Words Build. Words Destroy!

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“Words! What power they hold. Once they have rooted in your psyche, it is difficult to escape them. Words can shape the future of a child and destroy the existence of an adult.”

Vashti Quiroz-Vega


Words on a Limb is proud to announce the launch of its first picture-book:

Words Title - Regular
Written and Illustrated by Lora Rozler

Softcover MarketingIn this emotional and Hardcover Marketing
highly visual picture book,
a lonely letter sets off on a journey to find meaning.
As it encounters various letter combinations, it is confronted by two distinct paths and must make an important choice.

Readers of all ages will be captivated by this simple, yet high concept, story that explores universal themes of discovery, relationships and the need to belong, with an underlying message about bullying. Both timeless and original, Words is an evocative tale about how letters become words and words create meaning – meaning which could ultimately build or destroy.

“A compelling story-line, simple yet poignant illustrations, engaging language, a great read-aloud that offers many opportunities for reflection and discussion with children.”

“A heart-warming story with a clever, powerful message about anti-bullying. An absolute must-have
for every parent and educator.”


Available at all major online retailers including:

  barnes_noble_samsung

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For a FREE Parent and Teacher Companion Kit, based on the book, Words

click on the image below

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Attention all Mini-Artists: Join our Words-Through-Art Sketch Competition

IMG_20150707_180423Get out your sketch pads, sharpen those pencils, it’s time foIMG_20150707_171159r an Art Competition. Words on a Limb would like to invite readers (ages 6-10) to send in their best illustrations, capturing the essence of the picture-book, Words. The winner will receive a hardcover edition of Words and have their work featured on our site, as well as Lora Rozler’s author website.

All entries must be submitted to wordsonalimb@bell.net by August 15, 2015. Please indicate Art Competition in the subject line and specify the artist’s age in the email. The winner will be announced on August 22, 2015. Let the sketching begin!

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To Build or Destroy – The Power of Our Words

pink-shirt1Bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet. During the month of February, many organizations across Canada will work to raise awareness on this issue and give us the tools needed to stand up against bullying and step in when we see it happening. February 25th is Pink Shirt Day and it is recognized in schools across Canada and worldwide by wearing pink in support of anti-bullying. 

I would like to share an animation that highlights the power of our words. Words (which is also the introduction post to Words on a Limb) has truly become one of my favourite videos to share with students when discussing issues around bullying and raising awareness of the impact we have on others through speech and actions. The power of our words can never be underestimated. To build or destroy, it is always our choice.

Creative Commons License
Words by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Here is a snippet of the Globe & Mail article that describes how Pink Shirt Day began:

“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt]…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school.

‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’

So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag.

As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled.

The bullies were never heard from again.”
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It is not always easy to broach difficult topics with our children and students. This is where great literature comes in handy in opening a platform for discussion and reflection. Below is a collection of wonderful picture books to provoke questions about bullying, both as victims and perpetrators. Feel free to share other great books you’ve come across in the comment box below.  I will be more than happy to add them to our list. Continue reading

What the Leaves Blew In…

fall_leaves_1_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.

Autumn LeavesWe 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.

IMG_3884As 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.

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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.

leafmanredleafyellowleafwhentheleafblewin mousefirstfall

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).

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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).

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

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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.

IMG_4373Though 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.

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

Lora

Apples Big and Apples Small, Apples, Apples, One and All

appleMy first inquiry-based unit this year started off with a simple school snack – apples. I walked into the classroom just after Snack Break, and to my surprise, found a bin full of Golden Delicious apples.  Apparently, my three, four and five year-old students already had some pre-conceived ideas about apples – green ones specifically.

“I don’t like green apples,” the explaining began.

“Green apples are sour,” chimed in a few others.

Well, with that said, I walked over to the snack table, curiously staring at the batch of rejected apples. I grabbed one, inspected it for good measure and then took a big bite (good thing I always enjoyed Drama class in school – it sure comes in handy teaching Kindergarten).

“Hmmm, yummy,” I teased. “It doesn’t taste sour to me.” I shrug my shoulders and continued promenading around the tables, crunching along, making my usual small talk.  I then finally sat down to enjoy the rest of my juicy apple.

Across the room, I noticed one student get up and grab an apple from the bin.

“This is sweet,” she announced (thank goodness for those unknowing volunteers). Soon, another green apple landed in the hands of an unsuspecting child, and before long, nearly all of the apples had been gone.

Continue reading

Kings in the Corner

GravatarHappy Tuesday everyone. I would like to share a cool card game that I was introduced to this past weekend, Kings in the Corner. I played it with my children and was quite surprised how interested and engaged they were the entire time. In fact, they insisted we play again and again. I didn’t dare tell them how much they were learning at the same time (shhh, our secret).

Warning: Don’t be overwhelmed by all the instructions and rules. Once mastered, it is a relatively simple game to play. What’s more, it builds and reinforces many valuable concepts and skills including: focus and concentration, strategic thinking, numerical concepts (counting backwards, patterning), following rules, building social skills, turn-taking and having fun! Continue reading

Three Lessons My First Year in Teaching Taught Me

GravatarA young woman walks into a school, dressed in a tailored suit, just loose enough to mask her anxious composure. In one hand she holds a resume, in the other a leather portfolio.


“You can do this. You can do this,” she chants to herself, while quickening her steps, fighting an impulse to run back to her car. She heads straight to the office, looking for the principal. Minutes later, a tall bearded man steps out of the adjacent office and extends his arm.

“Hi, I’m Craig,” he begins and the young woman’s shoulders relax as she looks into his warm eyes. Phew, she can breathe again. “Yes, I received your resume this morning,” he explains. “We’ve actually just finished interviewing for all the positions we have available.” The young woman’s spirit sinks; but is reignited as he continues. “I have to say, though, I love your assertiveness and determination. How would you like to stay for an interview?” A smile breaks on the young woman’s face as the principal proceeds to call in other staff members to join in on the interview.

So began my journey as a primary grade school teacher. Continue reading

Every Ending is a New Beginning

cute-flower-girl-summer-sun-Favim.com-281317As the school year draws to a close, so does another year’s journey in both teachers’ and students’ lives.  For some children, this sudden abandon from all they have grown accustomed to (and love) is not an easy transition.

I recall, several years ago, when one of my beloved students had a very hard time ending the year.  Any time there was any reference made to the summer holidays, this otherwise happy-go-lucky girl, would break down into tears.  It completely took me by surprise (and melted my heart) when she confessed to being sad about not having me as her teacher anymore (she had been with me for both JK and SK). I consoled her as best as I could and we came up with a plan – she would come in to help me pack for the rest of the week and also be my special helper during recess the following school year.  It wasn’t an ending.  It was a new beginning.

It has been two years since, and this precious child still comes in every single day to help me.  I appreciate her dedication and support, but more than anything else I value the lesson she has taught me and continues to remind me of each day.  Regardless of age, background, title, position, etc., there is a beautiful bond that exists between people, if we just recognize it and let it flourish.

With that thought, I’d like to share a poem I wrote.  As I often do with my students (and family and friends alike), I would love to hear your interpretations of it.

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Thank you,

Lora


We Made a Pact

runningWe made a pact, he and I.
He’d come out and I’d join too.

We made a pact, not long ago.
He’d bring the warmth and I’d rejoice.

We made a pact, this much is true.
He’d light the sky and I’d lead the way.

We made a pact, but he bailed out.
Just like that, got up and left.

I searched for him as night crept in,
across the field,
between the clouds,
over the hills.

No sign of him.

I called to him but silence followed.
I grunted, frowned – I was not pleased.

I won’t forgive him.
I won’t. I won’t.

And now, because of his shenanigans,
Mommy said to go inside.

bedI ate my dinner but I was mad.
I brushed my teeth but I was livid.

I lay in bed, covered in heaps.
I won’t forgive this – we had a pact.

I tossed and turned and missed him so.
Perhaps I should forgive him.

I closed my eyes as sleep crept in.
Maybe, just maybe, I thought,
I’ll give him one last chance tomorrow.


Creative Commons License

We Made a Pact by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Alphabet Bingo

Alphabet BingoALPHABET BINGO is a fun game to play with young children as they learn the letters of the alphabet! Created with Primary students in mind, this unique game is designed to help kids recognize both uppercase and lowercase letters, while reinforcing basic shapes and colours.

Played like most bingo games, children use a cover-up bingo chip to cover letters as they are named by a “caller” (teacher, parent, student). Alphabet Bingo can also be played with a focus on sounds. For example, instead of calling out lower case b, emphasize a sound (i.e., This is a letter that makes the sound bbb, as in ball).  In this variation, both uppercase and lowercase b will be covered up.

The download includes 48 bingo cards, a set of 52 Upper case and Lower case Letters to call out and an instruction sheet.

Click HERE to get all you need.
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Happy Playing!

Lora


Alphabet Bingo by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Sight Words BINGO!

Bingo GameSight Words Bingo

Sight word acquisition is an important building block in the construction of a child’s ability to read. Once she is able to read these words, she has access to up to 75% of what is printed in almost any piece of children’s literature. How exactly do teachers and parents help children develop their stores of sight words? There are several proven techniques that any adult can use to teach sight words.

Children do not learn new words by being exposed to them only once. Repetition is key to sight word acquisition. Young readers should be given opportunities to read and write a new sight word multiple times. Repetitive reading of texts featuring certain sight words is one strategy for helping children commit these words to memory.

Once children have had the opportunity to study new sight words, games are a fun, hands on way to help strengthen their retention. These games are easy to create at home or at school and can be modified based on the particular sight words a child is learning at the time. We designed a game based on an all-time favourite, BINGO. The incentive to find a word coupled with the urge to complete a card, creates an active environment for memorizing these essential words.

The download includes 48 Sun-Moon-Star-Earth bingo cards as well as a set of 40 sight words to call out. All you need is lots of bingo chips and eager players, and you are ready to go.

Just click here to download the package.

Enjoy!

Learning with Caps – Recycled Play

f4939b9d9b4f5f90c8240245691056faLearning with Caps – Recycled Play

As a teacher, I find many uses for random household items that most people throw away. Bottle caps, for example, are never disposed of in my home.  Just this morning, my children and I played our own version of scrabble using yogurt caps I wrote letters on. They are a great way to engage children in learning (but I don’t dare tell them that). Sometimes I throw in different size and colour lids, just to see how the kids will fit them into the game.

They love coming up with their own rules (problem-solving, cooperation, creative thinking at its best):

“I know – how about the black ones be free letters?” says A.

“Yeah, we can use them when we get stuck, “ adds B.

I can’t help throwing in my own two cents. “They can be vowels.”

And off we go, making up words vertically, diagonally, horizontally, changing rules, adding rules, anything they want, so long as they are engaged.

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What household items have you saved from the recycling bin? Please share to feature your idea on our blog.