Then have the children draw a picture of their house. Encourage them to use as many geometrical shapes as they can.

MY HOUSE is RIGHT FOR ME! Social Studies

Have children bring in a picture of their home. Let each child describe their house and tell why it is a good house for them.

Ex.:
My house is the right house for me because …….I have my own bedroom.

My house is the right house for me because…….my mommy lives there and she loves me.

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Jan Brett Gingerbread Baby House:
http://www.janbrett.com/trim_a_jan_brett_gingerbread_baby_house.htm
Miniature Gingerbread House (recipe)
http://www.kidsdomain.com/holiday/xmas/food/gbhouse.html

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

THE PERFECT CLUBHOUSE by Daniel J. Mahoney
A HOUSE FOR A HERMIT CRAB by Eric Carle
THIS IS MY HOUSE by Arthur Dorros

January 2, 2015 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teacher’s Pets #21 Out and About at the Supermarket

Out and About at the Supermarket

OUT AND ABOUT AT THE SUPERMARKET
Written by Kitty Shea
Illustrated by Becky Shipe
Picture Window Books
ISBN: 1-4048-0295-9W
Ages: 4-9
$17.95

This is a selection of non-fiction titles from Picture Window Books. Featured is OUT AND ABOUT AT THE SUPERMARKET by Kitty Shea, illustrated by Becky Shipe.

Kiddles love to learn facts. They love to spout them off in the least expected places. It makes them sound so smart and . . . oh so worldly. You’ve heard of name-droppers, well you can just think of them as fact-droppers. This sample of Picture Window Books will have KIDDLES dropping facts all over the place.
In Snack Time Around the World they may drop a fact about lumpia or merienda. In Think, Think, Think Learning About Your Brain, you may overhear them talking about something wrinkled and gray. Don’t worry. They’re not talking about you — even if you are wrinkled and gray. They’re describing their brain, complete with cerebellum, cerebrum, and brain stem.
And anyone knows that in Do Ducks Live in the Desert? – that — they DON’T! But, if you listen carefully, you might be able to find out where musk oxen, or periwinkles, or markhors live. What’s a markhor, anyway? Well, you may think that none of this really matters, but don’t let a KIDDLE hear you say that, especially after they have read Matter See It, Touch It, Taste It, Smell It. They’ll probably tell you that the universe is made up of billions of atoms and molecules. And . . . you know what, they’ll be right. So anytime you hear a fact–dropper, listen up! You are sure to learn something.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

OUT AND ABOUT AT THE SUPERMARKET
Written by Kitty Shea
Illustrated by Becky Shipe
Picture Window Books
ISBN: 1-4048-0295-9W
Ages: 4-9
$17.95

“This book is good because you can learn about the market,” said Meg.

“Cereal is in the supermarket,” said Hannah.

“Milk, yogurt, and cheese are in the dairy department,” said Philippe.

“I like milk,” said Charlie. “It’s my favorite thing.”

“A supermarket has a butcher,” said Miguel. “A butcher grinds meat.”

“My favorite food is chicken,” said Becky.

“The supermarket keeps cold cuts in one spot,” said Keisha.

“And the fruit and vegetables in another spot,” said Pritka.

“Did you know the lettuce takes a shower?” asked Keisha.

Kurtis started to laugh. “I got wet the first time I saw a lettuce head getting a shower,” he said.

Keisha giggled, too. “I mean, what kind of lettuce would want to take a shower?”

“Keisha,” said Hannah, “the lettuce takes a shower so the customers will buy it. Then they won’t have to wash it at home.”

“Well, supermarkets have almost everything,” said Lucy.

“Yeah, don’t forget the sweet food aisle,” said Meg.

“You mean the junk food aisle,” said Pritka.

“SUGARY junk!” added Miguel with a laugh.

“I wonder what would happen if there were no supermarkets,” asked Anya.

“Well, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans did not have supermarkets,” said Kurtis.

“When they lived they had to grow their own foods,” said Juan. “such as carrots, potatoes, and lettuce.”

“I feel sorry for them,” said Sarit, “because they had to plant their own food and it took a long time.”

Katie-Erin shook her head. “I can’t believe they lived without supermarkets,” she said.

Marta agreed. “Yeah, if there was no such thing as a supermarket, the people would starve.”

“The supermarket is a great place to get all your produce, meats, sweets and grains that you use for your breakfast, lunch and dinners every day,” said Juan. “They have food for any occasion.”

“I’d recommend this book to someone who doesn’t like to go to the supermarket,” said Zach, “because after they read this book, they might go.”

SNACK TIME AROUND THE WORLD
Written by Michele Zurakowski
Illustrated by Jeff Yesh
Picture Window Books
ISBN: 1-4048-0283-5W
Ages: 5-10
$16.95

“The book tells about different foods from around the world,” said Hannah.

“It tells you some of the places where you can have the best snacks,” said Charlie.

“Yeah, like . . . United States, Mexico, Senegal, England, Israel, Oman, Philippines, Vietnam, and Australia,” said Hannah ticking off each country on her fingers.

“There’s one drink in Oman,” said Philippe laughing, “which sends bubbles up your nose.”

“Limonada!” said Marta, “like lime or lemonade.”

“In England they drink smash,” said Philippe, “and in the Philippines, they eat lumpia.”

“It’s weird that in Australia an eating time is called, “TEA TIME”, but they don’t drink tea,” said Hannah.

“Popcorn is America’s favorite snack,” said Pritka.

“I don’t like popcorn,” said Lucy, “I LOVE it.”

“Yummy!” said Katie-Erin.

“I make popcorn in the microwave,” said Sarit.

“It’s a very crunchy snack,” said Juan.

“Snacks are fun,” said Keisha.

“And every snack is unique,” said Marta. “And they are different all around the world.”

THINK, THINK, THINK, LEARNING ABOUT YOUR BRAIN
Written by Pamela Hill Nettleton
Illustrated by Becky Shipe
Picture Window Books
ISBN: 1-4048-0252-5W
Ages: 5-9
$16.95

“This book teaches you about your body,” said Keisha. “It has my favorite body part . . . called the brain.”

“Your brain works like a computer,” said Marta. “It makes you smart.”

“Your brain works even when you sleep,” said Pritka. “It helps you dream. And did you know your left side of your brain controls your right side and the right side controls the left side?”

“Well, I learned that I have a brain,” said Keisha, “and it makes me think.”

MATTER: SEE IT, TOUCH IT, TASTE IT, SMELL IT
Written by Darlene Stille
Illustrated by Sheree Boyd
Picture Window Books
ISBN: 1-4048-0246-0W
Ages; 5-9
$16.95

“This book is cool because it has fun facts,” said Hannah. “When I looked at the cover I said to myself, What is matter? Then when I read it, I knew what matter was – something that you can see, touch, taste, and smell.”

“We are matter,” said Pritka. “That means we take up space. Even air is matter.”

“I left this book with a lot of knowledge,” said Hannah. “When I first looked at the cover of the book, I thought, ‘This does not look very interesting, but it is never good to judge a book by its cover.’”

NICE HIT! YOU CAN PLAY BASEBALL
Written by Nick Fauchald
Illustrated by Bill Dickson
Picture Window Books
ISBN: 1-4048-0259-2W
Ages: 5-9
$16.95

“This book is good for me,” said Philippe, “because I want to play baseball.”

“You need a glove, tennis shoes, a bat, and ball,” said Meg.

“ . . . and a helmet,” said Philippe.

Meg nodded. “You need to watch the ball when it comes, too,” she said.

“It taught me everything about baseball,” said Greg.

DO DUCKS LIVE IN THE DESERT?
Written by Michael Dahl
Illustrated by Anne Haberstroh
Picture Window Books
ISBN: 1-4048-0290-8W
Ages: 4-9
$16.95

“This book is packed with facts about where animals live,” said Juan.

“I liked it because it was funny,” said Lucy. “It certainly made me think of the desert.”

“It teaches you about animals in a fun way,” said Zach. “If you’re an animal lover, you should read this book.”

“The illustrations were so perky, I thought my eyes would pop out,” said Juan.

“And,” said Zach, “this book proves — DUCKS DON’T LIVE IN THE DESERT.”

TEACHER TALK

FOOD GROUP PICTIONARY
(to be used with Out and About at the Supermarket)

Discuss the FOOD GROUPS with the children.
Write the group headings on chart paper. (MEAT/PROTEIN, FRUITS, etc) Encourage the children to suggest a variety of foods and write each food under the appropriate heading. List as many foods as they can possibly think of. When the lists are completed, hang them around the room for easy reference.

Ex.
MEAT/PROTEIN
Hamburger
Beans

FRUITS
Oranges
Kiwis

VEGETABLES
Corn
Peas

DAIRY
Ice cream
Yogurt

SUGAR
Candy
Cookies

Next have the children make a FOOD GROUP book for each food category. Use one sheet of 9” x 12” colored construction paper, folded in half widthwise as the cover, and one sheet of manila paper folded in half widthwise as the inner pages. Label each cover with one of the food groups. (MEAT/PROTEIN, FRUITS, etc)

Then give the children a supply of supermarket fliers. Have them cut out a variety of food pictures and glue them into the correct book. Next, they need to label their pictures. Encourage them to use the charts that are hanging around the room to check for correct spelling. When the books are completed, they can be housed in a student classroom library for all to enjoy.

By placing the supermarket fliers in a center area this can be an on-going project, which the children can work on independently.

WORD STOCK CLERK
(to be used with Out and About at the Supermarket)

In the supermarket everything has its place. There is the cereal aisle and the canned goods aisle. There’s the dairy section and the produce section, and the meat and fish department. There is the deli and the bakery. AND late at night, the stock clerk makes sure that everything is in its place.

Turn your classroom into a superWORDmarket. It’s easy. Have the children place their desks in rows. Label each row with one of the following words. NOUN, VERB, ADJECTIVE
Make a variety of flash cards using nouns, verbs, and adjectives. (Ex.: moon, dance, beautiful) Be sure to make enough cards so that every child has one.
Next the children (word stock clerks) locate the aisle in which their word belongs and hold their cards in the air. Select a child to be the store manager. The store manager must check each aisle to be sure that everything is in its place.

This game can be used as a center activity for children to work on independently. Place the cards in an envelope and provide three baskets labeled NOUN, VERB, and ADJECTIVE. The children sort the flashcards into the correct baskets. You may want to color-code the backs of the cards so that the children can check their own work.

You can adapt this game to be used with long and short vowels, rhyming words, or a variety of other language arts skills. Be Creative!

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

CHEM4KIDS.COM: http://www.chem4kids.com/files/matter_intro.html
FAMILY FUN ARCHIVES:

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

SOMETHING GOOD by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
LET’S VISIT THE SUPERMARKET by Marianne Johnston
SUPERMARKET by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Melanie Hope Greenberg
HOW DOES YOUR BRAIN WORK by Don L. Curry
THE BRAIN Our Nervous System by Seymour Simon
WHAT IS THE WORLD MADE OF? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases

January 2, 2015 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#20 Teacher’s Pets The Giant Jelly Bean Jar

0525472363THE GIANT JELLY BEAN JAR
written by Marcie Aboff
illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye
Dutton Children’s Books
ISBN: 0525472363
$13.99
Ages 5-8 

 

Beans! Beans! Beans! There are lima beans, coffee beans, kidney beans and refried beans. I love them all! But my favorite kinds of beans are jelly beans – and every flavor, too. Cherry, grape, lemon-lime, licorice . . . YUM! Double yum for strawberry and banana.

I bet Marcie Aboff loves jelly beans, too. After all, she did write The Giant Jelly Bean Jar. But I wonder if she really likes pizza jelly beans. I mean, whoever heard of pizza jelly beans? Next she’ll probably think of spinach or olive, or liver jelly beans. Arrrghhh!
I bet Marcie loves contests, too. Well, who doesn’t? Everyone loves to be a winner. Look at Ben. He really wanted to win that giant jelly bean jar. So every week Ben and his sister, Jill, went to Jo-Jo’s Jelly Bean Shop to try to guess the jelly bean riddle. Can you imagine having a whole jar of jelly beans all to yourself? Mmmm!

Then illustrator, Paige Billin-Frye dabs her color onto the pages to make those jelly beans look so yummy and so inviting. Who can help but want to eat them all up?
I think that Marcie and Paige took riddles and contests and jelly beans and rolled them all up into one delicious book. It makes me hungry just looking at it . . . not only for jelly beans, but for the good reading, too.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

Jo-Jo’s apron said, “I love Jelly Beans,” said Philippe.

“And he made all different kinds of jelly beans,” said Meg.

“Jam jelly beans sound very interesting to me,” said Becky. “Even the popcorn jelly beans are interesting.”

“My favorite jelly beans are bubble gum,” said Anya.

“My favorite are blueberry,” said Kurtis.

“Popcorn jelly beans are really, really crazy,” said Greg.

Keisha giggled. “I like pizza jelly beans.”

“I wonder what pizza jelly beans would look like.” asked Marta.

“Pizza jelly beans would be yellow with some red under the yellow and a little brown,” said Sarit.

“Maybe reddish-orange,” said Anya.

“Anya!” said Pritka laughing. “That sounds like pepperoni jelly beans.”

Ewwww, gross!” said Hannah.

“Some of Jo-Jo’s jelly beans were disgusting and some were good,’ said Lucy.

“That jelly bean man made a lot of different kinds of jelly beans,” said Greg.

“He had a jelly bean contest,” said Charlie.

“I won a candy corn contest once,” said Pritka. “I guessed the exact number!”

“And Jo-Jo made a riddle and who ever got it right won a jar of jelly beans,” said Meg.

“A riddle has clues and you have to put the clues together and try to think of the big answer,” said Juan.

“From my point of view,” said Anya, “A riddle is something that people use instead of telling somebody what it really is.”

“Well, every time Jo-Jo said a riddle,” said Juan, “Ben knew the answer . . .”

‘But, I think he was shy and that’s why he didn’t say anything,” said Becky.

“Yeah, I think Ben felt very nervous,” said Zach.

“I was nervous once,” said Marta, “because I was going to sing in the choir.”

“Well, once I had to dance in front of two hundred people,” said Pritka. “I was very, very shy – like Ben.”

“I think Ben is like most people,” said Zach. “I get shy very easily, too.”

“But Ben knew the answer, he just forgot because he was so excited,” said Hannah.

“And embarrassed,” said Marta.

“I was sad because Ben lost two times,” said Greg.

“I think Ben was sad, too,” said Katie-Erin

“But, when it was the anniversary party,” said Juan, “Ben gave up his fear and won.”

“Right!” said Marta. “If you like something so much, you never give up on it. Ben deserved to win.”

“And he got crowned Prince of the Jelly Beans,” said Hannah with a giggle.

TEACHER TALK

Is it a “G” or is it a “J”?

Jo-Jo’s Jelly Bean shop was crazy with weird flavored jelly beans. The English language is crazy, too, with weird combination letter sounds. So maybe, with the help of Jo-Jo and his jelly bean book, we can figure out this riddle of the English language. I know it’s a long shot, but it’s a start.

Explain the sound concept of hard and soft “G” and the letter “J” to the children. Then make three columns on the chalkboard or whiteboard. Have the children suggest words that begin with these sounds and have them decide which column they belong under. When all children seem to know the concept, place them into teams of two or three and give each team a sheet of paper, which is pre-folded into three columns. Have the children write Hard “G” in the first column, Soft “G” in the second column, and “J” in the third column.

Each team takes a turn to search through the Giant Jelly Bean Jar book to locate all the words that begin with these letters. (Hint: There is only one soft ‘G’ word.) The team that finds all of the words or comes the closest is the winner. Sounds like a contest to me.

JELLY BEAN PATTERN

Have each child spread a sheet of paper towel on his/her desk. Give them twenty jellybeans in a small, sealed, plastic, sandwich bag. Have the children open their plastic bags and place their jellybeans on the towel. Next, have them arrange the beans to make a variety of repeating patterns. (Their pattern must be able to repeat at least once.)

Ex.:
Child 1: green, orange, green, orange

Child 2: pink, yellow, orange, green, pink, yellow, orange, green

Child 3: red, red, green, yellow, red, red, green, yellow, etc.

When the children are ready, visit each desk and have them read their pattern to you.
After everyone has had a chance to read their pattern, they may eat the jellybeans. Bon apetit!

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Jelly Belly Home
Classic Jelly Belly Recipes

SUGGESTED BOOKS:
Everybody Wins by Sheila Bruce, illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye
Ribbit Riddles Katy Hall & Lisa Eisenberg, illustrated by Robert Bender
Boogie Bones by Elizabeth Loredo, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
When Riddles Come Rumbling by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Karen Dugan
Pinky and Rex and the Spelling Bee by James Howe, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

January 2, 2015 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On School #36 Kids Speak Out on First Grade

KIDS COMMENT in 2004-2005

(Reposted from Donna’s Website)

(Names are changed to protect the infamous.)

Kids Raised Hands th

Well, another school year has ended. (2004-2005) This year I had a total of 27 children. That’s a BIG class by any standards, but especially since our sister school across town, no more than a mile away, had ONLY 13 children per class. The way I look at it . . . I had double the fun…or maybe it was double the trouble. I’ll let you decide. Here’s what some of my KIDDLES said about their 1st grade experience.

When I started 1st Grade I was not good at math, but I got better. First grade is the best.
Lisa

I have been in 1st Grade for a year. Can you believe that???
Alan

1st Grade was all fun! We had to do a lot of work to get things done.
Zelda

For GROUP DAILY NEWS we wrote about animals, healthy snacks, snow, people, flowers, butterflies, rainbows, horses, our prize bucket, and hospitals.
Raul

When I first met Mrs. Figurski, I was shy, but then I got used to her. Mrs. Figurski has fun activities. People learn things in first grade.
Timmy

First grade is a lot of fun. I am going to miss first grade.
Jim

When I started school, I was very nervous.
Deborah

On the first day of first grade, I was shy and scared. When I sat down I met Ivan and Gale. They became my first friends in 1st grade. Now I love first grade. It is the best!
Devin

When I first started school, I cried because I wanted my dad. Then I met new friends and my teacher, Mrs. Figurski, did lots of stuff, like, Word Wall Quiz and Group Daily News.
Grace

KIDS COMMENT in 2007-2008

Mrs. Figurski’s class is the best class in the whole wide world. My favorite game is Race for a Flat.Variety of Kids th
Michael

My teacher is a nice teacher. You can have fun in 1st grade.
Devi

First grade can be difficult. My teacher is fun. My teacher makes projects. My teacher likes me. She is the best teacher. My teacher can do anything.
Barry

I like first grade because we write a lot. I like projects. I like when Mrs. Figurski reads Meish Goldish.
Matty

First grade is fun. I play games. I made a book, too. Mrs. Figurski is a nice teacher. Mrs. Figurski made first grade fun.
Carlo

It was fun in first grade, but it’s time for an end. Mrs. Figurski made a lot of fun things like Alpha Dice and Alpha Patterns. Mrs. Figurski likes frogs. Mrs. Figurski is the best teacher in the whole wide world.
Kev

I love first grade. First grade is not like kindergarten. Our favorite teacher is Mrs. Figurski.
Cait

I like my teacher. My teacher is cool. My teacher teaches. My teacher likes kids.
Jeremy

In first grade you learn how to read.
Chris

You need a backpack in first grade.
Nicky

First grade is fun. You do projects. You play games. You do stuff and you don’t know that you are learning. If you are in Mrs. Figurski’s class, you are in the right class. When you are done with first grade, you go to second grade.
Jen

Love First Graders th

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(Clip Art compliments of Bing. )

September 3, 2013 Posted by | On School | , , , | 1 Comment

On School #30 My Little Engine

“I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!” said my little engine, Nicole. And I knew she could. And she did!

Nicole was a perky six-year-old. With dark brown hair, big eyes, and a ready smile, She was a pleasure to have in my first grade class. She was very cooperative, had lots of friends, and seemed to enjoy school. Nicole was bright and did very well academically … but, sadly she didn’t think so.

She worried if she missed a spelling word on a quiz or got a math problem wrong. She was nervous when called on, even when she knew she knew the answer. Her anxiety was not apparent in the classroom. She hid it well. But when she went home, she fretted over her work and school. She felt as if she were not good enough. Of course her mom was worried. Her dad, too. And so was I, once they alerted me.

I was surprised that this seemingly very capable child was suffering from lack of self-esteem, from feelings of inadequacy. One afternoon I sat down with Nicole and her mother for a serious heart-to-heart talk. It took a lot of convincing to turn Nicole’s thinking around. I told her the story of The Little Engine That Could. You know the one. The little engine had to pull a trainload of toys over the mountain in time for Christmas morning, but it was a daunting, nearly impossible task for such a small engine.

But Little Engine did not want to disappoint all of the little boys and girls who were expecting a new toy for Christmas. The little engine pulled. She puffed. She tugged and hauled and repeated the refrain over and over, “I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!” unto she finally crested the hill and chugged the rest of the way down the mountain and into town.

I saw the glimmer in Nicole’s eyes as I neared the end of the story. She got it! “Do you know what you are?” I asked. With a slight nod and a smile, she answered, “the engine.”

Nicole remains my engine after all these years. When she graduated 8th grade, I sent her a congratulatory card. It had a picture of an engine cresting a hill. It read, “I knew you could.”

Before Nicole graduated high school, she nominated me for Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Some years later Nicole’s mother gave the recommendation letter that Nicole wrote to me. I treasure it. Perhaps in a later post I will share it with you.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.com)

(PS Actually, I was nominated a total of three times for Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Unfortunately I never learned which of my students nominated me for the additional two books.)

October 11, 2011 Posted by | On School | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On School #29 One Happy Teacher

Welcome to the Wonderful World of First Grade!

Welcome to the Wonderful World
of
FIRST GRADE! and THIRD GRADE!

This is me!
This is me.
I love my class.
Can’t you see?
 

 

Yep! That’s one happy teacher. THAT’S ME!

Sometimes I really look like that. Oh, don’t worry. It’s a good thing. I practically stand on my head for my kids. But then . . . they just about stand on their heads for me, too.

I think kids are just about the smartest people around. Don’t let their size trick you. Sometimes they try to hide what they really know, but if you dust away the cobwebs, it’s all there . . . just waiting to be discovered.

MEET MY KIDS

There are so many of them. There are David and Sara and Nick and Samantha and Thomas and Nichole and Kieth and Courtney. Well, the list could go on and on. I have taught more than 500 children since I began teaching a long, long time ago. I’ve taught kids with common names like Greg and John and some with not so common names like, Olivia and Demi. But, I’ve never taught a Mathilda or a Henry or a Stella or a Wendell or an Elvira or a Hubert . . . or even a Donna . . . but maybe I will . . . someday.

Well, since I retired in June of 2011, I guess I’ll never meet Mathilda, Henry, Stella, Wendell, Elvira, Hubert . . . or even Donna. Not in my very own classroom, but who knows, maybe if I substitute or tutor, I will.

Thinking!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.com.)

October 9, 2011 Posted by | On School | , , , , | Leave a comment

Teacher’s Pets: Teacher – Writer

Ahhh . . . THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

AS A TEACHER:

I read tons of books to my class. We loved to discuss them. As soon as I finished reading a book and the clapping had ceased, I’d ask. “Well, what did you notice?” Marc Brown hid his children’s names, Tolen, Tucker, and Elisa in the illustrations of his “ARTHUR” books. Tomie DePaola usually placed a little pink heart or a small white dove on every page of his books, example STREGA NONA. In THE NAPPING HOUSE by Audrey & Don Wood, it’s always fun to watch the circular movement of the mouse as each character naps, then awakes. But without an observing eye, these nuances would be left unnoticed. It was my job as a teacher for nearly thirty years to spark my student’s interest to look between the lines and … between the pictures.

AS A WRITER:

I wrote every day with my students and they got to write too. It was such fun to watch them grow as writers. Many began only able to write a few letters, perhaps their names or the words mom or dad, or maybe a brother or sister’s name. But within a few months, they could string several sentences together to make short paragraphs. They were becoming expert writers.

AS A TEACHER/WRITER:

Well … that was the best!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.com.)

October 1, 2011 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Teachers Pets #1 Welcome to Teacher’s Pets


Hi, my name is Donna O’Donnell Figurski, (author, educator, and book reviewer)

                                      I love children’s books,
all kinds.
BUT, I especially love picture books.
I love to read them.
I love to write them.
AND now . . .
I love to review them.

144-4443_img.jpg__donna_2


I have authored the column, TEACHER’S PETS on SmartWriters.com since 2002. 
My reviews have a different twist than do most book reviews I read. I work with a team of elementary-aged school children, called KIDDLE CRITers, who review books with me. We meet about once a month after school to read and discuss newly published children’s picture books. The KIDDLE CRITers team consists of about seven to fifteen children ranging in ages from 6 to 12 years old. They are enthusiastic critics and one section of my online review, called FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers, includes the insightful and sometimes hilarious comments by the children.

My nearly thirty years as a first or third grade teacher has given me the experience to design lessons for teachers to use with the books that I review. This section is called, TEACHER TALK. I also suggest additional books, as well as two or three websites, which teachers may use to compliment the reviewed book. Of course, there is also my review, too. 

The reviews can also be found in my column at SMARTWRITERS.com

Look for TEACHER’S PETS in thesidebar under FOR EDUCATORS. or scroll down the page until you meet my frog logo. Simply click on the frog to take you to my column. See you there.

Donna

P.S. 
If you would like to have your book considered for review by the KIDDLE CRITers review team, please contact me at Neelyf@aol.com.

Although I cannot promise that every book will be reviewed, I will try my best to feature as many books as possible.

(Photo compliments of ME.) 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.com.)

(This picture was taken when I first began the review column. You might have noticed my hair was a little darker and a little longer than my current picture. I was a tad bit younger, too. Such is life. It keeps moving  on.)

October 1, 2011 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , | 1 Comment

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