Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Five Ways to Teach about Community Workers—with FREE download!

Posted by Susan Paul on Oct 28, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun FactoryClick here to see her other posts on our blog!

Paul-6-1-300
This is the time of the year to study community workers. October is Fire Prevention Month so it makes it especially fun to study and focus on firefighters. However, it is a great time to study about many people who are “helpers” in our community. Here are some ideas of what you can do for your community unit.

1. The first lesson is to talk about what a “community” is and the different types of “communities” we have in our lives. Read What’s a Community? from the My World series. It is a great book to introduce different types of communities. Review and ask the children about the different types of communities and coax them to answer in complete sentences. This is another reason I personally love the book. For example, ask the children to name a kind of community. They might answer “classroom”. Then ask them to repeat their answer in a complete sentence. Until they begin to understand, turn in the book and reread a page. For example, “A classroom is a community.” (page 10). Then the children repeat the sentence. Before long, they will be able to do it!

2. Introduce the next lesson with a newsletter (see picture). Paul-6-2-300Can you tell what the focus letter of the day was? Then read Very Important People (also from the My World series). Each day focus on one community worker. Post the community worker poster of the person you focus on for the day. (The posters are a freebie for you!) Discuss the worker, tools they use and how they are important to the community.

3. Continue in the same way each day, reading newsletters and re-reading the books. Use the book and hunt for “clues” to “read” the words. For example, the children look at the picture on page 5 (Very Important People) and think the person is a “teacher”. (The person is actually a librarian.) Acknowledge that she is a teacher but encourage them to look at the “clue” of the first letter of the word. “Teacher” begins with /t/ /t/ /t/ “t”. This word begins with /l/ /l/ /l/ “l”. Continue in the same way throughout your study.

4. Another fun thing to do is to use any costumes you have that represent community helpers. Place the posters of the workers you have talked about in the Dramatic Play Center and then allow the children to dress up when they go to the center.

5. Make class books in the Writing Center titled “When I Grow Up I Want to Be…”.

These are just a few ideas. There are many, many more activities that I wish I could share. Besides using the wonderful Hameray books, the entire community worker’s unit is listed at Teachers Pay Teachers. Enjoy the posters and enjoy your study on community workers!!

~~~

For more information about the My World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

 New Call-to-Action Community Worker Posters

 
Read More

Topics: Informational Text, My World, Susan Paul

Fairy Tale Activities Make Learning Fun! (Includes FREE download!)

Posted by Susan Paul on Sep 23, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun FactoryClick here to see her other posts on our blog!

My last two blog posts were about fairy tales. The posts discussed the importance of reading fairy tales for teaching the basics of story elements, teaching the difference between fiction and non-fiction and making predictions. Enriching a child’s imagination and creativity by using fairy tales was also discussed as was the connection to problem solving.



Paul-5-1-200
Today I would like to talk about another reason we should read fairy tales to our children. How about because children love them?!
How many times do children beg to hear Goldilocks and the Three Bears or Three Little Pigs over and over again? They don’t ask to reread the stories because they are learning skills. Children ask for rereads because they love the stories!

One story the kids ask to read over and over again is The Princess and the Frog. The Story World-Real World theme set is great to use when the kids ask to re-read the story again and again because their love of the story
Paul-5-2-200
makes it easy to bridge to the nonfiction books Fantastic Frogs and Castles. These
books provide fun and interesting facts that tie into the elements of The Princess and the Frog. Fantastic Frogs helps teach interesting, fun facts about frogs. Castles describes what life was like inside real castles. What I found was that the students not only asked to reread The Princess and the Frog, they also asked to reread Fantastic Frogs and Castles over and over again!!

In conclusion, remember that we must read fairy tales to children for many reasons. But the most important reason to a child is because they love them!

~~~

Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Princess and the Frog Activity Packet Download

 
 
 
Read More

Topics: Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Susan Paul

Why Are Fairy Tales Important? (Includes FREE download!)

Posted by Susan Paul on Sep 16, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun FactoryClick here to see her other posts on our blog!

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 
― Albert Einstein

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes! I use it often. My last blog post was about the importance of reading fairy tales to our children. We talked about how fairy tales help us teach the basics of story elements—setting, characters, and plot (rising action, climax, and resolution)—as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Once a child understands story elements, his ability to make predictions and comprehend other stories is enhanced. Today I am going to continue our discussion about fairy tales.


Paul-4-180Have you ever wondered why reading a fairy tale is important?
 Fairy tales enrich a child’s imagination and creativity. Children learn many things when we read them books. From stories, a child can learn how a good person behaves and also can begin to realize how some people can behave badly or “evilly.” Fairy tales show children how to handle problems. They learn from the characters in the stories as they make connections to their own lives, and consider what they would do if in the characters’ shoes. Even though fairy tales can be unrealistic, they still teach a universal lesson.

Paul-4-collage
A great example of this is The Little Red Hen from the Story World Real World series. The book is adorable and the children LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the illustrations! What a great lesson this traditional story teaches about learning to be helpful and not to be lazy! Bridge this story with Great Grains, the informational text to connect the tale to real-life circumstances.

With the book Great Grains, we learn about the different types of grains. After that, we read Different Kinds of Bread to see how the grains then become bread to eat. Guess what kind of “bread” the children wanted to make? Pizza dough! So we made dough and each child made their own little pizza. They loved it. When we finished, we reread The Little Red Hen, and every single child said they would not be lazy and would help the Little Red Hen.

The “moral” to this lesson is this: use fairy tales to teach morals and lessons. What can you learn from Goldilocks? How about Cinderella or Jack and the Beanstalk?

Enjoy the freebie. I would like to leave you with one final quote from Albert Einstein:

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”

~~~

Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Little Red Hen Word Family Packet Download

Read More

Topics: Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Susan Paul

What Can Fairy Tales Teach Students? (Includes FREE download!)

Posted by Susan Paul on Jun 27, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun Factory.Click here to see her other posts on our blog!

We love fairy tales! I mean, we LOVE fairy tales!!

In the last few years, the teaching of fairy tales and nursery rhymes in the public school systems has gone by the wayside. However, current research is urging teachers to bring them back into the curriculum.

Experts agree that nursery rhymes are great for teaching rhyme, rhythm, and repetition. Fairy tales teach story elements such as setting, characters, problem-solution and beginning, middle and end (to name a few).

We use fairy tales with pre-kindergarten all the way through third grades. We use fairy tales to teach reading comprehension, math, and almost every skill you can think of! This becomes super easy when using books from the Story World series!

Cinderella_Cover_500

Since my “freebie” is about Cinderella, I will use Cinderella as an example. First, read Cinderella. (By the way, the illustrations are adorable!) Then link the story to the real world by using the accompanying Real World series books, which include Let’s Dance, What’s the Time? and Why Do We Wear Shoes?

Lets_Dance_180Whats_the_Time_180Why_Do_We_Wear_Shoes_180

At the bottom of the page, you can download a freebie that I have used for first-, second-, and third-grade students. Below is a sample page from the packet:

Cinderella_Scrambled_Sentences-5

Enjoy and have a great summer break!

Susan

~~~

Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Cinderella Scrambled Sentences Download

Read More

Topics: Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Susan Paul

Informational Texts and the Water Cycle—with FREE download!

Posted by Susan Paul on Jun 11, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun FactoryClick here to see her other posts on our blog!

Part of our Spring Unit involves studying the water cycle. We read books, sing songs, act out the cycle, and do finger plays. A great book to read is The Water Cycle by Alan Trussell-Cullen. This book is part of Real World series and has great illustrations, photos, and information. My young learners love this book even though they are non-readers! The book has a great table of contents. I used it as a teaching tool to teach the kids what a table of contents is and what its purpose serves.

5290_Water_Cycle_Cover_FINAL 5290_Water_Cycle_TOC

This book could be used to teach multiple skills for older children. Not only is it good for information and research, vocabulary is bolded and defined in a glossary! To top all of that, there is an index too. These features are very important for the Common Core. If I ever teach second grade again, this book will be one of the first to go into my library!

5290_Water_Cycle_GLossary 5290_Water_Cycle_Index

Today's freebie can be used with Pre-K through second grade. Younger children sequence the water cycle by the picture cards. This is a great listening comprehension assessment. Older children can use the cards and then fill out the response sheet. This is a great reading comprehension assessment!

Enjoy!

Susan

~~~

Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the lesson plan and worksheet, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Water Cycle Packet Download

Read More

Topics: Informational Text, My World, Susan Paul

The Power of Play and Pretending—with FREE download!

Posted by Susan Paul on May 21, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun Factory. Click here to see her other posts on our blog!

Hi! I’m Susan Paul from The Fun Factory. I truly believe in the power of play and pretending for young children. Peter Gray from Free to Learn said, “Play, in all its varieties taken together, works to build us into fully functioning, effective human beings.” Today I’d like to share with you how I use books for a literary connection in my dramatic play center.

After reading Pretending from the Having Fun theme of the My World series, we discuss the many ways to pretend. We talk about what it means to pretend. After reading the book, we talk about what we would do if we pretended to be a ____ (princess, Ninja Turtle, cook, vet, etc.) The book goes into our dramatic play center after we have discussed the subject of pretending. No matter what the center is set up to be, the book stays for reference. Making the Dramatic Play Center different themes helps children learn vocabulary and promotes literacy. You can download some forms to use in your veterinary center at the bottom of this page!

Here are some pictures of the kiddos in the dramatic play center!

Paul-1-1 Paul-1-2 Paul-1-3
  Fun at the Vet Center  
Paul-1-4 Paul_1-5 Paul-1-6
Home Living             Astronauts

Doctor’s Office (Reception)

~~~

For more information about the My World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the lesson plan and worksheet, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Alphaboxes

Read More

Topics: My World, Pretending, Susan Paul

Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by Topic

see all

Follow Me