Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Teachers Read, Too!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 23, 2017 2:49:00 PM

 As a teacher, you are responsible for developing students' literacy skills and ensuring that they accomplish Common Core ELA standards. But does your job as a literacy teacher end there? Of course not!

As a teacher, you should also convince your students about the joy and value of reading. Motivated readers become successful readers, and a teacher's personal relationship to books can profoundly influence students' attitudes towards reading.

It is essential that students perceive you as a reader, too. Do you often use classroom silent reading time to take care of other teacher tasks? As much as it's tempting to grade papers or tidy your desk during quiet reading time, busying yourself with other errands implicitly tells your students that "reading is just for kids." If you also sit down and read with the students, you demonstrate that reading time is important for you, too.  

Treat your books with respect. Are you guilty of using books for a doorstop or a writing surface? Do you flip its pages with chalky hands? Children are incredibly observant, and small actions like these can shape a child's perception of how valuable (or invaluable) books are. Make sure to treat all your books with the respect they deserve!

child adult school_Monkey Business Images.jpg

Actively recommend books to your students. Allowing children the freedom to choose books boosts their enthusiasm, but that doesn't mean that youc an't make recommendations.

Try not to talk from a literacy teacher's perspective, like "You should try reading the Underwater Encounter series because it's just right for your reading level." Instead, make a recommendation as a fellow reader: "I just finished reading Scuba School and it reminded me of when you told me you wanted to visit Hawaii. Do you want to borrow my copy of the book?"

underwater-encounters-scuba-school.jpg

Personal recommendations convey that you value the student's identity as a reader. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to share their reactions with you—when chidlren know that they'll be able to share their thoughts about reading with someone else, they're much more likely to finish the book. Thus, recommendations tells students that a mutual love of reading can strengthen relationships with other people.

A teacher should model enthusiasm and dedication for reading. If stuents believe that you genuinely like to read (and you're not just teaching them because it's your job), they'll be much more likely to read with you!

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Click the left image below to visit the website for Underwater Encounters, which was mentioned in this blogpost. Click the right image to download a fact sheet about the series. 

New Call-to-action     Underwater Encounters Sales Sheet

 

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Topics: Underwater Encounters, teachers, Teaching Reading, Reading

Sea Life Projects, Part 4: Review and Research

Posted by Susanna Westby on Sep 24, 2015 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here

Hello! I am Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching back again to talk to you about a new favorite series in my classroom: Underwater Encounters by Elizabeth Cook with photos by Robert Yin. As I moved to a higher grade recently, I had to find text that was more challenging, yet still with engaging pictures. Our theme is Sea Life, so this entire series was the foundation of our writing. 

Today I’m going to share an activity I did with several books from this series, particularly Clever Crustaceans, Fish Tricks, and Treacherous Tentacles. These books give lots of information on many different sea creatures, making them perfect for an activity for students to review what they’ve learned and gather information on more than one creature.

Review_and_Research_1

Students looked through the books in small groups, then rotated the books from table to table so that everyone got to see all of the books. Students took notes about interesting facts as they discussed with their peers. They also drew pictures of the animals they were choosing to write about. This was to be a rough draft of information for their next project. The books were perfectly suited to this activity because there is a good variety but also enough information about each one to gather facts.

Review_and_Research_2 Review_and_Research_3 Review_and_Research_4

Each student then chose four sea creatures from their list to use in the next project. Students used the template for a flip book, with a different tab for each of the animal they chose to write about. Students completed each page with a picture and interesting facts they found in the books, and labeled the tabs. 

Review_and_Research_5 Review_and_Research_6

I have included a blank tab book template below if you’d like to try this with your students!

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Susanna teaches K–3 students in Vancouver, Canada. She has taught for over 20 years and lives with her husband and two sons. You can find her teacher tips over at her blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

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For more information on the Underwater Encounters series, click here or click the image to the left below to download a series information sheet with highlights and key features. To download the packet, click the image to the right.

 Underwater Encounters Sales SheetSea Creatures Tab Book Packet CTA

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Topics: Informational Text, Underwater Encounters

Sea Life Projects, Part 3: Deep Sea Creatures Art

Posted by Susanna Westby on Sep 16, 2015 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here

Hello! I am Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching back again to talk to you about a new favorite series in my classroom: Underwater Encounters by Elizabeth Cook with photos by Robert Yin. As I moved to a higher grade recently, I had to find text that was more challenging, yet still with engaging pictures. Our theme is Sea Life, so this entire series was the foundation of our writing. You can see last week's project here and the previous week's here.

Today I’m going to share an activity I did with a book from this series called Creepy Sea Creatures. The book gives an overview of creatures that live in the deep ocean. My students absolutely loved this book! 

DeepSea1

Before reading the book, we discussed what it was like in the deep ocean. Many students were interested to learn about why there was no light at the bottom of the ocean. They were captivated by the photos of the strange creatures and interested to learn how they adapted to their environments.

DeepSea2

 Because students found the creatures so strange and fascinating, we spent some time drawing and labeling the pictures, using the book as reference.

DeepSea3

Each student then chose one animal as their favorite. They drew the animal on thick paper and then colored it in with oil pastel. Students were encouraged to press very hard and color their fish in completely. Once this was done, we covered the entire paper with a thick black wash of paint. The result was similar to a crayon resist painting – the animals stand out on the black background. Here are some examples of student work.

DeepSea4

DeepSea5

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Susanna teaches K–3 students in Vancouver, Canada. She has taught for over 20 years and lives with her husband and two sons. You can find her teacher tips over at her blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

~~~

For more information on the Underwater Encounters series, click here or click the images below to download a series information sheet with highlights and key features.

 Underwater Encounters Sales Sheet

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Topics: Informational Text, Underwater Encounters

Sea Life Projects, Part 2: Sorting Turtles—with FREE Download!

Posted by Susanna Westby on Sep 10, 2015 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here

Hello! I am Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching back again to talk to you about a new favorite series in my classroom: Underwater Encounters by Elizabeth Cook with photos by Robert Yin. As I moved to a higher grade recently, I had to find text that was more challenging, yet still with engaging pictures. Our theme is Sea Life, so this entire series was the foundation of our writing. You can see last week's project here.

Today I’m going to share an activity I did with a book from this series called Sea Turtles. The book gives an overview of the differences between sea turtles and land turtles, as well as many other details about sea turtles.

Turtles1-1

Before reading the book, we discussed what we knew about turtles. Many students were not aware that there were different kinds of turtles, so they found it interesting that some turtles spent most of their lives in the ocean. We then focused on the main differences between land turtles and sea turtles. Students use the book in small groups to generate lists of characteristics for each kind of turtle.

Turtles2

The next activity tested their expertise. Using the lists they had generated, we made a master list of characteristics that distinguished the turtles. For example, both have shells, but only sea turtles have flippers. Students referred to the book to write their facts, and then came up to glue their fact under the correct category on a class poster. We then reviewed our learning by completing a smaller version of the class chart. We also made Venn diagrams to review similarities between the two kinds of turtles.

Turtles3

 The sorting activity is a free download if you’d like to try it with your class!

~~~

Susanna teaches K–3 students in Vancouver, Canada. She has taught for over 20 years and lives with her husband and two sons. You can find her teacher tips over at her blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

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Download your free turtle sorting activity by clicking the worksheet image below! For more information on the Underwater Encounters series, click here or click the images below to download a series information sheet with highlights and key features.

Turtle Sorting Activity CTA    Underwater Encounters Sales Sheet

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Topics: Informational Text, Underwater Encounters

Sea Life Projects, Part 1: "Fish or Not" Poster—with FREE Download!

Posted by Susanna Westby on Sep 3, 2015 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here!

Hello! I am Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching back again to talk to you about a new favorite series in my classroom: Underwater Encounters by Elizabeth Cook with photos by Robert Yin. As I moved to a higher grade recently, I had to find text that was more challenging, yet still with engaging pictures. Our theme is Sea Life, so this entire series was the foundation of our writing. 

NotFish1

Today I’m going to share an activity I did with a book from this series called Fish, Not Fish. The book gives an overview of sea creatures that are classified as either fish or not fish, despite the fact that “fish” might be in the name. My students found this to be an interesting approach to studying sea animals and were very interested to see if the animals were actually fish or not. 

NotFish2

After reading the book aloud and discussing the images, we created lists to categorize animals that were “Fish” or “Not Fish.” Questions that arose from the book were discussed:

“Why are they named fish if they are not?”

“Who names the fish?”

“What makes something a fish and something not a fish? How can you tell?”

NotFish3

The next project was to create an interactive poster. Shapes of each sea creature were made and colored, and attached to the poster with a tab at the top so it could be flipped up to reveal writing underneath.

For example, the starfish shape was attached to the poster and students wrote: “STARFISH Is it a fish?” When the starfish was flipped up, the answer was below: “No, a starfish is not a fish because...”. Students referred to the book to find these answers.

NotFish4

Once we had finished and shared with peers, we took our posters to a kindergarten class and let them explore our posters. The kindergarten class loved guessing and then lifting the animal to find the answer, and great conversation resulted! This was a great way to reinforce learning for the older students.

I have attached the animal shapes as a free download if you’d like to try this with your class!

~~~

Susanna teaches K–3 students in Vancouver, Canada. She has taught for over 20 years and lives with her husband and two sons. You can find her teacher tips over at her blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

~~~

Download your free "Fish or Not" poster packet by clicking the worksheet image below! For more information on the Underwater Encounters series, click here or click the images below to download a series information sheet with highlights and key features.

   Underwater Encounters Sales Sheet

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Topics: Informational Text, Underwater Encounters

Congratulations to Our 2014 North Carolina and Michigan Reading Conference Raffle Winners!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Apr 14, 2014 8:30:00 AM

lucky draw header
Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booths at the Michigan Reading Conference and North Carolina Reading Conference and entered our Lucky Draw raffles. Here are the names of our lucky winners!

NORTH CAROLINA READING CONFERENCE:

CHERYL LAWRENCE

of Monroe, NC!

Cheryl won the entire Blue Set of the Joy Cowley Collection!

 

MICHIGAN READING CONFERENCE:

RACHAEL FISHER

of Lapeer, MI!

Rachael won a set of the Underwater Encounters series!

 

Congratulations, Cheryl and Rachael!

 

To learn more about the Joy Cowley Collection or Underwater Encounters, click the images below to download an information sheet with series highlights and key features!

New Call-to-Action Underwater Encounters Sales Sheet

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Underwater Encounters, Conference, Raffle Winner

NEW Under the Sea App: FREE through 12/11!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Dec 5, 2013 8:00:00 AM

Under the Sea is an educational app based on our Underwater Encounters series. Designed by Playrific for the iPad and iPhone, Under the Sea provides brain-boosting interactive activities and interesting, educational facts about many different varieties of sea creatures. Children can read mini-books accompanied by audio narration, sharpen their minds with memory matching games and jigsaw puzzles, flip through libraries of gorgeous underwater photgraphy, and express their creative side with coloring activities! There are even short video clips of sea animals in their natural habitats! With thirty sea-creature-related activities, your children will get hours of education and entertainment from this app, helping them to meet Common Core Standards for understanding information presented via diverse media!

 

Click Here to Download from iTunes!

FREE through December 11th!

   
under the sea scrennshot

The app has five screens of activities, with six activities per screen. There are six types of activities (hear-and-read, matching, jigsaw puzzles, coloring, video, and photo libraries) and there are five content categories that correspond to five Underwater Encounters books: Sea Turtles, Clever Crustaceans, Treacherous Tentacles, Ocean Oddities, and Spines, Stingers, and Teeth.

 

Hear and Read

The hear-and-read activities are mini-books with text and photos taken from our 48-page readers. They highlight interesting facts narrated aloud. Clicking on the individual words in the text causes the narrator to repeat the word on its own, allowing children to closely associate the way the word looks with the way it sounds.

 

Memory Matching Activities

The matching activities pull images from the related hear-and-read. Children examine the selected "card" closely, then try to find its match. This activity can help them learn to pay close attention to detail, sharpen working memory, and improve familiarity with the characteristics of the newly introduced sea creatures.

 

Photo Libraries

Children can flip through stunning photography by widely published underwater photographer Robert Yin, giving them glimpses into the magical world under the sea! Each photo library has twenty to fifty colorful, fascinating photographs, featuring sharks, seahorses, squid, and more!

Video Clips

See the sea from a diver's-eye viewpoint, complete with scuba-tank breathing audio! Your children will love to pretend that this app is a window to the undersea world and they are the divers! Short video clips show lurking sharks, teeming schools of fish, curious squid, and more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click and Color

Bring out your child's inner artist with click-and-color drawings of the sea creatures from the books they've read. Simply click the palette to select a color, then click the image to color the area within the lines! Be realistic or fantastic!

 

Jigsaw Puzzles

Choose from 4-, 8-, 12-, or 24-piece versions of puzzles made from gorgeous underwater photography. The puzzles are timed, so even after children have mastered a particular puzzle, they can get additional enjoyment trying to beat their best time!

Click Here to Download from iTunes!

FREE through December 11th!

 

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To learn more about the Underwater Encounters series that this app is based on, you can click here to visit our website or click the image below to download an information sheet with key features!

 

Underwater Encounters Sales Sheet

 

 

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Topics: Underwater Encounters, Apps, New Products

Making Inferences with Informational Text

Posted by Brian Hopkins on Oct 28, 2013 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins, an occasional contributor to our blog. If you like his activities, check back frequently to see if he's got a new post up! You could also check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

Making Inferences with Informational Text

Hi, I’m Brian from Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings. I am so excited to have yet another opportunity to guest blog. This time, I thought I would blog about a skill that children work on in pretty much all grade levels. This activity in particular is appropriate for 2nd grade and up.

Making inferences is a tough concept for many students, because these are the questions with answers that are not stated exactly in the book. Children have to use the clues in the book and what they already know. One example would be: Sue went outside to play with her friends. When she got outside she saw the trees blowing and dark clouds in the sky. What inference can she make? She could say that it is likely to rain because it is windy due to the trees blowing and the dark clouds usually mean it is going to rain.

One activity that I like to do with students is to find a passage in a book with animals and they have to guess what animal it is—it’s kind of like a riddle. I have the students tell me or write down what clues they came up with to figure it out. I put a blank where the name of the animal is. Fold a paper in half and on the left side your students write down their clues and on the left side they write down their guesses. I have had my past 2nd graders circle their final guess after they consult with their groups.

hide and sneak coverhide and sneak pages

Here is an example from the book Hide and Sneak by Elizabeth Cook:

The top of the _________ can be black, dark, gray, or brown. As the __________ swims over the ______, the ________ dark body may blend in with the blue of the ocean below it. Light spots are sprinkled across its dark skin. The light spots help break up the pattern of the _____ body.

When swimming deep in the ocean, sharks also look up for __________. The _________ white belly can be hard to see against the bright light of the sun from above. This may help keep it safe from the hunting shark.

The clues are that the animal may be black, brown, or gray, swims, lives in the ocean, and has a white belly. The white belly should help children make the inference that it is a ray. It is specifically an eagle ray, but an answer of just “ray” would be fine!

hide and sneak ray pages

This wonderful book has sharks, rays, different kinds of fish, and a seahorse that you could use for the riddles. I also love the other books from the Underwater Encounters series, which include Sea Turtles and Clever Crustaceans.

underwater encounters books

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My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a kindergarten teacher! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

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To learn more about the Underwater Encounters series, which contains the books shown in this post, visit the website by clicking here or click the image below to download an information sheet with series highlights! You can also check out the flip book version of Hide and Sneak by clicking here.

Underwater Encounters Sales Sheet

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Topics: Informational Text, Underwater Encounters, Brian Hopkins

Hameray's Critter Corner - Meet The Barracuda!

Posted by Sarah Levin on Mar 14, 2013 12:00:00 PM

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This is "B" Week for the Letter Buddies, so we decided to make Hameray's Critter Corner all about an animal that starts with the letter "B."  Which animals that start with the letter "B" do your students like to learn about?  Let us know in the comments section.

Beware the fearsome Barracuda! This creature is not so cuddly and has the huge teeth to prove it!

8105 Fish Barracuda Jetty Kapalai Mouth Opened P9150012tkcrpsm

 When hunting, Barracudas hide to surprise their prey and can reach speeds up to 27 mph for a short period of time when they rush out of their hidey-holes to grab a tasty fish.  They are attracted to the light that reflects off the scales of their natural prey, so if you're swimming in an area where Barracudas like to live, don't wear anything shiny, like a watch or bracelet.  Although they seldom attack people, they've been known to cause some serious damage when they do.

You may be surprised to learn that not all smaller fish end up as a snack for the Barracuda.  In this video by Robert Yin, you'll see long, thin, little fish called, Cleaner Wrasse.  Notice how the Barracuda stays perfectly still and lets them dart among his knife-like teeth, picking at parasites and little bits of dry skin.  This is what's called a "mutualist" relationship, where two creatures (who might have had a very different relationship had they not been useful to each other) work in harmony, each benefiting in a different way.  

To learn more about the Barracuda, check out the book, Spines, Stingers, and Teeth, by Elizabeth Cook, with photography by Robert Yin.

Barracuda Book  

 

 Read a sample book from the Underwater Encounters series here:

Hide & Sneak Sample Book

 

And, request a 2013 Hameray K-8 Catalog (click the image below):

Hameray 2016 Catalog Request

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Topics: Critter Corner, Animals, Underwater Encounters

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