# The Perfect Package – Happy Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is just around the corner and what better time to get crafting.

Father’s Day is a special day to honor fathers and father-figures in our lives. In Canada, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, though it is also observed widely on other days in many other countries. Father figures may include step-fathers, grandfathers, brothers or other male figures that help and guide us through life’s journey.

How do we, in turn, honor these prominent male figures?

Some people give cards, chocolates, clothes, accessories or gift vouchers. Others take their father or father figure out to the movies, enjoy a meal together at a restaurant, lounge in a café, or simply enjoy a restful day in the park.

In my classroom, we are preparing for the big day by creating The Perfect Package.

### Inside the package – poem and student image

Below is a poem I wrote and plan to share with my students as we begin crafting next week. Keeping in mind that not all children may have a father in their life, I left the recipient open to include a figure that may take the place of a father, whether it be a grandfather, uncle, brother, etc.

To download a copy of the poem and craft kit, for your personal use in the classroom, click on the image below.

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Let the countdown and crafting begin!

Happy Father’s Day!

Lora

# How Tall Is My Giraffe? Exploring Measurement

A very interesting math lesson stemmed from a story I read to my students about a king who got a giraffe as a birthday gift. The king challenged his townspeople, offering a reward to the first person who would be able to tell him how tall his giraffe was. The people set off to measure the giraffe in whichever way they could – none of the attempts were successful. Every failed try served as a great lesson about measurement do’s and don’t’s.

How Tall is My Giraffe?

After extracting important math concepts from this adventurous story, I introduced students to a giraffe of my own (my children’s old plush growth chart). I posed the same question to an eager-looking bunch (there was no gold incentive on my end though). With just enough direction, I let students explore solutions to this problem during Learning Centres time. Students showed remarkable interest in this challenge and began gathering all kinds of objects to use as measurement tools.

Before long, the carpet was filled with various objects: building blocks, popsicle sticks, snow pants, jackets, bottle caps, books, markers, etc. Students were so excited, they even suggested using me as a measuring tool. How could I say no to that? After a few chuckles and excited cheers, we sat down to reflect on our findings, which ultimately led to another great inquiry question? Why did we need so many cotton balls yet such few blocks? How does the size of the measuring tool affect the measurement?

# Happy Mother’s Day!

Roses, cards, chocolates, cookies, breakfast in bed, you-name-it, Mother’s Day sure brings out the sweetest in us. Celebrated on the second Sunday in May each year, Mother’s Day is a time to honour our one and only – our precious Mother (or a mother figure in our life).

I am sure I speak on behalf of many moms out there when I say the most precious gift we can receive on Mother’s Day is one that is especially handcrafted for us. As a teacher I keep this in mind as we set out to cut, glue and craft a personal treasure that Mom will want to keep around for a very long time (if not forever).

Below is a poem I wrote and plan to share with my students this week. Keeping in mind that not all children may have a mother in their life, I left the recipient open to include a figure that takes the place of a dominant caregiver, whether it be a grandmother, aunt, sister, etc.

For this year’s Mother’s Day craft, my students will be making a mobile frame, with the theme of my latest poem in mind. Here is a sample of the finished product.

### front side – option 2

To download a copy of the poem and the craft templates, for your personal use in the classroom, click on the heart image below.

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Let the countdown and crafting begin!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Lora

# Happy Earth Day 2015

Happy Earth Day everyone! Every year at this time we are reminded of how important it is to preserve the environment for future generations. Whether it be on the radio, television, social media or in educational environments, the flood of content blends into a common message – protect the earth!

We’d like to share a short, yet compelling video clip that made us pay just a little more attention this year. It’s called Dear Future Generations: Sorry. We hope you enjoy it too, and of course … share it.

My favourite line in the video was ‘An error does not become a mistake, until you refuse to correct it’. That is a powerful statement – in all facets of life, but particularly when it comes to taking care of the earth.

With this in mind, I’d like to share some classroom connections …

After many months of collecting recyclable materials, we finally set out to transform old boxes into new ART.

We used materials from our Art Centre (containers made from recycled products) to help with this Earth Day project.

Here is a showcase of some beautiful pieces from our growing collection of Recycled Art:

### Pirate Ship!

Recycle is a poem I came across online that was written by Meish Goldish . Students enjoy the familiar rhythm, and the catchy pattern makes it a great math extension as well (don’t we teachers love that?!).

After reading many books relating to Earth Day, our class sat down to brainstorm ways in which we can protect our environment. We also reviewed some of the things we were already doing in our classroom (i.e., recycling , reducing, reusing, composting, conserving energy, using only as much water as we need, not littering, etc.). Students then all had a chance to reflect on what more they could do (at school and home) and completed a promise note reminding them to take action and contribute in whichever way they could. No contribution is ever too small – every little bit helps.

To download a copy of the poem and writing template, click on the image below.

Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed and wonder how these very small acts can possibly solve such a massive problem. But if we all contribute one little building block, we can turn an error into an opportunity.

For more ways you can help, click HERE.

As always, thank you for your time!

Lora

# Three Witty Goats Gruff

Hello everyone. I hope you had a restful March break and are excited about the week ahead. I’d like to share a poem I wrote a little while back titled, Three Witty Goats Gruff.  It is based on a variation of the original story, Three Billy Goats GruffI plan to revisit it with my students this week as we continue our exploration around the concept of Measurement and Size.

After reading several versions of the original story to my students, I plan to introduce my version of it via a poem. When I first introduced it (last year), students really enjoyed the chant and patterns, while I loved the teachable moments that stemmed from it.

MATH – counting backwards, detecting patterns, reinforcing concepts of measurement and size, subtraction, etc.

LITERACY – introducing new vocabulary, making predictions, using context clues to make inferences, singular/plural pronouns, synonyms, etc.

One of my students favourite follow-up activities was to re-enact the poem using stick puppets. It is a wonderful way for them to practise retelling the story and have fun while doing so. Some benefits of using stick puppets to teach literacy include strengthening oral vocabulary, acting in role, building comprehension, retelling a story in sequence, and recalling details.

Here are some cross-curricular extension activities, including: 1. Three Billy Goats Gruff Maze – students help the Billy Goats navigate through a maze to get to a field of fresh grass (good for refining fine motor, spatial and problem-solving skills); 2. Writing Template – students reflect on their favourite part of the story (while practising important writing skills); 3. Fill In The Blanks – students use a word bank to fill in the missing words from the poem (great for memory skills and practising high-frequency words); 4. Making Patterns Math Worksheet – students complete and create their own pattern using characters from the story (aids with visual discrimination and patterning concepts).

To download a copy of my poem, Three Witty Goats Gruff, including the Stick Puppet Templates, for your personal use in the classroom, along with the cross-curricular activities hown above, click on Billy Goat.

I hope you and your students enjoy the poem and have fun with these activities in the classroom. As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.

Have a great week everyone.

Lora

# The Giant and I

Happy Monday everyone. I’d like to share a poem I wrote a couple of years ago and plan to share with my students this week, as we begin exploring the concept of measurement. The Giant and I is a charming poem about a little boy who outsmarts a fearsome giant. It opens up a great discussion about the various ways the characters could be described (big, small, tall, short, heavy, light, wide, narrow, etc.) hence setting the stage for building the appropriate vocabulary for the unit. A follow-up activity is included, integrating concepts about size and shapes.

Click on the image of the giant to download a copy of the poem and worksheet for your personal use in the classroom.

Have a great week everyone!

Lora

# Happy Family Day!

Our family is the proverbial egg that we were hatched from. Everything about who we are, both our nature and nurture stems from our early interaction with this group of people we call family.

There is no doubt that we all lead busy lives and the daily hustle and bustle make it difficult to stay connected with the ones we love. Special times like Family Day are opportunities to re-connect and re-evaluate those important relationships in our lives. As such, I will continue to focus on friendship and family with my students throughout the month of February.

Considering that many children no longer grow up in traditional nuclear families, the need for literature that is inclusive of varying experiences is of paramount importance in the classroom. I’d like to share a poem I wrote that can be used to springboard a discussion on what constitutes a family, moving away from a pre-defined understanding of what a family should look like and embracing what makes families unique.

My Family
Lora Rozler

She brings the sky within my reach
And bakes the best of brownies.
She tells me stories of long ago
Grandma Nia is the greatest – she is my family!

He piggy-backs me to my room
And makes monsters disappear.
He plays with me even when he’s tired
And let’s me win at checkers.
My stepdad is my superhero – he is my family!

They take me places all the time
And buy me books and toys.
They care for me and teach me things
And help me with my homework.
My parents love me endlessly – they are my family!

### ‘My family’ Poem, ‘my family is my treasure’ interactive poem, ‘love is…’ writing template

Here is a fun activity I can’t wait to share with my class. Invite students to draw and colour a portrait of their family. Then have students cut the page along the faint lines to create puzzle pieces. Send the puzzle home in a zippy bag to share with families. It’s one I’m sure they’ll cherish.

### ‘we stick together’ Family puzzle

Students use the blank template rectangles to draw, colour and label their family members. They then cut and paste the images around their own on the family tree.

### To download this family activity pack for your personal use in the classroom, click on the family icon below.

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# Happy Valentine’s Day!

With a poem in it too.

As my way of saying

Our friendship is true!

I picked out a flower

I got it for you.

It is my way of showing

How much I love you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

### Lora Rozler

To download a free copy of the poem for your personal use in the classroom, click on the bear image to the right.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – and what better time to show our family and friends just how dear they are to us (not that we should forget to do so during the rest of the year). So let’s take out the scissors and glue and get crafting!

Here is a free template for a valentine card craft. Simply photocopy (on plain, coloured or construction paper), fold in half (bear side up), and have students select from various greetings to decorate and glue inside the card. You may want to give students the option of drawing and writing their own greeting as well. I like to have several options available to accommodate many needs and levels.

Here are six greeting options:

### A sample of the finished product

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud is one of my favourite picture books to build a great discussion on what it means to be a good friend.  The book helps students understand the concept of happiness and the role we play in creating it for ourselves and those around us. The language of bucket-filling has become associated with kindness and thoughtful acts.

In a previous post that focused on peace-making, I referenced this book and included free writing templates that encouraged students to fill each other’s buckets by writing Smile-O-Grams. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to revisit this activity and remind students of the importance of positive messages. Click on the templates below to visit my previous post and download free Smile-O-Gram templates for your personal use in the classroom.

Here is a really cute friendship-building poem I came across online. I especially love that it includes students’ names and gives it a personal feel. It is also a great way to teach students about action words. I plan on sharing it with my students this week and having fun with verbs while we are at it. Thank you Cliparts for the image contribution.

What’s Valentine’s Day without some friendship-building games. Here are some activities I have planned for next week. I’d like to thank my wonderful ECE, Deepa Talwar, and friend and colleague, Lucas Hannahson for their contributions.

My Other Half | Preparation: Cut out enough hearts so that each student has half of a heart (i.e., for 30 students you will need 15 hearts).  Make sure to cut each heart down the middle in a different way (i.e., big zig-zags, small zig-zags, waves, jagged lines, etc.). How to Play: Distribute the halves randomly among the students. Instruct players to walk around the room asking “Are you my other half?” while trying to connect the pieces together. When students find their match they sit down and hold their heart together. Partners then ask each other questions and prepare to share one thing they learned with the rest of the class.  It might be a good idea to brainstorm a list of good questions prior to starting – keep the questions posted somewhere around the room for quick reference (i.e., What is your favourite movie? What do you like most about school?).

Heart Race | Preparation: Stack 6 plastic or Styrofoam cups together for each team (for a class of 30 students you will have 5 teams). Decorate the top cup in each set with some hearts so it will be different from the others in the stack. How to Play: Divide students into equal teams (if not possible, some players will simply have an extra turn). Line up the teams and have the first player hold their stack of cups.
Upon signaling, the first player will begin stacking the cups, from top to bottom. The object of the game is to keep moving the cups from top to bottom until the ‘heart’ cup appears on top again, at which point they pass the stack to the next player and proceed to sit down at the back of the line. The first team to have all their players complete the task, wins the heart race!

Match My HeartPreparation: Cut and attach a set of 15 pairs of different colour hearts to popsicle sticks (one per child, so if you have 30 kids you’ll need 15 pairs, 15 different colours). How to Play: Distribute the hearts, one per child. Turn the music on and have students dance around the room . When the music stops, players need to stay in their spot and find a nearby match for their heart. They can stretch or bend to reach their matching heart but cannot move from their spot. Play the music again and continue. As a variation, or to add more of a challenge to the game, you can also write sight words (or Valentine theme words) and add images to the hearts. This way, not only can colours make a match, but words and pictures as well (either both or else one or the other).

Mystery Valentine | Preparation: Invite students to share one thing about themselves and write it on a mystery card (some students will be more independent than others). How to Play: While gathered on the carpet, read the mystery cards one at a time and invite students to guess who each mystery valentine is. This is a fun way to learn about each other!

Friendship Circle | Gather in a circle on the carpet and invite students to take turns sharing something or someone they appreciate (i.e., I appreciate the books we have, I appreciated it when Lily helped me find my glove). Give students the option to say pass if they do not wish to share anything at this point. This is a wonderful community-building exercise that fosters appreciation and encourages the show of gratitude. I like to pass around an object for the children to hold as they speak (in honor of Valentines day, perhaps a flower or teddy bear).

Love LetterPreparation: You will need enough alphabet bean bags so that each child has one (for bigger classes you will need more bags – hacky sacks work well as fillers). How to Play: Students sing a variation of the song, Hot Potato while passing around the bean bags in the circle. “Love letter, pass it on, pass it on, pass it on, love letter, pass it on, the letter is – “. The teacher then announces a letter and students look down to see if they have the one that was just called. The student that has the letter goes up to write the letter on the board. Continue on, calling out a different letter each time, possibly spelling a Valentine word (i.e., LOVE, HEART, etc.). Once all the letters in the secret word have been called, students read the mystery word. For more of a challenge, select the letters out of order and have students unscramble them to make up a mystery word.

The Colour of My HeartPreparation: Cut out different coloured hearts so that there are enough for every student to have one. Place the hearts in a sac or box. On chart paper, write up corresponding questions to each coloured heart (i.e., red heart – what is your favourite food; blue heart – What are you most afraid of? etc.). How to Play: While gathered in a circle on the carpet, pass around the heart bag and have every student pull one out. When everyone has a heart in their hand, go around and have students answer the corresponding question to their coloured heart. You may want all the red questions answered first or in the order of the circle.

Stuck on YouPreparation: You will need matching pairs of stickers (i.e., for 30 students you will need 15 different pairs of stickers). How to Play: Gather students in a circle and instruct them not peek or talk as you walk around placing stickers on their back. Upon your signal, students walk around and try to find their partner – the person who has a matching sticker to theirs. This is obviously tricky because they will not know what sticker they have. They will be dependent on each other for help, which is a great way to get them talking, listening and problem-solving. When students believe they’ve found their match (again, they will need to rely on others to confirm that this is so), they sit down and peel the sticker off their friend’s back and stick it on their hand.

AND NOW, FOR SOME SINGING…

If You’re Friendly and You Know It
(Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)

If you’re friendly and you know it, wave hello.
If you’re friendly and you know it, wave hello.
If you’re friendly and you know it,
And you really want to show it.
If you’re friendly and you know it, wave hello.

### Substitute with other motions such as give a smile, shake a hand,give a high five.

Do You Know Our Friend?
(Tune: “The Muffin Man”)

Do you know our friend (name)?
Our friend (name), our friend (child’s name).
Do you know our friend (child’s name)?
He/She is really ____ .

# Peek-a-Boo, Why Don’t I See You ?

One look out the window on most winter days and your first instinct is to crawl right back into bed and curl up like a ball. But as cozy as that sounds, its not always an option.

We are left to embrace the chilly winter days by adapting to them; poofy jackets, warm boots, wooly hats, furry mittens, snow pants, scarves, ear-muffs – you name it, before you know it, you’re barely recognizable.

But what do animals do during the long and cold winter months? How do they survive? And where are they?

Peek-a-Boo, Why Don’t I See You – Animals in Winter, is a poem I wrote to help children understand how various animals cope during the winter. It introduces the concepts of hibernation, migration and adaptation.

A fun and memorable way to acquaint students with the vocabulary is to form associations with them. (If you enjoy acting every now and then, this is a good time to show off those skills). I began by telling my students that I have a team of ‘scientists’ that will be working with us. I told them that my name was Bernate and asked them to wave and say hi to me, (hence hi-Bernate). Then I pretended to fall asleep (hibernating teacher). They seemed perplexed at first, but smiled when they understood what I was doing. Next, I introduced my pretend assistant named Grate (an invisible bird sitting on my hand) and gestured that he is only mine, (hence my-Grate). Then I pretended to catch him as he attempted to fly away (migrating assistant). Finally, I added our last participant to the mix – a very furry fox named Apt, (add-apt). There I had it, the terminology (and basic meaning) that students would need for the unit was now easily accessible with simple gestures as cues. (I can’t help but smile when I see my students mimicking the gestures I associated with the terms).

Here are some fun related activities I created and plan to share with my students throughout our exploration of Animals in Winter. I hope you enjoy incorporating them into your classroom adventures as well.

While we’ve enjoyed reading many fiction and non-fiction books about Winter Animals, we have equally enjoyed filling a class chart on animals that hibernate, migrate and adapt. Though our list continues to grow each day, I selected various animals to be used in a follow-up sorting activity (sample here).

Winter Wonderland
Students colour, cut, and paste various animals into the appropriate place in the winter wonderland scene.

Sleepy Bear  Students use
various craft items (i.e., tissue paper, cotton balls, construction paper, paper bags, twigs, popsicle sticks, and whatever else you can find around your room) to create a home for a sleepy bear. You may or may not want to tell students in advance how these items can be used. I personally enjoy watching what students come up with when they are given free choice, but I do give them a starting point.

# What the Leaves Blew In…

Winter is just around the corner (pout, moan, cry). But before its official debut, I thought I’d pay tribute to the wonderful adventures we embarked on during our study of Autumn.

We began our exploration by taking an investigative walk around the school yard, looking for evidence of Fall.  Among the many things we observed, students marveled at the beautiful, colourful leaves everywhere; leaves of different shape, size and colour.

As with any great investigation, we had to gather specimens to bring back and explore further in our classroom – red leaves, yellow leaves, big leaves, little leaves, oak leaves, maple leaves, and what’s this – acorns, pine cones, flowers, twigs and rocks – all were welcomed.

Over the next several weeks, we were quite busy inquiring, learning and integrating our artifacts into every aspect of our day. We read many books about Fall, trees, seeds and leaves.

We documented and wrote about Fall changes. We learned about and labeled the different parts of a leaf. We counted, graphed, sorted and made patterns with leaves. We even made a pine cone shaker (to complement the seed shaker we previously made during our Apple inquiry – it turned out to be a great way to distinguish between the different sounds seeds can make).

We created art with leaf rubbings and leaf stamps (students loved creating their own Leaf Creatures, which after being displayed on our walls, made an entertaining class book).

It was endless! The ideas kept pouring, and the fun and learning continued.

For the culminating activity, we created a class book where each student got to contribute their idea to a page about leaves (parents really enjoyed looking through it during our Fall conferences). Students also had a chance to read a personalized book about leaves with our Grade Three Reading Buddies – they were so excited, I was so proud.

Though I generally have an overall sense of where I’d like an inquiry based opportunity to lead, I can never truly predict how vast or fruitful it will grow to be. It is the students’ curiosity and eagerness that determines the direction and range of learning. Regardless, I am always pleasantly surprised and excited to see where each inquiry will take us.

Enjoy the last bit of Fall everyone. Thank you for your time.

Lora