October 2014 | Peace, Love, and First Grade

12 Not So Scary Books about Scarecrows

There is something about fall that fascinates me!
The colors, the cooler air, the scarecrows...ahh, the scarecrows!
Love a scarecrow!

This week's Book Talk is all about scarecrows!
A few of these titles are brand new!
Hope you enjoy!

Barn Dance by Bill Martin, Jr.
You know him! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Brown Bear!
Barn Dance is just as lovable!
There's music coming from the barn,

 and a young boy sets out to see what's happening! 

The Happiest Hollisters and the Scarecrow Mystery
 by Jerry West
The tried and true! In the tradition of The Boxcar Children and The Bobbsey Twins-If you never had the opportunity to enjoy the adventures of these clean-cut families solving mysteries, here you go! Welcome to the club!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything 
by Linda Williams
This book is just fun!
This very brave lady goes walking in the woods
and gets a little more than she bargained for...

Kiddos love this one!

The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown
If you are unfamiliar with this author, think Goodnight Moon.
The Little Scarecrow Boy thinks he is ready to scare the crows,
but his father assures him he isn't scary enough.
Sweet story.

The Lonely Scarecrow by Tim Preston
A lonely scarecrow would love to have a friend,
but all the animals are afraid of it.
See how all of that changes with the seasons.

Otis and the Scarecrow by Loren Long 
I met Otis the Tractor this summer searching for picture books, and I fell in love!
In this book, Otis and the farm animals try to make a scarecrow smile.

Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant
 Who doesn't love Cynthia Rylant?!
This sweet story shows life as viewed through the eyes of a scarecrow.

Scarecrow Pete by Mark Kimball Moulton
 Scarecrow Pete loves to read!
Need I say more??
This book is sure to enchant all your readers!

The Scarecrow's Dance by Jane Yolen
 Beautifully told story of a scarecrow
who decides to dance through the fields at night.
Sweet and inspiring!

The Scarecrow's Hat by Ken Brown
 In this story of deal-making, a clever chicken enlists the help of her friends to make scarecrow's hat her own. 

The Scarecrows' Wedding by Julia Donaldson
Written and illustrated by the pair from Room on the Broom,
this scarecrow book is a new favorite of mine.
Just read it! You won't be sorry!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed some Leaves
  by Lucille Colandro
It's that little old lady who eats anything. 
She's back. 
This time she's munching on all things fall.
And she burps. The kiddos love a good burp!

That's it for today, folks! 
Hope you found something you love!

Some of the titles here are Amazon affiliate links. These books are found on other websites, as well.


Today I'm sharing a quick and easy idea-
how I make contractions easier for my kiddos. 

I would use this strategy with any child learning contractions OR
children and adults who struggle with contractions.

It's quick, I tell you! 

And they remember it!

Like most teachers, when I teach contractions, I teach one "set" at a time. 
I find "is' and "not" to be the easiest for my students.  
Some find "will" very easy, too.

So, here's how we do it!
TIP-I demonstrate the 4 steps with magnetic letters first and continue to use magnetic letters with those students who need the extra scaffolding.

1-We write the two words that make up the contraction.
2-We cross out the letter that is replaced by the apostrophe.
3-We replace that letter with the apostrophe.
4-We move the two parts together to make the new word.
IMPORTANT-Teach your young friends to explain how they made their contractions, too. 

Here's a quick clip of one of my sweeties explaining her contraction.  
Love first grade vocabulary!
Precious and Powerful! 

That's it, y'all! Super easy and effective.

Want to practice contractions in a fun way? My kiddos love word games! I Have Who Has is a favorite! Find it here!

19 Halloween Books for Kids!

Happy Book Talk Tuesday, Friends!
I don't know about your kiddos, but my little friends are fired up about Halloween! They can't get enough of it, and we're only half way through the month! Oh, my!
Since I believe in using that excitement for good, let's take a look at the books!
Here are 20 fun and spooky treats!

The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich
 "The 12 Days of Christmas" is NOT my favorite Christmas song,
but this Halloween take on the song makes me smile!
Just plain fun!

Arthur's Halloween by Marc Brown
 Arthur makes a visit on all our holidays!
This Arthur story is one of my favorites!
Arthur and his friends are afraid of the "witch" at the end of the street.
Only DW is brave enough to Trick or Treat at her house!
A classic!

At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman
 Patterned after the children's classic poem, "Over in the Meadow,"
this festive book is a fun trip through a Haunted House.
A witch and her wee one welcome you home!

Bone Soup by Cambria Evans
 Finnigin is a hungry skeleton looking for a good meal!
When no one shares, Finnigin comes up with a plan for dinner.
Fans of Stone Soup will love this Halloween treat!

By the Light of the Halloween Moon by Caroline Stutson
 This fun book takes place under a bridge
where all sorts of Halloween creatures live.
Back in print after quite a while!
Click, Clack, Boo by Doreen Kronin
 Poor Farmer Brown!
He can't catch a break on Halloween with those animals of his!
The critters from Click, Clack, Moo are back, and the kiddos will love them!

Dem Bones by Bob Barner
 Who doesn't like dancing skeletons?
You know the song so sing along!
"The neck bone connected to the..."

Franklin's Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois
 Another character who visits each holiday!
Love this sweet Franklin story!
Love the animals preparing for the Halloween party!
Just love!

Halloween Hustle by Charlotte Gunnufson
 Skeleton is off the a Halloween party and he's grooving down the street.
His problem: He loses his bones as he hustles.
Will he make it to the party in one piece?

Halloween Night by Margerie Dennis Murray
 It's Twas the Night Before Christmas, Halloween style!
Such a fun trip through Halloween!
Your kiddos will love it!

The Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey
Oscar's sweet mama bought her "Little Vienna Sausage" a Halloween costume.
Now precious Oscar has to be a hot dog for Halloween!
Oscar is my hero! One of my favorites!!

Inside a House that is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
 In the style of "The House that Jack Built",
this Haunted House is a rhyming good time!

It's Halloween by Jack Prelutsky

If you love poetry, this is the Halloween book for you!
Prelutsky is such a clever poet and speaks directly to children!
He has gems for other holidays, as well.

 Mercy Watson is the first chapter book I read each year,
and the kids are sitting on ready for Mercy's Halloween adventure!
DiCamillo and illustrator Chris Van Dusen invite readers into a colorful neighborhood
with eccentric characters and vivid illustrations. I love this series!!

Monster Mash by David Catrow
 Yes, it is! The song...in book form! Oh, my goodness!
If you are a fan of the song, you'll love this book!
The illustrations complement the text perfectly!
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
 A very generous witch offers animals a ride on her broom,
until tragedy strikes and her broomstick breaks! A class favorite!

Scaredy Cat Splat by Rob Scotton
 Oh, I love Splat!
In this one, Splat tries to be scary, but really, he's just scared!
Can he overcome his fear??
Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell
 Great addition to your Halloween and Math bookshelf.
Count back with these timid ghosts as a witch tries to scare them away from a haunted house! Fun!

 I love that this book is written by Mr. Krieb! Cracks me up!
A group of children are off to find the witch's house, and the lively verse gets readers (and listeners) involved in the story. Great adjectives!

That's it for this week! Hopefully, you found something you love!

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.

20 Pumpkin Books for Kids

Fall is my favorite time of year & what better way to celebrate than with books?! 
Today I'm sharing my favorite Pumpkin books for kids!

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
 I love Big Pumpkin! I love how the well known Halloween characters
work together to pick their pumpkin!
I read this story in October and compare/contrast it to Big Turnip stories in November!
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
 Desmond and Clayton are back!
This time they are trying to find the biggest pumpkin!
If you haven't met these mice friends who work together to win BIG contests,
give them a try!
My kiddos love this series!

From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
I love the Read-and-Find-Out Science series!
From Seed to Pumpkin offers a look at pumpkins as they grow and
includes recipes and fun activities you can do with your kiddos!

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara
 How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin brings Math to your pumpkin unit.
  From estimation to skip counting to measurement,
this book is perfect for a primary pumpkin study!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schultz
 I had to include this precious book that is the childhood television favorite of many!
It's Charlie Brown! You can't go wrong!

 Spookley became one of my favorite characters after my first reading of this book!
My first graders agreed! It's a hit every year!
A story of inclusion and celebrating differences! Adorable!

 Pumpkins by Jacqueline Farmer
This informational book is loaded with facts about pumpkins,
even sharing what pumpkins are called in other countries.
Nice addition to your nonfiction collection.

 This is the lovely story of a field saved from development by one man.
Great read for an ecological unit!

 The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
 Gail Gibbons is at it again!
In her pumpkin book, she shares all you need to know about pumpkins-
from seed planting to harvesting!
Great information!

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by Judy Schachner
 The life cycle of a pumpkin shown through a backyard garden.
Beautiful photographs and fun verse in this one!
Even shows children how to grow their own pumpkin patch!

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell
 This is the story of what happens to a pumpkin once the season is over.
Great for teaching decomposition and life cycles.

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
 Soft illustrations and easy text complement this book
about a young boy's tender care of his pumpkin.

 Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
This is the story of how three friends resolve a problem involving soup...pumpkin soup. Good book for sequencing or "how to" writing.

Includes a recipe for soup.

Pumpkin Town by Katie McKy
 Pumpkin Town is the story of what happens when a town
has an overabundance of pumpkins!
Funny read!

The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
 This is a fun rhyming story of two brothers and a sister
who find a runaway pumpkin on a hill.
In their attempt to get it down the hill, it runs away from them! 

 If you've read my Book Talks before,
you know I love National Geographic's nonfiction books for kids!
This book shares the life cycle of a pumpkin, and the photographs are beautiful! 

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
This is the story of what happens when one little lady
buries an unwanted pumpkin in her yard! 

You can imagine the fun!

The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
 In the style of The Ugly Duckling, Dave Horowitz offers up a fun read
for October or November! Love this one!

The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnson
 The first thing you need to know about The Vanishing Pumpkin is it's illustrated by Tomie dePaola.
That pretty much seals it for me!
If he agreed to illustrate it, it must be pretty good!
Well, my kiddos and I love it, if that means anything!
The story of a sweet little couple whose pumpkin has disappeared!
Just fun!

The Very Best Pumpkin by Mark Kimball Moulton
 The Very Best Pumpkin is the sweet story of pumpkins and friendship.
It celebrates the symbols of the season with very pretty illustrations and as it teaches a few life lessons.

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.