"Show Me How" Book Review!


A little while ago I received an amazing new book written by a new blog friend of mine, Vivian Kirkfield.  I just wrote a review for her on Amazon, which I've included here.

Please consider buying her book ... it really is worthwhile. I'm going to be using it both in my classroom and with my grandson when he's a little older.



You can buy her book from Amazon or find it here, as well.

My review:

If you're a parent, grandparent or teacher of young kids (think preschool to Grade 2) you will have a blast with this book. 

Show Me How! is one of the best kid resources I've seen in a long while. The focus of Vivian's book is to boost your child's esteem through stories, cooking and crafts. Sounds like fun? It is!! 

Most children love to muck about with crafts and food, and to combine these two activities with storybooks is brilliant. Vivian has done an outstanding job teaming 100 picture books with simple, cheap crafts (e.g., star charts, popsicle stick puppets and paper bag pigs) and healthy snacks (e.g., Smokeball Mashed Potatoes and Soft-Baked Owl-Eyes Pretzels). 

She features lovely old classics like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Carrot Seed  as well as newer texts like David Gets in Trouble and Hurty Feelings). 

There are six long chapters, each arranged around a particular theme, from "I Can Do It Myself!" to "I'm Afraid" and "I Like Myself". Each story includes publishing information, a brief summary, a positive parenting tip, room for making notes, and of course the accompanying craft and recipe. 

In addition to a detailed table of contents, there's also a separate index for stories, recipes and crafts, which makes it super easy to find what you're looking for. 

I'm so glad I have a copy of this book. I'll be using it in my Grade 1 classroom and with my new grandson. 

Thank you, Vivian!




A Photo Essay

I just came across this provocative photo essay by James Mollison. He photographed children's bedrooms from around the world. What really struck me was the disparity in wealth, but it also made me wonder about the differences in families' values and priorities. I think it speaks volumes about the state our world.

Click on the image below to have a look at Mollison's photos. They're amazing.



Bear Triaramas

Happy Boxing Day! I hope everyone had a happy and peaceful Christmas :)

Just before our holiday break, we wrapped up our bear unit with these triaramas. My fabulous TOC supervised (I was home sick). I thought the kids did an amazing job! Their task was to draw their bear's habitat. I think maybe the polar bears under the Northern Lights are my favourites, but I'm loving the little panda bears, too :)

Panda bear in bamboo forest

Polar bear under Northern lights (about to attack seal)

Brown bear in the mountains of BC

Vancouver Island black bear

The kids made the bears using Crayola Model Magic.


You can get it in different colours, but we chose white. The kids with the panda and polar bears used black markers for the final details. The brown and black bears were painted. We used water colours, but next time I'll splurge and buy acrylics.

If you've never used Model Magic before, it's definitely worth the money. It's super easy to manipulate, air dries fairly quickly and is lovely and light.

A couple of the legs fell off (we just reglued) so next time I might encourage the kids to make their bears from one piece of clay.

The triaramas were made from a large 11 x 14 piece of paper, cut down into an 11 inch square.


If you're working with kindies or Grade 1s, you'll want to fold the paper for them (from corner to corner as you can see above). Then cut from one corner into the centre.  It's super easy. Just make sure the kids do all their colouring while the paper is still flat. When ready, just slide one side of the cut section onto the other side and glue together.

I love doing triaramas (they're way easier than getting everyone to bring in shoe boxes for dioramas) because it's such a fun way to review the needs of bears.  I hope you give it a try!




What Are Your Goals?


I'm linking up with Jessica at What I Have Learned.



I'm a big one for setting goals ALL the time! Not that I meet them all, but I love trying. I love the purpose it gives me.

I currently have two holiday goals:

1) To keep working on my Illustrator tutorials and master this new software ... which BTW, I absolutely love!!



2) To try and not sweat the small stuff. I always get uptight about dumb stuff like an untidy house or not meeting my goals -- ha! I'm going to try hard to let it all go ... and am just going to enjoy my sons, daughters-in-law, husband, mom and new grandbaby.

Image from Curiosities by Dickens


Happy goal setting to you!



4 Last Minute Gift Ideas: DIY for Kids

4 Last Minute Gift Ideas: DIY for Kids


* This is an updated post :)

As it gets closer to Christmas you might be scrambling for some quick and easy gifts for your kids to make for their parents, grandparents, or any other significant people in their lives.

If that's the case, then you're going to love these DIY gifts! You need to purchase a few supplies but nothing's too expensive and they're all easy to make and beautiful to look at.  Not to mention, very useful, too!

These 4 adorable gifts can easily be made at home with your own children or at school. I think these gifts are perfect for 3 to 7 year olds to make.

Let's get started!

1. Candle Holder


Last Minute Gift Ideas: DIY for kids. 3 quick, fun and easy gifts for kids to make. A candle holder, fridge magnets, bookmarks and Santa card. #gradeonederful #giftideas #christmasgifts #giftskidscanmakeforchristmas

Aren't these candle holders sweet?

These ones were actually made last year by our little grandson when he was 5 years old.

Supplies:
  1. Mason jars
  2. Self-stick foam Christmas stickers: I usually buy mine at Michaels but Amazon has lots, too. Just be sure they're not too big or they won't stick as well to the jar.
  3. Wide ribbon
  4. Glue gun: At school I always use the little glue guns because they don't get quite as hot as the big one.
  5. Little candles
Instructions:
  1. Just let the kids stick the stickers to the jar. 
  2. When it's decorated then an adult will need to hot glue the wide ribbon to the top of the jar.
  3. Pop a candle in and you're done!

2. Fridge Magnets or Touch Stones

Last Minute Gift Ideas: DIY for kids. 3 quick, fun and easy gifts for kids to make. A candle holder, fridge magnets, bookmarks and Santa card. #gradeonederful #giftideas #christmasgifts #giftskidscanmakeforchristmas

Last Minute Gift Ideas: DIY for kids. 3 quick, fun and easy gifts for kids to make. A candle holder, fridge magnets, bookmarks and Santa card. #gradeonederful #giftideas #christmasgifts #giftskidscanmakeforchristmas

I made these this morning and it only took me about 10 minutes to make all five magnets.

This project would be super easy to do in the classroom and the materials are cheap enough that you could let the kids make a few magnets each.

Supplies:
  1. Translucent glass pebbles:  Use 3/4" to 1" in diameter with a flat bottom and round top.
  2. Circle hole punch:  This is optional. But if you use one, make sure it's the same size or slightly smaller in diameter than your glass pebbles.
  3. Mod Podge:  Be sure to get the gloss finish.
  4. Scrapbook paper, high quality wrapping paper, or the childrens' artwork (a piece they don't mind cutting up).
  5. Magnets: You need something small but powerful if you want to turn these into fridge magnets.
Directions:
  1. Choose your paper
  2. Use the hole punch to cut out a circle OR just trace your pebble onto the back of your paper and carefully cut out with scissors
  3. Add some Mod Podge to the top of the circle cut-out. I just used my finger. You want a light coat that covers the entire right-side of the circle.
  4. Place the circle under the flat bottom part of the glass pebble 
  5. When the Mod Podge is dry use a glue gun to attach your magnet

 

3. Watercolor Bookmarks


Last Minute Gift Ideas: DIY for kids. 3 quick, fun and easy gifts for kids to make. A candle holder, fridge magnets, bookmarks and Santa card. #gradeonederful #giftideas #christmasgifts #giftskidscanmakeforchristmas

Watercolor bookmarks are so much fun to make.  There's really nothing that can go wrong with these.

They're quick and easy to do, and they only take a little bit of drying time.

Supplies:
  1. Watercolor paper:  I like to use Arches cold press, 140 lbs. I buy single sheets at one of our local art shops, but if you don't have access to a shop then it's easy to order on-line. The paper can be a little expensive, but the nice thing is you don't need a lot.
  2. Watercolor paints:  I just use a cheap set of Prangs that I bought at Michaels. They actually have amazingly bright colours!  If you're doing this in the classroom, then I would buy just one set and call over two or three kids at a time to paint their bookmarks.
  3. Watercolor brushes
  4. Hole punch (optional)
  5. Raffia or gold cord (optional)
  6. Table salt (optional)
Directions:
  1. Tear your paper into the appropriate size. I like the torn look, but obviously you can cut them to size with scissors if that's your preference. Two of mine are 1.75 x 7.5 inches and one of them is 1.5 inches wide.
  2. Wet the bookmark completely with your brush. Don't leave any dry spots, but also don't leave puddles.
  3. Use your brush to add some colours of your choice. Be sure to use lots of paint and not much water and watch the colours blend together. You don't need to paint a specific image; they look great with random drops of colour.
  4. If you'd like to add some interesting texture, then sprinkle a bit of table salt on the wet paint and watch what happens. Leave it there until everything is dry.
  5. When the bookmark is dry, brush off the salt, punch a hole in one end and tie a bow with your choice of raffia or gold cord. Skinny ribbon would probably work well, too!

 

4. Hand Print Santa Card

Last Minute Gift Ideas: DIY for kids. 3 quick, fun and easy gifts for kids to make. A candle holder, fridge magnets, bookmarks and Santa card. #gradeonederful #giftideas #christmasgifts #giftskidscanmakeforchristmas

I always like hand print crafts because they make such lovely keepsakes.

Supplies:

  1. green paper
  2. red paper
  3. googly eyes
  4. scissors
  5. glue
  6. red, white, pink and black tempera paint
Directions:
  1. Paint your child's palm and fingers with white paint.
  2. Place their hand on a folded green piece of paper (I usually use construction paper).
  3. Cut out a little red hat (I always let the kids free-form it).
  4. When the paint is dry glue on the hat.
  5. Use fingers to dab on the pink cheeks, black mouth, red nose, and white fluff on Santa's hat.
  6. Glue on two googly eyes.

BTW, if you're interested in the little stocking ornaments, they're made of foam and came from Michaels. I did an on-line search and couldn't find the same ones, but Oriental Trading has lots of Christmas ornament kits you might like.

You might also like this roundup of Christmas gifts.

WE ALSO MADE GINGERBREAD HOUSES!


One of the Christmas activities we did last week were these adorable gingerbread houses. You definitely need to purchase this from Tangled Up in Teaching.

Before we made the houses, we read the Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett.


When the book was finished, I gave the kids a piece of paper full of ornaments. They chose a selection to colour and then glued them onto their little houses.

The house was then glued onto the sheet of paper you can see below.




It was a fun, easy activity that also involved some graphing (see below). And, dare I say, it took my kids quite a while to complete (most of the morning) so it's one of those perfect lessons during the last crazy week before Christmas.


If you'd like to make these sweet houses you'll need to buy it from Tangled Up in Teacher ($2.75).

May all your Christmas shopping be finished:)

Pin Me, Please:)
Last Minute Gift Ideas: DIY for kids. 3 quick, fun and easy gifts for kids to make. A candle holder, fridge magnets, bookmarks and Santa card. #gradeonederful #giftideas #christmasgifts #giftskidscanmakeforchristmas

This post contains affiliate links, at no cost to you :)

Thanks for stopping by!


 https://madmimi.com/signups/129629/join

The Dog Who Found Christmas

The Dog Who Found Christmas: 

Introducing one of my favourite Christmas stories for kids!

The Dog Who Found Christmas. This is one of my favourite Christmas stories for kids. This is a book review post with several book-related activities. Perfect for K to 3 students. #storiesforkids #christmasbook #thedogwhofoundchristmas #kidsbooks #gradeonederful

I'm excited to share with you one of my all-time favourite Christmas books! 

Author: Linda Jennings
Illustrator: Catherine Walters
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books, 1993
Themes: Dogs, Pets, Compassion, Empathy

Opening Lines

"When Buster was a little puppy, he had to leave his mother and go to a new home. At first, his new family petted him and called him cute. But as Buster grew from a puppy into a little dog, things began to go wrong."

Synopsis

This special book is all about a sweet little dog (just look at that face!) called Buster, who grows up to be not quite the adorable puppy he was when he was little.

His family abandons him on Christmas Eve. Yes! This part is definitely sad and all the kids are wide-eyed and worried at the beginning of the book.

But it has a VERY happy ending and is worth reading.

Why I LOVE It

This is a story that young children can easily relate to. Everyone feels so sad for Buster when he's heartlessly dumped on the side of a road. I think it's important for kids to know what can happen to animals if they're not properly loved and cared for. This book is an excellent springboard into discussions about having compassion for all creatures.

The Dog Who Found Christmas. This is one of my favourite Christmas stories for kids. This is a book review post with several book-related activities. Perfect for K to 3 students. #storiesforkids #christmasbook #thedogwhofoundchristmas #kidsbooks #gradeonederful

Book-Related Activities:

  1. Grand Conversation: Talk to the kids about what the family could have done instead of abandoning their pet. There are so many more humane solutions and you'll be surprised at how many great ideas your kids will come up with (i.e., learn how to be a better pet owner, train Buster how to behave, give him to someone else, sell him). After your discussion you could have your students draw a picture showing a kinder solution to Buster's situation.
  2. SPCA Field Trip: Phone up your local SPCA and arrange a field trip OR invite them into your classroom to talk to the kids about the responsibilities involved when looking after a pet.
  3. The American Kennel Club has 101 suggestions for being a responsible dog owner.
  4. The BC SPCA has a number of free lessons you can download. There's one for K-2 students called Kindness Counts which focusses on empathy, caring and respect for animals.
  5. Cesar's Way has lots of quick, easy, and healthy dog treat recipes. My dog would go absolutely crazy over the frozen peanut butter yogurt treats.
  6. If you're trying to train your dog, Your Dog Advisor has collection of the best treats ever!


Looking for more Christmas ideas? Be sure to CLICK HERE for tons of ideas!

You can also find some more great Christmas books by clicking on the button below (this is a linky by First Grade Found Me).


Happy Reading!


Check out all my book reviews for kids!

 https://madmimi.com/signups/129629/join

Gingerbread Fun & Freebies

Gingerbread Fun and Freebies


Hi Everyone!

Like a lot of teachers I'm also doing a gingerbread unit. Ours is for the last week of school only but I'm very excited about it cause we all know how much fun it is!

For our Xmas concert next week our class is teaming up with our buddies in Grade 1 and 2 to sing "The Gingerbread Man" by Cookie Monster.

This song is so darn cute and my kids are LOVIN' it!!

 
 
 
This is our poem for the week (click on image).
Gingerbread Fun and Freebies. Super cute gingerbread song and free printable poem. Plus 2 gingerbread math freebies and a spelling/writing activity. #gingerbreadman #christmas #gradeonederful

This cute little math sheet is from Jennifer at Herding Kats in Kindergarten (click on the image). It's perfect for my Grade 1s because we've just begun our addition and subtraction unit to 12. (In BC our entire first term is all about number sense. We delay addition/subtraction for a bit.)


Gingerbread Fun and Freebies. Super cute gingerbread song and free printable poem. Plus 2 gingerbread math freebies and a spelling/writing activity. #gingerbreadman #christmas #gradeonederful

You can also grab this gingerbread fact family activity from Herding Kats in Kindergarten. Thank you, Jennifer!! If you click on the image it will take you to her TpT page (it's free).

Gingerbread Fun and Freebies. Super cute gingerbread song and free printable poem. Plus 2 gingerbread math freebies and a spelling/writing activity. #gingerbreadman #christmas #gradeonederful


I made this sentence scrambler last year. I should really do a set of them but ... so much to do and so little time :)
Gingerbread Fun and Freebies. Super cute gingerbread song and free printable poem. Plus 2 gingerbread math freebies and a spelling/writing activity. #gingerbreadman #christmas #gradeonederful

Looking for more gingerbread fun?






Have a sweet day!

 Pin me, please :)
Gingerbread Fun and Freebies. Super cute gingerbread song and free printable poem. Plus 2 gingerbread math freebies and a spelling/writing activity. #gingerbreadman #christmas #gradeonederful


 https://madmimi.com/signups/129629/join

Bear Freebies from my Week

Bear Freebies From My Week

We've been hard at work on a bear unit. 

We spent a week working on bear posters. The kids worked in groups of their choice to learn more about polar bears, panda bears, black bears or brown bears. First we graphed their favourite bears:


Then they spent a week gathering information and writing their sloppy copies:



Finally they turned out these glorious pieces!





You can grab your own copy of the template we used by clicking on the image below.


Here's the cute poem we worked with last week (you can also click and grab).


We also made buttermilk biscuit bears. As you can imagine, this was a HUGE hit! And it was super easy. All I did was buy two packages of Pillsbury buttermilk biscuit dough and give everyone a chunk of dough (one pre-cut biscuit per child). I had to show some of the kids how to shape the bear, but most of them were in there like dirty shirts.


The only thing I would do differently is use M & M's or smarties for the face. I used chocolate covered raisins and they didn't work out all that well.

I took pictures of everyone holding their biscuit bear. So tomorrow the kids are going to glue their photos to a piece of paper and write about the baking process.



Click on the image to grab. There's also a blank version for the stronger writers in your class.

Have a great week!

Bear Freebies from my Week. Lots of ideas and freebies for a bear unit in a first grade class. #bears #learningaboutbears #bearfreebies #gradeonederful


More bear ideas here!


 https://madmimi.com/signups/129629/join

Snow Bear

Hi Everybody! 
 
Brrr...it's actually starting to get cold now in my part of the world. I was half-expecting to see snow on the Malahat. We can see the tippy-top of the small mountain range from our kitchen window. But nope! Not yet. 
 
It's also Perfect Picture Book Friday!  Susanna hosts this fun linky once a week. You can find TONS of other books on her blog.

Snow Bear book review and follow-up activities you don't want to miss! #snowbear #snowbears #polarbears #booksforkids #gradeonederful

Title: Snow Bear
Author: Jean Craighead George
Illustrator: Wendell Minor
Publisher: Scholastic, 2000
Intended Audience: 4 to 8
Theme/Topic: Inuit, Polar Bears, Family

Summary from AmazonWhen Bessie decides to explore a frozen ice ship one morning, she finds a new playmate—a baby polar bear. Snow Bear and Bessie are instant friends, but Bessie’s brother and Snow Bear’s mother are worried. The grown-ups wait and watch the little ones play until something happens that will break up the happy pair. With simple text and lavish illustrations, this Arctic picture book will warm readers’ hearts.

I left my book at school so I don't have the opening lines for you :(

Why I Like It: This book totally reminds me of Blueberries for Sal. While the story is improbable (a child playing with a real live polar cub), it's still charming, winsome and full of drama. The paintings are exquisite and realistic. It also leads to great discussions about the similarities between bears and people (i.e., the love and desire to protect).

Links to Resources:

 Click image above to watch youtube video


The pics below are from the video. It's definitely worth showing to your class.




Artwork:





This cutie below is from Artventurous. I just had to grab it and update my post. I LOVE it! Be sure to pop over to this fabulous art blog. She's brand new and has some GREAT stuff!



Enjoy!

Check out all my book reviews for kids!

Interested in more books about snow bears?

 


 https://madmimi.com/signups/129629/join