Best Vocab-Building Book: Fancy Nancy

I’m obsessed with kids books… especially picture books. I have heard about Fancy Nancy (by Jane O’Connor) for a few years now, but I recently “tested them out” and read through a few of them.

OH. MY. WORD.

They’re awesome! Not only are the illustrations adorable, but the voice in them is full of fun personality, AAAAAND she uses awesome vocabulary!  So, now my toddler has been going around calling purple “fuchsia” and cupcakes “delectable”. (Yeah, what kid under 3 has THAT kind of vocabulary?! Thank you, Fancy Nancy!) Here’s an example:

Most of the beginning reader books have a page of “fancy words” in them. My toddler insists on reading this page too (because it has a cute illustration?) so we get a vocab review at the end of the story and I don’t even have to ask for it! WIN WIN!

Click here to grab a copy for your classroom (and get started expanding your students’ vocabulary without even trying!):


(This is the one I took pictures of above!)


(This is the original Fancy Nancy book.)

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Google Voice Typing Tool

Google has a tool that will turn your spoken dialogue into written text on Google tools. This can help ALL grade levels.
Ways to Use this Tool:
– ESL Students who can speak English (not write) can communicate in a written way
 – Anecdotal note-taking for behavior tracking
– Record student’s spoken explanations

How it Works:
Open a document in Google Docs.
Click the “Tools” button: Voice typing. …
When you’re ready to speak, click the microphone that pops up on the left side of the page. Speak clearly, at a normal volume and pace.
To end the voice typing, simply click on the red microphone again.
Here’s an article explaining more (and image source).

Adjectives Review (3rd Grade)

This is a quick worksheet I have used with my third graders for a review of adjectives.  I use this as one of my quick reviews when my kids come in from lunch or special area classes to help them quickly focus and be ready for our next activity.  I put it on their desk before they come back in the classroom, so they know to quickly get to work.  I’ve put two copies on a page so you can use half the paper.

Click here to download the free PDF: Adjective review – Little Red Riding Hood

 

Click here to view more grammar freebies!

Don’t Eat Pete – Most-Requested Kid Game in My Classroom!

This game has been a classic in my classroom, so it’s worth talking about again.  I have used Don’t Eat Pete for holiday parties for years.  I change the “game board” to fit the holiday with stickers or cutouts.  It takes about 5 minutes to make.  Get a colored piece of paper.  Mentally divide the paper in 9 squares – 3 rows and 3 columns.  Put a sticker or cutout in each “square”.  Number the stickers or cutouts 1 to 9.  Laminate it if you want it to last, or put it in a sheet protector.  Now you are ready to play.  3 – 10 kids sit around the game board.  The adult or moderator puts an M & M, chocolate chip, Cheerio, or whatever on each sticker. the “guesser” leaves the area.  Another person points to a number.  That number is “Pete”.  The “guesser” comes back and starts taking the M & M’s (or Cheerios, or whatever) off the board and gets to eat them.  When the guesser touches “Pete”, everyone yells, “Don’t Eat Pete” and the guesser’s turn is over.  The guesser eats the last one he got called out on to keep it sanitary!  My kids request this activity every party! My own kids at home have loved this too!
Here’s a photo of the Valentine’s Day one I have. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be crazy fancy or “Pinterest worthy” to be super fun.
Maybe I’ll try and make you some printable Don’t Eat Pete boards…

Paper Plate Heart Wreath Written Directions for Centers

The “paper plate wreath” as an art project has been around for decades. I found these directions in my mom’s teaching files from when she taught second grade thirty years ago (even before the internet and Pinterest!)  These easy to follow directions can be posted at a center when kids are done with work as incentive. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click here to download the PDF:  Paper Plate Heart Wreath – written directions for centers

I Have A Dream (Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activity)

I love Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of peace. It is a huge overwhelming goal, but when each of us makes an effort to be kinder, we will see results. Use this page as a springboard to start a class discussion about making the world a better place in the areas we each have influence.

This one is a half sheet for younger grades. Click here to download: I Have a Dream – Half Sheet

This one is a full sheet for upper grades and middle school. We don’t often get to discuss behavior on social media (and many youth don’t get this discussion at home), so take this opportunity! Click here to download: I Have a Dream – Full Sheet

 

I’ve also done some anti-bullying activities! Click here to see my post about an awesome one!

 

New Resource! Character Building and Classroom Culture Materials

I recently discovered a new resource I want to share with you! It’s a blog called Come Follow Me FHE (FHE stands for “family home evening,” where your family spends time together at home). Each week, kindergarten teacher, Angie, shares a short lesson about a character-building type topic and includes printables and activity ideas aimed at children.

The lessons are based off of a manual called Come Follow Me, which focuses on the New Testament. If sharing ideas from a religious topic is inappropriate in your school, use the basic ideas of good character to strengthen your students. For example, her second week lesson focuses on the Beatitude. Rather than calling them the Beatitudes, call them “character bees” or say “we should be humble”. I firmly believe these Christian values are critical to good character development in children and will strengthen us as a society.

Here’s a freebie she sent me from week 2: bee coloring page

I also liked week one, with the theme “we are responsible for our own learning.” This. Yes! A thousand times yes!! I went to the manual (available here) and found this lesson idea (I’ve modified it to fit a classroom setting):

Matthew 13:1–23  One great way to help [your classroom] prepare to learn this year is to review the parable of the sower. Your [class] might enjoy looking at different kinds of ground near your home to visualize the types of ground described in the parable. What can we do to cultivate “good ground” in our [classroom]? (Matthew 13:8).

This analogy lends itself to all kinds of discussions. “Our mind is like a garden” or “plant good ideas in our heads” and the list goes on…

Here’s his you get the freebies: Subscribe to the Come Follow Me FHE weekly email. I don’t like to give out my email or subscribe to things (I already get so much email!), But this one is a simple once a week email sent on Tuesdays. I’ve tried it and I don’t get a bunch of useless junk emails. If you missed the previous week’s worth of lessons and activities, you can get them at Angie’s Etsy shop. She’s got cute display printables for each lesson if you like pretty things!

New Year Reflections Spinner

I found this in my files and thought I’d share. This would be a great activity for a family or staff party and there’s little prep needed. I’m not sure where this is from, so if it’s yours, please let me know so I can credit you. Thanks and happy new year!

Click here to download: New Year Reflections Spinner