Earth Day {Books & Freebies}

Did you know that Earth Day is on a Friday this year?  That means you can be prepared for a week long study with your students on ways to help the environment.  Here are a few helpful books and resources to get you started!

Like most primary teachers, I build background knowledge using picture books (both fiction and nonfiction).  Here are some of the books in my Earth Day tub:

I also like to have an anchor chart prepared and ready to collect our ideas as we read:

As we read, I record ideas and information that students share on our anchor chart.  Since I often tie our writing lessons into themes and holidays, students use this as a reference tool during the writing block, too:

When I have a full week to focus on an upcoming holiday, I also tend to choose a chapter book for read aloud or for my guided reading groups.  I have two kid-friendly novels to share with you! 

First up is Cam Jansen and The Green School Mystery:

First and second graders love finding out just how this super-sleuth will solve her next case.  Throughout the week students are reading this book they might be doing comprehension checks after each chapter.

We also focus on vocabulary from the text.  I print vocabulary cards on bright paper so the words stand out in the pocket chart.

Once we have finished reading the text, we will play a little memory game with the words.  I print a second set of vocabulary cards on a different color.  The game seems easy, right?  Nope!  When the kids find a match, they must be able to either give a definition or use the word correctly in a sentence to keep the pair of cards!

When using this book as a read aloud, a graphic organizer is a wonderful tool to keep students focused on their purpose for reading.  Since Cam Jansen books are part of the mystery genre, students can focus their attention on the suspects, clues, and details about the mystery along the way.

All of these items (and so much more) can be found in this pack:

Next up is Ready, Freddy! Save the Earth.

Freddy is a boy many students can relate to and find connections with.  Like the Cam Jansen series, you can monitor comprehension after each chapter.  Sometimes we write the answers and sometimes I use them to get a book discussion going.

After completing some vocabulary games and activities, I love to check how well my students are understanding the vocabulary with a vocabulary match-up page.

You can find all of these resources (and much more) in this pack:

Sometimes you just need a little something extra, especially when a holiday is involved.  Do you remember those freebies I promised?  Here you go!

First up is an ABC order page.  This one has students working on looking to the second and third letter to determine the correct order.
 Next up is a word search.  You can liven things up by letting your students use blue and green crayons!
 Since April is poetry month, I've included an Earth Day acrostic poem template.  I suggest doing a whole class brainstorm on an anchor chart first.  You can use any of the books mentioned above to gather vocabulary and action words your students can use when writing their acrostic poem.
 Here's an example of a finished poem:

Click here to grab these Earth Day freebies:

Take a look at even more ideas for Earth Day on my Pinterest board. 

Enjoy your Earth Day!

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Rainbow Poems (A Quick and Easy Way to Brighten Your Room)

Spring is here, even if the weather here in the Pacific NW doesn't show it.  Since this is the time of year I usually started our weather study, it always seemed like a great excuse to write some rainbow poems to brighten up the classroom!

I started with a class brainstorm on an anchor chart.  Students shared different ideas for each color and I recorded them as we went:

Next, students headed back to their seats and began to write their poems.  Some years it was a super simple format (red is a ___) and other years we wrote similes (as red as a ___).
I love this rainbow graphic because it has room for all seven colors.  It comes from A Little Peace of Africa.  You can find it here.

One year I used this addition rainbow craft from Lita Lita as one of our math rotations.

 I figured we could do double duty and add our rainbow poems to the cloud.  You can see that some of my kids worked on the 2-digit problems included with the craft and others had 3-digit problems I added for them.You can get your own copy of this rainbow craft here.

These rainbow crafts would look great on a bulletin board or hanging from your ceiling.  This was always an easy, low-cost way to brighten the classroom and get students excited about our weather study.  Happy Teaching!

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Balanced Equations Freebie

Stopping by the blog today to share a little freebie with you.  This one has four pages of practice with balanced equations, each at a slightly different level of difficulty.

You can click here to grab this freebie.  If you are able to use these pages and want to see more, please let me know.  Happy Teaching!

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Junie B. Jones {Chapter Book Series}

Have you met Junie B. Jones?  She is quite a character!  She is strong-willed, determined, a little bossy, and a character your students will not only love, but also relate to.  Her book series follows her adventures through Kindergarten and first grade, but even second graders still love to curl up and get lost in her stories!  Today I'm here to share with you some resources you can use with your students while reading the Junie B. Jones book series.

One of the things I love about teaching is creating new tools to keep my students engaged, especially when tackling reading skills.  These reading response booklets will be a hit with your students and you can create them your way to ensure the skills your students need most are the skills they are practicing.

From the beginning, Junie B. Jones tells her readers that the B in her name stands for Beatrice.  Except she doesn't like Beatrice.  She likes the B and that is all.  Since the B is so important, I decided to include a B-shaped response booklet!

Do you remember when Junie B. learned she needed glasses in Junie B. Jones First Grader at Last? Since the glasses become an important part of Junie B.'s appearance, I thought it would be fun to include a glasses template, too!  You can print the templates onto colored paper or let the students decorate them.  You can also choose to turn them into sunglasses by adding black lenses.

Within each craft response booklet there are two options for the pages you can include.  One set of pages is already formatted with specific responses: characters, setting, problem/solution, silly sayings, favorite part, and a book review.
The second set of pages are more open-ended.  These pages have full writing lines, half picture/half writing lines, or a full picture page to choose from.  You can pick and choose how to use them as you read.  I use these pages for vocabulary work, main idea, visualizing, summaries, predictions, and more!

If you don't have time for crafts, you can print out the pages for these Junie B. Jones flip books.  Either trim them with the paper cutter or have your students cut them out.  Once they are cut you just need to stack & staple and you're ready to go!

You can find all of these goodies in this pack, A Look Through Junie B.'s Eyes:

If you love to use Junie B. Jones books with your guided reading groups or book clubs, you'll be happy to know that I have started a collection of book companions for the series.

Each book companion contains comprehension questions for each chapter, a themed-response page to match each book, and a handful of reading response sheets.  These book companions work well for guided reading groups, book clubs, partner work, and more!  You can check out all of my Junie B. Jones resources here.  I have plans to start a bundle of Junie B. book packs in the near future, so stay tuned!

If your students love Junie B. Jones, you should definitely check out her website:
This site is hosted by Random House and has information about the books, some activities, games, and even information about the author.

If you are looking for more resources for guided reading or book clubs, you should read this post about Cam Jansen:

Happy Reading!

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