Saturday, April 2, 2022

How to Publish a Class Book

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on my links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you! Thanks for your support!

 

How to Publish a Class Book | Apples to Applique
One of my favorite yearly traditions in my classroom is publishing a class book. I like to do this toward the end of the year when my students have gained a lot of writing skills; it is incredibly rewarding to watch them put all of their skills together into a final product. 

The kit from Studentreasures makes publishing easy, and the best part is, it's free for teachers! (No, this is not a sponsored post, although the above is an affiliate link. I have just had a great experience with them and wanted to share with other teachers!)

You will be sent a kit with instructions including all that you need, with the exception of the drawing materials. I grab a class set of permanent markers and colored markers (because we all know by spring the kids' supplies have seen better days) and we're ready to go!

How to Publish a Class Book | Apples to Applique

There are many different ways to approach this project, but I choose to have the kids write a nonfiction animal book. It aligns perfectly with our unit on animal adaptations. Each student picks a different animal to research and write about. So many great skills get addressed during this project! They practice researching, writing a rough draft, and editing before they write their final pages.

Each student gets their own two-page spread in the book, with one page of text and one page for their illustration. There's even a "Meet the Authors" page in the back where you can put their pictures.

When you send the kit back to Studentreasures, it only takes a few weeks for them to return the published books to you. (Shipping both ways is free!) The kids are always proud and amazed to see their work published in a book; our class book is now one of the most frequently read in our classroom library. Parents have the opportunity to order books, as well, and I think they love it even more than the kids.

I hope you decide to try publishing a book with your class; it is such a wonderful experience! Click here to get started!

Keep teaching with heart and passion!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Football Unit for First Grade

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on my links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you! Thanks for your support!

Football Unit for First Grade | Apples to Applique

Thematic teaching is one of my favorite ways to approach learning in my classroom! This football unit is a great way to keep your students engaged, having a lot of fun while still practicing important skills. This unit is comprehensive, with literacy, math, and STEM activities, and a craftivity thrown in for some fine motor practice (and fun).

Literacy

Football Unit for First Grade | Apples to Applique
These clear spinners are perfect for this activity!

 

This unit includes three literacy activities: a fun craftivity that incorporates writing about personal goals, a digraph game, and an activity called "fumbled sentences", where students correct punctuation and capitalization errors in sentences.

Math

Football Unit for First Grade | Apples to Applique

 

There are two math activities included: a two-player game focused on comparing 2-digit numbers, perfect for small groups, and a "tackling three addends" scoot activity to get kids moving and collaborating.

Coding

 

Football Unit for First Grade | Apples to Applique

My students love coding activities, whether digital or unplugged. The included unplugged activity involves placing defensive players on the football field and writing a play to get the quarterback to the goal post.

I hope your students love this unit as much as mine do! It is the perfect accompaniment to a football room transformation, to celebrate the big game, or any other time you're looking to increase engagement. You can get it here in my store or here in my TPT shop.

Keep teaching with heart and passion!




Sunday, January 30, 2022

Best Read Alouds for Black History Month in Early Elementary

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on my  links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you! Thanks for your support!

Best Read Alounds for Black History Month in Early Elementary | Apples to Applique
 

Black History is American History and should be taught year-round. I work hard to read books featuring diverse characters to my students and to have such books accessible to them at all times in my classroom library. However, during the month of February, officially named Black History Month, I think we all would do well to make a conscious effort of reading such books in our classrooms. Here are some of my favorites:

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly


Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine


The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson

Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport   


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe


Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold


The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles


The Story of Black History Biographies for New Readers


The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez


Rosa by Nikki Giovanni


Black History Picture Books for Kids by Jasmine Riviera


Stacey's Extraordinary Words by Stacey Abrams


Human Computer: Mary Jackson, Engineer by Andi Diehn


Computer Decoder: Dorothy Vaughan, Computer Scientist by Andi Diehn


Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed


I would love to hear your favorite Black History read alouds for early elementary!

Keep teaching with heart and passion!



Sunday, January 23, 2022

Dental Health Month Activities

Dental Health Month Activities | Apples to Applique
 

Dental Health Month is right around the corner! While it's definitely not the most fun or exciting unit, it is so important for our young learners, and I've got some activities for you to make it meaningful as well as enjoyable.

First, kindergarten and first grade teachers, make sure to order your classroom kit from Colgate (this post is not sponsored by or affiliated with Colgate; this is just a resource I use every year that I want to share!) They will send you a free toothbrush and toothpaste sample for each child in your class. Any time kids get something new that they get to take home, even if it's a toothbrush, it increases their buy-in and excitement.

My comprehensive Dental Health Unit has everything else you need for teaching kids good dental hygiene. 

Introduce the topic with the included e-book, which features real photographs and discusses how to brush and floss, as well as what to expect during a visit to the dentist.

Dental Health Month Activities | Apples to Applique
 

Next, follow up with an engaging craftivity and writing prompt. This is differentiated to include a version with and without a sentence starter; it also includes 8 different faces so your students can choose one that looks like them--or that they simply like the best. My kids love these since they can practice "brushing" the teeth, and of course I love that they are purposeful as well as fun.

Dental Health Month Activities | Apples to Applique
So stinkin' cute!

Finally, this unit includes four additional activities to reinforce knowledge: a booklet about visiting the dentist, a toothbrushing sequencing activity, a word search, and an alphabetical order activity. These are perfect for morning work, independent work, or as a follow-up to your whole-group lesson.

Dental Health Month Activities | Apples to Applique
 

Find the unit here in my store or here in my TPT shop!

Keep teaching with heart and passion!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Organizing and Storing Small Group Materials

 Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on my  links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you! Thanks for your support!

 

Organizing and Storing Small Group Materials | Apples to Applique

I love hands-on activities for my students, especially for small groups and independent practice. It takes a lot of time to print, cut, and laminate activities, but it's worth it if I can keep them to reuse in future years. However, as I made and accumulated more activities, I quickly realized I needed a system to keep all of those materials organized. I love an organized classroom; clutter stresses me out and I hate wasting planning time digging through things.

I didn't want to use hanging files for my small group activities because most of them had smaller pieces that I also wanted to keep with it. For example, I had a weighing station that called for things like glue sticks, dominoes, and other classroom items for students to put in a scale. I wanted to be able to keep all of those things together so I could grab it and it would be ready to go.

Boxes take up too much space, especially if they are large enough to hold student worksheets, and they can get expensive.

These pocket file folders are perfect! They are large enough to hold manipulatives, cards, etc. while also storing any accompanying worksheets.

Organizing and Storing Small Group Materials | Apples to Applique

I put student worksheets in a folder, which goes inside the pocket file, so everything is together. I store the file folders in crates on shelves, but you could put them in a file cabinet. 

Organizing and Storing Small Group Materials | Apples to Applique
 

Whenever I'm needing students to practice a specific skill, I just look through the files and see what I already have prepped. It saves so much time and I love having tried-and-true activities at the ready.

Until next time, keep teaching with heart and passion!