Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Is Everyone Ready for Fun?

Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas

This book is a lot of fun for young kids! Three cows are looking for some fun! They jump, dance, and wiggle on Chicken's couch. But each time, Chicken gets so mad at them. This book would be very interactive for children because each time the cows do something on the couch, the reader is encouraged to do it too. At the very end, the cows are so exhausted that they have to take a nap! And Chicken's ready for one too!

I would love to read this book with the kindergarteners in my student teaching classroom but I think it would be more appropriate for the beginning of the year. The text is very easy. All the words are big and thick so students can easily see them. Sight words are written in bold text in opposite colors than the background colors. I also really liked how colorful and clear the pictures are.

Jan Thomas is the author and illustrator of many other children's picturebooks as well. On her website, you can also find a bunch of activities that the author has created for using with most of her books. Another book of hers that looks really cute is Rhyming Dust Bunnies and it's sequel, Here Comes the Big Mean Dust Bunny. These books would both be great for working on rhyming words or word families with students. I'm really excited to find out about this author and look forward to using it in my future classroom!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day! and My First FREEBIE!

I hope everyone had a lovely Earth Day! I created and uploaded my first product to Teachers pay Teachers last night for Earth Day. I hope you all will check it out and use it this week with your students! :)

This Recycle It! FREEBIE activity was created to integrate Earth Day, recycling, and tallying work. Students will mark a tally for each piece of recyclable material. They will then count the tallies and make their graph. I'm going to use this activity on Thursday when we talk specifically about the last of the 3 R's... Recycling!

Today we read It's Earth Day by Mercer Mayer. I loved the Little Critter books when I was a little girl! And this book was just as cute as I remember all of the books being. In this book, Little Critter is on a mission to save the polar bears from global warming. He learns all about how he can save the planet and the polar bears. He learns that he needs to shut off lights and electronics when he's not using them. He also helps Little Sister save the Earth by turning off the water when she brushes her teeth. Little Critter recycles plastic, paper, and cans with his friends. He finally tries to create his own Climate Control Machine to cool down the planet and save the polar bears. Unfortunately, it doesn't work, but his family became the Climate Control Machines because they started taking better care of the Earth and conserving resources!

My students did a great job brainstorming and identifying things that were good and bad for the Earth! I had them create these awesome "Earth Day Promises" from Cara Carroll today too.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

This is the story of a little girl named Chrysanthemum. Her parents picked her name because it was absolutely perfect, just like their daughter. Chrysanthemum also loved her name and knew it was absolutely perfect until she started school.

Her classmates at school made fun of Chrysanthemum's name because it was too long and she was named after a flower. Chrysanthemum came home from school every day upset. Her parents tried to cheer her up and reassure her that her name was absolutely perfect, just as she was. It wasn't until the class met the music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle, that Chrysanthemum accepted her name once again. All the students adored Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Twinkle's first name was also long and the name of a flower. Her name was Delphinium. She told her students that if her baby ended up being a girl, she was considering naming her Chrysanthemum. All the students who had once made fun of her decided they liked her name and gave themselves flower nicknames. Chrysanthemum was so happy and knew that her name was absolutely perfect.

I think this is a great book to read with young children going to school. It would help them understand that other people get made fun of, but what is really important is how you deal with it. This book is great for children, but it's also entertaining for adults reading it. The author named the books that Chrysanthemum's father is reading "The Inner Mouse Vol. 1: Childhood Anxiety" and "A Rose By Any Other Name... Understanding Identity" which are titles that children might not understand.

There is a lot of repetition in this book which I think would help students be able to predict what was going to happen next. The students make fun of Chrysanthemum in the morning, at nap time, Victoria says something mean, and then lining up to go home, Victoria says something mean again. When she gets home, her parents reassure her, they eat, hug, and play Parcheesi.

The illustrations in this book are very colorfully made with watercolor paints and a black pen. All the
illustrations are contained in boxes on each page. Many of the pages in the front have pictures that follow a succession. When she grows up, there are various pictures from her childhood. When it talks about how much she loves her name in all the ways that she loves it, there are pictures to represent each.

The author, Kevin Henkes, has written many many other children's books. He is the author of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse and Owen, a Caldecott Honor Book. Many of his books are about little mouse characters growing up and dealing with problems that other young children may be facing.

I thought this book was really cute and I look forward to reading it to my student teaching class soon!