Thursday, September 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Disappearing Alphabet

The Disappearing Alphabet by Richard Wilbur TBT - Teaching Tips.
This is an AMAZING book that will really get your kiddos thinking. Check out all the examples of ways to use the book HERE.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin Teaching Tips

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie Teaching Tips

Ruthie is a quiet, happy little girl that enjoys her teeny, tiny treasures. One day at school, she finds a teeny, tiny camera. Ruthie spends her recess enjoying her new find, until Martin, one of her classmates tells her that the camera is his. Ruthie panics; she loves this new camera and doesn't want to give it up, so she does the first thing that comes to her mind...she lies. She tells Martin that the camera is hers! Martin is so upset that he goes running in to tell the teacher, but Ruthie sticks to her story, that the camera is hers. As the day wears on she is finding it harder and harder to concentrate and by the time she gets home, she is feeling miserable and very unhappy. What will Ruthie do? Will she tell her parents what she did? Will she tell her teacher and Martin that she lied? Enjoy reading this story with your students and discovering if Ruthie will do the right thing.


Reading level: 2.0
Theme/subject: honesty, friendship, feelings
Genre: fiction

Suggested vocabulary/phrases: imaginable, dinky, barely there, twirling, teensy, startled, mumbled, barely

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions – these are just possible questions or wondering from either the student or teacher
    • Before
      • I wonder what Ruthie’s lie is.
      • I wonder if she will get in trouble for lying.
    • During
      • I wonder why Ruthie didn’t just give the camera back to Martin.
      • I wonder what the teacher will do.
      • I wonder if Ruthie will tell the truth.
    • After
      • I wonder if Ruthie learned her lesson.
      • I wonder if Ruthie will get her own teeny tiny camera one day.
  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – third person (she, her)
  • Author's purpose – entertain
    • Evidence
      • The story is a bunch of animals talking.
      • When Ruthie was not feeling so good she looked so sad.
      • All the characters are so cute!
  • Beginning, middle, end – the most important event from each
    • Beginning – Ruthie found a teeny tiny camera on the playground and told her teacher that it was hers.
    • Middle – Ruthie told her mom and dad that she lied about the camera.
    • End – Ruthie came to school and told Martin and her teacher the truth.
  • Cause and effect 
    • Why did Ruthie have small toys? Because she loved tiny things. 
    • How come Ruthie couldn’t believe her luck? Because she found a teeny tiny camera. 
    • Why did Ruthie race back to class? Because Martin shouted at Ruthie that the camera was his. 
    • Why did Martin say the camera was his? Because he got it for his birthday. 
    • Why did Mrs. Olsen keep the camera in her desk drawer? Because she was going to keep it safe until they talked about it again tomorrow. 
    • Why did Ruthie’s mom ask her what was wrong? Because Ruthie didn’t eat any dinner and was ready to cry. 
    • Why did Mrs. Olsen give Ruthie a hug and a kiss on the top of her head? Because Ruthie told the truth about the camera.
  • Character analysis - describe Ruthie or Martin {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character, how others think/see the character}
  • Character changes –
    • In the beginning – Ruthie is happy and excited that she found a new camera.
    • In the middle – Ruthie feels really sick because she lied about the camera.
    • In the end – Ruthie is relieved and happy that Martina and Mrs. Olsen understood about her lying.
  • Compare & contrast
    • Ruthie and Martin
    • A lie you told and the lie Ruthie told
  • Connections
    • Text-to-self   
      • Like to collect things like Ruthie
      • Like to collect teeny tiny things like Ruthie
      • Telling a lie and feeling horrible afterward
      • Telling a lie and then telling the truth
    • Text-to-text  
      • Chrysanthemum – both books the characters are afraid to go back to school.
      • Wemberly Worried – both books the characters are worried about something.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing
    • Why do you think Ruthie’s stomach started flip flopping and she wasn’t able to concentrate at school?
      • Text clues – Ruthie just got done telling her teacher and Martin a lie about the camera.
      • What I know – Sometimes when I tell a lie or do something wrong, I start to not feel good because I am afraid I am going to get into trouble. It is all I can think about.
      • My conclusion – I think Ruthie started to not feel good because all she could think about was getting in trouble because of the lie she told.
    • Why did Mrs. Olsen’s desk seem very far away when Ruthie went to school the next morning?
      • Text clues – Ruthie was afraid Mrs. Olsen would be mad at her and make her sit in the corner.
      • What I know – I know that when I have to do something I am nervous about, it just feels like it takes forever.
      • My conclusion – I think because Ruthie was afraid of getting into trouble the walk to Mrs. Olsen’s desk just felt like it took forever.
  • Fact & opinion – about or within the story
    • Fact
      • Ruthie loved teeny tiny things.
      • Ruthie found a teeny tiny camera on the playground.
      • Ruthie lied about the camera being hers.
      • Ruthie told Mrs. Olsen the truth about the camera.
      • Martin got the teeny tiny camera for his birthday.
    • Opinion
      • Ruthie was mean to Martin.
      • Mrs. Olsen wasn’t fair to Martin.
      • Ruthie should have gotten in trouble for lying.
      • Martin should have just taken the camera out of Ruthie’s hand.
      • Teeny tiny toys are the best kinds of toys.
  • Main idea & details
    • Main idea – the story is mostly about Ruthie having to deal with the lie she told Martin and her teacher.
    • Details
      • Ruthie felt couldn’t concentrate at school because of her lie.
      • Ruthie couldn’t eat he dinner because of her lie.
      • Ruthie was nervous about telling her teacher the truth.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Ruthie’s mom and dad tell Ruthie that she has to tell her teacher the truth and that both Martin and Mrs. Olsen would understand that she made a mistake.
  • Predict
    • What do you think the story is going to be about?
    • What do you think the lie is?
    • What do you think Mrs. Olsen will do?
    • What do you think will happen to Ruthie at home?
    • What do you think Mrs. Olsen will say to Ruthie?
    • What do you think Martin will say to Ruthie?
  • Problem & solution
    • Problem – Ruthie told a lie about the camera being hers and now she doesn’t feel good.
    • Solution – Ruthie tells her mom and dad about the lie and they tell her she must tell Martina and Mrs. Olsen the truth.
  • Sequencing
    • Ruthie finds a teeny tiny camera on the playground.
    • Martin tells Ruthie the camera is his.
    • Both Ruthie and Martin tell Mrs. Olsen they got the camera for their birthday.
    • Ruthie’s stomach starts to flip flop.
    • Ruthie tells her mom and dad about her lie.
    • Ruthie walks to Mrs. Olsen’s desk.
    • Ruthie tells Mrs. Olsen the truth.
    • Mrs. Olsen hugs and kisses Ruthie’s head.
    • Ruthie and Martin are friends again.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – someplace in the story that the reader has a strong reaction for example an “I knew it”, or “Don’t do it” type of moment while reading.
    • What would you tell Ruthie when she lies to Martin and Mrs. Olsen?
    • What would you say to Ruthie as she starts her walk to Mrs. Olsen’s desk?
  • Summarize
    • Someone – Martin
    • Wanted – wanted his camera back
    • But – but Ruthie told a lie about it
    • So – so Mrs. Olsen kept the camera in her desk.
    • Then – Then Ruthie told her mom and dad about the lie she told and she
    • Finally – finally told Mrs. Olsen and Martin the truth.
  • Theme – the lesson, message or moral of the story
    • It is better to tell the truth.
    • Lies can make you feel terrible.
    • It is a brave thing to admit your mistake.

I have updated the Reading Skills & Strategies pack located HERE in my store. If you have already purchased it make sure to go into your purchases and re-download it.





Happy Teaching!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The New Bear at School

The New Bear at School by Carrie Weston TBT - Teaching Tips.

One of the best start of school books! Find out what skills and strategies you can quickly and easily use. Find them HERE.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Throwback Thursday - There's a Nightmare in My Closet

There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer TBT - Teaching Tips.

18 different skills and strategies to choose from to make this a meaningful read aloud. Check them all out HERE.

Friday, September 2, 2016

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg Teaching Tips

22 Teaching Tips for the book First Day Jitters.


It is the first day of school and Sarah really does not want to go! She has come up with many excuses why she shouldn't go to school on the first day, but Mr. Hartwell won't let her miss. He demands that she get out of bed and get dressed and then he drives her to school. Once Sarah gets to school she is greeted by the principal and taken to her classroom.

I wonder how Sarah's first day of school will turn out?

This is obviously a great book for the first day of school, students will identify and connect with so many parts of it. Use the below ideas, examples and sample questions to help create a meaningful lesson for this wonderful story.

Reading level: 2.6
Theme/subject: School, confronting fears,
Genre: Humorous fiction

Suggested vocabulary/phrases: jitters, snapped up, trudged, cold and clammy

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions – these are just possible questions or wondering from either the student or teacher
    • Before  
      1. I wonder what jitters means.
      2. I wonder why she is so afraid.
      3. I wonder if she will go to school.
    • During
      1. I wonder if she will get out of bed.
      2. I wonder what grade she is in.
      3. I wonder if her teacher will make her feel better.
      4. I wonder why she has that kind of lunch box.
    • After
      1. I wonder why the author made us think the character was a child.
      2. I wonder how she will be as a teacher.
  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – third person – she, her
  • Author's purpose – to entertain
    • Evidence
      1. The author made us think it was a child afraid to go to school.
      2. The teacher had a funny lunch box.
      3. The illustrations were silly when they were “looking for her”.
  • Beginning, middle, end – the most important event from each
    • Beginning – Sarah wouldn’t get out of bed to go to school.
    • Middle – Sarah finally got ready for and went to school.
    • End – Sarah was introduced to her new class.
  • Cause and effect  
1.Why did Sarah have the jitters?
Because it was the first day of school
2.Why did Sarah hate her new school?
Because she was starting a new school all over again.
3.Why did Sarah think it was going to be hard at her new school?
Because she wasn’t going to know anyone.
4.Why did Sarah think everyone would think she was lucky?
Because was at home in bed and not at school.
5.Why did Mr. Hartwell have to be stern with Sarah?
Because she wouldn’t get ready for school.
6.Why did Sarah slump down in the car?
Because the principal was coming over to the car.
  • Character analysis - describe character {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character, how others think/see the character}
  • Character changes –
    • In the beginning – Sarah didn’t want to go to school because she thought it was going to be hard. Sarah was not happy.
    • In the end – Sarah finally made it to school and she looks like she might be happy.
  • Classify & categorize
    • Classify – Different feelings on the first day of school.
    • Categorize – Positive feeling, Negative feelings. Nervous and Excited, Happy and sad, etc.
  • Compare & contrast
      1. Your morning the first day of school and Sarah’s morning the first day of school.
      2. Your teacher’s morning to Sarah’s morning.
  • Connections
    • Text-to-self   
      1. Feeling jittery on the first day.
      2. Not wanting to get out of bed.
    • Text-to-text – anything about starting school and feelings
      1. The Black Lagoon books – class or teacher
      2. The New Bear at School
      3. Don’t Eat the Teacher
      4. Little Cliffs First Day of School
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing
    • As you read the story who do you think the story is about?
      1. Text clues – the illustrator draws the picture so we can’t see Sarah. Sarah doesn’t want to get out of bed. Someone that looks like a dad demands that she gets out of bed. The “dad” makes her lunch and breakfast. The dad drives her to school.
      2. What I know – All the things that Sarah did in the story are more like what a child would do then an adult or a teacher.
      3. My conclusion – I thought that Sarah was a student.
  • Fact & opinion – about or within the story
    • Facts  
      1. Sarah’s hands were cold and clammy.
      2. Sarah felt sick.
      3. Sarah had a bus on her lunch box.
      4. The principal introduces Sarah to her class.
      5. Sarah was the new teacher.
    • Opinions
      1. The first day of school is scary for everyone.
      2. Teachers aren’t supposed to be nervous.
      3. Sarah’s students looked like they were going to give her trouble.
      4. The principal looked friendly.
      5. Sarah looked like she was going to be a good teacher.
  • Main idea & details
    • Main idea – The story is mostly about Sarah being nervous about starting a new school.
    • Details
      1. Sarah wouldn’t get out of bed.
      2. Sarah felt sick.
      3. Sarah ducked down when the principal came up to the car.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was at the very end when we get to finally see who Sarah is.
  • Predict            
      1. What is the story going to be about?
      2. Who do you think Sarah is?
      3. Do you think Sarah will make it through the day?
      4. Do you think the students will like Sarah?
      5. Do you think Sarah will be a good teacher?
      6. Do you think Sarah will be as nervous on day 2?
  • Problem & solution
    • Problem – Sarah is so nervous for the first day of school.
    • Solution – Her husband makes her get up and go to school.
  • Sequencing
      1. Sarah wouldn’t get out of bed.
      2. Sarah thinks her new school is going to be hard.
      3. Mr. Hartwell got stern with Sarah.
      4. Sarah got out of bed and got dressed.
      5. Sarah was handed her lunch and a piece of toast.
      6. Sarah was driven to school.
      7. The principal greeted Sarah at the car.
      8. The principals led Sarah to her classroom.
      9. The principal introduced Sarah to her class.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – someplace in the story that the reader has a strong reaction for example an “I knew it”, or “Don’t do it” type of moment while reading.
    • At the very end we finally figure out that Sarah is not a student but the teacher.
      1. If you were Sarah’s student what would you do or say to her so she wouldn’t be so nervous?
  • Summarize – try to summarize without giving the surprise away.
    • Someone - Sarah
    • Wanted – didn’t want to go to school on the first day
    • But – but she finally got out of bed and got ready
    • So – so that she could be driven to school.
    • Then – Then the principal took her to her new class and she
    • Finally – finally meets all the students.
  • Theme – the lesson, message or moral of the story
    • Don’t think you are the only one that feels the same way you do.
    • It is important to face your fears.
  • Visualize – what do YOU picture…
    • Sarah didn’t have a very good morning getting ready for her first day of school. Visualize what your teacher’s morning was like on the first day of school.

I have created a reading skills and strategies pack to go with this book. You can find it HERE in my store. Here is a peek at what is in the pack.

First Day Jitters Differentiated Reading Skills & Strategies Pack.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

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