Author Study Made Easy

Today’s post is written by Melissa from Imagination Soup

Happy Anniversary Hungry Caterpillar!

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We love Eric Carle at my house. Do you? Did you know that it’s the 40th Anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Yay! So, in Mr. Carle’s honor, join me for an author study by reading, his most famous book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar then, write and illustrate a book of your own.

Read: **The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and if you have more time, read: The Grouchy Ladybug, The Mixed-up Chameleon, A House for Hermit Crab, The Very Quiet Cricket and Little Cloud


What are Eric Carle’s Main Characters? (Bugs, Animals, Nature?)

What does the hungry caterpillar do on his adventure?

If you wrote a book like Eric Carle’s, what would your main character be?

What would your character do on his or her adventure?

Why don’t you write a book like Mr. Carle?


Print out this story template. Like the Caterpillar story, this sequences events by the days of the week – Monday through Sunday. You (taking dictation) or your child fill in the blanks. Add to it, rewrite, make it your own. It’s just a starting point.

Illustrate: (in Eric Carle style of course)

Watch Carle’s Picture Writer video — which is out of print, usually found at a library — or see his gallery of online slide show projects.

Create an Eric Carle inspired illustration.

final Carle project


Finger paints, tempura paints or water colors (whatever you have)

paint brushes

plastic comb, old toothbrush, fork, etc.

smock, newspapers, play clothes for painting

  1. Make a background– use the middle to separate the ground from the sky (drag a comb or toothbrush to make lines across the wet paint) Encourage your child to make the ground darker than the sky to show the separation.painting
  2. Paint several more sheets in different colors. Use a straw to splatter the paint or drag a comb, fork or toothbrush for texture.using a fork
  3. Let the sheets dry overnight.
  4. Cut out your story’s main character from one of the extra painted sheets. (My daughter cut out a pink cat which might not be obvious to anyone but her.)
  5. Glue it onto the background.
  6. Cut out a sun, trees, and other details to decorate the background. Glue. Any story details you want to add? Something from the adventure? Cut. Glue.
  7. Let it dry.
  8. Display the story and illustration together. Congratulations! You did it!

I hope Eric Carle’s work inspires imaginative creations! For more information on his life, watch this interview from Reading Rockets. Thank you, Allison for allowing me to contribute to your amazing blog. I, like all your readers, am a huge fan!


Melissa Taylor is a mom, freelance writer, and teacher. She created and writes Imagination Soup to give parents fun learning activities to do with their kids. Find her on Twitter at

Four Food Groups Made Easy

Today’s post was written by  Rebecca from A Little Bit Of Momsense

Fun with Food


By creating a chart with the four food groups, I was able to highlight the difference between the food my toddler was eating and why it’s important to select food from different boxes. This activity was done over a couple week period. I focused on one food group each week, did the activity, talked about it, mentioned it at dinner etc.

Directions: Using Bristol board, divide with marker into four squares (I also left a small space at the bottom to discuss treats at a later time if I choose) Then, select which square to fill and activity to do.

Vegetables and Fruitveggies

This was the easiest group for him to understand. The first activity we did was a fruit bowl (see the purple thing in the square!). We talked about his favourite fruits and as he named them, I cut them out of felt. He glued them onto the ‘bowl’ made of construction paper.What was great at the end, is that there was a variety of colour in his choices. We were able to talk about this as well. For vegetables, we did the activity from a preschool website here: Vegetable Basket // and a Mr. Broccoli Head using this template:


Using the weekly grocery store flyer, look through it with your child and have him point out dairy products. Some they’ll recognize based on what’s in the fridge, others they’ll need help with. Cut out pictures and glue onto construction paper.


By far, this was the most fun activity because of the mess. I gathered all the grains I had in the cupboard (rice, couscous, oatmeal, flour, pasta etc) and put them in a container (I used an egg carton)Next, my son painted glue on a piece of cardboard (used a cereal box!)


Then, he added bits of the grains onto the glue.grainmaking This got messy but it was fun! Let dry. Shake excess grains before adding to your board!

Meats and Meat Alternatives


I didn’t want to focus on the meat part of this activity – he doesn’t eat a lot of it, and I didn’t want pictures of cows and pigs on the board!

Instead, I went through the cupboard and fridge and found examples of meat and meat alternatives: Peanut Butter, canned Salmon, Beans, eggs (using an old egg carton) – and I drew a fish and chicken leg!

He identified the foods, and we took the labels off if necessary and glued everything to the square.

Finally, to finish off the activity we talked about cookies being a treat and ‘sometimes’ food and read a book about Cookie Monster and cookies!

Have fun and encourage your child to talk about what they like about certain foods, their favourite things to eat etc.

Help Us Help Teachers!

The Giveaway – you give away!

A Day Made Better

No Time For Flash Cards doesn’t usually do giveaways, we stick to our crafts and books and silly songs most of the time, but sometimes you have an opportunity to help and you simply can’t say no.  When I was approached to help spread the word about Office Max’s ” A Day Made Better” I didn’t even look at my schedule, I just said yes.  As a former teacher I know how important this issue is.  We simply don’t value our public school teachers near enough and it’s time to show them we care, this campaign is a great way to do that.


OfficeMax joined with Adopt-A-Classroom to create “A Day Made Better“—a national cause event founded to erase teacher-funded classrooms.  “A Day Made Better” will be held on October 6th and  1,000 teachers will be surprised in their classrooms each with $1,000 worth of essential supplies from OfficeMax. That’s more than one million dollars donated to help teachers! Principals at needy schools nominated the teachers for demonstrating dedication, innovation, and passion.

To pay-it-forward, OfficeMax and Mom It Forward have teamed up to create awareness about the issue of teacher-funded classrooms and to give you the opportunity to get involved and help a teacher in your community on behalf of the “A Day Made Better.” Here’s how…

Nominate a teacher of your choice to win this giveaway by following the entry requirements. Be sure to check out the prize and criteria!

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One exceptional teacher will receive a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR gift card to OfficeMax. This can go a long way when it comes to classroom supplies!


This is a giveaway that is meant to be given away. What does that mean? You get to nominate a teacher by sharing why this person is exceptional and deserving of this giveaway. The best part, every story told helps raise awareness in an effort to erase teacher-funded classrooms. The winning teacher will be chosen based on the following criteria, so be sure to tell us why your teacher is most deserving:

  • Dedication: does everything in his/her power to deliver the best possible education for his/her students.
  • Innovation: thinks outside the box and engages his/her students through creative learning activities & programs.
  • Passion: expresses a genuine passion for education and shares this enthusiasm in the classroom.
  • Need: demonstrates a need for essential classroom supplies.

Entry Requirements

To enter your teacher, you are required to do two things.

(Note: post a separate comment for each entry.)

1. Nominate them through a blog post or on Whrrl.

Write a post on your blog.

  • You can include photos, video, etc. but please stay under 400 words or 3 minutes.
  • Please include these links: or @adaymadebetter.
  • Include a link to your post in the comments section.


Create a story on

  • Go to our custom Whrrl page at, click “Start A Story” and upload photos and text about why your teacher is most deserving.
  • Be sure to include the #omx hashtag in the text of your story.
  • Post a link to your Whrrl story in the comments section.
  • OR

** Updated to make it easier! Leave a Comment Here

  • Simply click on comments and nominate!
  • Make sure you address the criteria !
  • You must still do the 2nd requirement below and come back leave a  link to it!
    • 2. Post these messages on Facebook and/or Twitter.

    • Teachers spend avg $1200 of own $$ on school supplies annually! Help erase teacher-funded classrooms. PLS RT #omx
    • Nominate a teacher 2 win $100 in OfficeMax classroom supplies. Enter here: PLS RT #omx
    • Join the “A Day Made Better” movement to end teacher-funded classrooms at #omx
  • (Note: Be sure to leave comments here with links to your messages.)

    More than 30 sites are participating in this campaign between now and Sunday, October 4. Visit for a list of all the giveaways! You may enter a different teacher on every site, but you may only win once!

    Thanks so much for helping pay-it-forward to teachers in your community! Please join us on Tuesdays, September 22 and 29 from 9 to 11 pm ET for Girls Night Out (#gno) on Twitter if you’d like to meet the team behind the cause: @officemax, @adaymadebetter and @Adopt_Classroom. Hope to see you there!

    Fine Print

    Entries are due Sunday, October 4 by midnight PDT. No purchase necessary to enter. Winners will be selected by me based on the entry that in my opinion meets the above criteria. OfficeMax, Adopt-A-Classroom and Mom It Forward play no part in choosing the winner of this giveaway. OfficeMax, Adopt-A-Classroom, and Mom It Forward employees are ineligible to enter. In a spirit of fairness, my personal friends and family members are also ineligible. Entries that do not follow all of the entry requirements will not be considered. The winner will be notified and have 24 hours to confirm receipt of the email. If no response is received within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. Open to participants in the U.S. 18 years and older.

When I’m Big

Book Reviews by Carrie Ann

Now that September is here, kids are getting ready to return to school (some may already have started). Along with learning to read and write, kids will be imagining, discovering, and playing with the world around them. And even at a young age kids start to think about what they want to be when they grow up. They practice being artists and constructions workers; they pretend to be doctors and teachers; they try their hand at taking care of babies (dolls).So when your child returns home from his adventures at school, full of dreams and big ideas of what he wants to be when he grows up (or he decides he’s not ready to grow up yet), here are a few books you can enjoy together.
When I Grow Up
When I Grow Up
written and illustrated by Colin McNaughton
published by Candlewick Press
picture book (age 3-6)
An elementary school class puts on a play with each child dressed in a costume depicting what they want to be when they grow up. But when one little boy cries that he’s not ready to grow up, the teacher reassures him that he has lots of time to enjoy his childhood. Children will delight in the rhyming text as the classroom kids parade on stage in both realistic and imaginary career choices.
What do you want to be brian

What do you want to be, Brian?
written by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Mary Rees
published by Anderson Press
picture book (age 4-8)
The author asks the question ‘What do you want to be?’ to a young Brian, but his mom answers before Brian gets a chance to respond. From a violinist to a boxer to an artist, everyone in Brian’s family has an idea what Brian should be when he grows up. But when a stranger, a door-to-door sales man, suggests Brian wants to be a politician, Brian puts an end to everyone’s guessing. A nice twist on a traditional story line, with adults describing their wishes. But Brian has the ultimate say.
Grow Up
When I Grow Up
written by Jo S. Kittinger, illustrated by Margeaux Lucas
published by Children’s Press
a rookie reader (level A, age 4-8)
A young girl daydreams about all the amazing things she can be when she grows up: singer, firefighter, even the President. But for today she just wants to play. As part of the Rookie Reader series, the book is great for beginner readers with simple text on the left hand side and a complimentary image, showing the little girl in her dream job, on the right hand side. The back of the book also contains the story word list.

Carrie Anne is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards , mom extraordinaire to 3 and blogs at Another Day , Another Thought….Or Two.

Welcome Back!

Gratuitous Picture of My Son

Gratuitous Picture of My Son

We are still working on fixing links and organizing our new home, but everything is here and I hope you like our new digs! If you can’t find something you need feel free to contact me and I will do my best to find it for you!

Letter of the Week will be up tomorrow!