29 Mar 2015

Easter Poem Freebie

Here's my Easter poem for next week. 

I didn't write this poem and don't know who the original author is.

There's a colour version and two black and white versions, one with the missing rhyming words for your students to fill in.

Poem about the Easter Rabbit suitable for first grade. Freebie includes a colour version, a black and white version and a version with blank spaces for printing the rhyming words.

Click the image to grab.

28 Mar 2015

"Move to Learn" Book Review

Title: Move to Learn
Authors: Joye Newman, Miriam P. Feinberg
Publisher: Gryphon House, 2015

Perfect for Early Child Educators

My first thought when leafing through this book was, "Wow! I wish I'd had this when my own kids were preschoolers!"

Most teachers and parents know how important movement is for healthy physical development, but how many of us know that it's absolutely necessary for "optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, AND social development"?  (p.7) 

That's right. Movement is essential for healthy development in all areas of a child's growth. In fact, "...movement lays the framework upon which all future skills are built" (p.7) 

ALL future skills! I think that's pretty amazing. And it's why it's so important for teachers and parents to get their kids moving in purposeful ways.

This 136-page book is truly a wealth of information. It is PACKED with practical and easy ideas for getting young kids moving and learning. The best part is, the activities can be implemented quickly with very little preparation. When prep is required, most of the materials are easy enough to find around the house.

Kids dancing and playing around. This is a book review of Move to Learn by Grade ONEderful.

The Set-Up

There are six compact, easy-to-read chapters. 
  1. Language and Literacy
  2. Mathematics
  3. Science
  4. Social Studies
  5. Creative Representation
  6. Social Skills
Within each chapter are several specific activities for integrating movement into the curriculum. The activities are geared toward developing sensory, visual, perceptual, fine and gross motor skills in fun, engaging ways.

Here's page from the Language and Literacy section to give you an idea of how the book looks.

This is an example lesson from Move to Learn. It describes how you can add movement to a reading of the story, The Peddler and His Caps. This is part of a book review by Grade ONEderful.com

What's also cool are all the suggestions for incorporating movement into every day activities, e.g., "If you're wearing blue, twirl to the line."

We did that last week and the kids LOVED it! I had them take turns dancing, bunny hopping, twirling, walking backwards and taking giant steps.

Most of the ideas are for preschool but are very applicable to kindergarten and can be ADAPTED for grade one.

Here's one I recently adapted:

We're learning to count by twos.

I had the kids take turns and come up front. I wrote a number on the back of the chart stand (only the selected child could see it). 

He then "punched out" two fingers up to the designated number without saying anything. The other kids had to watch closely, count by twos in their heads and figure out his target number.

Kids playing a classroom game to practice counting by twos. This idea was adapted from the book Move to Learn. This is a book review by Grade ONEderful.

It was a HUGE hit!

Here's another way we include movement in our daily counting.

Granted, this particular activity didn't require a LOT of movement, but it was still a fun way to get the kids up and thinking.

If you're a parent of young kids or you teach pre-school or kindergarten THIS book is for you!

You can find more information about Move to Learn right here.

I'd love to hear how YOU get your class up and moving. I'm always on the lookout for more great ideas:)

Disclosure: I received this book from Gryphon House in exchange for an impartial book review.

22 Mar 2015

An Easter Poem Freebie

Here's the sweet poem we'll be learning next week.

Click the image to grab.

If you like the eggs, you can find them here.

Almost forgot to mention ... there's a black/white version as well.


12 Mar 2015

All in a Rainforest Day: Review & Giveaway

Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest book review.

Title: All in a Rainforest Day

Author: Ellen B. Senisi

Photographs:  Thomas Marent

Publisher: EdTechLens, 2014

Theme: Non-fiction, Rainforest, Animals

Suitable: Ages 4 and up

Opening Lines: "Morning sunshine wakes up rainforests around the world. Beams of light touch the tops of the tree canopy. Up in the canopy, baby animals wake to a bright new day."

Synopsis: This beautiful 31-page book, geared towards the young reader, takes a close-up look at the plant and animal life in a tropical rainforest. It is one component of the Rainforest Journey curriculum package published by EdTechLens.

Why I Loved It

1. The photos are extremely appealing with large, bright, clear pics on colourful backdrops.

2. The text on each page is minimal but factual AND lyrical.

3. There are many close-up photos with an emphasis on baby animals.

4. It takes the reader on a lovely journey from early morning 'til dusk. The orangutan photos (especially the sleeping baby) drew many oohs and ahs from my class of six-year-olds.

5. It's a great introduction to an animal or rainforest unit.


1. EdTechLens has lots of free sample lesson plans.

2. They also have some cool media samples, including sounds of the rainforest.

3. Deep Space Sparkle is my favourite go-to art site and they didn't disappoint. Check out these super rainforest art projects!

You can click the images to go to the art lessons. Both of these are geared towards older students, but that never stops me! I often try lessons like this with my Grade One class.

In case you're interested, EdTechLens is looking for teachers to pilot their program!

For more great books, be sure to visit Susanna at Perfect Picture Book Friday. 
I'm on my iPad and can't figure out how to make a hot link, so you'll have to copy paste this:


Okay, now for the giveaway!

You could win your own copy of All in a Rainforest Day.

It's easy to enter. Follow me on Pinterest or Twitter, and follow EdTechLens on Facebook or Twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 Mar 2015

Free, Easy Doubles Facts Math Game

We played a fun game in math today. It was to practice our doubles facts.

The beauty of it is that the kids made the WHOLE thing!

Yup, other than cutting paper I did VERY little.

You'll have to ignore my goofy image. I was playing around with my new Comic Book app and couldn't resist putting in that puff of cloud which has absolutely nothing to do with anything:)


10 pieces of construction paper for each student (cut into smallish pieces)


game pieces (we just used our little dinosaurs)

bingo chips for keeping score


1. Print the doubles facts on the board

2. Instruct the kids to print each double fact on their cards with the answer on the BACK

3. Kids break into pairs

4. Each pair has their own set of doubles fact cards, one die, a handful of counters

5. Instruct the kiddos to place their cards in a circle (or actually any other shape they like, doesn't really matter) as long as they're placed with the number sentence up, answer down.

6. Counters go in the middle

7. First child rolls the die and moves that many places. He/she reads the doubles fact and solves. Then they turn over the card to see if they got the right answer.

8. Right answer? Take one counter.  Wrong answer? Leave those counters alone (hee hee).

9. Next player takes their turn.

10. Just keep playing, going around in circles and collecting counters.

11. Player with the most counters is, of course, the winner. Mind you, I never give them time to figure out who the winner is 'cause you know how that goes:)

Afterwards we took some time and discussed the strategies they used to solve the facts.

Barbara Leyne Designs

BTW, if you like blinkies, then feel free to grab this little guy.  Just click on the image and it will take you to my post where I have the code you can copy.

1 Mar 2015

Blog Design Giveaway!!

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted you to know that I'm having a blog design giveaway at Barbara Leyne Designs.  

I used to be Ruby Slippers Blog Designs, but recently changed my name and platform.

I haven't had a design giveaway for a long time, so if you're thinking of changing up your look then now's the time.

It's super easy to enter. Just click the image here or the link above and you're good to go!

Thanks for stopping by!

28 Feb 2015

Color Feelings Book Review

Hi Everyone!

Have you seen the ColorFeelings series?

This is a collection of books aimed at helping young children identify and talk about their feelings. 

Dr. Rona Miles writes in the forward WHY this is an important skill: "...children who are able to recognize and express feelings have a much easier time forming friendships, navigating social situations, and managing their emotions."

I'm pretty sure that all teachers of young children would agree with that!

Author: Esther Adler
Illustrator: Shrutkirti Kaushal
Publisher: Bright Awareness Publications, 2014

Here's what I like most

1. The books are simple, but to the point, with colourful and uncluttered illustrations. They have a "colouring book" feel to them but are great because they focus completely on the topic; there are no distractions.

2. Each book focuses on one emotion at a time and associates that emotion with a specific colour and a particular animal. These animals appear in each other's stories, which adds a lovely continuity.

3. Each book also follows the same format. It introduces the feeling, associates it with a colour, talks about how it makes the character's body feel and gives lots of possible examples for the cause of that emotion. The books wrap up with ideas for coping with that particular feeling.

4. Each book includes worksheets for further exploration. I'm not a worksheet kinda gal, but these are open-ended enough that I can see myself using them.

My Classroom Experience

I introduced the series to my class beginning with Happy. Before I showed them the book, we watched Pharrell Williams' video "Happy".

After reading the book we talked a lot about feeling happy and then the kids wrote a response in their books.  "I feel happy when ...."

I've now read Happy, Love, Anger and Sad to my class. When I pulled out Anger yesterday they actually cheered. And a couple of kids even asked, "Do we get to write our response?"

While I'm reading the book aloud, I often pause and ask them to turn and talk to their partners. They love doing that and I like how it gives everyone a chance to talk and share their thoughts without taking up a whole lot of time.

Extension Activities

If you'd like a closer look at the books you can find them at Bright Awareness Publications

They also have a link to all the worksheets in the back of the books (examples below):

Another great extension would be to read My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss and follow it up with this colourful art activity! Thank you to Mrs. Maynard's Art Room for this idea.

For some more ideas that would work especially well with pre-schoolers and kindies, check out Liz's collection of ideas from Liz's Early Learning Spot.

That's it! Hope you enjoyed this book review. You can also find them on Amazon.

Disclosure: Bright Awareness Publications gave me these books in exchange for a book review. The opinions are all mine.

Have a great day!

17 Feb 2015

Art in Our School

Do you ever just wander around your building and admire the bulletin boards?

That's what I did last week and was just blown away by some of the beautiful art I saw.

Have a look!

Art by primary students at Lakewood Elementary
The art above was all done by some primary classes. Believe or not, that pastel panda at the very top was drawn by a girl in Grade 1 !

Art by intermediate students at Lakewood Elementary

These were created by some intermediate students. 

I really like the bear and wolf. Old music was used for those.

And the perspective drawings at the bottom are very cool.

Ted Harrison style paintings by students at Lakewood Elementary

But these Ted Harrison-style paintings are my absolute favourites!  I have several Harrison prints in my home and I never get tired of the vibrant colours.

Sadly, Mr. Harrison died a month ago, here in Victoria.  He'll be missed but not forgotten.

12 Feb 2015

Lots of Valentine ideas!

Panda Art

About a week ago I participated in a favourite pins linky and shared a pin of a heart-shaped panda. Well yesterday I was at a meeting so I asked my TOC to try them out!

Paper panda head made from heart shapes mounted on red paper

Paper panda head made from heart shapes mounted on pink paper

Cute, eh?

We decided to free-form it. So she gave the kids their paper, showed them how to fold it, and then demonstrated how to cut half a heart shape.

We BOTH thought it would be pretty easy for most of them. NOT! When I spoke to her later she said it was extremely difficult and that they were cutting in all sorts of weird places, and that she had to help at least half the class with EVERY SINGLE heart.

Funny thing is, when I asked my class this morning if they found it a bit hard they ALL, very firmly, told me that no, it was simple.  Haha!

I think this would be easy for Grade 2 but definitely don't try it with Kindergarten unless you have a lot of tracers on hand.

Candy Math

This morning I brought in some conversation hearts. I didn't show them to the kids right away. Instead, we played a game of Twenty Questions.

I changed the rules up a bit and told them they had to ask me 20 "clue" questions about what I had before they could guess what it actually was.

Chart stand showing the 20 Questions game that I played with my Grade 1 class. We used conversation hearts.

After they asked the question, I answered with a "yes" or a "no" and then write the info on the chart paper (and NO, the candies weren't sitting there while we played :)).

I starred all the clues that were the most helpful and we went over those. After that the kids figured it out fairly quickly.

Next up! We estimated how many there were. The kids all went back to their desks and wrote out their estimates.

Then we counted them in groups of 10s.

After that, I asked them to draw their groups of 10s and 1s and label them.

Recording our estimation and counting information

I modelled it first on the white board.

BTW, the reason those cards are there is because they're from our word wall. I brought them over to the white board for this little exercise to remind the kids that they need to use the word wall when they're doing their own writing.

Finally, I had them figure out how many candies each child could have. We have 24 kids in our class, so I doubled the number of candies.  

We shared some answers and strategies and finally one little bright light figured out they could have two candies each!

Student copy of conversation heart estimation and counting

Valentine Spelling

As part of spelling today I thought it would be fun to make Valentine spelling Cootie Catchers!

I naively figured it would take us about 30 minutes to make them and practice a few rounds.


It took us about 70 minutes. Sheesh!  But the kids were excited and had fun so it was all worth it.

We made cootie catchers to practice our spelling words

We made Cootie Catchers to practice our spelling words

Under the number flaps are 8 different sight/spelling words that they chose from the word wall.

Hope you can use some of these ideas.

Happy Valentines Day!