Happy Family Day!

Family cloudOur 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 reachgrandma
And bakes the best of brownies.
She tells me stories of long ago
And forgets about my bedtime.
Grandma Nia is the greatest – she is my family!

brotherHe 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 timefamily
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!


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


Below is a Family Day Resource package you can download for your personal use in the classroom. It contains the poem above and other fun activities for your students. The download link is found below the samples. Enjoy!

Poems

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


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


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.

Puzzle blank   Puzzle sample

‘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.

tree sample

my 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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Brrrr … it’s cold outside!

Winter Dress-Up 

The first snowfall of the year came with much surprise  last week. My kindergarten students were thrilled at the prospect of going out and playing in the snow.

Not so fast though – seems we needed to cover some basic ground rules about dressing (and undressing) if this was going to be a stress-free snow season.

Snow pants stuck at ankles, blocked by clunky boots, scarves wrapped around heads, unyielding to hoods asking to be removed, coats unzipped, mittens on too soon…

Arrrrgh!

i have to goThis year, to make it more fun, I decided to teach the dressing sequence through a song I wrote.

I started by reading Robert Munsch’s somewhat befitting story,
I have to go, and after a few good laughs, introduced my new song, Let’s Go Out and Play.

Now we were grooving!


 LET’S GO OUT AND PLAY

   Written by Lora Rozler (tune: The Hokey Pokey)

teacher

You put your snow pants on.
You put your boots on too.
Before you know it, you’ll be ready,
But now there’s more to do.

You zip your coat right on,
And you put your hat on too.
Woohoo – we’re almost through!

You put your cozy scarf on,
And those furry mittens too.
You thought you’d never finish,
Somehow you managed to.

Can’t wait to go and play now,
So much to see and do.
Woohoo, we’re done – we’re through!

kid

Creative Commons License
Let’s Go Out and Play by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


As a follow-up activity, I had students cut and paste winter dress-up clothes on a template of themselves.  While students enjoyed crafting their mini-me’s, my ECE and I walked around and observed whether students followed the correct sequence we had discussed (this can be a great assessment piece and a good time to exercise and check on students’ cutting skills).

 

You may want to photocopy the templates on different colour construction paper and let students mix and match the articles, or else plain white paper and have students create patterns and designs on their clothing.  Add some yarn for hair and googly eyes and you’ve got a masterpiece parents will surely cherish.

IMG_20141124_152750

Boy Hat-Gloves-Boots Snow pants Top and Scarf

For a more formal assessment piece, you may want to use the activity below, where students cut and paste clothing cut-outs into a sequencing table.

sequence

To download all the resources above, for your personal use in the classroom, click HERE.


Happy snow season everyone!

Lora

My Favourites – March 2014

Lora-Mauricio - 0018Happy Saturday everyone.  Here are some more of my favourite picture books.  What are some of yours?  Did you have a favourite book growing up?  Share to feature on our blog.


 

How to Babysit a Grandpa
How to Babysit a Grandpa
by Jean Reagan

New York Times bestselling picture book about a child spending time with his grandpa. Written in a how-to style, the narrator gives important tips for “babysitting” a grandpa, including what to eat for snack (anything dipped in ketchup, ice cream topped with cookies, cookies topped with ice cream) what to do on a walk (find lizards and dandelion puffs, be on the lookout for puddles and sprinklers), and how to play with a grandpa (build a pirate cave, put on a scary play).

Filled with humor, energy, and warmth, this is a great gift for or from a grandparent, and perfect for lap reading when Grandpa comes to visit!


The GruffaloThe Gruffalo
by Julia Donaldson
This is a rhyming story of a mouse and a monster. Little mouse goes for a walk in a dangerous forest. To scare off his enemies he invents tales of a fantastical creature called the Gruffalo. So imagine his surprise when he meets the real Gruffalo.
 
 
 
 
 


The Very Itchy Bear
The Very Itchy Bear
by Nick Bland
Companion to The Very Cranky Bear

Bear is here . . and here is Flea (but Flea’s a little small to see). This is Flea about to bite, but not because he’s impolite. He’s biting bear to say, Hello!’, biting high and biting low. In The Very Cranky Bear, Bear’s cave was invaded by four playful animals. In The Very Itchy Bear there is just one creature bothering him: a persistent flea. Bear tries to get away, but Flea just won’t leave him alone. When Bear finally gets rid of Flea, he finds that he misses him-and a new friendship is born.


Stephanie's Ponytail
Stephanie’s Ponytail
by Robert Munsch
A little girl who is determined to strike a blow for nonconformity manages to arrive at school every day with a hairdo more outraegous than the day before. And each time, the cast of copycats grows and grows — until the day she threatens to shave her head! The strong female voice will speak to many, asserting the importance of individuality and independent thought. 

 


The Rat and the Tiger
The Rat and the Tiger
by Keiko Kasza
Even though one is just a tiny little fellow and the other is a big tough guy, rat and tiger are best friends. they have lots of fun playing together, even though tiger is a bit of a bully. when they play cowboys, rat always has to be the bad guy. when they share a snack, rat always gets the smaller piece. but one day, tiger takes the bullying too far, and rat decides that he’s not going take it anymore. rat stands up for himself and refuses to be tiger’s friend until tiger learns to play fair and square. with appealing illustrations and a simple text, Keiko Kasza delivers an important message about friendship in this heartwarming story.

I Will Hold You 'til You Sleep
I Will Hold You ’til You Sleep
by Linda Zuckerman

A book that combines the spiritual (and artistic) appeal of Jon Muth’s THE THREE QUESTIONS with the heartfelt emotion of LOVE YOU FOREVER.

Here is the rare book that not only expresses a parent’s love for their child, but offers a hope for what that love will become. It begins with a wish at bedtime, as parents hold their children tight and hope their love will cradle them, safe and sound. It continues through the day their children have grown up, proud and strong, and can pass that love on to someone else. This is a book that goes beyond a parent’s “I love you” to the generous wish that our children will make the world a better place.


Bagels from Benny
Bagels from Benny
by Aubrey Davis
Benny loves to help out at his grandpa’s bakery in the morning, and the customers love the crusty bagels with their soft insides. When Grandpa explains to Benny that God, not him, should be thanked for the wonderful bagels, Benny sets out to do just that. He decides to leave God a bagful of bagels in the synagogue at the end of each week. And each week God eats the bagels — or so Benny thinks – Lovingly told, Bagels from Benny explores the values of caring and sharing, building a strong sense of community and finding joy in giving thanks.

It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
by Margot ZemachReaders pick

Once upon a time a poor unfortunate man lived with his mother, his wife, and his six children in a one-room hut.

Because they were so crowded, the children often fought and the man and his wife argued. When the poor man was unable to stand it any longer, he ran to the Rabbi for help.

As he follows the Rabbi’s unlikely advice, the poor man’s life goes from bad to worse, with increasingly uproarious results. In his little hut, silly calamity follows foolish catastrophe, all memorably depicted in full-color illustrations that are both funnier and lovelier than any this distinguished artist has done in the past.

It Could Always Be Worse is a 1977 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and Outstanding Book of the Year, and a 1978 Caldecott Honor Book.

Pirates Don't Change Diapers
Pirates Don’t Change Diapers
by Melinda Long
When the pirate crew turns up at Jeremy Jacob’s house and accidentally wakes his baby sister, that wee scallywag howls louder than a storm on the high seas. Sure, there’s buried treasure to be found, but nobody’s digging up anything until Bonney Anne quits her caterwauling. So, quicker than you can say “scurvy dog,” Braid Beard and his swashbuckling pirates become . . . babysitters? Blimey!

This hilarious companion to How I Became a Pirate reveals that minding the nursery can be even more terrifying than walking the plank–especially if you’re a pirate.

Arthur's Teacher Moves In (Arthur Adventures)
Arthur’s Teacher Moves In (Arthur Adventures)
by Marc Brown
Arthur is overwhelmed with dread when he hears that his teacher is coming to stay at his house. But soon, Arthur discovers that Mr. Ratburn is just like everyone else. Arthur thinks his problems are over, but when he gets an A on his test his friends start calling him a teacher’s pet. In the end, Arthur and Mr. Ratburn set the record straight.

 
 


I Have to Go!
I Have to Go!
by Robert Munsch

A classic tale that has sold more than a million copies is now available as a board book.

This ever-popular story of a little boy in the throes of toilet training has been making children laugh since it first appeared more than 20 years ago. This new toddler-sized board book edition retains all the humor of the original story but features condensed text that will make it even more appealing to preschoolers.


Julius, the Baby of the World
Julius, the Baby of the World
by Kevin Henkes
The riotously funny Lilly, last seen in Chester’s Way (Greenwillow), thinks her new baby brother, Julius, is disgusting — if he was a number, he would be zero. But when Cousin Garland dares to criticize Julius, Lilly bullies her into loudly admiring Julius as the baby of the world.Lilly knows her baby brother is nothing but dreadful — until she claims him for her own. “Henkes displays a deep understanding of sibling rivalry and a child’s fragile self-esteem….Lilly is a superb and timely heroine.” — Publishers Weekly. 

Thomas' Snowsuit
Thomas’ Snowsuit
by Robert Munsch
Willful, young Thomas refuses to wear his new snowsuit, despite the pleas of his mother, his teacher and even his principal. When everyone’s best efforts lead only to comedic chaos, they all agree it’s best to let Thomas suit himself. This is marvelous mischief from Munsch and Martchenko.

 


No, David! = No David!
No, David!
by David Shannon
When David Shannon was only five years old, he wrote and illustrated a story in which an unruly little boy breaks all of his mother’s rules — he jumps on the beds; he chews with his mouth open; he plays ball in the house. Any child who is tired of hearing his parents say “No ” will readily identify with this boldly illustrated, comical story.


Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

love-you-forever-mainLove You Forever by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Sheila McGraw
Published by Firefly Books

With a down-to-earth message of love, a mother sings the same song to her child even as he grows older and older.  Finally he is a grown man and she has become an old woman.  When she can no longer rock him and sing to him, he does the same to her.  A beautiful reminder for every child that their parents will love them no matter how old they are, no matter what they do, and no matter where they go.  Love You Forever is the sort of book to bring parents and their kids together after each reading.