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Books, books, books... Hi my name is Jessica and I have a book buying addiction. I think I buy at least 10-15 new children's books each month... Curse you Amazon Prime and your suggestions for making it so darn easy to fill up my cart!!

This month, I found a great new book for spring so I thought I'd tell you all about it for this month's Books Teachers Love. You are definitely going to want to add it to your May read alouds!

The Curious Garden is about a little boy named Liam who discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. The garden begins to spread, transforming the city into a much more beautiful and inviting place.
You can find the book on Amazon here (affiliate link).

The illustrations in this book really draw you into the transformation of the sad and lifeless city...

...into a lush and vibrant world.

Since Earth Day is this weekend, this book is absolutely perfect for this week or any time you are talking about how our actions affect the Earth.  The first activity I do with this book is identifying cause & effect.

Next I LOVE a good sensory bin, so we played with this "Build a Garden Bin."
In this bin: split peas and this adorable garden playset 
*A few weeks ago in Tot School we did a Plant theme. Check out my post here for more fine motor, gross motor, sensory bin and snack ideas you could try out after reading The Curious Garden.

Finally, after some time for pretend play and discussion about plant needs, we write our own versions of "How to Plant a Garden."

You can grab the cause & effect and writing activities in my Plant: Read & Respond pack here, along with differentiated reading response sheets, writing activities, and crafts for 5 plant themed read alouds:
I'm so ready for April showers to turn into May flower, but I do love when Easter falls so late in April. Lucky we had plenty of sunshine, so we spent all weekend outside finding Easter eggs, riding bikes, and enjoying a little taste of summer.
 Spring has finally arrived for good here in Wisconsin. We are enjoying every minute of the fresh spring air, and this week's theme combined bugs, plants, frogs, ducks, chicks, and all things spring.
 Isn't it funny how little ones are just curious about everything and totally don't have that grossed out reaction that we have as adults? I have to admit bugs creep me out, so I was totally not excited for this week's theme. I tried my best to contain my feelings about insects so Madelynn could have fun reading and exploring and it was a great week. 
The last two weeks were a little crazy over here with everyone taking turns being sick. So we took a little extra time to finish our zoo theme since we were having so much fun with it.  Sorry for the delay, we hope to be healthy and back on track here on out!
Whether you are trying to hold on to your sanity until spring break or you are in the home stretch of your school year, spring is JUST around the corner. And thank goodness because I need some warmer air and sunshine so bad!  My teacher friends and I are here with some great book suggestions to help you get some of your April planning done so you can get out and enjoy that fresh spring air. 

Finding good nonfiction books for kindergartners can be tough. I am always on the lookout for books with really great pictures and simple easy to understand text. I know I can always count on Pebble Plus books to be full of great photos and simple text. So this month I chose a set of 4 books about spring.
You can find these books on Amazon here (affiliate links).

One of the ways I use the books in this series is to make comparisons between texts.
First, we read Animals in Spring and People in Spring

Next we make an anchor chart with the things we've learned about both people and animals in the spring.

Then, we use that information and turn it into a Venn Diagram.

Finally, we read the remaining books in the All About Spring series.  After reading, students choose one of the topics (plants, animals, people, or weather) to write about.

We start by organizing our thoughts:

Then, students plan out their table of contents:

And finally they write information on each page of their book:

You can grab this writing activity for FREE here:

You can find differentiated Venn Diagram response sheets and more writing activities for your spring read alouds here:

FREE Reading Response Pages!

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Don't forget, each month, the Books Teachers Love Crew is giving away 4 of the books that we blogged about, and YOU get to choose the books you want! So scope out all 12 blog posts below, pick your favorites, and enter to win.

So it's been snowing all day here, but we're still thinking spring thoughts! This week we were on green and rainbow overload celebrating with some St. Patrick's Day fun!

So here were our plans for the St. Patrick's Day theme:

And here is what we actually did:
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience* 

Our favorite books this week were:
St. Patrick’s Day by Anne Rockwell
Green Shamrocks by Eve Bunting
The Luckiest Leprechaun by Justine Korman

 Marshmallow Stamp Rainbow: 
For this rainbow craft I prepped a sheet of paper ahead of time by drawing the arc guidelines for the rainbow with a pencil.   Then we used a mini marshmallow and a clothespin for our paintbrush. Madelynn dipped the marshmallow into each color of tempera paint and followed the guidelines to fill in her rainbow.  This was a great fine motor and concentration activity for her.
Color Sort & Stack: 
Who doesn't love playing with their food? I stuck skewers into play dough and placed one Froot Loop of each color onto the skewers.  Madelynn worked hard to sort a tray full of cereal to stack a rainbow.

 Snip and Glue Shamrocks: 
We worked on our cutting skills with this Snip and Glue Shamrock. First, I printed a shamrock outline and cut strips of different shades of green paper. Then, Madelynn used her scissors to snip small pieces of paper, and glued them to fill in the shamrock.

 Sticky Window Rainbow: 
You know we love our sticky window activities over here. This week we made a rainbow with tissue paper. To prep the activity, I drew arcs on the contact paper with a pencil before peeling the backing off.  Then, I taped the contact paper sticky side out on the window for Madelynn to fill in.

 Rainbow Ball Game: 
This game was a combination of fine and gross motor practice.  I grabbed an O-Ball, filled it with rainbow colored scarves, then we played catch. Each time she caught the ball I named a color for her to find and pull out. Then she'd toss it back and name a color for me to find.

 Rainbow Bean Bag Toss: 
For this game we used rainbow bean bags and a hula hoop for a target. The goal was to throw the bean bags into the circle.

 Rainbow Relay: 
For this relay, I gave Madelynn a bowl of rainbow colored candy and a spoon.  On the other side of the room I lined up cups for each color. When I said go, Madelynn ran one color at a time across the room to sort them into the correct cups.

 Fruit Rainbows: 
This fruit rainbow was easy and could easily be made with different variations of fruit that you have on hand.

 Lucky Charms Treats: 
We made these treats following the recipe for Rice Krispy treats but swapped out the cereal with Lucky Charms.  (6 cups Lucky Charms, 3 Tbsps butter, 4 cups mini marshmallows Heat butter and marshmallows in microwave for 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add cereal. Press into a pan.)

 Licorice Rainbow: 
I've seen treat bags with these rainbow Twizzlers on Pinterest so I thought I'd make something similar for a special snack this week.  Since I didn't want to put them in a bag, I used a skewer and pushed it through each color. After arching the licorice back through the skewer a second time, I cut the extra length off then laid it on a plate with a few marshmallows for clouds.

 St. Patrick's Day Bin: 
In this bin: shamrock beadsgreen mega blocksgreen table scattergreen coinsglitter shamrocks/leprechaun hats(from Hobby Lobby), and green pouch lids

 Rainbow Sort Sensory Bin: 
In this bin: white beans, colored paper rectangles, colored pom poms for sorting, and tweezers

Dig for Gold Bin: 
In this bin: rainbow rice, gold coins, scoops, and cups

 That's it for this week, next week we're learning about zoo animals!

And here are the themes that will be coming soon:
And if you want to catch up on our past Tot School Activities, you can find them all here:










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