Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Cheery Cards to Make

I realize just about everyone has made cards before, but it's been a long time since I have, and I forgot how much fun it actually was! celebration of my 101st post.... I encourage you to make these VERY simple and charming cards --by using one simple rubber stamp (for example, a snowflake design), one or two ink pads, a glitter pen, and a little ribbon. I don't know about you, but I get a little weary of red and green at Christmas I opted more for the blues, silvers, and greens--Some of them had silver and red snowflakes. Also, we have friends of many faiths, so I wanted to make cards that would hopefully appeal to all.

Each card came out different...but quite pretty because they were such simple designs. The old saying..."More is less"...comes to mind. The ribbon was super cheap--on sale, and the stamp was something I came across a couple of years ago but never used. Considering how cards (really nice ones) cost so much these days, you may want to try it. You really can't go wrong.

I'm not selling or promoting any of the items you see in the picture below...but I just want to show you that this is what I started with: a pack of blank white cards which you can get at a craft store on sale (or use dark colored cards that look great with silver or white ink), stamp pads, narrow grosgrain ribbon, silver or gold glitter pen, and tacky glue (not shown) to attach the ribbon.

(Note: Washi tape (not shown) is an alternative to ribbon!)

It's a little late in the year to start making them as holiday cards. But why not start when you have free time and save them for next year? And it's so relaxing and fulfilling to make your own cards!

As I said, each one came out differently. This one (below) is just silver and green. I had extra ribbon so I just tied it on, rather than gluing it on the front. I drew some swirls for extra detail. I don't have any other cards to show you because I just had to hurry and send them off before it was too late!!

My Merry Cheery Holiday Card 

You cannot see the swirls that well, 
but you get the idea!!

(I forgot to add...yes, you could adapt this for kids, depending upon their skill level. But any cute stamp, and a little ribbon goes a long way...and will make the recipient smile!)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Snowpeople in First Grade

     We had a blast today in first grade. After seeing these cute toilet roll characters on Pinterest, I just had to have the kids make these. But I did not have enough toilet paper tubes for 20 kids, so I pre-made twenty 5 1/2 inch rolls out of white card stock. This way, we did not have to paint them either. They also came out a little larger than the regular tubes. 

But if you have plenty of toilet paper tubes, then you are recycling which is especially nice. By the way, what makes these little guys extra cute, is the way you can stuff the poly fiberfill inside to make cute, frizzy, snowy hairdos! This was such a quick and easy craft for any winter day. The kids were tickled with the results. I was, too! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Did anyone say "snow"?

So, I'm not used to having 3 and 1/2 consecutive snow days--not in all my years of teaching have I had this happen! Our area has had about 4 days of power outages, with lines down, trees and limbs blocking secondary roads...and our plow guy even struggled to do our little driveway. I'll be glad to get back...but wait!...We have only one week before the holiday break! Hopefully, we'll get some work done (without too much craziness) before the week ends. What a December to remember!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Five Silver Bells Choral Poem, Book and Advent Craft

This is a little bell-shaped book that you'll find templates for inside my newest creation. I created Five Silver Bells with hopes that young readers will have fun practicing their fluency while reading this little poem ... just right for this time of year. It's a poem that is appropriate for a diverse classroom as there is no reference to a specific religion. Below is an example of the bell book with the poem text. But the packet has more patterns and ideas for making the most out of this choral poem. Hop on over to my store and take a peek at the preview.Thanks for checking this out!  Let me know what you think!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Liebster Award

Thank you, Jennifer at Mrs. Grisham's Little Lighthouse Learners  for nominating me for the Liebster Award! What a super cute blog she has, so if you haven't visited her, you should head over there to visit. Well, I am honored to be nominated for this award as I have only recently made a concerted effort to jump on the blogging wagon...even though I've actually been plugging away at this for a couple of years.

When I started my online store with Teachers Pay Teachers and met some very supportive teaching professionals, I have found more meaning and purpose in blogging. I have started to realize (well, I'm a late bloomer) that a blog is a truly authentic way of recording and sharing successes, in addition to reflecting those tough times we face each day. A blog is more than a journal...for me, it's a reflection of all that I'm doing to make a difference in my students' learning, as well as an opportunity for me to re-learn or learn a-new the things that I thought I was doing well. So truthfully, blogging is helping me become a better teacher--even though I've been at it for many years! Again I'm a late bloomer, and it's taken me this long to figure that out!!

So, here goes...I am nominating 11 other new bloggers out there who have fewer than 200 members.  I am honored to pass along the Leibster Award to these 11 people. Now, remember people, I have less than a handful, so this is a big deal for me! 

There are SO many wonderful bloggers out there, but these bloggers really have such interesting blogs...each one is different, yet professional, friendly and sincere...and are definitely worth checking out! I love the sharing of ideas and the honesty in these blogs. Many have a big dose of humor, too! See my list below. I'm hoping that these nominees below will be as excited about this as I am!

With all that said, I cordially nominate the following for the Liebster Award:

  1. The Library Patch 
  2. Kim's First Grade 
  3. A Library and a Garden  
  7. Growing Grade by Grade 
  8. My Colorful Classroom 
  9. If You Give a Teacher a Treat 
  10. Creative Critters-Teaching Resources 
  11. Patterson's Porch 


Please copy these questions into your own blog, so that your readers will learn more about you!

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging 
I started a few years ago as a tool for reflecting my teaching methods, approaches, successes and failures. But when I joined TpT, I realized I could add my online community and interests to my reflections. I really only want to blog when it's meaningful to me and hopefully to my "audience" out there...although I'm not sure who reads my posts! My blog will always be a work in progress!

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? Reflection! I'm finding that the more I write, the more I read blogs written by other teachers, the more I'm learning and reflecting...and the end result of that, of FUN! Can I change this to two words now?!

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?
Well, since I have been teaching for quite a number of years, and am of that age where you'd think maybe I'd be retiring....I can just say, I sure wish I had started this long ago...even if only for myself, as an outlet. But I used to do blogging the old-fashioned know, those things called diaries. I do wish I had known about how to use Photo Shop and Illustrator in order to make clip art sooner!

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging? I enjoy kayaking at our nearby lake, gardening in my woodland perennial garden, and painting. All of these are my most favorite activities...but I can't leave out how I enjoy creating language arts resources for teachers and parents. That's been a huge learning curve for me...and although extremely time-consuming...I would say it's turned out to be one of my favorite past times.

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog
Maybe about 1 hour a week, or every other week. I blog when I'm inspired, but I do not do it regularly. I don't want to just blog about anything...I want to blog when I think I have something to offer...Not quite as relaxing as a bubble bath, it's definitely a relaxing alternative to TV!

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy those sites that are thoughtful (and attractive, not necessarily flashy, but pictures that mean something to them)...because I admire anyone who can create a blog like that. But mostly, I just love interesting people, and the interesting things they do~ and if they've got some even more interesting things to share...then I'm hooked. But to be honest, teacher blogs and parent-home-schooler blogs have the most interesting posts because of ALL the ideas they have to share and the creative resources they come up with!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from
I would love to come up with the one inspirational blog/blogger here. But the truth is I am inspired by so many that I'm following right now--Each one has its own flavor and personality....and I'd say when you put them altogether, that's what inspires me. I want to emulate a little something from everyone.

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of? I'm working on that.

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?

I'd like to blog the advantages of the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading for strugglers, and other reading strategies and approaches that are effective for improving fluency.

10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
Sharing and writing to an authentic audience....which is so different from diary writing (from my teenage and early motherhood years). I am just starting to get into the collaborating and socializing aspects of blogging...all of which is pretty new to me. I'm not a big Facebook person, so blogging to me is more "me".

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?
(Brain cramp here! I'm not sure if this question is asking me what idea I like on another blog or what I have that you, a nominee would most likely try. I'll have to take a rain check on this question .... come back to this!  But I think you nominees should revise this question!)

Congratulations, Nominees:
Now its your turn (nominated bloggers) to participate - here are the official "rules" for accepting:

1.)   In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out".
2.)  Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above)
3.)  Nominate 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers each. Provide them with 11 questions (listed above) to have them answer.
4.)  Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link back to your post so they can accept.
5.)  Send your nominator a link to your post so s/he can learn more about you as well. (You can just put your post link in the comments below.) 


Free! 2 Poems and a Craft

Here's one of my favorite creations for this season. Click on this link and get your copy of this holiday resource. It's just right for kids in first through second grade. Enjoy!

FREE! Eight Little Candles--2 Poems and a Craft

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Free Stocking Writing Prompt

Here's a stocking you can save to your computer and print out. It's a writing prompt for some of those anxious little kids out there who just can't wait to let Santa know what they want for Christmas!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Frosty and Friends: A Readers Theater

Frosty will never grow old! Nor will the tale of this affable guy.  But this is just a twist on his story. I would love to put up a readers theater on the famous Frosty the Snowman, but the lyrics and he, himself is copyrighted! So I created one that has a little glimmer of the ol' tale.  (I can still hear the voices of Jimmy Durante and Jackie Vernon, whose TV version still entertains children five decades later!) But Frosty and Friends has a different script and twist at the end. 

This little readers theater takes all of 10 minutes to perform, but it's a fun way to get your readers to improve their fluency and comprehension!  I hope you will let your young readers give it a try. Being a little kid at heart, I had a blast writing it, and thanks to My Cute Graphics, it's dressed up with clip art that's bound to get the kids interested in reading. So, whether you want a quick activity for your reading group...or you are thinking about putting on a short little performance for the parents at Open House or Holiday Celebration... here's something that will add a little winter time cheer to the occasion! 

Dress them up in hats, mittens and scarves...and they'll all be the cutest little performers--and of course, no other props are needed! After all, it really is all about the kids.....and your kids will be the stars...because no matter how they read (whether it turns out to be a comedy of errors or not), it will be a memorable performance!

Below is a preview of the cover and the first page...just to give you a peek!
If you do happen to purchase this resource, I would love to hear from you. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas Story Starters Motivate Kids to Write

Ready for the holidays? I'm not yet, but I'm having a good time preparing for the busy season. I love making holiday resources. This pack was a lot of fun to create, so I am hoping that it is equally fun for kids to do. It's revised from my earlier version from last year. This narrative-packed set is aligned with the common core standards for narrative writing, grades 2-4. When it comes to writing about Santa, you will find that kids do get engaged in the writing process, especially if it is about him getting stuck in the chimney! So check this out soon, if you have kids itching to write about Christmas and want to make a cute craft to accompany their work. Cute patterns included!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Those party store magnifying glasses....

These little plastic things are such a hit with my first grade reading group! (I have four kiddos.) Getting them to do word reading can be a struggle for some who are less than attentive...Whether one is twirling in her seat, or another is more concerned with tipping his chair back--get one of those cheap little magnifying glasses and play word detective! They love using them after we've read a book (a close reading)--even though it's more of a literal "close reading", word hunting is fun detective work.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Turkey Writing: Short Research Writing, Challenges & Activities

       It's been awhile since I've been on this it's good to be back. It's hard to believe another Halloween has come and gone...and now sadly, the candy is, too!
       I thought I'd post my latest revision of a resource that's been a popular one for beginning researchers. Four main topics are presented with pre-writing maps, and templates to get young writers going. My students have a tough time getting started...and I have a tough time figuring out where to begin. But a solid prompt that interests them (key factor!) and a pre-writing template can make a big difference in their success. It's my experience that this time of year is most interesting to the kids...NOT because of Thanksgiving...but because they are interested in the way our ancestors lived, dressed, and ate. They particularly want to learn more about the Native Americans who were a huge part of our American history. Squanto, Massasoit, and the Wampanoag are hot topics with third graders. There are so many opportunities to expand research...and making artifacts is just one way to extend their studies. This resource will give them a start....and you'll find plenty out there to expand on these topics! 

        I think the improvements I've made in this product will make a difference...and that teachers find this to be a way to motivate and scaffold hesitant writers, too. Let me know what you think! 

The image below shows just a sampling of the 23 pages in this pack. Thanks for checking this out! ~Karen

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bat Writing and Craft--for Bat Unit or Halloween Fun!

Studying bats? Or just want a Halloween project? This resource may just fit the bill. It's a craft and writing packet just right for kids in grades 1-3. There are a variety of ways you can use the pages and activities in this packet. Choose any or all of the activities to suit your students' grade or skill level.(Since we have diverse classrooms and not everyone celebrates Halloween, this packet can work for all students.) But we know that bats are popular in ANY season.

As an added feature, a little bat book is also included with this download. The Big Brown Bat has instructions and an easy-to-follow pattern. The final art project made of construction paper, is a large bat that can hang upside down or right-side up. Upside down, it can hold a collection of bat facts. This makes a cool bat pocket! 

Check it out, and read a more detailed description. Go to my store where you'll find it at this link: 
Suggested Grade levels: 1-3

Happy Bat Writing and Crafting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Turkey Visitors

Our feathered friends stopped by the other morning. Little do they realize Thanksgiving is less than a month and a half away! (I learned that a group of turkeys is called a rafter. But I think I prefer the term flock.) I wish this was a better picture, but my iPod can do only so much!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Puppy Pic Prompt

Puppy Picture Prompt:
Here's a cutie pie that has gotten into a little trouble! What did she do? That's up to you!

Original photo--Permission for Growing Smart Readers to post.
Copyright by L.St.Amour   All rights reserved.

Kids love pictures that tell a story. They love to make up their own story about what happened. Maybe they know what Honey, the cute pup above got into. Or, is she just waiting for someone to play with her?!

If you like picture prompts, be sure to check out my previous post: Hot Air Balloon prompt:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fall is here again....

Photo copyright by K.Gomez at Growing Smart Readers 2014

Fall Picture Prompt

The leaves are already changing! Especially in the northern and central part of the state. This picture just brings out all the emotions of the season. My students love picture prompts, but they have so much trouble getting started with their writing. Descriptive writing, using the senses is a good starting point for many primary and intermediate students.

Before they write, just talk about the picture! Oral communication first!
Brainstorm using all the senses--not just the five senses! Aside from sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch, ask kids questions like...

What do you feel? 
What does this picture make you think of? 
What would it be like if you were looking up from the bottom of the tree?
What would it be like if you were IN the tree?

Start with a pre-writing activity!
Kids will need to start out by creating a list or for many a word web is visually concrete. Random words, stream of thought, whatever comes to mind, one word, two or more words, color words....anything goes to start out.

Talk about what writers do to engage their audience?
They might...
-Make comparisons using similes, using like or as.
-Use metaphors....comparing this beautiful orange tree to another object or idea...
-Write a poem (often easier for some kids) using phrases to describe this picture. 

One way to start is to list phrases that involve strong imagery and verbs that punch....such as these examples:
-fiery leaves
-flaming trees
-with leaves so juicy, they taste like orange and lemon Starbursts (the candy)...and so on.

The suggestions here are merely suggestions. There are SO many effective ways to get started with picture prompts for writing. Just remember to start with talking about the picture before asking them to write.  I love picture prompts and I know your kids will to, so if you haven't really used them yet...try it.

Please SHARE! whatever works for your students. I would love to hear what you have had success with! Leave a comment!

Perhaps you might be interested in checking out my autumn/fall poetry resource. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Picture Writing Prompts--Chewing Gum for the Writer

This is a photo I took just last weekend! I chased the hot air balloon (my husband was driving) and made him stop the car to take this photo. I could only think of how this would be a cool writing prompt for my kids. What can we infer? What went wrong? Was anyone hurt? Did it land in a huge tree, or is this a bush?  Photos also can be deceiving....Writing can go in any direction with these prompts. Have you taken some fun pictures? Why not use them? 

Picture prompts stimulate our emotions, memories, and those centers of the brain where we pull together and synthesize information....Picture prompts are chewing gum for the writer! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Let's Track Our Fluency--Progress Monitoring Tools for Reading

If you are a reading teacher like I am, you'll need more than one graph for the different fluency targets your students may need to meet. Print out graphs that suit your students, and keep them in folders so they can go back to them with a reading buddy or partner. Give them a timer, and let 'em read! It's fun and it's a technique that is backed up by research...We all know this, that kids who take responsibility for their own progress DO make substantial progress. These graphs hold them accountable for making progress at their own rate. We all know this too... that once they are engaged in their reading, it sticks with them longer.

This resource also includes a quick guide for fluency rate targets, adapted from Tim Rasinski's fluency target charts. 

Happy reading!

And while you're in my store.... please take a moment to check out this reading resource--which I had fun creating--but more importantly, hope  can be truly useful to teachers and homeschooling parents. I think you'll find that once you laminate these and hang them up on the walls (or use them as charts, or in a book), your kids will have a blast with these!  Thanks so much for checking my store out...I think you'll be surprised at the resources you can use for helping your kids become more proficient in literacy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kids need more sleep!!

Had to post this here...I see too many kids who lack sleep. It affects their work, their interactions with their peers, and how they feel about themselves. Kids who lack sleep end up in the nurse's office more often than their peers. They also have the highest absenteeism. We send out newsletters to remind parents before testing time that their child will need lots of rest. But we don't emphasize it enough for the rest of the time--when it counts even more. There's a lot of research out there that proves how the lack of sleep negatively impacts kids. We all know this anyway....but reading these two articles (out of hundreds) reminds me to take the time to think about what kids are actually getting for sleep and rest. 

Parent/teacher conferences are a good time to emphasize the importance if you suspect this is happening.

Take a peek at these articles:

Friday, August 29, 2014


Lately, I've been drawn to roots. Tree roots, in particular. I feel like there's a story to be told-although I'm not sure who would tell it. I think of so many tales that have been told and written with trees and forests as settings or symbols. Trees are prolific in literature --embedded in fairytales, folktales, legends, myths, poetry, and stories of romance --and mystery.  I feel this tree has a story--and it's gnarly roots invite me in to listen. Roots are a reminder of life's grit and perseverance, as well as its frailty.

Can you just picture woodland fairies living and playing among the roots?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

New Products for Back-To-School

Our School Bus is a nonfiction set of pictures with captions, text that is simple for kindergartners and first graders to read aloud together. The pages also may serve as beautiful posters to put up if you are studying back-to-school topics such as bus safety, transportation, and similar topics.

My School Bus Rocks is primarily a printable mini book in black and white for kinders and firsties to have their own bus book. The text also has sentences, but they are traceable, as so many starting school have not yet had handwriting instruction. It is also perfect for mid-year, once kinders have had writing practice and know their letters. First graders would find this easy (but sill fun) by mid year. This resource includes a stop sign coloring page which can also double as a shape book, as there is a lined page to go with it. Kids will also enjoy the school bus coloring page included in this resource. I am positive kiddos will enjoy making this cute little book. Black and yellow duct tape would be a delightful way to bind this book!

Safari Fun is just the right resource if kids need a lot of practice writing sentences. This is appropriate for second and third graders who are also learning about pronouns. The tongue twisters and scrambled sentences present a fun challenge for students to order sentences using correct grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. There are 18 task cards that are sentence starters--fun for literacy centers, homework, or individual independent work. I find these work well as story prompts, too! They are quite versatile. A page of suggestions details 4 ways to make this a fun, versatile and reusable resource.

If you are interested in checking these items out, you can find these new teaching resources created by Growing Smart Readers at My Online Store.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Free Frame: Polka Dots and Pastels

I have been playing around with more frames and designs. This time--polka dots and pastels! If you like polka dots and pastels, here's another free frame. Please enjoy! 

All rights reserved. Copyright 2014 Growing Smart Readers

Or click here for a free set of frames:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Free Butterfly Frame

Here's a playful butterfly frame that I created just for the fun of it. I got a little carried away with making this cute goggle-eyed butterfly and then experimented by making a frame out of the image. I'm still experimenting with clip art. But if you like this please go ahead and go to the Google link below!

You can use it for personal or small business commercial use (but no mass production). Great for teachers who are making products for their classroom or for selling on TPT!

All rights reserved. Copyright by Growing Smart Readers 2014.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hooking Kids in With Book Commercials

One of the simplest ways to get kids motivated to read those chapter books we try so hard to get them to read, is the old "book talk" or book chat. I really think of these chats as live ads...or let's make it more fun and call them "book commercials"!

I have to do it more often, I confess...but filling up an attractive and intriguing basket of books is an easy and super quick way to rev them up about reading more, and getting their attention in a short time. Depending upon the grade level you teach, pulling out YOUR favorite books and telling them why YOU love them, and why YOU read them, can perk up their ears!

Now, that's a simple strategy--very informal, and you can spend all of 15 minutes gathering 10-15 great reads and prepare a mini synopsis to hook 'em in.

But here's another way that's even more fun... 
Grab an old shoe box with a cover, and a hole cut out on top. Or, use a cereal box! (Just as fun!)
Fill it with post-its or cut up index cards with book titles written on them. You'll want to have those books on hand, on display on a shelf, or in another basket ready to show. Then, ask for volunteers to draw a book title out of the box. Ask for volunteers who have read that particular book to give a hook-line about that book. If nobody has read that book, then YOU give a little advertisement about that book.

Of course, there are lots of ways to get the kids revved up and back on track as far as reading and getting actively engaged in books. You may want to have each of your children write down their favorite book titles cards and place it in the box. (Even better, so you won't have to!) Throughout the year, we do get in little slumps...and kids will say, "I've read all the good books. There aren't any more that I like." Well, try a book commercial!

100 Great Children's Book of All Time-from Scholastic

Friday, July 11, 2014

Amazing Butterflies

Did you know that butterflies can range in size from an 1/8th of an inch to as long as about a foot?

A monarch butterfly travels about 2,000 miles when it leaves the Great Lakes region and travels down to the Gulf of Mexico--and then back again! That's stamina!

Find out some fun facts about butterflies...and you may discover there is much more to learn about them!

You don't have to be a kid either...just a life-long learner like me! 

Fun Butterfly Information Website for Kids

Visit my store and you'll find resources on insects and other animals. 
Just click on My TpT Store

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ocean Animals Themed Journal Covers & Pages--Just for Kids

I created Ocean Animals Theme Journal Covers and Pages Just for Kids because I don't think there are enough fun journal covers for kids out there. 

Kids really do love to write on nice paper...and real stationery. They do get tired of the black and white "worksheet" look. But for those who have few options for printing, especially in color, I've included some black and white pages. Also, as we know... printers can be set to gray scale anyway.

This 84 page set has a ton of pages to choose from! Many of them are geared toward reading journals, but there are several to choose from that would work for a science journal, or for spelling, vocabulary, or creative writing.

Click below, and take a look. Be sure to see the preview.
Thanks for stopping by!   ~ Karen


Sunday, July 6, 2014

It's Ice Cream Time!

One of my newest and "yummiest" resources for teachers and parents:

This has over 66 pages of a tasty assortment of templates and patterns for craftivities, rewards, incentives, celebrations, as well as suggestions for using all of them! Binder or journal cover designs and name tags, and labels are also included. What a way to decorate your storage boxes! You may want to study how ice cream is made...this is a perfect supplement. You may want to have your kids build their own sundae...a craftivity that's sure to please. Follow up with a procedure writing piece. They probably won't balk at writing about their super sundae they created themselves....Then why not have a REAL ice cream party?

 Lots and lots of possibilities--and of course, these can be used year after year. This is not a clip art set, but the pattern pieces can be reduced or enlarged as needed. Great for hands on, fine motor work--cutting, and coloring, and assembling a double, triple, or quadruple cone!

Teachers and parents--you can print out the sets of multiple graphics, and write in your own (by hand) math facts, or sight words.Turn the ice cream cones into flash cards for any subject. Create a memory game with them, by printing a double set.

The ice cream themed writing papers encourage narrative, opinion, and other writing. Have kids compare and contrast flavors....theirs versus their friends' flavors?

Guaranteed to help cool you down! Thank you for stopping by...and enjoy your summer if you're up north where I am!! :D

All work is copyrighted by Karen at Growing Smart Readers

Friday, June 20, 2014

Field Trip to the Lake

We headed off to the lake. No routines, no papers to do, no worries about report cards or packing up the classroom--and no discipline issues! Two life guards were on duty to help watch the kids. Everyone was so happy, excited, and already dreaming about summer vacation. Fond memories!  (And the water was really freezing!!) 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Literacy Skills

This is my most recent product which I created for many of my students who need extra practice over the summer. Many kids don't want to do anything that looks like school work. (Hard to blame them!) But this has a set of both fun and "academic" activities to help keep them tuned up over the break. I've created the resource primarily for kids in grades 2 and 3. There are over 70 student pages!

Copyright 2014 Growing Smart Readers

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reading Buddies

This is a great way to spend some of the last school days--outdoor reading! Our kids found their spot on their mats, ready for their big buddies to come and read with them. These kiddos love their big buddies!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to ALL Moms!

I want to honor all moms --and especially all teachers who are moms, and moms who teach at home, by having an impromptu sale at my store on Mother's Day. 

I'm always reminded of the multi-jobs of a mother of any child at any age!  You have probably heard this before: "A mother IS her child's FIRST teacher." What a true statement! Mothering and teaching go hand in hand. We model, we share, we communicate, we create, we let them explore, and sometimes watch them fall. We are saddened when they fall but we know that they must learn from falls, too. 

Being a teacher is an honor because of all the ways it is so much like being a parent. Maybe the thing teachers and mothers have in common is the love and pride they have for their children. After all, they need to be nurtured and feel self-pride so they CAN learn. I think that's why a mother can be a powerful teacher to her child. My mother taught me how to write. I studied her and mimicked her long before I started school. (Too many years ago to count!)

Okay-- I'm done rambling. Moms, just know this -your job is the most highly honorable position anyone can ever have! It is immeasurable. No amount of money can possibly match your responsibilities that come with parenting. You may not get a whole lot of thanks for the hard work you do, but the hugs and love you get in return are priceless--even when they're all grown up, gone and on their own. My kids are grown now! But I cherish those memories-- making projects at the kitchen table, trips to local museums, collecting things in our backyard, and having indoor camp outs--oh, the list goes on.

Happy Mother's Day to you!  I hope you get treated like a queen for a day, get rest, sunshine, flowers (even if they are drawn or glued on a handmade card--all the better). And of course, I wish you lots of hugs and wet kisses from your little ones. Cherish them. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sentence Building and Recycling Bottle Caps

Have you collected any of those colorful plastic bottle caps yet? Today was one of those days when my kids just needed a break from the usual. So, we pulled out our bottle cap bin and began writing sentences using nouns, verbs, and adjectives. This is not a new thing...but if you haven't tried this with kids yet, you are missing out on the fun of watching them make some silly and wonderful sentences. I only had three colors, so I just used nouns (blue), verbs (yellow) and adjectives (purple). 

We made it a grab bag game. They randomly picked out three different parts of speech (colors) and used those words for their "core" words. They had to add articles, pronouns, and prepositions (as needed) in order to have their sentences be grammatically correct. It did not matter whether the sentences were silly or totally ridiculous.

This is really and truly ONE MORE way to get kids to write! They were very surprised to see how well they did.  The pictures below are of my small group of third graders who liked making this into a "grab bag" game. Some sentences came out quite silly! But that's the fun of it.

What's especially great about bottle caps, is that they are versatile enough do so many different activities. If your kids are just learning the alphabet, use these for matching upper and lower case letters. As "letter caps" instead of word caps, you can scramble and unscramble words.