Grade ONEderful: A First Grade Teaching Blog

Back to School Apple Book and Activities

I posted this last year, but I got so many views I thought maybe it was worth another look. This is a fabulous book for the beginning of the year.

This little gem was recommended to me by Barbara, from The Corner on Character.

I read it to my class last September and it was a BIG hit!

Title: Bad Apple ~ A Tale of Friendship
Author / Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2012
Recommended Age: 4-8
Genre: Fiction
Theme: Friendship, Kindness, Bullying

Opening Lines: "Mac was a good apple. He shared his toys with the other apples, helped Granny Smith pick up after art class, and loved to dive fearlessly into the watering hole."

Synopsis: Mac is a GOOD apple who learns to stand up to the bullies in the orchard when they start teasing him because of his new friend, Will the Worm.


1. A great interactive site called Kids Against Bullying. It's full of facts, strategies, games, and colouring sheets like this one:

2. Most people have heard of the Wrinkled Heart activity, but it's such a good one, it's worth mentioning again. I've done this activity for years and it really hits home with the kids. 

Essentially, you have the kids take turns crumpling a large heart, while they say something mean to an imaginary person. Then the heart is passed around again, but this time the kids say something kind and smooth out the heart.  Of course, even with all the smoothing and soothing, the heart is still wrinkled, just as a real heart would be after enduring some serious bullying. 

I love the idea of adding everyone's name on a band-aid. It helps to give ownership to the activity, and clearly demonstrates that "band-aid" fixes will NOT mend a broken and scarred heart. 

I don't have any pictures, but fortunately First Grade Wow! does.  I love how she also has a great little packet of activities to go along with the wrinkled heart.  Be sure to check it out.

3. Toothpaste Activity: This is also a very cool activity which clearly demonstrates that bad words cannot be taken back. Have a child squirt some toothpaste in a line along some paper. When they're finished, ask them to put the toothpaste back into the tube. Of course, it's impossible; just as it's impossible to take back unkind words. You can find this activity and more at The Bully Proof Classroom.  I'm pretty sure that Miss Trayers, from Not Just Child's Play, also blogged about this activity.

4. Here's very sweet little video clip for your enjoyment:

5. I also have an apple mosaic art activity that's not related to bullying, but IS very gorgeous. 

Directions: Give each child an apple sheet with a grid superimposed (click here for a copy). Have them use warm coloured crayons to colour the squares inside the apple, and cool coloured crayons for the squares outside the apple (this little artist used a yellowing green on the outside instead of the blue-greens, but it still looks pretty awesome!).

Before I gave them the sheet, I squared it all off with the paper cutter. I think it looks nicer this way AND there's not quite so much for their little hands to colour:)

Stay tuned 'cause I just finished making the cutest apple-themed labels. I'm just putting the finishing touches on them and they should be ready in a day or two.

In the meantime, you might like to visit my Pinterest APPLE board:

Follow Barbara Leyne's board Apples on Pinterest.

Adding a Link to Your TpT Store Header

Did you know you can add linked images to your store banner? How totally cool is that? Now you can bring bright and colourful attention to a specific product, your blog, a social account, your newsletter ... whatever you like!

Here's what my store banner looks like:

My Teacher's Pay Teachers banner

Directions for Creating Your OWN Linked Banner:


Make your image. It doesn't need to be fancy. You could grab a screen shot from your store and add some text. I made mine in Photoshop Elements but you can also make it in Power Point or Pages.
The main things to remember are:
a) the image needs to be 450 by 150 px ( 4.6 x 1.5 inches) and
b) you need to save it as a png file so that the background is transparent.


Upload your png image so that you can grab the image source url.
There are a couple of ways you can do this.

You can upload it to a free site like Photobucket.share-link
Click on the highlighted area beside "Direct" to copy the source url.


You can upload the image to a new blog post (which you WON'T publish).  Once the image is uploaded, switch from "compose" mode to "HTML" mode.
In HTML mode you'll be able to grab the code you need. It looks a little scary if you're not used to it, but just look for "src" and copy the code after that (I've highlighted it below). Make sure you get it all, but DON'T grab the quote marks.


Here's what I ended up with:


Next step is to shorten the url because the one above is just UGLY, but more importantly, TpT requires that the code you're going to place on their site has no more than 120 characters.

Go to  This is a free service and you don't even need to register. Just plunk your image URL (from above) into the TinyURL box, click "Make TinyURL!" and you'll end up with, well ... a tiny URL.

Here's my new one:

That's MUCH nicer, isn't it?


Copy the URL for whatever you'd like your new banner to link up to. Mine links up to my social icons category.

Once you have it, go back to and do exactly what you did in Step Three.


Take a deep breath ... we're almost done :)

Copy the code below and paste your two new TINY URLs into the red and blue areas.

Mine looks like this:


Go to your store, go to dashboard and at the very top you'll see a spot to edit your profile.

Just click on that link and then plug your new code into "Personal Quote". If you did it correctly then you'll see your new image!  If not, then double check your codes. Even the teeniest tiniest omission will mess things up.

Congratulations, you did it!

Let me know how it turns out for you. I LOVE comments:)

August Pinterest Linky

I'm joining Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner for another Pinterest Party Linky. It's pretty simple: Just post and share your favourite three August pins.

My pins this month are all activities I want to do with my outgoing class in September. I like to do fun and easy art projects because ... well, they're fun and easy:)

Isn't this first pin beautiful! I just LOVE those colours.  This comes from Growing a Jeweled Rose and is a very easy recipe using shaving cream. My class is going to adore this art lesson.

ice cold freezie paint recipe from pinterest originally from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Click to visit my pin

My second pin is from Crafty Morning. I love the texture of the leaves. And it's so easy to get with the scrub brush. This would be a great art project to do by pulling the kids over to a small group table during free play.

fall tree using scrub brush for beautiful texture originally from Crafty Morning
Click to view my pin

My third pin is from The Reading Corner. Renee has tons of great stuff on her blog, most of which is totally free. I really love all her math games, too.

I thought her Warm Hands Cool Air art was quite unique. It looks fairly easy for little ones to do, although I think I'd probably give them a photocopy of a hand shape and then let them draw their own circles. I always find that the younger kids want to trace their fingers too closely to their skin so they end up with these funny skinny hands.

Warm Hands Cool Air art project originally from The Reading Corner
Click to view my pin

Visit Barbara Leyne's profile on Pinterest.

Beautiful Blogger Template Sale

I'm participating in the August 3-4th TpT sale. Everything, including my blog templates, are 28% off, starting tomorrow. And that includes free installation!!

Just remember to use this code at checkout: BTS15

Have you seen the templates yet?

I have 6 now. And I'm very happy to customize some fonts and colours. You'll get more info if you click on the images. Plus you can see a live demo.

Premade Blogger Design by Barbara Leyne Apple themed in aqua red purple green

Premade Blogger Design by Barbara Leyne Chocolate, Pink, Mint, Gold

Premade Blogger Design by Barbara Leyne Hearts, Pink, Green, Orange, Blue

Premade Blogger Design by Barbara Leyne Stripes, Bright Blue, Hot Pink, Lime Green

Premade Blogger Design by Barbara Leyne Pink and Gray Chevrons, Deep Purple

Premade Blogger Design by Barbara Leyne Simple, Elegant, Pretty, Purple, Gray, White

And don't forget to sign up for my Monthly newsletter (click below). For August you have the chance to win a $10 gift certificate to either TpT or Amazon! Plus, there's a 50% discount at my Etsy store, a BIG clipart freebie, and some very handy blogging tips. But the giveaway, discount and freebie only last for a week. So get right on it:)

Take care!

Perfect Picture Book Review: Dogfish

Dogfish by Gillian Shields A book review by Grade ONEderful

I was given this delightful book as an end-of-year gift by one of my sweet students. I really enjoyed reading it and hopefully you do, too!

Dogfish by Gillian Shields

Illustrated by Dan Taylor

Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008

Opening Lines:  

Everyone has a dog ... except me.


Dogfish is a charming story about a little boy who desperately wants a dog. But mom doesn't understand his desire because why would he need a dog when he has a perfectly good goldfish? 

The first half of the book, as you would expect, is full of reasons why the boy SHOULD have a dog, and counter-arguments by mom. 

But here's where it gets interesting ... the boy realizes mom is standing her ground, so he figures he might as well make the best of the situation and he decides to start teaching his goldfish dog tricks. It's a lot of work, but eventually they succeed and he quickly learns to appreciate his goldfish (there are many many advantages, after all, to having a fish over a dog :)) But more importantly, the goldfish is now loved and feeling "utterly, totally" blissful. Can I hear an "Awww"?

Why I Like This Book:

Besides the cute illustrations there are a couple of reasons why I think this book is a very worthwhile read. I LOVE that mom doesn't give into the boy's demands. She stands her ground and says to her young son, "Well, if you can't have what you want, you could try to want what you have."

Isn't that the most perfect thing to say? 

And happily, the boy takes mom's message to heart and learns to appreciate the pet he already has. He gives his little fish tons of attention and the fish, of course, blossoms with all this love.

I think this is an important message, not just for kids, but for everyone! Learn to love and appreciate what you already have. Learn to be grateful.

Follow-Up Activities:

1. Grand Conversation: Take the time to talk to the kids about the author's big message (which, by the way, is very obvious, but not in-your-face). I love having these big circle conversations ... the kids usually surprise me with their depth of understanding.

2. Write: I think it would be fun and worthwhile to ask the kids to think of something (a toy or a pet) and list all the reasons why they're grateful for that toy or pet. Or better yet, start a gratitude journal! They could write in it once a week.

3. Learn How to Draw a Goldfish: I have to say, I've seen some of the strangest fish drawings in my career as a Grade 1 teacher. Click on the pic below for an easy tutorial.

Learn How to Draw Goldfish

4. Fish Weaving: Here's a fun art project for K's and 1's from Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists (just click the pic for directions).

Fish Weave: Art lesson for Grade 1

5. Be Inspired Mama has some lovely tips for teaching kids gratitude. One idea she mentions is a gratitude tree. That would be easy and fun to set up in the classroom. Here's a beautiful tree from Simply Vintage Girl (click the pic).

The Thankful Tree. This would be great to have in the classroom.

Three years ago I posted a link to a photo essay of children's bedrooms from around the world. It clearly shows the disparity in wealth AND values. This could be another good starting point for a gratitude discussion.

Blogger Tutorial: Backing Up Your Blog

If you've put years, or even months or weeks of hard work into your blog, then you're going to want to back it up. You know ....  just in case! There could be a server failure, maybe you accidentally delete your blog, or perhaps you've been falsely reported for violating Blogger's terms of service and you're shut down. It happens.

If you have a Blogger blog, then follow along. It's super simple.

1. Go to your dashboard.  See the little wrench on the bottom left? That's your "Settings". Click on it.

2. When you click on "Settings" it will open a fly-down menu. Click on "Other".

3. Now you'll be looking at this image. Just click on "Export blog".

4.  This pops up next. All you have to do is click "Download Blog".

5. After you click "Download Blog" you'll be given the option of where you'd like to save your blog copy.  You can save it to your desk top, hard drive, wherever you like. I usually change the title so it's a little more specific. For example, I'd add GO or GradeONEderful to the beginning because I have several blogs. Be sure to keep ".xml". 

If anything happens to your blog you now have a copy of your posts. To upload them you just repeat the first two steps. In step 3 be sure to click on "Import Blog", then upload the copy you've saved.

Don't forget to download a new copy every couple of months or so.

Hope this is helpful to someone. Have a great day!

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Water Colour Social Icons

I spent yesterday painting some hearts with my new watercolour paints and then figuring out how to scan and digitalize them!

THAT was an experience:)

And when I was all finished I "found myself" with some new social icons.

There are 8 different colours to choose from. All the icons are 50 px wide which is the perfect size (I think) for putting in your blog side bar.

But I know that lots of people who buy my icons also use them in their teacher product pages.

If you're thinking of adding new icons to your blog but aren't sure how to do it, I have an easy tutorial at BL Designs.

Thanks for reading! And before you go, I have a few FREE icons for you. These ones are black and white squares ... very fashionable.

First Nations Mural

I took photos of these breathtaking native murals on a recent walk through downtown Victoria (my home town). 

They're part of a 250-metre long panel of First Nations murals that were erected in a celebratory countdown to the completion of an 11-year-old undertaking to clean up the very toxic land and seabed of Rock Bay.

The murals, running along Pembroke and Government Street, are a reminder to keep our land clean and healthy. They were painted by 16 members of a First Nations youth group and were based on the designs of  Butch Dick and Darlene Gait.

They are absolutely stunning and bring a much-needed beauty to a less-than-pristine area of our city.