My daughter got this Melissa & Doug easel from Santa and she loves it but at our house we share most everything and her brother got a chance to play with the easel with this Fill in the Blank Easel Story. Writing , spelling and reading all come together with creativity and storytelling in this fast to set up activity. If you do not have an easel you can enter for a chance to win one from Melissa & Doug below or use a big sheet of paper on the wall. The reason I am suggesting the wall or an easel is because when kids write on vertical surfaces likes these their arms, wrists and hands naturally go into the proper position for writing. This makes it easier for many kids that struggle and doesn’t hurt those who aren’t either.
- Gather your materials. You will need some dry erase makers, a dry erase board / easel and a big imagination.
- Start by writing out a simple story on the easel with dry erase markers. Here is mine – Once upon a time there was a ________ named _________. He was brave, smart and ____________ . One day he found a magic ____________ and it started to ____________. He thought that is was amazing and ran to show his ___________. when he got home his magic ____________ disappeared! He looked for it everyday but never saw it again.
- Invite your writer to come fill in the blanks. Have them read it out loud.
- Fill in the blanks. My son kept asking me how to spell things. Here is what I do when he asks. I will ask him first to sound it out. If he is struggling I will help. Generally I ask that he uses his 6 year old spelling for everything. Spelling is developmental and if we skip stages in development there can be struggles later on. Invented spellings are a really important step. Kids aren’t misspelling things they are just spelling them at their level of development. As your child progresses feel free to correct them little by little. My son can read well and simple words like dog, hat, car are ones that I would not hesitate to correct his spelling but words like furious, sword or friends I am still encouraging him to sound out and spell at his level. Interestingly he spelled sword correctly later in the lesson.
- He didn’t like my ending so he edited it. ” When he got home his magic sword would shock people.”
- When he was done writing he proudly read it back to me.
Watching my son write this really showed me how hard white boards can be for new and struggling writers. Many need the friction of a chalkboard to help them form letters correctly. This easel has a black board on the other side and if you aren’t lucky enough to win it in our sweepstakes you can make your own dollar store ones like we did.
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Fill out the form below. Please only one entry per household. SWEEPSTAKES NOW CLOSED
This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must enter your name and email in the google form embedded in this post. 1 winner will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on January 14th 2013 at 8:00pm PST. The winners will receive the Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel and Companion Set , valued at approximately $115. After the winner is notified he or she has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address to ship their easel and companion set to ,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. I am a blog ambassador for Melissa & Doug and am compensated for my work. The sweepstakes prize is provided for the winner free of charge from Melissa & Doug.
When I got a chance to take a sneak peek at the Scholastic Book Club selections for June I was so excited to see this 7 book pack of folk and fairytale books. I know so many of you homeschool and/or are doing summer camp at home this year and use weekly themes. These 7 books would be a good addition to your fairytale theme or any family library. DO NOT forget to enter below for a chance to win all 7 of these books from Scholastic Book Clubs.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Caralyn and Mark Buehner was my favorite of all the Goldilocks books we read. I liked the modern text, the pop culture details ( a Smokey the Bear poster on the wall being my favorite) and that it didn’t take itself too seriously. This was my favorite book of this pack. There are hidden images in every picture but I am glad I didn’t notice that note until after I’d read it with my son the first time last year. Now at 5 ( and 35 ) they were still incredibly hard to find and we only found a few throughout the story.
The Three Billy-goats Gruff (Easy-To-Read Folktale) by Ellen Appleby is a simple version of the classic folk tale with cartoon like pictures. My son knows this story well and the easy read format along with his previous knowledge of the plot helped him read along with me with lots of success.
Hansel and Gretel by James Marshall is not a fluffy retelling of Hansel and Gretel at all. My son who is all about weapons play right now was sucked right in to the good versus evil in this scary tale. Now I don’t think I would have read this to my son even 6 months ago because he just wasn’t ready for a scary book but wow did he love it now! It’s the classic tale of a brother and sister who against all odds find a way to survive the evil stepmother , horrible witch and foreboding forest to get back to their father and live happily ever after. I admit I have been on the fence for a long time about a lot of fairy tales but the conversations that came from this and the connections that my son made between the story and real life.
The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall is a great classic telling of The Three Little Pigs . My son loved the illustrations and chanted ” Little pig little pig let me come in!” along with me as we read. Now I know there are some versions of this story where the pigs don’t die, this one is not one of them, but it’s not graphic at all. We both really liked this book.
The Little Red Hen by Lucinda McQueen is another easy to read folktale that you are probably be familiar with. It’s such a great opportunity to talk about helping others, doing your share and not being lazy!As you may remember Little Red Hen worked so hard and her friends didn’t lift a finger ( or paw in this case) and yet were eager to reap the rewards of her hard work. No way you don’t get to be lazy and entitled! My husband and I talk all the time about how we are determined not to raise entitled kids and this story was a great way to talk about these issues at their level.
Chicken Little by Laura Rader was fun read. Even if your child can read this solo , please read it to them at least once because it’s just so fun to read out loud ( funny voices optional). My son giggled at me as I read this in silly voices and at varying speeds as the animals got more and more anxious about the sky falling . I also did not miss the opportunity to talk about making sure your info is correct before spreading it and possibly scaring other people. Although not directly related to tattling I can see how this book could be tied into a great lesson about that too.
The Gingerbread Man (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Karen Schmidt is just such a silly story . What I do like about this tale is that while it still packs the punch of one character eating another like many fairy tales it’s just a gingerbread man so when the fox eats him it doesn’t seem so bad really. My son loved the repetition of the text and sang along with me as we read. It’s a good story to talk about taunting, and showing off. We also played gingerbread man tag later that day, but we skipped the whole cannibalism bit.
To Enter : Please leave a comment on this post answering this question ” Which fairytale was your favorite as a child? “Official Rules This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must leave a comment on this post answering the question “Which fairytale was your favorite as a child?”1 winning commenter will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Sunday June 3rd 2012 at 8:00pm PST. The winners will receive the seven books listed , valued at approximately $30. After the winner is notified he or she has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address for Scholastic to ship their books to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
You know those books at the library with the big silver medal on them? Those are Caldecott Award and Honor Books , the Caldecott award is for the best illustrated American picture book of the year. Although only one medal is given out every year a handful of books are blessed with the label of Honor. All of these book with the exception of Amos & Boris carry that title, Amos & Boris was a National Book Award finalist. When I got my sneak peek at the Scholastic Book Club flyers for May I saw this awesome pack of books and knew I had to share them with you and give you a chance to win all 6 from Scholastic.
Swimmy by Leo Lionni has been a favorite of mine for many years. I love Lionni and how he can weave multiple layers of meaning into a simple story for children. Swimmy is a story about a little fish who lost his family to a giant tuna fish and after grieving he was reminded of all the wonderful things there were to see and experience in the ocean. When he came across a school of fish just like his former one hiding afraid of the big fish he knew he couldn’t let them miss out on all the wonders of the ocean and he rallied them to work as a team. This is a great book for teaching children about the power of working as a group to combat challenges as well as conquering fears.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is a true classic, written in 1948 it’s a simple tale about a little girl and her mom collecting blueberries to can. While mama pics them , Sal eats them and wanders off but they aren’t the only mama and baby out gathering blueberries. This book is chill and sweet and the black and white illustrations make the readers feel like they are on the top of the mountain gathering blueberries too.
Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka is a simple book that will absolutely make you smile. The text is not much more complicated than the title but there is brilliance in it’s simplicity. This is a book made to be read out loud as the rhythm and beat of the words come to life when you do.
Amos & Boris by William Steig is a touching story about the power of an unlikely friendship and helping others. Amos is a mouse who is rescued by Boris a whale when he goes overboard in the middle of the ocean. After the rescue they develop a tender friendship despite their obvious differences and go on their separate ways with full hearts. Many years later though it is Amos’ turn to rescue Boris and we are all reminded that size does not equal ability to help a friend.
Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri is a wonderful book with minimal text but a call to action for the readers. On every page the mama duck asks other animals in the pond if they have seen her missing duckling and with close inspection of each illustration readers can find that little one just beyond her mama’s gaze. Kids love to feel like they know something that others don’t and this simple book taps into that while giving adults a chance to talk about all sorts of animals an even opening a dialog about wondering off and getting lost.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!by Mo Willems might not need much of a review as I don’t know many parents who haven’t laughed along with their kids reading this book. But if you have never read this book let me tell you about it and why so many of us think it’s hilarious. The book opens with a bus driver asking readers to do him a favor and not let the pigeon drive the bus, easy right? Well just like my 5 year old son who is practicing for the negotiator of the year award this pigeon is relentless. When I asked my son what his favorite part of the book was he giggled loudly while telling me that he loves the tantrum the pigeon has. Kids love seeing characters in books display the behavior that they want to do but only let slip through the cracks every now and then. I love when great underlying connections to kids come in such a goofy package. Love this book.
So now that you have heard why all these books are contemporary classics let me tell you how you can get a chance to win them from Scholastic Book Club. All you need to do is answer this question in the comment section below What was your favorite book as a child?Official Rules This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must leave a comment on this post answering the question “What was your favorite book as a child?”1 winning commenter will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Sunday May 6th at 8:00pm PST. The winners will receive the six books listed , valued at approximately $35. After the winner is notified he or she has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address for Scholastic to ship their books to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
A lot of parents are a little afraid of math , possibly because they struggled with it themselves as kids, or they have heard it’s being taught differently now or just because they don’t like it. Math is a sensitive topic in my own background having been tutored from 5th grade on my confidence in it has never been high. What changed all that for me was teaching it using manipulatives, games and books. Picture books are great tools to teach math concepts even well into the elementary grades and feel very accessible to parents who may shy away from other math activities. You can find some of my favorite books about math and a chance to enter to WIN the two fantastic Sir Cumference books from Scholastic Book Clubs, see details below!
You Can, Toucan, Math: Word Problem-Solving Fun by David Adler is a graphically amazing book and the concepts are awesome too. This book focuses on word problem solving but the author has others ( one about fractions that is actually a great cheat sheet for out of practice parents too) and many others. I chose to review this one because it’s closer to the level of math more of my readers will be at now or soon. While the book offers up word problems the illustrations are built in manipulatives and help children along naturally. While many of the problems answer keys use multiplication or division many can be broken down more easily and younger kids can simply count the illustrations. I like that this book will have a long shelf life in any home. Also the illustrations by Edward Miller can not be any more amazing. Great book for math interested preschoolers but more specifically school age kids.
Quack and Count by Keith Baker is even better than Big Fat Hen. This book is awesome for multi-age groups because although the text is simple there are two levels of math on each page. Simple duck counting as well as addition to arrive at the same number. I squealed when I read this to my son and daughter , immediately realizing how perfect a book this was for us! Your kids will love the illustrations too.
Eggs and Legs: Counting by Twos by Michael Dahl is a cute book with silly illustrations and a fun concept to teach counting by twos. The book counts from 0-20 by 2s but each page has multiple depictions of each number including dots to count and the number in the text. This was super useful to show my son as we counted by 2s that we weren’t skipping the numbers, just grouping them to count faster. Fun and useful book.
On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a great find, my son loved counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations , simple text and hidden numbers on each page. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit!
1, 2, Buckle My Shoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines is a wonderful first counting book, and a favorite of my daughter. The text is the simple rhyme, the pictures are photos of quilted numbers and buttons. The buttons correspond to the numbers and are so bright that they practically beg a child to touch and count them. My daughter who is 14 months loves to push the buttons, trace the numbers and laughs at the hen. Very sweet book.
1+1=5: and Other Unlikely Additions by David LaRochelle was sent to me by the publisher a few months back. I waited to review it because the concept was a little over my son’s head until recently. The book as you might guess by the title is not about adding the obvious but rather the less obvious numbers in an illustration. Do not read this book with your child until they understand addition, counting and won’t get confused. That said when they have that down this book is genius! I say that because it forces them to look at all different numbers of things to figure out what the author is counting. Readers see the equation first and the objects they are counting are usually hidden so you will have to turn the page to figure it out. Flip the page and it’s more obvious , for example 1+1 = 100 and the picture includes a pumpkin and watermelon. Flip the page and you see they are cut open with many seeds in full view. It’s tricky but if you have a child interested in math or mysteries grab it and have a look.
Just Enough Carrots (MathStart 1) by Stuart J. Murphy is a wonderful book about the concepts of less, more and the same amount. Unlike many books in the genre this book manages to keep the words minimal, the story engaging and the text even rhymes! It’s a scene that will be familiar to many preschoolers as the setting is a grocery store with a mom and her son shopping. Kids will love the thought of buying worms to eat ( the characters are animals) and will quickly catch on to the concepts .
Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens: A Math Adventure by Cindy Neuschwander is a story about Sir Cumference a faithful Knight to King Arthur and a mathematician in shining armor! In this adventure Sir Cumference and his wife Lady Di Ameter are trying to surprise the king with a birthday celebration but they are trying to figure out how many guests need to be fed. The story takes a turn for the math when they decide to group people in order to count them. It was an interesting read with my 5 year old who is just at the cusp of understanding the very beginnings of place value. He enjoyed it very much and it gave me a chance to introduce the concepts and a story to refer back to later. * Win this!
Sir Cumference: And the First Round Table (A Math Adventure)by Cindy Neuschwander is all about geometry and how the knights at the table came to be at a round table. King Arthur is sick of all the side conversations and shouting at the long rectangular table, and asks Sir Cumference to find a solution. They go through a bunch of different shapes but each has some major flaw until they finally settle on a circle. The terms diameter, radius and circumference are even fit into the story which was a great way to introduce the terms to my son. Great book for early elementary aged kids. * Win this!
How Much, How Many, How Far, How Heavy, How Long, How Tall Is 1000? by Helen Nolan has been sitting patiently on my shelf waiting for my son to be ready to read it. I used this in a math unit when I was a student teacher and absolutely love this book. The whole concept of this book is to explain the concept of 1000. We often teach our kids to count to 100 but don’t pay the same attention to getting them from 100-1000. This book takes it to the next step and demystifies the huge number 1000. It’s interesting, it uses examples kids can relate too and it gives many scenarios so those cogs turning in your child’s head has lots of chances to catch! I read it to my son for the first time yesterday and I loved being there for those moments when I know he just got it!
Enter For A Chance To Win
Sir Cumference and All The King’s Tens & Sir Cumference and The First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander from Scholastic Book Clubs.
All you have to do is leave a comment on this post answering this question:
Did you like math when you were in school ?
This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must leave a comment on this post answering the question “Did you like math when you were in school?”1 winning commenter will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Sunday April 8th at 8:00pm PST. The winners will receive the two books listed , valued at $16. After the winner is notified he or she has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address for Scholastic to ship their books to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.