One Busy Week!

Sunday, July 31, 2011 1 comment
Wow! One whole week since my last post! Sorry! We are remodeling our house and that is extra special fun when you have a toddler! Here's a quickie favorite that T and I act out on a regular basis-except not on the bed!
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, by Eileen Christelow is a classic really. I mean, who doesn't love the 5 little monkeys? T has had years of practice with big sister cousin, A, and is quite the jumper.

He loves that he "knows" the words and asks for this book over and over. I always bop him on the head just for fun and he especially loves that!

Do I have this in my first grade classroom? Of course I do! I am a fan of all things monkey and Christelow! I have the entire series and the kids love them! The familiar characters draw the early readers in and give them the confidence they need to go for it! Hasta luego!

Go, Dogs. Go!

Sunday, July 24, 2011 No comments
T loves animals and things that move, so Go, Dogs. Go! by PD Eastman is a perfect fit! T is reading the board book version, and I have the regular book in my first grade classroom. This is sometimes the first book a kindergarten or first grader can read independently-so of course I love it! Thinking of them beaming with pride brings a smile to my face as T turns each page. It is a simple book with fun illustrations that is a must have for every preK-primary classroom. It is also a wonderful gift for toddlers.

After we read it together.....

he decided to read it himself!

This video is his post reading jam! Notice his reference to the bicycle, from Go, Dog. Go! He was listening to a little Michael Jackson and well, just being T! 

Eric Litwin and James Dean

Saturday, July 23, 2011 1 comment
"1, 2, 3, weeeeeee" started our evening with Mr. Eric (Eric Litwin) and James Dean at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur. I would guess over a hundred folks came to rock out with the author and illustrator as they debut their latest hit, Rocking in My School Shoes. (Side note-I paid about $18 at the premier, and I love to support local bookstores-but for those of you not in the Atlanta area-and that is the only reason not to go buy this at a bookstore-Amazon has it for less than $12.)

The book is perfect for kids 2 and up! I am reading it with T and will certainly share it with my firsties during back to school. It will be a perfect, fun read aloud to calm the nerves of the back to school season. The illustrations are comforting and pleasing to the eye, sure to keep the audience in tune with the story. I love this book!

We danced and clapped and sang until we just couldn't take it anymore! Mr. Eric read his new book to us and the crowd loved it!  While Mr. Eric read and sang, Mr. Dean painted a Pete the Cat masterpiece right before our eyes! I was totally amazed! As T became less interested (remember he is 2 1/2,) he took a book break with my friend Mrs. S. 
T said, "I like Pete the rockstar!" and then he struck a rockstar pose! I love this kid! 

This was my first trip to Little Shop of Stories, but I will absolutely be going back! The employees were gracious hosts and served beer, root beer, and goldfish. How fab is that? It was a mommy's dream! The books are displayed deliciously on the walls and shelves, with artsy designs inviting readers to open the book and ReAd! I literally am counting the days until the Decatur Book Festival! (but that is for another post!)

Check out Little Shop of Stories, you will not be disappointed!  Plan to have lunch at one of the super cute eateries close by. Yum! 

Mr. Eric performs at our school each year (see Pete post) and is always a hit. For more about him, the books, and even a  few awesome videos, go to

In the words of Pete the Cat, enjoy your weekend, after all-it's all good! 

Have Fun Teaching!

Friday, July 22, 2011 No comments
Hi guys! One of my new favorite sites is Have Fun Teaching! I am totally going to use their reading cds for workshop this year! Check them out on their website and on FB-! They often have great deals and ALWAYS have free resources on their site!

Trucks, Trucks, and More Trucks!

T loves trucks! I am sure he is not the only toddler boy with this obsession, but he may be the only one obsessed with finding them on the road and in books. As we drive down the road, he yells, "TRUCK!!" followed by, "I need to find one more truck mommy, one more!"

He has one truck book in particular that he loves and returns to often. It is a Dorling Kindersley Reader. These fab books are known in the teaching world as DK Readers. They come in 4 levels, 1-Beginning to Read, 2-Beginning to Read Alone, 3-Reading Alone, and 4-Proficient Reader. Big Machines by Karen Wallace, is a level one-perfect for a toddler and my truck-loving first graders!

Hubby and I are thrilled that T loves books. Watching him get to this phase of pre-reading is helping me understand language development. Being a mommy is absolutely making me a better teacher! 

Check him out "reading" this book!

The Paul Frank "cool dude" shirt is a bonus!

I have many DK Readers in my classroom and was introduced to several more at Teacher's College. Visit their site to see the many options! I know I am going to invest in a few more of the Star Wars collection, as that continues to be a hot topic with my firsties-even the girls!

Where is the Wild Thing?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 No comments
Right here! We welcomed him into the world about two and a half years ago! Ha! Our story tonight is one of my all time favorites, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I think this is one of those "every person in the whole wide world should read this book" books. Agree? It is available in Spanish, too. Yes, I have it in Spanish, and yes, I know I don't speak Spanish. I just love the book. Top ten for sure!

T made monster noises and said the boy was sad. Indeed, he was. Even at 2.5, T gets it. "He wans his mommy." If you have a child, you need this book. It is all about feelings, family, and love. (or at least that is my take on it) My firsties love it for the artwork. They love the jungle in his room. They love the big adventure they all dream about going on. They love (spoiler alert) when he "comes home." We create our own monsters and share this story with our families. I just love it.

I know what you are thinking! Did she see the movie? NO! I absolutely, positively did NOT see the movie and I never will. How do you like that! This book is dear to my heart and I knew the movie would not live up to that expectation! However....I LLooVVee the soundtrack! It is number 5 in my cd changer and I listen to it at least twice a weak. Uh oh, I'm singing now! "Worried Shoes" is my favorite! Click here to hear it!  Beautiful!

Why this book? Why tonight? Because my friend is building a bench for my classroom. It is inspired by this book and I can't stop thinking about how magical it is going to be! Here is a sneak peek.....

To see more of his masterful work, go to!

Late Night Snack...and a Book!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 No comments
T came home from work (with Daddy) a little late this evening. He was having his snack at the table when a book caught the corner of his eye...."I wanna read that one, Mommy!" I passed Buzz Buzz Busy Bees ($6) his way, and away he went into a delightful world of make believe. 

Check out those muscles! Takes after his Daddy!

The book features fuzzy little bees that T loved from the get go! It is a counting book focusing loosely on subtraction (each page has one less bee.) It is a great choice for 2-5 year olds (though not recommended for those under 3.) To be honest, the illustrations are a bit much for my eyes and T's too. It was hard for him to assess what was happening on each page. Don't get me wrong-they are super cute, but a little much! Outweighing the overdone pictures is the biggest plus of the book (in T's opinion)-the buzzing! The book actually buzzes and he just loves it! That means we will return to this book again and again. As annoying as that buzz is, that makes me super happy!

For more info about this book or others by Little Simon, visit

Trace and Learn!

Monday, July 18, 2011 No comments
"Ooooh, this is a hard book." T is referring to the feel of the book, not the text. However, I think we have all heard that a time or two in our classrooms about the content. :)

Our morning read was a book new to me. It is A is for Apple and it is an interactive Tiger Tales book. We bought it at Target for about eight bucks. I was thinking of its' dual purpose~learning letters for T and the letter tracing/texture features for my developing first grade readers. It was a big hit with T and I have a feeling it will be with my firsties! (He loved it so much he watched Cat in the Hat with it!)


What I/we love about this book:

T-lift the flap fun
Mommy-two objects that start with each beginning sound

T-cool pictures
Mommy-repeated text on each page, "__ is for __ and __."

T-the letter T and the letter A
Mommy-the traceable letters we can feel AND the arrows that show you the correct direction

T-the igloo (HE LOVES IT!)
Mommy-the not so obvious pictures, like igloo! These are great for vocabulary building...especially with a curious toddler! 

We are totally going to purchase the number version on our next trip to Target. Do you want to know more about Tiger Tales? I did! Check out their site- Great for toddlers and up!

Future Politician~

Saturday, July 16, 2011 2 comments
All reading aside (something I NeVeR say,) I had to share this! T was making less than appealing noises and cracking up with himself! See what happens when we have the "gross talk."

As you can see, he has a little trouble making up his mind....

Guest Reader!

Thursday, July 14, 2011 1 comment
We all have guest readers, Mystery Readers, etc visit our classrooms. In my first grade classroom, we call our guests "Celebrity Readers." The kids love it and so do I! (For more info, check the "teacher action" page of the blog.) I am pleased to be hosting a guest reader of my very own this week. Who might you ask? A, my almost 6 year-old niece.

A will be starting first grade in the fall. That means she is basically like the little monkeys who will be in my class in August. It is like I am getting a glimpse into their pre-me lives! A is a beautiful reader and enjoys it, just like her mommy. Her mommy (my lil' sis) is an avid reader devouring at least two books a day. She reads wayyyy more than I do and actually reads adult lit.  I would rather read children's lit and teacher books and she thinks that is absurd! We make a great pair!

I bought the book, The Kittens ABC the other day as a gift for my mom. The book is oLd! It was published in 1965 and has had lots of love. My sister loved cats and so does my mom and I knew she would just love it!
No surprise here, but A, our in-house animal lover, wanted to read the book! She hugged the book, looked at every page, and talked about what was happening! (My heart skipped a beat!) Then she read to T. She would have read more, but well, he is 2 1/2. :)
I feel certain there will be more buddy reading over the next couple of days. I mean, it is not because I carry books in my bag or anything! :)

Fun with Numbers!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 No comments
So, that is actually the name of the book we read, but it is also totally true! I found this at a thrift store and am so glad I did! Fun with Numbers, an Usborne book, was a huge hit with T!
The book is full of beautiful illustrations and math activities that coordinate with each picture. T's favorite page is....the spiders. I thought it would be the trucks, but again he surprised me! Here is what the spider page says,
How many spiders are there altogether?
How many legs does each spider have?
Which spider has the most legs?
Cut some pieces of yarn for the legs. Put them on the spiders so that each one has 8 legs.

How cool is that! When I taught in Mobile, we were part of the Mobile Math Initiative with Honi Bamberger. I think she would drool over this book! Research tells us children need early exposure to math concepts and doing it through literature is a perfect match!  The book is designed for the earliest mathematician but could be used well into first grade! I envision at-home math fun, a take home math baggie, and even a center.

T and I counted the critters/objects on each page. We pointed to each spider and T said, "1, 2, pink, 6, blue, spider, 3..." Well, you get the idea! We have been working on colors, so I am actually thrilled to the gill! He did say 7 after I said 6, so again...I celebrate! 

Potty Fun for Everyone!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 1 comment
T and I are experimenting with potty training. He will be exactly 2 1/2 years old in just a few days. We have Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi and The Gas We Pass by Shinta Cho, but he is not ready for those, yet. So we are reading, Potty Animals, What to Know When You've Gotta Go! by Hope Vestergard and illustrated by Valeria Petrone.

The animals on the cover sucked Turner in like a Dyson vacuum! There is a shy looking alligator, a raccoon,  pig, tiger, and dog all waiting for the restroom. The title is written in toilet paper font. It is adorable!
We read a few pages that reminded us to use the potty before a trip. This really helped Roxanne before a field trip. ("Plan ahead, Roxanne!") We are reminded to not wait too long, like Wilma does when she is on the playground. And then there is Georgie who forgets to wipe! "He didn't like to wipe. He got an itchy feeling that made him groan and gripe." Thank goodness T doesn't have visualization skills yet! Eww!

T's favorite page was the mouse. I mean, he loves the gator, but Agnes mouse is all about the toots and T loves that! I think this is a must have for kids 2-8, maybe even those 9 year olds who sometimes have a case of the potty forgets!

Now could you use this in your classroom? AbSoLuTeLy! I am planning on reading this puppy the first month of school! It uses humor, great illustrations, and the attitude of "everyone has their issue" to help kids (hopefully) remember potty etiquette. Even if not, it is worth a shot!

Eric Carle

Monday, July 11, 2011 No comments
Sorry for my absence! I have just returned from a week in NYC at Columbia College! Stay tuned for book recommendations and tidbits from the workshop!

O! how I dreamt of things impossible. William Blake

This is how Eric Carle's Dragons Dragons and Other Things That Never Were begins. It is a large book (in height and width) and is full of fun, short poems. Mythological creatures including the hippocamp, manticore, phoenix, yeti, and okolo fill the pages in classic Eric Carle form. We did not read every page, but we did look at every picture. I know next time, we can check out more of the words! You can purchase the book on Amazon for around $12.00 and it is worth every penny. While T enjoys the pics now, I know he will enjoy the poetry later. (Mommy does!)

T was terrified of the dragon page, but thrilled that it unfolded into one large long page. His favorite was the unicorn. He even drew a few pics to go with the story. I had hoped he would be drawn to "Ganesha, Ganesha is a wise old God. If you're ever in India, do visit a bit where he likes to sit and maybe your wish will come true." (Myra Cohn Livingston) He looked at the page, said, "hmm elephant" and kept going. We had a short chat about India (which is what he calls his play kitchen area) and moved on to the next page. Curious about the next page? It is beautiful sphinx.

Teachers working on a mythology unit, poetry, or a study of Eric Carle MuSt have this book. Older students will be familiar with Eric Carle and will be thrilled to see him reappear!

Mittens, the Kitten

Friday, July 1, 2011 No comments
As many of you know, T LOVES cats. He loves my mom's cats. He loves shows about cats. He loves books about cats and, well, he sometimes believes that he is a cat. He meows, drinks milk from a bowl and purrs. It is cute. It may require intense therapy later, but for now-adorable!

T and I read a kitten book by Lola Schaefer today. She lives in North Georgia and has relatives at my school (see the lovely autograph below.) I love her books and T and I are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our copy of Just One Bite! her latest treasure.

As T and I read, he quickly transferred into kitten mode. We didn't actually finish the book because "kitten is hungry, mow, mow." :)

Follow Me, Mittens is an "I Can Read" making it perfect for K and 1st grade classroom libraries. It includes positional words, color words, and repeated phrases. It is also FANTASTIC for getting to know a character, as there are several in the easy read series. Another plus of the book is the opportunity to discuss quotation marks and what they mean with our earliest readers. I love this series, and its cousin-the Biscuit series.


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