Year: 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Books: that make them WOW

Read alouds that make them get lost, question, predict and imagine.

When I’ve read this book it seems to capture every student’s attention, during the story they are predicting and taking in the illustrations and their imaginations are going wild. When the book is finished there are always so many story extensions to do!

The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan

What an amazing book, in the hardcover copy the actual book (under the sleeve) is BEAUTIFUL. The students were in “aw” of how “old fashioned” the book was designed. Inside the book there is not much colour but the students appreciated it that much more, especially when the first glance of colour appeared! The students were held in suspense throughout the book and imagined what would come next.

//TEACHER BONUS// season change effects

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Maybe one of my hands down favorite books as a teacher. There are so many depths to this book.

I used it to teach Science Humaine Grade 1 (Social Studies) outcomes of:

  • key events and development in the local community
  • relationships between community and their environment
  • natural and man made features of the local environment

Not only does it hit these outcomes but also, season change, pollution, urbanization of rural land, maintaining and taking care of things we own, city vs rural living, the list goes on! This is quite a long book therefore I like to break it up into two parts. The first few pages is about life in the country, this is where the season changes happen. Stop there and then take off again the next day finishing the book. Students are amazed at the change of the landscape over years and then find empathy for the house who becomes forgotten but never sold. I recently found a Disney version of the book online. This short movie follows the story line to an extent.

***at 3:57-4:01 there are two people yelling out their broken windows “ahhhh shut up” so if  you are playing this for your class or child.. I just muted that part. But you have to be on top of it! Since the students know the story I have also played it muted the whole time, a silent movie!

Imaginary Fred by  Eoin Colfer

With simple drawings children are captivated at the dotted drawing of the imaginary friend, as if they are there but not. Not only does this spark imagination, but also conquers loneliness and friendship!

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

First off: take off the cover sleeve and expose the hardcover. WOW.  Just WILD! The drawings in this book make students observe everything so bland, proper and the same until things change. A book about being ourselves and being different which has the power to inspire others.

Open This Little Book by  Jesse Klausmeier

A book within a book, within and book, within a book! Too much fun! Students are in aw of how small the next book can get! Motivating picturebook to find all those quirky and  unique books that libraries/bookstores have to offer! (Or to even create their own!)

Mr. Zinger’s Hat by  Cary Fagan

Every year the Grade Ones receive a book from TD Canada Trust. In French Immersion the students received this book in French, but it is very very hard for a Grade One student in French Immersion (to listen to, let alone read). This book might find its way back into their lives in a few years but for the time being it is an amazing book in English! A young boy captivated by an old man who writes stories. The old man and the young boy tell a story together which changes direction every time the boy gives a new idea. This not only opens up imagination with the students but also allows for them to see that their story is up to them, anything is possible in story telling.

The French (un read) version

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

A box of yarn is found by Anabelle in her dreary white and black town. She knits herself and her dog a sweater and yet has more yarn. She goes on to knitting so much more for others and stirs things up in her town! Anabelle deals with jealousy, fame, betrayal, creativity and more! The students are quite intrigued in what will happen next, especially after she is offered MILLIONs for the box!

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming

We often talk about inventions and using your imagination to create whatever you want. This book allows students to see the process in which an inventor creates his creations. Not only does he find success but he also has many trials and fails before even coming close! The students loved predicting his changes and even predicting what wouldn’t work. I found this book a little hard to translate on the fly into French but managed and they loved it.

Un livre (French Edition) by Herve Tullet

Press Here (English Edition)

A simple book that brought so much enjoyment and wonder, so many OOs and Ahhhs! The days to follow a few students were inspired and re read the book to themselves and create their own “press here” story. I read this book in English and translated it, only to find out later that it comes in French! Regardless and enjoyable book that asks for participation and wows the students are they are held in suspense trying to guess what will happen after their next actions.

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

A Bad Case of Stripes is a book I am having a hard time categorizing! This book did WOW the students but not so much an inspirational story for imagination. What wow-ed them is how her nerves creates so many different shades on her body. Deep down it is about anxiety, self esteem, social pressure and conformity that she has put onto herself which might be a topic a little too hard to grasp in a grade one class. A book I could not, not mention! The pictures themselves are very enjoyable and the students did really enjoy the story at the level that they understood it.

Curious Garden, The by Peter Brown

Another great book by Peter Brown. So many students in my class are so curious therefore the Curious Garden was a hit! This book not only opens them up to the world of gardening (my favorite) but even the wonder of how big and lush vegetation can get and how easily it can be lost if we do not take care of it! This book is great for teaching seasons and plant cycles as well! Again, like the book Papa’s Mechanical Fish, this book displays perseverance and what a child can achieve through reading and passion if they are determined.

10 books to make them WOW! in the primary classroom

Math//Manipulatives//For Home

Math manipulatives

In class we use many different tools to support our number sense and supports us during adding and subtracting.

I’ve created a list of items you can use at home (or in your classroom) to support your child’s learning. Some items are  printable while others you can order on

Power of ten cards (ten frames)

  • Great for making 10!  (2 parts make a whole:10) as flash cards or playing Go fish!
  • Using for board games instead of rolling dice
  • Quick number recognition (full top line is 5, one more is 6 etc)

In class I use the Learning Resources Giant Magnetic Ten-Frame Set which is great for demonstrations and showing their knowledge as a manipulative. Helps that they are nice colours too..  I’m a little partial (usually our counters are red and yellow..) But these are more for whole group learning at they are:

1. magnetic

2. giant

A less expensive version being in card stock:  Ten Frames and Counters Manipulative from


  • Great for working with doubles
  • Addition and subtraction prompts
  • Quick dot pattern recognition (Kindergarten and Grade 1!)

Here are some different domino options that I like:

Double 6s  Trademark Games Premium Set of 28 Double Six Dominoes with Wood Case Brown

Double 9s Trademark Games 12-2409 Premium Set of 55 Double Nine Dominoes with Wood Case Brown

Double 12s Double 12 Color Dot Dominoes in Tin

Double 15s Cardinal CRD 9515C Double Fifteen Color Dot Dominoes in a Collectors Tin – Styles May Vary’

Number lines

  • Great for addition: counting on
  • Great for subtraction: counting the difference

I class I have used Carson-Dellosa Student Number Lines 
or if your child has a homework desk at home then I love the Carson-Dellosa 0-20 Number Line Traditional Desk Tapes as it is always there when you need it! In the classroom setting I would stick a layer of mactack over top for extra durability.

Playing cards

  • Go fish: making ten friends, doubles
  • Flip and add ____  (or subtract) an addition/subtraction prompt (flip a card and add said amount)
    • ex: we will add +1 this round, so flip an 8….8+1=9
  •  Je veux 10 (I want 10)

Bicycle Rider Back Poker Playing Cards – 2 Decks




  • 2 for addition/subtraction
  • dot pattern recognition
  • 1 for playing games like: Double me!  Double me and some! (doubles +1 ),  Je veux 10! (x+__=10), roll and subtract, etc.

TR.OD Dragons Dungeons Dice Opaque Multi Sides Dice D4-D20 Black offers a variety of dice… if you get two sets you WILL BE set! (4,6,8,10,10,12,20-sided)

Click here ! For great resources (printables) from the Government of Manitoba (k-6)

Having math tools at home can ease homework time as they allow for hands on learning. We use a variety of different counters and so there is no need to buy anything special. Students can use buttons, plastic dinosaurs, beans, jelly beans, mini marshmallows (edible is fun in subtraction!), rocks.. the list goes on! No need for more than sets of 20 in early primary addition and subtraction.  Have fun! You might learn a new way of doing things too!

Five Manipulatives//Support your child at home//

Chansons//Song//St Patrick

Chansons//St Patrick//French Immersion

Now what does that say in English you might ask?

Where is the leprechaun?
Where is the leprechaun?
There he is
There he is
He is looking for a rainbow
He is looking for a rainbow
St Patrick’s day
March 17th 

Addition Freebie// Plus 2

We have been working HARD on addition since winter and students are grasping their facts. I created a little activity for my students (French Immersion k/1) to work on independently to show me where they are at. Some finished very quickly while others took their time.

To vary the levels in this quick activity students can use a 6 sided die, 10 or even 12 to help add by 2s. Also this page could be double-sided or single sided.

To save paper this activity can be printed on card stock and laminated so that student can use a whiteboard marker or at home can use Learning Resources Write and Wipe Pockets  see! –> which offers flexibility as you just change the activity in the pouch and they can reuse the activities over and over again.

At their own pace once finished, students broke off  in pairs and played math games in partners which reinforce more adding 2s (roll, add 2, cover up the number and try to get 3 cover ups in a row!)


Click on image to find pdf version with instructions on teacherspayteachers

plus 2

More//Grade 1 Math Strategies & Manipulatives//Click to go to page



There are so many books out there and sometimes it is hard to weed out the good from the bad. I find students are so much more engaged (especially early primary) if the book is in English. Sometimes when it is a truly meaningful story I will make that call: whether to read it in English, or French or maybe a little of Both!

These books touch on kindness, empathy, compassion, and friendliness. Sometimes seeing actions on the other “side” help students get in touch with their values and morals and see that some actions are unkind which leads to what not do to others.  After we read books and I see students acting less than kind to others I often break out the line “remember the golden rule?” and that usually has them reflecting and reconsidering.

Bullies Never Win

A great story about Jessica-a worrier and Brenda-a bully. Enough descriptive language that helps the read a loud  and keep the students in suspense. After I read this book on #pinkshirtday students CHEERED for Jessica! You know they were into it when… ! What a great story.
The Recess Queen or in French La Reine De La Récré

In our class we follow a program from the Vancouver Canucks called Fin’s Friends. This program teacher character and social responsibility. It is for Kindergarten to grade 3. Every “kit” has different lessons and books and you receive it all at the beginning of the year! Even better they have created the program for both English and French students (with books in each language) The recess queen is Mean Jean (Suzie Chipie: in French) a girl who rules the playground, until one day when a new student comes… Katie Sue (Marie-Luce: in French).
Enemy Pie


Enemy Pie is another book from Fin’s Friends. Book is part of the grade 2 kit. The boy in the story displays characteristics of jealousy over the summer as a new boy moves into the neighborhood JEREMY ROSS who moved in next door to his best friend. His world seems shaken up now that the new boy is around and so his dad helps him bake an “enemy” pie..which actually smelled quite GOOD…
Odd Velvet

Again, another one from Fin! Odd Velvet is a girl who just does everything differently and likes strange things..etc, etc Everyone seems to stay away from her, talk about her and make assumptions about her too! A great book to teach students about how everyone can teach us something different! We love to make pipe cleaner glasses and become Odd Velvet for the day.

How to Lose All Your Friends

A perfect HOW TO to show children the flip side of being a friend. Six ways to lose friends and be lonely!
How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids

Filling each others buckets, each others’ invisible buckets. This is great for siblings and it relates to the classroom as the boy in the story realized that everyone has an invisible bucket. So many classroom lessons go with this book, including having our own classroom buckets filled with pompoms. A great reminder book for children to be kind and watch how they are talking to others.
The Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  It is the classic rule that no only to children have to abide by but adult do too. A strong message for students, my students bring up “La Règle Dorée” up months later! It really hit them! The Berenstain Bears version is a little less “classic” but they are my childhood favorite so any book from their collection is great! (I find The BBears have too much writing and therefore too hard to translate-on-the-fly)

The Name Jar


Unhei, a new student from Korea, is torn about her Korean name. Debating on which American name best suits her,  others try to help her think of new names. Another book under the  “name” theme is Chrysanthemum which is mentioned below.

Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

Elephant and Piggie with their friend Snake try to play Catch! But snakes don’t have arms.. Students brainstorm ways to include others and think “outside the box” versus saying NO when others ask to play.

and and for the cutest thing you will ever see/hear!


Multi faceted book for the classroom and for this post: how one person can make a difference.

The Giving Tree

A classic that is always on the top books to read to children. The tree who gives everything of himself to the boy. This book has the underlying message of friendship that we end up having a huge conversation about as a class. A friendship needs two sides.. one that gives and takes: not just takes. We also veer off and talk about the environment and our forests as students are quite aware of “taking trees” and this conversation naturally come up every time!


There are judgmental friends at school when they find out their classmate’s name C-H-R-Y-S-A-N-T-H-E-M-U-M. Like a previous book mentioned, The Name Jar, C questions her name and has to deal with others who are unkind.

Chester’s Way

Chester is a habitual guy who has a best friend who just loves the same things. Until a new girl arrives in their neighborhood who is just so..different and out there! Although, she might not be so different after all.


Hunter’s Best Friend at School

Hunter has a best friend named Stripe. Hunter and Stripe love all the same things and do everything together. One day Stripe was not making the best choices at school and naturally Hunter wanted to do the same.. Do to making poor choices Hunter is now upset and lonely. Yet another great book featured in the Fin’s Friends program

Crazy Hair Day

A cute story of acceptance (after a bit) from peers when Stanley mixed up Crazy Hair Day with picture day! This is something that never fails in the classroom.. forget to dress up on a themed day or even on the wrong day! A great book to read at the beginning of the year (before any mishaps) so that students have time to reflect on how that would make them feel, therefore bring empathy in the case that it does to someone else (or themselves!)


How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them

A How To guide on being a friend and dealing with other friendship issues. A harder “read aloud” but a  fun book to read together.


Without words, this story opens up discussion. I try not to narrate too much and really just listen to the student’s points of views as they depict the story themselves. A story that covers loneliness, bullying and friendship becomes emotional as you really feel for the boy.

Giraffe and Bird

Totally cute story of two `friends` who just cannot get along, they bug the living day out of each other…but apart are so sad and lonely. We talk about boundaries and bugging each other friendly-ly and not. The students are quite captivated by their friendship dynamic.

Friendship//Picture Books for primary aged children #madamedove

Adventures to the Computer Lab

When going to the computer lab at the beginning of the year I first have students log in and log out. The end! That is all the time we have…


The second time we attempt again and I have students add a site that is easy enough to type in themselves. This year their FAVOURITE and easily typed  is CHANTER AVEC MINI

Chanter avec mini

Their FAV!

The students love to watch the videos and sing along which they have their headphones in.



Once students are set up with their first bookmark then I am able to add more sites to their bookmark bar.

Currently students have:

Chanter Avec Mini (vocab, songs)

Takatamuser (math, french)

Cité des Enfants (explore, games)

Poisson Rouge (mouse handling skills)

Sites are added as they are found useful or students are requesting something new! Unfortunately, next year these bookmarks will be lost on their student numbers as the students need to use the exact same laptop next year (which won’t likely happen because we give out laptops based on their class order number!) But that is ok! The freedom these few links provide are worth the few computer lab trips it takes to get everyone nicely set up!

More links which are organized by categories are found under At home//resources — French On the Internet

Computer lab

Ecoute online//Audiobooks

L’heure du conte

L’heure du conte provides 10 audiobooks online for children to listen along. It is just the audio aspect but a great way to hear more French at home.

In class we use audiobook CDs, QR codes linked to mp3 recordings on the iPad as well as computer lab time. This resource is another great addition to the student’s bookmarks.


Click above each image for the link to their audiobook page.

Rien qu’un Bisou

Poisson d’avril

Poisson d'avril

M. Ilétaitunefois

M. Ilétaitunefois

Les trois petits cochons et le grand gentil loup

Les trois petits cochons et le grand gentil loup

Le papa qui avait 10 enfants

Le papa qui avait 10 enfants

La véridique histoire de destructotor

La véridique histoire de destructotor

La petite princess et le prince

La petite princess et le prince

La dernière Tétine d’Odilon le Dragon

La dernière tétine d'Odilon le dragon

Juliette la rate romantique

Juliette la rate romantique

Gare au gros gorille!

Gare au gros gorille!

Nos Chansons//Our Songs

Séries de Sons//Sound Series

Found under: at home resources– sight words/vocab/sounds

Jours de la semaine//Days of the week

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