New Unit Plan for Sale


This unit plan includes two big books, a shape book, a pattern book, and a finger play poem with language and art activities. This unit is language based, and includes lesson on reading, writing, singing, fingerplays and art. There are basic vocabulary lessons for Fall, Thanksgiving, and colours. There’s 35 pages of instructions and blackline masters.

Click on the photo above, or click here to get your own copy.

In Remembrance...


Friday, November 11, is Remembrance Day here in Canada.  Like Vetran's Day, in the United States, it is a day to remember those who have fought for their country.  Poppies are the symbol of remembrance for many countries.


In our class we made two art projects this week.

Both of these ideas came from Gail, at That Artist Woman.  She is a Canadian, and an Art Teacher in a primary school.  Her work is fabulous.  She's so creative.  Click here to hop on over and check out her blog.

During World War I, a Canadian Soldier, and Doctor, named John McRae, wrote a poem about the devestation he was witnessing.  His poem, In Flander's Fields, has become an essential part of teaching about |Remembrance Day.  Children all over Canada memorize and recite it on the days leading up to November 11, every year.

When I saw this idea on Gail's blog, I knew I wanted to whip out the watercolours, but I decided to simplify it for my Grade 2's.  First the children watercoloured the field with green paint, and the sky with blue.  The children made the smaller crosses by drawing them and cutting them out, but they were having so much difficulty with this, that I altered the activity.  I cut out thin strips of white paper and had the children snip them to a long and a small length, and then glue them together like a cross.  

As a Teacher in the public school system, I am always a bit leery of crosses or other religious symbols in my lessons.  BUT, seeing as the poem specifically talks about the white crosses on Flander's Fields, I knew it would be OK in this context.

The 'poppies' were made with a punch - I need a better poppy shape for next year - and the title was one I made in MS Word, and copied on to yellow paper.  The children cut them out and glued them on. 

Next we made these large poppies.  The background is a mixed media collage.  The children 'painted' on some white glue and attached ripped pieces of black paper and newspaper.  When the paper was covered, they then painted over the entire thing with white glue again.  When it dried it had a nice shiny texture with no loose ends.
The poppies themselves are about 7 inches across.  I made some tracers for them when I used to teach kindergarten, many, many years ago.  I decided that the Grade 2's could use a bit more of a challenge than simply tracing and cutting.  So first they sponged over a 8 x 8 piece of purple construction paper.  They used mostly red, with a bit of white.  I love how this gives texture to their work.

When it was all dried, the added the title in the same manner as the Flander's Fields activity.

When it was all done, I hung them out in the hallway. 
I'm so proud of them, they did a great job don't you think??

New product - and it's FREE!!!!


Here's my latest project for your.  I have just posted this up on my Teachers-Pay-Teachers webpage for you to download - and it's FREEEEEEEEEE!!!!   Click on the photo above or click here to download.  Just in time for Remembrance Day (or Vetran's Day or Armistace Day depending on where you live)  Hop on over and download it now so you can use it next week.  I don't know about you, but I always find that teaching Remembrance Day is such a difficult time.  There's such a time-crunch because it's so close to Halloween. 

Tomorrow we are doing a whole morning of easy Art activities to fill up my bulletin boards for next week.  All of these Art activities are not my own idea so I haven't included them in my unit above, but don't worry, I'll post up some photos for you next week.

You may be wondering why most of my products on Teachers-Pay-Teachers are free, but I haven't finished any of the larger projects I've been working on.  These little units are just ideas that I love to share.  Pretty soon I'll post some major units.  I have so many ideas and time-tested lessons, but I need to pretty them up to post them online, and that takes time.  Check out in the future for a multi-level Story Writing unit for all primary grades, a mini Christmas Musical, a multi subject Winter Holidays unit, and more...   My head is buzzing.

I hope you enjoy this new unit and I'd love to read your comments and see what you think of it.


A Great Lesson About Bullying

I stumbled upon this great story on bullying and I want to share it with all of you teachers out there.

A teacher was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up but to not rip it.
Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how wrinkled and dirty it was.

She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it.

That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.

Here is the link from where I found this idea.

Wild Things!!!


I'm sure you all know the story Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  It was always one of my favourite stories as a child.   Remember I told you that I work in an amazing school?  Well yesterday, I walked out of my classroom to find this amazing bulletin board.  It was put together by my colleague Tina Tome and her Grade One class.

After reading the story, Tina decided to use it as a starting point for some descriptive writing.  She had these great foam monster stickers and she gave each child one.  Then each child wrote descriptive sentences about their sticker. 
Next the children drew their wild thing on a piece of black paper with a pencil.  Then they traced and coloured it with chalk pastels.

Below you will find some close-ups.   These guys are totally adorable, dont you think?


Halloween Hungover????

I hope all of you had a fabulous Halloween yesterday.  And I hope that your classroom isn't suffering from the Sugar Hangover too badly!   Somthing happened today in our classroom that really started me I decided to share, and I'd love to hear what your thoughts are about this...

I have really mixed feelings about this issues around Nut allergies.  As a parent whose child is NOT allergic to nuts, I somtimes resent the fact that when I am packing his lunch, I need to steer away from things he loves (like peanut butter) and find nut-free alternatives, as there is a child in his class who has a severe nut allergy. 

However, as a teacher, I often work with children who have severe nut allergies.  So I am aware of the consequences that a reaction can have.  And I am careful to keep my classroom nut-free. 

This morning, one of my students came to me with his Halloween candy.  I mean, ALL of his Halloween candy.  He wanted to share it with the class.  It was full of chocolate that contains nuts.  What would you do???   I decided that I would throw it all out.  This might seem very severe, but I could not let him keep it in his backpack.  There was sooooo much of it, that I was worried about the allergic child reacting to the smell (I've seen this happen, so it's not a myth).  I couldn't keep behind my desk as the children often come up to my desk for help, and the allergic child could be exposed.  So where else was I supposed to put it???

I teach in an inner city community where most of my students do not speak English at home.  It's very difficult to get the message across about nuts, especially when there are cultures that use a lot of nuts and nut oils in their cooking.  It's not like I could call home and tell the parents that they needed to come and pick up their child's Halloween candy.  Finding an interpreter is not easy.   Most of the parents in my school speak some English, but I knew that this child's parents did not speak it well enough for me to communicate over the phone.  So I threw the candy out.

Fortunately, the child who brought the candy, understands English well enough that I could explain to him that I was going to make sure that he got more candy to take home.  He didn't seem too upset about it, but you never know if some kids are simply putting on a brave face.  My plan is to run down to the drug store at lunch and hopefully find some candy on sale. 


Anyway, on to a happier topic.  I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween last night.  If you have small children, I hope that they are recovering from the sugar overdose from yesterday.  (I know that mine are)  Here are some photos from my neighbourhood last night.

Does anyone know how to make one of these????  My neighbour told me that she bought it at a craft fair.

Some of my favourite Jack's from last night.  Connor (my son) named them all.

Here is Jack-O-Mad!!! 

 Here is Jack-O-Kitty

Here are Jack-O-BIG-and-SMALL. 


Do you think that studying grammar is important in early literacy???  
I think it definitely has a place. For my own grade two class, which is highly ESL, I find that these kinds of exercises are really good for them.  They are old enough, and have 2 years of English schooling, in order to understand the grammar concepts.  It’s really good to sit down and analyze the grammar skills at this level, as they don’t get very much modelling of proper English grammar at home.  Also, for native English speakers, grammar lessons will help them when they learn a second language in school, as most formal second language instruction starts with vocabulary and grammar lessons and if they don’t know how to explain the rules in English, how are they supposed to understand them in French or Spanish?  I have just put up a little Halloween package that has a grammar component.  You can download it for free!!  Scroll down for more information.

You can download this little lesson here.  This little download inlcudes a colour version of the poem to project, or print out for your lesson, a blackline master for the students, a grammar worksheet which goes over some basic grammar concepts, and of course, the answer key!

Haunted Silhouettes

I happen to work in a fabulous school.  I feel very lucky to not only  have a fantastic group of kids to work with, but also a phenomenal staff to work with.  I work in a wing that has four classrooms and this year we have two grade one classes and two grade two classes.  The four teachers all work together fantastically. 

 I was walking down the hallway a few days ago, and came upon this...

The whole board was so visually stunning with the blues and blacks popping off the paper.  I had to stop by and have a closer look at what my neighbour had done.  This display was created by Rozana McFarland who teaches grade one in the class next to mine.  She comes up with the most fabulous art ideas.  This idea is one she saw on another teacher's art blog, but she could not remember who the source was.  So if any of you could tell me whose idea this is, please let me know as I really like to cite my sources.  It sends good Blog Karma all around  :)

This idea is easy to do with first graders.  First the children were told to paint a white circle in the top left corner.  They needed to try and paint it away from the edge of the paper a bit. 

Now as far as I can tell, you could manage this lesson a few ways.  The first way would be for the teacher to mix the paint to get the various hues of blue by gradually adding blue paint to white paint.  You could pre-mix it and have all the little cups with the various shades of blue all lined up and the kids make a larger circle and then move to the next darker blue, and make another circle...

  ...and then move to the next shade of blue and paint again, etc. etc.  Or, with older children, the kids could mix their own paint.  Start with the white on a pallette board and then gradually add more blue, and have the children mix the colour and paint the next ring, then mix the next colour themselves, and then paint it, etc. etc.

 These little haunted houses are foam stickers from a craft store.  The children glued them on the dry painting and then coloured in the windows with a white pencil crayon.    The ground and the trees were added with a black sharpie.  The children were told not to make the trees taller than the house.

Being the amazing and experienced teacher that she is, Rozana added a Language Arts component by adding the traditional poem "In a Dark, Dark Wood" to the display.  You could take this and make some writing, or reading activities to go with the poem.

I hope you enjoyed this idea.  Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think!


Spooktacular Song and Poems

Oh yeah, I've been a busy girl let me tell you. I'm proud to announce another new product that I have posted up on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Click here or on the photo to go and get your own copy.  This fabulous package is full of songs and poems with a Halloween Theme.  Of course these are great for Language Arts in the Early Primary or ESL classroom.  I have used these over the years with children from K to grade 2.  They LOVE chanting poems, changing up the words, and singing songs with familiar tunes and halloween words. 

Have a Haunting Birthday

This project is a resurrected flash from the past.  I originally made this little album 2 years ago but could never find the perfect time to use it.  As I was rummaging through my old projects box today I came across this.  Click here for my original post on my papercrafting blog "stamperontheshore".  It has some directions on how to make it.  You can sure see how my photography has really improved in 2 years eh?  Anyway, today is my nephew's birthday party, and here we are a week from Halloween.  Connor has been sucking up everthing about reading and writing now that he's in Kindergarten.  So I though, "why not turn this into a story book".  So I let the kids draw and colour pictures and then I wrote some text which they traced over.  They signed their names at the end and voila!! A Haunting Birthday was born.  The supplies are mostly from K&Co, not Stampn' Up!  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think - I might put up a tutorial, or at least a quick one on how I made that woodgrain on the cover.