Saturday, June 25, 2016

Book Recommendations for the Election

It's an election year... boy did that come quickly!

All political talk, jargon, and views aside, this is a great time for us teachers to teach our students about the US Presidential Election.
It's not a secret that I love books. I could spend hours in any book store, so when it came time to start prepping for the US Election, the first thing I did was head to my local public library to scope out some amazing children's books for my students.

You can click any link within this blog post to shop the books instantly on Amazon.*
1. Inauguration Day
This Level 2, DK Reader allows your student to join Barack Obama and his family for a day of speeches, parades and the American History that was made on his Inauguration Day.

2. Who's Haunting the White House?
This upper elementary book takes students on a supernatural investigation to look for ghosts in the White House.

3. So You want to be President?
A great book for older elementary students, this book celebrates all 42 Presidents in a fun, and funny, kid-friendly manner.

4. Amelia Bedelia's First Vote
It's school election day and Amelia Bedelia is so excited! Follow Amelia through her day of the school election.

 5. Madeline at the White House
Madeline and her friends are traveling to the US for a great American adventure. Their destination is the White House, but they also get to tour the capitol's famous landmarks. 

6. Presidents' Day
This Robin Hill School, Level 1 reader, this classroom full of students shares information with one another about a few of our past Presidents.

7. President Pennybaker
After being sent to his room for a time-out, Luke Pennybaker decides to run for President to make life fair for kids.

8. Vote for Me!
This is one of my favorite Election books. You follow Donkey and Elephant through the process of election for US President, and how mean they are to one another throughout the process.

9. Woodrow for President
Woodrow Washingtail is running for President of the United Mice of America, and he needs your vote! This story describes the journey of being elected. 

10. Now Hiring: White House Dog
The First Daughters want to get a dog, so they place an ad for the perfect White House dog. The daughters interview many dogs until they make a final decision.

11. If I Ran for President
At the beginning of this book, you can read a brief description of the election process. Then you and your students can walk through the process of running for US President.

12. If I Were the President
This is a fun book that walks your students through what it would be like to the the US President, who gets to live in a really cool mansion!

Below are some more books that you may find useful in teaching your students about the US Presidential Elections. Just click on the image below to download a clickable PDF.
Click the list above to download a clickable PDF file to simply "Click & Buy."

*This blog post contains affiliate links.*

Friday, June 24, 2016

DIY Summer Match Game (with a FREEBIE)

Keeping the kids busy over summer break is tough some days, especially when it rains or is way too hot to go outside and everyone is stuck inside. Everyone goes stir crazy... which typically means that it's game time!

Kids love to play games, especially matching games.
And making your own match game for summer is super simple!

Supplies Needed:
• 4 pieces of single sided scrapbook paper (can be cardstock)
• scissors
• printer
Summer Match Game (free here)

First, you'll want to choose 4 pieces of single sided scrapbook paper. It can be regular paper or cardstock, whatever your printer can handle.

I chose summer-y themed papers because the match game we will be printing is summer-y. You can choose the same piece of paper for all 4, or choose 4 different pieces like I did.
It needs to be single sided because you're going to print on the blank side.
If the paper you choose is larger than 8.5"x11" (the size of a standard sheet of paper), you'll need to trim it down.
Once you've trimmed all 4 pieces down to the 8.5"x11" size, you're ready to print the cards.
Before printing, I suggest double-checking how your printer is going to print. I quickly pulled the paper tray open and wrote "top". Since I always forget how to feed the paper in so it prints on the correct side, this was a quick reminder.
You'll want to print two sets of the Summer Match cards.
This is what you want your 4 pieces of paper to look like after printing. The Summer Match Cards should be printed on the blank side and the decorative side should be the back.
I chose to laminate my cards to make them sturdier (since I didn't choose cardstock).
Laminate as you usually would.
One tip to remember is to not forget about the barcode on the back like I did. When you are trimming the paper, make sure you cut it off.

To fix my mistake, I just used a little white out.
You can see that the white out I used on the bar code I accidentally printed on came out just fine. YAY!
Now it's time to cut out the cards! I used the paper trimmer to save time.
This is what the backs of my Summer Match Cards looked like after I printed, laminated, and cut them out.
I'm pretty excited with how they turned out. How do you like yours?
Now it's time to play. Set your cards up like you would for any other match game and get playing.

Have fun!

Monday, June 20, 2016

10 Fonts for Teachers

In this age of education, and for many years, teachers have been creating their own resources. YOU have been creating your own resources for your students. To help them learn, to guide them in learning, to shape them in to the smart, lifelong learners.

But creating your own resources can be very difficult. You pretty much have to be a self-proclaimed graphic designer. Finding and choosing clip art. Writing the content. Making it all fit on one page. And then there are fonts. Oh, the fonts!
Creating your own resources for your classroom is time consuming, so I want to help give you your time back by sharing a few fonts that work great for elementary students. They're easily readable by your students, and definitely not Comic Sans.

Click on a font to purchase or download it.
[ Click to Download ]
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Looking for more fonts? Here's another post I wrote about my favorite fonts.

*Please note, it is your responsibility to make sure you purchase a commercial use license if you will be using the font in something you will be selling or sharing with others.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Where to Start With Teaching Core Vocabulary

We all use core vocabulary in our daily lives. We say it, read it, think it... "How are you?" "I am good." "I want to play a game." "I need to eat lunch." "I need to go potty." These are phrases we say every day with basic words that just come naturally.

While those phrases may seem primitive and automatic in your daily social interactions, for some students with special needs, this is where we start: Core Vocabulary.
But where do you start? What words should you begin with and why?

Let's start with planning...

The goal of utilizing core vocabulary instruction is to give your nonverbal and limited verbal ability students the ability to express themselves independently. 

You want your instruction to be as methodical and as beneficial to your students as possible. This is nothing new to you as a teacher. This is how you plan all of your lessons, except when teaching core vocabulary instruction, you need to be even more attentive to the needs of your students.

Determining which words to begin with can be challenging. If you Google Search core vocab lists, you'll find lots of articles and other already developed word lists... which, honestly, is kind of overwhelming. You'll notice that there is typically a lot of overlap in words from list to list (i.e., you'll notice a high percentage of the same words on many lists).
To help you out and save you a little bit of time in the beginning, here is a list of suggested words that I have developed and used to begin with when implementing core vocabulary instruction.

While it really begins with the child and his or her motivation to learn, you also need to remember to make the instruction and the learning meaningful to the individual. If the child is not motivated to learn new vocabulary, s/he may become frustrated and the instruction may become more challenging for both the teacher and the student.

Tips to remember when beginning Core Vocabulary Instruction (CVI)...

• The goal is not for the child to master the use of full sentences... in the beginning. You need to accept simple utterances, such as "I potty" or "want home" and interpret them in context.

• Communication is so much more than just words. There's body language, gestures, facial expressions... and you need to accept those, too, as the child communicating with you. CVI is not about making it more difficult for the student, it's about making the child independent... and if the child can effectively communicate with you by pointing to the bathroom that s/he needs to use the potty, accept that as a form of communication. As the child works more with CV and becomes more comfortable and confident in their AAC, you can then move to having the child express himself in that form.

• As with any skill you teach a child, you want to generalize the learning and the instruction. When my students are learning new CV, they are given multiple opportunities to use their knowledge across settings... in the special needs classroom, at lunch, in the inclusive setting, at home, at therapy in and out of school... everywhere.

• You can't just show a child a word and expect the child to learn it. You need to model and show the student what the word means... and what happens when they use that word. Reward them and give lots of praise! This is where highly rewarded activities work WONDERS with CV.

In Part 3 of this series, we will talk about Fringe Vocabulary.

You can read Read Part 1 to see how I have implemented CV in my classroom and daily activities to get students talking.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What if a Shark Had a Party? ( Books Teachers Love )

Summer and sharks typically get grouped together. People go to the beach over summer vacation, and well, hate to break it to you, but sharks live in the ocean.

So for June, I always like to prep my students for their summer vacations and talk about sharks and all of the positive things about how important they are to our ecosystems, among other things. That's why I chose What if a Shark Had a Party?
First, let me remind you of what Books Teachers Love is. We are a group of 12 teacher-bloggers who bring 12 different read alouds to you each month, and then give you a chance to win a copy of 4 of the books we blogged about.
We are coming up on summer vacation, which is super exciting, but even teacher-bloggers want to relax over summer! This month's BTL will be the last post until we return in August, bigger and better than ever.
For my second book this month, I chose What if a Shark Had a Party? by Aleksei Bitskoff and Camilla de la Bedoyere.

I was super excited to be able to blog twice this month, because ya'll know how much I love sharks... and books! So a book about sharks is right up my alley. :)
Each 2-page spread asks a question like "what if a shark went to a water park?" or "what if a shark drove to school?"

I mean, realistically, man of these things would never happen. BUT it's a great book to get kids thinking outside of the box, and it's a great book for "what if" and problem / solution.
The biggest reason I love this book so much is that it includes real life picture of sharks and it gives them real life facts about sharks, which is amazing because you get the fiction and nonfiction!

You can grab this book here*:

At the end of the book is a 4-page Shark Gallery, showcasing many species of sharks and facts about each specie.

I like using this book at the end of the year because the kids are a little spent, and so am I... but boy do I get excited about sharks! And so do the kids! The topic of sharks really interests my students, at least enough to keep them engaged for Reading block. ;)
After reading this story and talking about different species of shark, we complete a can / have / are chart on sharks. Grab it FREE below.
At the end of the book is also a "The Parts of a Shark" spread. It labels the parts of a Great White Shark and tells a little information about each part. This leads us into labeling the parts of a shark.

This year, if we have time within our schedule (since we get out of school in early, early June), here are a few ideas I found on Pinterest that we may do:
{ Credit Link }
Enter to Winner's Choice of 4 books, which could include this book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

An InLinkz Link-up

*affiliate link*