All Posts By

Melissa Nikohl

  • How Teachers Can Build Relationships With Parents During Remote Learning

    Teachers, we have to make sure we are building strong relationships with parents while teaching online. Parents are the ones at home, making sure students are participating in remote learning. Parents are helping us make remote teaching possible. Get tips on how to make your virtual classroom more successful. Check out the blog post, How Teachers Can Build Relationships With Parents During Remote Learning. #parentinvolvement #virtualteaching #remoteteaching #remotelearning

    Teachers, we have to make sure we are building strong relationships with parents while teaching online. Parents are the ones at home, making sure students are participating in remote learning.    Parents are helping us make remote teaching possible.  Get tips on how to make your virtual classroom more successful. Check out the blog post, How Teachers Can Build Relationships With Parents During Remote Learning.   #parentinvolvement #virtualteaching #remoteteaching #remotelearning

    Teachers around the world are working harder than ever before. Some of us are struggling to learn new technology while delivering quality instruction. We are trying to figure out what to teach online and how to package it so students can understand virtually. Some teachers are now teaching online and in-person. And it is a lot. For many of us, there are people in our community who are helping us out tremendously. Especially with elementary students, our kiddos’ parents.

    If you want remote learning to work for you, you have to build relationships with your students’ parents.

    In previous school years, some of us made it optional to communicate regularly with parents. This school year is forcing many of us to communicate with parents more than ever before.

    Here are some tips for building relationships with parents.

    Minimize Your Communication with Parents

    Parents do NOT want your daily emails or messages. They are not their child’s personal assistant. Sure, most parents want regular communication, but they do not want daily reports. Seriously, just say NO! They are not reading your daily messages, and you are annoying them. AKA, you are becoming unlikeable. This is not what you want in a high-stress time.

    Some parents have multiple children, or their child has numerous teachers, so imagine if more than one teacher is reaching out to them throughout the week. How many emails and messages do you think they’ve received?

    Parents are also working a full-time job, many from home. Think about how many emails they are getting from work.

    I message parents at maximum twice a week. Lately, it’s only been once, on Fridays or Mondays. I prefer Friday’s because I can recap the week and share all the announcements that need at the end of the week. I’ve learned if I message them on Monday, then I had to email them on Friday to share anything that happened during the week. So emailing on Friday’s has cut out an extra email.

    There are special circumstances that require me to message more than twice a week, like if my principal needs us to deliver a message to parents immediately. And if that is the case, I make it very clear that the news is not coming from me.

    Although I keep my communication with parents minimal, I make sure they know they can always reach out to me.

    Have Routines and Procedures that Allow Students to be Self Sufficient

    When we were thrown into remote teaching, I wanted to make things easy enough that students could get their work done with little to no support from their parents. When the school year ended, I had a few parents thank me for making things simple enough that students could do work on their own.

    So, this school year, I had to keep that same energy! Even though now I have first graders (last year I had 5th), we are entering our fifth week of school, and my students can do most of it on their own. Of course, they need help to know what time to get online, but they can log onto Zoom by themselves. They’re able to complete assignments on their own. I’m still working on making instructions simple enough for six-year-olds, but I’m getting better each week.

    Express Gratitude

    Are we working harder than we would if we were in classrooms? Yes. But, the parents have to do extra work too. So, every once in a while, say thank you. Let them know you appreciate their help. Pre-COVID, being kind to parents and recognizing what they’ve done helped me build positive relationships.

    Think about when you’re doing something to help someone, and they don’t say thank you. Aren’t you less likely to help in the future? You don’t have to say thank you every day. But genuinely let them regularly see that you appreciate them.

    Speaking with parents about their children can be intimidating. But, we all know that when teachers and parents work together, the students are more successful. This cheat sheet will help you build relationships and increase students' growth. You won't have any issues regularly communicating with parents! Grab your cheat sheet and increase parent engagement this school year!

    Use a Communication App

    Communication apps like Remind, Class Dojo, and Seesaw are excellent apps to use if you want to make communicating with parents super easy. Email is cool, but think about how many times you told a parent you’ve sent them an email and they never opened it. The apps can be installed on their phone so they get a message from you like a text, or they can set up their account to have messages sent to their email. It’s the best of both worlds.

    I love using a communication app right now because my email inbox is popping. My district email sends out the district emails to another folder, so sometimes, I don’t see parent emails right away. Using an app keeps all my parent messages in one spot.

    And if you aren’t a fan of adding an app to your phone, all the above mention apps work well on the computer.

    For more information on communication apps, check out my blog posts 3 REASONS WHY TEACHERS SHOULD USE A PARENT COMMUNICATION APP THIS SCHOOL YEAR & 5 WAYS TEACHERS SHOULD USE A PARENT COMMUNICATION APP THIS SCHOOL YEAR.

    Look guys; we need parents. We’ve always needed them. If you haven’t made parent communication a priority, then it may be awkward at first. Use remote learning as an opportunity to make your parent communication become a strength.

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  • Tips For Veteran Teachers Teaching Remotely

    Are you a veteran teacher? Are you looking for tips to help you teach remotely? Check out this blog post to help all veteran teachers teach virtually. #remoteteaching #virtualteaching

    Are you a veteran teacher? Are you looking for tips to help you teach remotely? Check out this blog post to help all veteran teachers teach virtually. #remoteteaching #virtualteaching

    If I can vent to you real quick, COVID has destroyed my blogging plans. Last year, I made tons of back to school content that I planned to reuse this school year. When I created the videos, blog posts, and tutorials, I thought it would be seasonal content that will never not (double negative to emphasize my confidence 🤣) be relevant.

    Welp. We know how that turned out. 

    I’m telling you this because we are used to things being done a certain way at the beginning of the school year. But everything has changed. Everything is new. 

    Here are three things that ALL veteran teachers need to know, including me.

    We are all new; let go of what you’ve always done.

    We are all new; be open to learning.

    We are all new; be okay with being new again.

    I know in a traditional class setting, we know how to get things done. We know how to kick off the school year. We are experts at back to school night. 

    But, guys, this school year, we are not the experts. We are not veterans; we are all new. 

    We have to humble ourselves and be open to learning new things. 

    We have to complain less.

    We have to be flexible.

    We have to share what we learn.

    We have to support each other.

    We have to be okay with making mistakes.

    We have to create better relationships with parents.

    We have to be considerate.

    We have to be understanding.

    We have to be less critical.

    We have to be safe.

    A year ago, if you told me we would be starting the school year online due to a pandemic, I would have called you a big fat liar and called you crazy. Heck, if you told me this in February, I would have laughed in your face.

    The wonderful thing about being a veteran during this time is that we have years of experience of being flexible and taking whatever comes at us and making it great. 

    We will all make this the best school year we can. 

    Take care y’all.

    Melissa

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  • Virtual Read Aloud Tips for Teachers

    Teaching remotely has changed a lot of what we would normally do in our classrooms. Read alouds are still a practice that should be continued while we are teaching remotely. Check out these tips to make your virtual read alouds engaging and fun for your students. #remoteteaching #readalouds #virtualteaching

    Teaching remotely has changed a lot of what we would normally do in our classrooms. Read alouds are still a practice that should be continued while we are teaching remotely. Check out these tips to make your virtual read alouds engaging and fun for your students. #remoteteaching #readalouds #virtualteaching

    I love reading to my students. When the schools were closed, this was the one thing I missed. Really missed.

    My first day of school is in a few weeks, and while I don’t know a lot about what will happen this school year, I know that I will read books to my students daily. 

    Check out these tips to get your virtual read alouds on and popping!

    Know Publishers’ Read Aloud Policies

    Teachers don’t make a lot of money. The last thing any of us want are copyright issues. To prevent any problems, make sure you understand what you can and cannot do when reading books online. 

    Recently, I read an article that stated that teachers have permission to virtually read aloud books because of fair use. This article explains why we can read online to our students; I still think it’s smart to understand each publisher’s policy.

    The article and publishers make it very clear that reading online to students should benefit them and not you (to increase your social media following, monetary gain, etc.).

    In March, I wrote a blog post with publishers permissions, as of 8/2/2020, some publishers have extended their deadlines. Others probably will soon. 

    Pick a Way to Read

    How you virtually read to your students will play a significant role in their engagement. 

    For my first remote read aloud, I filmed myself (with my cellphone) reading the book as if I would read to my students in class. So, I was sitting in a chair and holding the book toward the camera.  

    For the next book, I recorded the pages as I was reading. My thinking was that they would be able to read along and had a better view of the illustrations.

    After doing it both ways, I asked my students which way they preferred. They unanimously agreed that they like seeing the pages because they could read with me. 

    This school year, I plan on mixing it up and doing it both ways. Since my students don’t know me, I want them to see my face as much as possible, but I also want to give them opportunities to read along. 

    Do you do daily read alouds in your reading block? Have you tried interactive read alouds? Interactive read alouds are a great way to engage your students while you’re reading. You can use interactive read alouds to teach or reteach reading skills from your lesson. More importantly, interactive read alouds are great way to trick your students into learning reading skills! #interactivereadalouds #readaloud #readalouds #readaloudtips

    Read As If You Are In the Classroom aka Show Your Personality

    During our read alouds in class, we make jokes, I make connections, and or model skills while reading. 

    At first, this was missing from my virtual read alouds. It was bizarre being alone reading a book for my students.

    As I got more comfortable, I started inserting my ad-libs to make the reading more personable and fun. 

    This school year, showing my personality will be even more important so that I can virtually build relationships. 

    Ask Questions

    Just because the read aloud is virtual, doesn’t mean you can’t ask students about the book. 

    Once we went online, I would assign a Google Form with questions about the book that students would answer after reading. If the questions referred to a specific part of the book, I would include a picture of the book page, so the students had the text to help them answer the questions.

    Just like in class, I would not ask more than five questions.

    Don’t Ask Questions

    While it is essential to assess students’ comprehension, model thinking, etc, reading to students for pleasure is also important. 

    At least once a week in class and online, I read a book just for fun.

    I plan on increasing days like this in the fall. 

    Some of my students will have a hard time getting their hands on books this school year, so ensuring that students can hear a book a day is important. 

    Use these tips to get your virtual read alouds started! If you’re looking for diverse picture books to read to your students, you’ll love The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books. There are over 250 books to make your virtual read alouds a blast!

    Are you looking for diverse picture books to add to your classroom or home library? Do you want to add diverse picture books to your collection, but you don’t have time to search for them? Are you a teacher that wants to use more diverse texts but are unsure how they will fit in with your units or curriculum? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need this list! #diversepicturebooks #diverseclassroomlibraries #diversebooksforkids

  • Books to Help Kids Learn About Hurricane Katrina

    The easiest way to share information about a topic is by reading books. Hurricane Katrina is a natural disaster that all kids should know about. These books about Hurricane Katrina are a great way to encourage discussions and research about this violent storm. #stembooksforkids #hurricanebooks #hurricanekatrinabooksforkids

    The easiest way to share information about a topic is by reading books. Hurricane Katrina is a natural disaster that all kids should know about. These books about Hurricane Katrina are a great way to encourage discussions and research about this violent storm. #stembooksforkids #hurricanebooks #hurricanekatrinabooksforkids

    In August of 2005, one of the deadliest hurricanes hit New Orleans and other parts of  the Gulf Coast. I remember being in college, watching it on the news. I remember my college taking in other college students who were displaced by the storm. I remember Kanye West’s unforgettable quote. Hurricane Katrina killed almost 2,000 people; over 700 people were never found.

    In just three years, we will be able to say, none of our students were alive when it happened. That makes me feel a little old, but it makes it even more important to me to make sure I share what happened to my students every year. 

    This list contains books to read to any school-aged child. Use these books to build connections, but don’t stop there. Have your child or students research more information. For the younger students, share age-appropriate information. We cannot forget what happened before and after Katrina hit.

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other books to read at home or at school! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you. ❤️

    Also, for complete transparency, there are some books on this list that I have not read. When I make book lists I always read the books before posting. Since there are several chapter books/novels on this list I have not had time to read them all just yet, but I will! This is the only book list on my website with books I haven’t read. 

    A Storm Called Katrina by Myron Uhlberg

    A Storm Called Katrina is a picture book that follows Louis Daniel and his family as they abandoned their home in search for higher ground. This may be a longer book for a kindergartner or first grader, but it could be broken up and read over a few days. 

    Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner

    In this picture book we learn about the sanitation worker who begins cleaning up after Katrina just like it was an ordinary day. His spirit encourages neighbors and volunteers to help with cleaning up the city. Being that I’m not for New Orleans, I really appreciated the pronunciation guide in the back of the book.

    Hurricane Katrina Rescue (Ranger in Time #8) by Kate Messner 

    Hurricane Katrina Rescue is a beginner chapter book that I think is meant for second and third graders (just a suggestion). Ranger is a time traveling dog who helps Clare find  her family. I have not read any of the other books in this series, but I thought that this was a good book to help students relate to the those impacted by the store. I also liked that they included real pictures from the storm so that the reader can see the damage.

    Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

    The Ninth Ward is a novel geared toward middle schoolers. There’s actually an excerpt of this book in our 6th grade textbooks. 

    In this novel, we meet 12 year-old Lanesha who lives with Mama Ya-Ya. The Ninth Ward gives the reader a more realistic version of what happened once the hurricane hit. 

    Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick

    Zane and the Hurricane is one of the books on this list I haven’t read, but it was recommended by my former teammate! She reads tons of books and picks great ones to read to her students, so I completely trust her recommendation.

    In this book, we follow Zane and his dog, Bandit as they try to survive Hurricane Katrina. This novel is perfect for upper elementary and middle school students. 

    A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson

    A Place Where Hurricanes Happen follows four friends in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. Once Katrina hits, each family has their own experience with the arrival of the storm. This is a great book to show how everyone who was affected by Hurricane Katrina had a different experience.

    Saint Louis Armstrong Beach By Brenda Woods

    Here’s another novel I haven’t read…yet. I’ve started the book (read two chapters) and I think it’s going to be really good. According to the reviews, it’s a good book!

    Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is not a place but a boy who lives in Treme. Saint tells the story of his life before, during, and after Katrina with his best friend, the neighborhood dog Shadow. Upper elementary and middle school students would enjoy this book. I’ll update the post once I’m done reading!

    There are a couple more books I want to at least have in my possession before I put them on the list! I will update the list once I get a chance to read them. Follow me on Instagram to look for updates!

    Check out The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books if you are looking to add more diverse picture books to classroom or home library!

    Are you looking for diverse picture books to add to your classroom or home library? This list of diverse picture books is perfect for you! #diversepicturebooks

  • A Sparkly List Of Unicorn Picture Books

    Are you looking for unicorn picture books? Then this list is for you! These Unicorn books are perfect addition to your home and classroom library.

    Are you looking for unicorn picture books? Then this list is for you! These Unicorn books are perfect addition to your home and classroom library.

    I think it is safe to say that just about everyone loves unicorns! These books are all excellent choices to check out from the library or buy!

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you. ❤️

    Unicorns 101 by Cale Atkinson

    Unicorns 101 gives you everything you need to know about these mythical creatures!⁣ If your kiddo or students love unicorns, this is a book they must read!

    It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn! by Jason Tharp

     
    Believe it or not, some unicorns, don’t want to be unicorns! In It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn, Cornelius J. Sparklesteed doesn’t want people to know that he is a unicorn, so he pretends to be a horse. Cornelius just wants to fit in, but he learns that he shouldn’t hide who he is and that you should always be yourself!
     
     

    You Don’t Want a Unicorn by Ame Dyckman

     
    So everybody thinks unicorns are cool, but have you ever owned one? In You Don’t Want a Unicorn, we learn why owning one might not be a good idea. 
     
     

    Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

    Goat had a great life until Unicorn showed up. Goat was confident until Unicorn showed up. Compared to Unicorn, nothing he does is cool. Goat eventually meets Unicorn and finds out that Unicorn isn’t as confident as he thinks he is.

    Little Unicorn feels different emotions, sometimes he is shy. This book is great to read to kids who sometimes feel uncomfortable being the center of attention.

    Unicorn is Maybe Not So Great After All by Bob Shea

    It’s the first day of school and Unicorn is expecting to get everyone’s attention. When he arrives at school something else has everyone’s attention. Nobody notices him! So, Unicorn tries to find a way to make people love him again.

    A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

    Lucy orders a unicorn for 25 cents. When the unicorn arrives, he is not what she expected. This book is hilarious! It’s definitely in my top 3 of books on this list!

    Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood

    Sophie has the important job of training Unicorns. Even though she is an expert, she still has some learning to do.

    Unicorn (and Horse) by David Miles

    Unicorn and Horse are completely different. Unicorn can do so many things that Horse cannot. Horse doesn’t think he’s all that special until he has to do something that nobody else can do.

    Little Unicorn Is Scared by Aurélie Chien Chow Chin

    Little Unicorn gets scared like everyone else. Sometimes his fears keep him up at night. When Little Unicorn gets really bad he does breathing exercises to tame his fears. Little Unicorn shares the techniques in hopes that the reader will use them to whenever they feel frightened.

    Kevin the Unicorn:It’s Not All Rainbows by Jessika von Innerebner

    Out of all of the social emotional books on this list, this one is my favorite!

    Kevin usually always has good days, but today for the first time something feels different. Kevin goes through the day trying to be positive but it’s not working. By the middle of the day he can no longer pretend that he is doing okay and he learns it is okay to have a bad day. 

    Unicorns are the bomb! Add these books to your classroom or home library today.

    If you are looking for diverse picture books, I have an amazing list with over 250 books! Check out The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books, to add some amazing books to your library!

    Are you looking for diverse picture books to add to your classroom or home library? This list of diverse picture books is perfect for you! #diversepicturebooks

  • Diverse Picture Books for Art and Music Teachers

    Music and Art Teachers should definitely join in the fun of reading to students. There are tons of books that can be read in those classes that work effortlessly! All teachers should have a diverse classroom library! Check out this list to use in your classroom now! #musicteacher #artteacher #diverseclassroomlibrary

    Music and Art Teachers should definitely join in the fun of reading to students. There are tons of books that can be read in those classes that work effortlessly! All teachers should have a diverse classroom library! Check out this list to use in your classroom now! #musicteacher #artteacher #diverseclassroomlibrary

    Books can be and should be read in every classroom! I really wanted to make this list for music and art teachers to help encourage literacy in your classroom. I can see your creative minds using these books to create engaging lessons!

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    If you like this list of diverse books, you’ll love The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books. There are over 250 books to use in the classroom and home libraries. 

    Are you looking for diverse picture books to add to your classroom or home library? This list of diverse picture books is perfect for you! #diversepicturebooks

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you. ❤️

    Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre

    Matty LOVES glue, like most kids do, but his love is a little extreme. One day in art class he goes overboard and he finds himself in a sticky mess. 

    I know art and classroom teachers can relate to this one. Why must they use so much glue???!!!

    When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill

    DJ Kool Herc, one of the grandfather’s of Hip-Hop. A lot of the music that students enjoy today can be traced back to DJ Kool Herc. Use this book to teach students how the music they love today got started. 

    Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace

    This is an excellent book to show students that it is okay to have multiple interests. 

    Ernie Barnes always wanted to become an artist, but his art career got sidetracked when he was drafted to play in the NFL.⁣

    My students loved how he was a football player and an artist, especially my boys!⁣

    How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz by Jonah Winter

    Jelly Roll Morton was one of the early jazz composers that helped make jazz well known. If you let him tell it, he invented jazz. ⁣

    Whether or not he is credited as the inventor of jazz, ⁣his contributions, of course, laid the foundation for other jazz musicians.

    Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp

    What I loved about Who Stole Mona Lisa? is that the author tells the story from Mona Lisa’s point of view! ⁣

    In 1911 she was stolen, and we learn about what she goes through those two years she was missing!⁣

    My students and I were not expecting how fun this book would be, add this to your list!!⁣

    Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers

    Cuban singer Celia Cruz was known for her amazing voice as a child. People would often stop outside her house to hear her sing. ⁣

    My students didn’t know who she was when I read the book, but when I played a few of her songs many students were able to recognize her voice.

    In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage by Alan Schroeder

    Augusta Savage was a sculptor from Florida who moved to New York City to attend art school.⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣She was so talented she completed two years of school in 6 weeks!⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣Augusta eventually shared her love of art and became an art teacher. In Harlem, she opened an art studio where she would help children discover their love of art.⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣Augusta made busts of W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey! Her most famous art piece was Gamin, a bust of an African American boy. ⁣⁣

    Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville

    Did you know that Mary Blair was the lead designer for Disney World’s It’s a Small World boat ride?⁣

    She also did some design work for Disney movies, Cinderella and Peter Pan. ⁣

    Do you remember Little Golden Books? Well, she illustrated some of those as well!⁣

    A Voice Named Aretha by Katheryn Russell-Brown

    A Voice Named Aretha starts when the Queen of Soul was a child. The reader learns she always had a powerful voice, and even as a child her voice drew crowds.

    When she was young, you could find tons of celebrities enjoying the company of her family. Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr were frequent visitors of the Franklin home.

    My students thought they didn’t know who Aretha was until I played RESPECT. 

    Queen of Tejano Music: Selena by Silvia Lopez

    Selena takes us through Selena’s life, starting with her childhood. ⁣I could see music and art teachers using this book because Selena also designed her own clothes. 

    This is a long book, but luckily there are great starting and stopping points that make it easy to take your time. ⁣

    A is for Audra: Broadway’s Leading Ladies from A to Z by John Robert Allman

    This book lists the amazing leading ladies of Broadway! All of my music and theater art teachers will appreciate this book.

    Women Artists A to Z by Melanie LaBarge

    Women Artist A to Z is another book filled with amazing women. There are brief descriptions for each woman listed in the book. 

    I only knew three artists listed; Frida Kahlo, Maya Lin, and Georgia O’Keefe.⁣

    Anywhere Artist by Nikki Slade Robinson

    This book is all about a little girl who can make art anywhere and out of anything! I can see art teachers using this book at the beginning of the year to show students that anyone can be an artist. 

    Music and art teachers should read to their students frequently, especially since there is an abundance of amazing art and music themed picture books in school libraries! I’ve heard numerous principals say  “all teachers are reading teachers” and I agree.

    The books listed above should be a great starting point to help build your classroom library. If you need more, check out The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books, there is special section full of books about the arts, that is perfect for theatre, music, and art teachers. Check it out!

    I love read alouds, so ⁣if you need help implementing or planning read alouds, grab the Free Interactive Read Aloud Guide!

    Are you looking for a way to organize your interactive read alouds? If you're having trouble planning read alouds or asking the right questions, then you need this freebie. Grab your free Interactive Read Aloud Guide now.!

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  • Really Cool Picture Books About Animals

    What kid doesn't like animals? This list of books are kid approved list that will engage any reader! Read these books are good enough to read at home or in your class! #classroombooks

    What kid doesn't like animals? This list of books are kid approved list that will engage any reader! Read these books are good enough to read at home or in your class! #classroombooks

    What kid doesn’t like books about animals? I haven’t met a single one. This list contains some of the most engaging animal books I’ve used in my classroom!

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    This book list is all about animals, but if you are looking for diverse picture books then you should check out The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books. There are over 250 books to use in classroom and home libraries. 

    Are you looking for diverse picture books to add to your classroom or home library? This list of diverse picture books is perfect for you! #diversepicturebooks

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you. ❤️

    If Sharks Disappeared

    by Lily Williams

    If you’re doing a unit or study of saving the environment or predators and prey, this is a great book to include.

    If  Sharks Disappeared explains why we need sharks and how we all benefit from them. This is also a great book to use to introduce new science vocabulary.

    What Do They Do with All That Poo? by Jane Kurtz

    Prepared for your kids to be grossed out! But they will love it!  What Do They Do with All That Poo? shares all the information you maybe didn’t want to know about how some animals go number 2. This is a must read! It is sooooo fun!

    When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex by Toni Buzzeo

    I enjoyed this book because I have a personal connection to SUE the T-Rex.

    I’ve seen SUE the Tyrannosaurus Rex several times as a kid when visiting my dad in Chicago.⁣

    While digging around in South Dakota in 1990, Sue Hendrickson found SUE.⁣

    If you read this book to your students or children, go to The Field Museum’s website to check out SUE.

    Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton

     
    Give Bees a Chance is always a hit because kids love talking about bees!
    ⁣⁣
    Before we read, I always ask  my students to share their stories about getting stung by a bee! My students love to talk about themselves (and who doesn’t), so it is a great way to get them to make an instant connection to the book. 
     
    Give Bees a Chance gives the reader information about bees and why they are important to the environment. 
     

    If Elephants Disappeared by Lily Williams

    Over the years I have really loved learning about elephants. They are intelligent and beautiful animals.

    If Elephants Disappeared gives facts about elephants and explains how hunters are on track to forcing these animals into extinction. 

    This is another great book to discuss saving the environment and protecting animals. If you like this series, check out If Polar Bears Disappeared.

    Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies

    If you’re looking for book with a variety of different species of sharks, this is the book for you!

    Surprising Sharks not only gives the reader facts about the different kinds of sharks, the author does an amazing job of explaining why humans should not be afraid of sharks. Sharks should be afraid of humans. This book is always a hit.

     

    Hippos Are Huge! by Jonathan London

    In Hippos Are Huge the reader learns how fast hippos can run, their mating rituals, how they fight, why they “yawn” and more!⁣

    This is another great animal book to add to your list.

    How to Survive As a Firefly by Kristen Foote

    In How to Survive As a Firefly, a group of larvae gets schooled by an adult firefly on how to survive.⁣⁣
    ⁣⁣
    If your students or child is a fan of bugs, this is an excellent book that teaches the life cycle, metamorphosis, anatomy, and physiology. ⁣⁣

    FYI, we call them lightning bugs in the Midwest lol. 

    The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

    The Very Impatient Caterpillar is the perfect book to teach the life cycle of the butterfly. The book includes all the key vocabulary and entertaining dialogue to keep kids engaged!

  • Picture Books About Voting

    Are you looking for picture books about elections? Do you need diverse books about voting? Check out this amazing list to add to your classroom library! #diverseclassroomlibrary #diversebooks #picturebooksaboutvoting

    Are you looking for picture books about elections? Do you need diverse books about voting? Check out this amazing list to add to your classroom library! #diverseclassroomlibrary #diversebooks #picturebooksaboutvoting

    Picture books can help you teach almost anything! These books are great if you are doing a voting unit or if there is an upcoming election. 

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    If you like this list of diverse books, you’ll love The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books. There are over 250 books to use in the classroom and home libraries. 

    Are you looking for diverse picture books to add to your classroom or home library? This list of diverse picture books is perfect for you! #diversepicturebooks

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you. ❤️

    Vote for Our Future by Margaret McNamara

    The students of Stanton Elementary are out of school because their school is a polling station for the day.⁣⁣
    ⁣⁣
    On their day off, the students encourage all of the adults in their community to get out and vote.⁣⁣
    ⁣⁣
    The author does a great job explaining key vocabulary words and concepts while telling a story.⁣⁣

    Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America by Deborah Diesen

    In Equality’s Call, the reader learns the history of voting rights in the United States using rhyme and rhythm.  Kids will learn how voting began and who has been disenfranchised throughout history. 

    Sofia Valdez Future Prez by Andrea Beaty

    This is the latest addition to the The Questioneers Series and Sofia fits right in!⁣

    Sofia sees a problem in her community and she learns there’s a presidential way to solve it. 

     

    FANNIE LOU HAMER: SPIRIT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT BY CAROLE BOSTON WEATHERFORD

    Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) was a civil rights leader who was determined to make a change. Her story is heartbreaking, but it was why she refused to let the brutality of racism continue.


    This is an excellent book that I highly recommend for parents and teachers to read. This book contains content and language that is more appropriate for older elementary/middle school students. You should use your best judgment if you’re reading this to your students.

     

    Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

    Grace loses her cool when she finds out that the United States has never elected a female president. Ever. ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    So, her teacher has a class president election, and of course, Grace is all in! She thinks it will be a breeze until the popular Thomas Cobb decides to enter the race. ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Grace learns that she’ll have work for the votes! 

    If you’re looking for a book to teach the branches of government, I highly recommend Grace Goes to Washington! It is EXCELLENT! 

    Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Lillian is a 100 year old women who finally gets the right to vote. On her way to the polls she passes by all her family members that attempted to vote in the past.

    Lillian’s Right to Vote would pair really well with Equality’s Call

     

    For more diverse picture books, check out The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books. There are tons of books to help you build your diverse classroom or home library!

  • Wordless Picture Books

    Wordless Picture Books are a great way to get kids talking about books. Books with out words are also a great way to teach inferencing skills. These books are a great group of books to add to your diverse classroom library. Check out this list of wordless books to read at school or home! #wordlesspicturebooks #diverseclassroomlibrary

    Wordless Picture Books are a great way to get kids talking about books. Books with out words are also a great way to teach inferencing skills. These books are a great group of books to add to your diverse classroom library. Check out this list of wordless books to read at school or home! #wordlesspicturebooks #diverseclassroomlibrary

    Wordless picture books are a great way to get kids talking about books! I love using them to work on inference skills and to hear students’ interpretations of the book. Their personalities really come out when they are able to have discussions about what they are thinking. Some are a little more creative than others. Lol!

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    If you like this list of diverse books, you’ll love The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books. There are over 250 books to use in classroom and home libraries. 

    Are you looking for diverse picture books to add to your classroom or home library? This list of diverse picture books is perfect for you! #diversepicturebooks

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you. ❤️

    Hike by Pete Oswald

    A father and child(you don’t  know if they are a boy or a girl) go on a day trip to the forest. They have fun, face some challenges while doing something good for the environment. When they get home the place their photo of their trip in a photo album, letting you know this is a family tradition. 

    Dandelion’s Dream by Yoko Tanaka

    A dandelion becomes a lion and sets off to explore the world. This is a great book to get kids talking about things that they wish they could do. 

    Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

    A little girl and a wolf are lost in a snowstorm, together they find their way home.  This is a great book that can lead to discussions about working together to solve a problems. 

    The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

    A little girl sees a bicycle in a store window and instantly knows she has to have it. So she works hard for months to get the bike of her dreams. 


    Chalk by Bill Thomson

    I LOVED this book. After a rainy day, a group of kids begins drawing different things that come to life. Be careful what you draw with chalk.

    Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare

    HATE field trips. Why? Because I’m terrified of losing a student. This book is my worst nightmare but makes a great book for kids. Lol

    A class goes on a field trip to outer space. One student falls asleep and gets left behind. Now he has to figure out what to do until he is rescued. This book is so fun!  

    I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet

    Vanessa is the new girl and is instantly a target for  A girl witnesses Vanessa being bullied and doesn’t know what to do. She eventually makes a decision to help her and then other kids follow. This is a great book for the beginning of the year.

    Wallpaper by Thao Lam

    A girl moves into a new house with her family and hears a group of kids playing outside. She’s too shy to join them so she begins peeling wallpaper and she finds herself in an imaginary world.

    Small Things by Mel Tregonning

    Small Things is about a boy who is filled with worry. He is anxious and feels alone. He feels hopeless and doesn’t know what to do. He learns that it is okay to talk about his feelings to someone he trusts.

    I recommend reading this book with upper elementary students if you are a teacher. This is a great book for counselors to have in their toolkit.

    Another by Christian Robinson

    This book reminded me of Coraline. A girl enters a portal to another world and finds versions of herself and everyone she knows. I think this book is a great book to use if teaching inferences.

    If you’re looking for more diverse picture books to use in your classroom, you need The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books. There are over 250 books to add to your classroom or home libraries!

    Related Book Lists

  • How to Use Prodigy Game as Differentiated Math Center

    Prodigy is my go-to tool when differentiating in math. It makes it easy to address each students' needs. Using Prodigy Game, in combination with my guided math lessons, makes student growth a breeze. Don't stress over making differentiated math centers start using Prodigy today! #mathcenters #differentiatedinstruction #guidedmath

    Prodigy is my go-to tool when differentiating in math. It makes it easy to address each students' needs. Using Prodigy Game, in combination with my guided math lessons, makes student growth a breeze. Don't stress over making differentiated math centers start using Prodigy today! #mathcenters #differentiatedinstruction #guidedmath

    Did you know that Prodigy Game can be used to differentiate your instruction during guided math? I love using it as one of my math centers while I’m working with a small group.

    Prodigy gives students a placement test when they first log in; this test identifies students’ strengths and weaknesses. It’s pretty darn accurate too!

    Based on the result of the test, Prodigy will recommend what students should work on next. The program makes it simple to assign individualized work for your students. 

    With consistent use, Prodigy Game is an excellent resource to use to see student growth. Keep reading to see how!

    To Fill in Gaps

    The placement test shows you what specific skills each student needs. Using the results of the test, you can assign assignments to help students fill in gaps. 

    I like to assign work that we will work together on in small group so that the students see the skill more than once. Just like in our guided math lessons, once they master a skill, we begin working on another. 

    If you are meeting with them in small groups and assigning work on Prodigy, those gaps will disappear quickly.

    Here is what the results of the placement test look like. This is a mock class, these aren’t real students. The grade level is set for third grade.

    To Support On & Above Level Students

    We tend to spend a lot of small group time with our lower-level students, leaving those on grade level and above to work more independently. In the past, pushing my stronger students has been challenging, especially if they are performing above grade level. 

    Prodigy is a great way to help students who have mastered grade-level content move forward. Use the placement test as a guide to help you figure out what they should work on next. 

    To Check for Understanding

    Did you teach a new skill earlier in the week, and you’re looking for an informal way to see who gets it? By assigning the new standard in Prodigy, you will get the data you need to see who needs additional support.  

    Use Prodigy as an engaging way to spice up your exit tickets or informal observations. Your students will be eager to show you what they know. 

    Prodigy is my go-to tool when differentiating in math. It makes it easy to address each students’ needs. Using Prodigy Game, in combination with my guided math lessons, makes student growth a breeze. 

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