Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stick and Stone

I recently added Stick And Stone to my collection of books and am really liking it for my kindergarten-2nd grade students. It is a very simple story with few words on each page but the message is still there.  From the author's website:  Stick and Stone are all alone.  But when Pinecone makes fun of Stone and hurts his feelings, Stick steps in and defends Stone.  "That's just what sticks do.  Friends do it too," says Stick.  Now Stick and Stone are inseparable best friends.  When Stick gets stuck, it's Stone to the rescue.  That's just what stones do.  Best friendship rocks too," says Stone.  I also love that an activity kit is easily downloadable!  Purchase the book HERE.
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Stick and Stone Activity Kit from the Author's website:  Download HERE

Bullying Unit ($2.00 on TPT)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My Day Is Ruined (Flexible Thinking)

I have several books by Bryan Smith and recently ordered two more!  The first one is:  My Day is Ruined! A Story for Teaching Flexible Thinking.  This book is great for students who are rigid in their thinking.  The main character, Braden, is excited for his upcoming Championship baseball game and has to learn how to deal with the game being cancelled due to pouring rain.  The story lists four steps to Flexible Thinking and shows how Braden uses the four steps to be more flexible in his thinking.  This book was perfect for one of my fifth grade students as one of the examples in the story shows Braden getting upset about having to show his work on a math problem.  Other examples in the story include a change in the schedule and a change in the lunch menu.
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You can purchase the book here:  My Day Is Ruined: A Story for Teaching Flexible Thinking

Teaching Guide:  mydayisruinedactivityguide.pdf

Flexible Thinking Social Stories:

Flexible Thinking Worksheet

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Jelly Donut Difference (compassion and empathy)

I ordered The Jelly Donut Difference a few months back and keep forgetting to write a post about it. The Jelly Donut Difference is written by one of my favorite authors, Maria Dismondy.  I originally purchased The Jelly Donut Difference to read with my first graders during their unit on compassion and empathy.  After reading the book I decided to use it with a group of kindergarten students who are having a hard time getting along with their classmates.

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The Jelly Donut Difference is about a brother and sister who don't always get along (argue, push each other out of the way, etc...)  They notice that an elderly neighbor is lonely and work together to show empathy and compassion.  The author has a free Reader's Guide available.  Many of the pages are more beneficial to a classroom teacher, however, I did use the comprehension questions as well as the pages that are focused on making a difference.  I also downloaded a free lesson on TPT (link below) and found this to be the most useful in teaching the idea of kindness to kindergarten students.  Finally, I gave each student a kindness goal and rewarded them with jelly donut holes from dunkin donuts if they met their goal.  I also love the idea of doing a jelly cake in a crockpot for a classroom lesson and have included a link to that blog as well.


You can purchase The Jelly Donut Difference HERE. -jelly cake in a crockpot

Teacher's Pay Teacher's FREE lesson by An Apple A Day in First Grade

Another lesson and downloadable writing template HERE by

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fidget Spinners

Apparently Fidget Spinners have been "all the rage" for the last month or so.  My son, a third grader, came home from school begging to have one and said that he would even use his own money to purchase one!  I had not heard of fidget spinners so I did a quick google search and saw claims that they were good for ADHD, Anxiety, and Autism.

These claims perked my interest and we went to Target to find one of these gadgets.  We quickly found out that fidget spinners are not easy to find.  My son was told that Target does not sell them and that they were looking into getting stock as they were getting questioned about them by multiple people daily.  We were able to track some down at a local grocery store and paid $8.99 for one of these gadgets.  Later that night we showed up at a benefit and to my surprise many of the children attending the benefit had these fidget spinners as well.  I show up to work on Monday and one of our fifth grade students pulls one out of his pocket to use during my classroom lesson.  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!

So, what is a Fidget Spinner?  Its a very simple gadget that you hold in your hand, spin, and watch twirl in circles.  The toy is supposed to be used as a fidget and is said to relieve stress.  I'm not so convinced.  My son has already looked up videos on YouTube and has been trying to do "tricks" with his.  I have seen where some schools have already banned the toy...for being "distracting".  My own son will be leaving his at home for the time being (although they are allowed at his school).  I do provide services to an autistic student who stims with a pencil and I would be curious to see if he would be willing to try using a fidget spinner instead.  I'm curious to know if other counselors have had any success using fidget spinners as a tool?

Fidget Spinners on Amazon:
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Monday, February 13, 2017

Mindset Monday (Giraffes Can't Dance)

I have used the book Giraffes Can't Dance (affiliate link) to teach lessons on problem solving, perseverance, diversity and self-esteem and I recently realized that Giraffes Can't Dance is another great book for teaching mindset and "the power of yet".  Apparently I'm not the only one who made this connection as I found a FREE worksheet on TPT, made by The OCD Teacher in Room 112, where students are given the opportunity to reflect on something that they can't do yet and then write about how they can get there.  You can find that worksheet for FREE HERE.  I also found a packet that costs only $1.00 on TPT, made by Growth-Mindset-In-Action,  This packet, which focuses on growth mindset and ability, can be purchased HERE.  The Brown Bag Teacher also posted a great lesson on her blog. You can find that lesson HERE.  I plan to have my students create a bulletin board called "Giraffe's CAN Dance".  I will try to post a picture when it is complete.  You can purchase Giraffes Can't Dance HERE.
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If you want to use Giraffes Can't Dance for other topic areas you can find some great ideas below:

Exploring Diversity with "Giraffes Can't Dance"

Giraffes Can't Dance Reading Response FREEBIE!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Mindset Monday and The Pout Pout Fish

It has been awhile since I have done a Mindset Monday post!  I have been using The Pout Pout Fish books a lot this year and I was thrilled when I found The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School.  It is a great book for talking about mindset and the "power of yet".  There are a lot of really cheap resources on TPT that I purchased to help me teach this lesson.  You could easily teach this lesson without purchasing anything additional but I couldn't help myself:)
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You can purchase The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School HERE.

The Pout Pout Fish Goes to School Writing Activity

Growth Mindset lesson about New Beginnings

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School--Growth Mindset Reading

Pout Pout Fish Facts : You Are Smart

Friday, February 3, 2017

Empathy (Hey, Little Ant)

Hey, Little Ant is a great book that challenges readers to look at life from an insect's point of view.  It is the perfect book for teaching empathy.   It can be really difficult for young students to understand the concept of "standing in someone's shoes" and this book does a really good job of showing just what this means.  
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Hey, Little Ant can be used to teach so many different topics.  The teacher's guide lists the following:
  • Respecting differences
  • Fostering respect for all living things
  • Considering stereotypes
  • Recognizing alternatives to resolving tension through violence
  • Exploring concepts of big and small, powerful and powerless
  • Standing up to peer pressure

  • Connections:
    I absolutely love the lesson that lunchbuddiesplus shared on her blog.  She uses Hey, Little Ant to show the difference between  a "thinking of you" person vs. a "just me" person.

    You can also get some ideas from the Hey, Little Ant Teacher's Guide.

    Some good resources on TPT:
    Social Skills, Perspective Taking, Thinking about others  ($3.50)
    Social Skills, Perspective Taking, Thinking about others

    Bullying- Hey Little Ant! ($3.50)
    Bullying- Hey Little Ant!

    These are all FREE on TPT:
    Hey Little Ant Point of View by Lockwood's Little Learners
    Hey Little Ant Point of View

    Ant Writing Response Pages {Freebie} by Jen Ross - Teacher by the Beach
    Ant Writing Response Pages {Freebie}

    Hey, Little Ant Opinion/Persuasive Writing by Creativity-To-The-Core
    FREEBIE Hey, Little Ant Opinion/Persuasive Writing

    Ant Craftivity by Kelly-Morgan
    Persuasion- Hey Little Ant

    Hey Little Ant Bulletin Board Writing  by Working-4-The-Classroom
    Hey Little Ant Bulletin Board Writing Pages
    Hey, Little Ant! Reader's Theater by Hanssen-House
    Hey, Little Ant! Reader's Theater