Monday, November 28, 2011

Animals In Winter Booklist

Animals in Winter is one of my favorite themes to teach. Below you will find my booklist. I would like to annotate the list but am running short on time, so I will mention just a few highlights! Since I currently teach preschool, the list is more geared for a younger audience, and includes some cute bear books that aren't technically about winter! The little @ symbol indicates this title is available at the wonderful St. Johnsbury Athenaeum so my local friends can check them out!

Wishing you a warm and joyous Winter!

Alborough, Jez. Where is Teddy?
Arnosky, Jim. Every Autumn Comes the Bear. (also includes pictures of ravens, bobcat, raccoon, chickadees, deer, bunnies, fox, & grouse. Simple text make it a great preschool read aloud.) @
Arnosky, Jim. Wild Tracks!  @-JNF 591.47 (amazing book with fold out pages of life sized tracks.
Arnosky, Jim. I See Animals Hiding.
Atkins, Alison. There Were Ten Bears in a Bed.
Bancroft, Henriette and Richard Van Gelder. Animals in Winter.
Benjamin, Cynthia and Jacqueline Rogers. Footprints in the Snow.
Berger, Melvin & Gilda. What do Animals Do in Winter? How Animals Survive the Cold
Boring, Mel. Rabbits, Squirrels, and Chipmunks.
Brown, Tom. Nature Observation & Tracking.
Burns, Diane and Linda Garrow.Tree, Leaves, and Bark (Take Along Guides)
Carle, Eric and Bill Martin, Jr. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?
Crossingham. What is Hibernation?
Dendy, L. Tracks, Scats, and Signs.
Denslow, Sharon Phillips. In the Snow. (chickadee, sparrow, cardinal, crow, squirrel, bunny, mouse & possum. Very simple text and engaging illustrations.) @
Dodd, Anne Wescott. Footprints and Shadows.
Dorros, Arthur. Animal Tracks.
Fisher, Ron. Animals in Winter.  @-JNF 591.5 FIS
Fleming, Denise. Time to Sleep.
George, Jean Craighead. Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here.
George, Lindsay Barret. In the Snow: Who's Been Here?  @
George, Lindsay Barret. In the Woods: Who's Been Here?  @
George, William T. Winter at the Long Pond.
Glasser, Linda. It's Winter!
Hall, M. Hibernation.
Henkes, Kevin. Old Bear.
Hodgkins, F. Who's Been Here? A Tale in Tracks. (includes tracks from: cat, turkey, moose, skunk)
Holmer, Marilyn F. Beaver Stream  (very informative, beautiful illustrations) @
Jones, Jennifer. Who Lives in the Snow?
Kennedy, Jimmy. Teddy Bears' Picnic.
Lawlor, Elizabeth P. Discover Nature in Winter (Discover Nature Series)
Lehn, Barbara. What is a Scientist?
Levine, Lynn and Martha Mitchell. Mammal Tracks and Scat: Life-Size Tracking Guide. **
London, Jonathan. Froggy's Best Christmas (froggy, beaver, turtle & bear get to experience their first Christmas since they woke up from their winter naps.)
Meadows, M. Hibernation Station.
Messner, Kate. Over & Under the Snow. (includes information on: red squirrels, shrews, deer, deer mice, voles, shoeshoe hares, bullfrogs, beavers, red fox, chipmunk, black bear, and bumblebees.) @-soon!
Miller, Dorcas. Track Finder: A Guide to Mammal Tracks of Eastern North America.
O'Donnell, Elizabeth Lee. Winter Visitors. (counting book of animals sneaking into a girls home)  @
Preller, James. Wake Me in Spring.
Rosen, Michael. We're Going on a Bear Hunt.
Ryder, Joanne and Lynne Cherry. Chipmunk Song.
Salas, Laura Purdie. Do Polar Bears Snooze in Hollow Trees? A Book about Animal Hibernation.
Sams, Laura. Stranger in the Woods - Photographic Fantasy. @
Schaefer, Lola. Deer.  (Great pictures, clear language that answers kid's common questions about deer.) @
Selsam, Millicent E. Big Tracks, Little Tracks.
Souci, Daniel San. North Country Night.
Stall, Chris and Steve Whitney. New England Animal Tracks.
Stewart, Paul. A Little Bit of Winter.
Waddell, Martin. Owl Babies. @
Walters, Catherine. Time to Sleep Alfie Bear. (Set in the summer but a great book to share if you are learning about bears; @-book on CD.)
Wilson, Karma. Bear Snores On.  @
Yee, Wong Herbert. Tracks in the Snow. (A great story to introduce young children to tracking. A girl follows tracks around her home and discovers that they are her own tracks from the previous day.)
Yolen, Jane. Owl Moon.
Yolen, Jane. Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep. (black bear, frog, bat, snake, turtle, gopher, skunk, badger, beaver, mouse, toad, & chipmunk) @

Do you have other books that you like for teaching about animals in winter? I'd love to hear them if you do!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Preschool & Kindergarten Websites, Blogs

I'm working on creating an interactive list of all my favorite websites and blogs, organized by age group or topic.This post is my first installment. As I add the websites I will post them as a blog post and add it as onto my teacher resources page. Hopefully I will have this project finished by the New Year!
(I'd love to hear ways you keep your favorite sites organized as well.)

Preschool Websites & Blogs:

A wonderful website full of ideas and activities to do with preschoolers.

Another wonderful preschool website full of great activities~

I love all the updates that TeachPreschool posts on FB and her website is a great resource too~

I've recently discovered Activity Village and love some of their printables! "...thousands of free colouring pages, kids crafts, educational resources, puzzles, printables, jigsaws, sudoku and lots more fun, free activities for kids!" Normally I don't print many worksheet type activities but I love their 'how to draw' printables!

One of my favorite sites to find quality (and free) printables to use with my themes is 2TeachingMommies. They're work is engaging for young kids  - I love the number sequence puzzles, pattern sets, and matching activities!

Homeschooler blog for Tots that I love. Lots of great ideas for using tot trays, themes, lapbooks, and activity packs and she even hosts a weekly link up with a bunch of other 'tot school posts'

Tot Tray inspiration through pictures. I love the ideas here because it make assembling activities for young preschoolers & tots so easy!

 Kindergarten Websites & Blogs:

I had the pleasure of finding Fran's blog this summer during a Math Work Stations Linky Party. I love her approach to teaching kindergarten and love reading humor her filled posts. She has lots of freebies on her blog, and great products to purchase at TpT. Check her out at

Who else is going to open up their weekly lesson plan books and give you a free 'Peek at my Week'? DeeDee does just that and the document is hyperlinked so with a click of a mouse you can have the same activity in your classroom! I read this each week and salivate over her variety of activities and organization! Definitely check out ~~  ://

Great free printables are availagle at:

Another wonderful kindergarten blogger who I've been following for the last year. Her weekly posts give great insights into teaching a variety of levels with a huge class size.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Free Printable Math Games

My son loves math and he is always eager to play new games. Instead of buying board games or packaged products, I've decided to be on the look out for FREE printable math games online.

Today I found a new website that has a variety of math centers and games with free printables in PDF form. There are about 30 activities to choose from. It's not listed the age range but it looks like Kindergarten -1st grade work. I haven't tried out any of the games yet so I can't blog about specifics that he liked...but I'll keep you posted!

For games for children to play online, our new 'go to' website is - which has K-5 grade work for both literacy and math.

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness, Days 1-11

November 1: I'm thankful for all the homes in town that hand out candy to trick-or-treaters so all of us living further outside of town can come bring our kids to mooch.
November 2: I'm thankful for amazing deals on diapers on Amazon. (I'd be even more thankful to say potty training was done and I was saving hundreds of dollars...)

November 3: I'm thankful for pretty dresses and fashionable hats for little girls.

November 4: I'm thankful for all my blogging friends and the amazing freebies they share.
November 5: I'm thankful for weekends and work schedules that allow our family to be together as much as we are!
November 6: I'm thankful for my son and all the hard work and effort he is putting into learning to read.

November 7: I'm thankful for our Music Together class that encourages me to sing and dance with my daughter.
November 8: I'm thankful for green grass.
November 9: I am thankful for the unseasonably mild fall we've had and all the extra sunshine Vermont has received this November!
November 10: I am thankful for my well organized "honey do list" and even more thankful for a loving husband who has gotten the fall list finished!
November 11: I am INCREDIBLY thankful for that quiet hour during nap time and before the school bus arrives!


Scarecrows are a fun theme to study in the fall. It ties well with the harvest season and avoids the scary aspects of Halloween. My plan was to do a mini scarecrow unit with my own children during the month of October but somehow time slipped away too fast.
Now we are into November and we are working on our food & nutrition unit (both at preschool and at home with my kiddos) and next week I will start reading all of our Thanksgiving books.
So I thought I'd do a small blog post of the scarecrow resources I found, but never used. Then next year I have all my resources already lined up!

Scarecrow Song from Dr. Jean

Scarecrow, scarecrow, turn around.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch the ground.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, wave in the breeze.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch your knees.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch your toes.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch your nose.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, dance up and down.
Then sit quietly without a sound.

(Say this line softly as you model how to sit down and put your hands in your lap.)

Lots of other fun scarecrow & fall ideas from Dr. Jean -

Wonderful printables (including a tot pack) for a scarecrow unit here-

Scarecrow songs and guided drawing here -

Cute edible Indian corn ideas here-

I love the hand and footprint crows at this post-

Great idea for making scarecrows while teaching 2D shapes -

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Short Vowel Printables

I have been searching the web for some free printable activities to reinforce short vowel sounds. My son is doing well with reading words with short vowels but continues to mix up vowels in his writing.

This is common but I thought reinforcing spelling of the short vowels would be a good idea. We have been doing word sorts, spelling sorts, and writing simple sentences with short vowel words. He is very strong with short a and o, but is 'using and confusing' short i and u. I have purposefully left short e to the last vowel we work on since it is typically the hardest for children to master.

I think he will enjoy working on the printable worksheets from the website listed below. In particular I think the "Word Builder" sheet which is like a spelling maze would be fun; and I know he'll like the "word bank" sheet because we did a similar activity this summer. Typically my philosophy is that we can learn without workbooks and worksheets but sometimes I think they are useful. And it's so funny that when I do bring out a worksheet he gets so excited because it isn't our norm!

Check out the FREE short vowel worksheets here:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Graphing Resource- Free!

I was searching online for a free printable M&M graph when I came upon a little goldmine!

This link has a great collection of spreadsheets set up in Excel that you can add your own data to and it automatically creates a graph of the data. This would be great for using on a Smart Board so kids could see how the data is transformed into a graph.
What great tools for teaching simple spreadsheets, data collection & graphs for younger kids!! The Thanksgiving Foods graph would be fun to do this time of year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Post Trick-or-treat Activities

Our children had a very successful  night of trick-or-treating. This year we got an early start, thinking that our two and a half year old wouldn't last long. Well our little "Princess Peach" was excited about the process and was in no hurry to stop! She had the cutest little way of saying "trick or treat", followed by a "more candy" when it was time to head to the next house!

Trick-or-treating in New England generally involves lots of layers and bulging costumes over top of snowsuits. This year we were bundled up but were pleasantly surprised by the mild temperatures (mid-40s and no rain). So the combination of good weather and and a happy toddler meant my sons dreams of trick-or-treating for as long as possible came true. Sadly that meant our candy collection is ridiculously large. 

When we got home we weighed it and found we had collected 4.72 pounds of candy. Ummm, that is a dangerous amount of sugar to have in the house. So my first thought was ---I had better come up with some fun activities so we don't end up eating all of these candies. Of course the more educational the better. So here are the activities that I have come up with so far.
 I'd love your feedback of ways you use up the candy at your house!

Math Activities:

SORT - logical first step with any candy collection is to sort it.

GRAPH - lay out the candy in a type of bar graph to see which type we have the most. Record the highest numbers onto a paper graph.

PAPER GRAPHS - In the past we've made graphs at Valentine's with conversation hearts and with M&Ms. It's always fun to do this with several packets and compare. Here's a free M&M graph:

WEIGH- we used a kitchen scale to weigh the candies but a balance scale would be fun to play with as well.

CANDY STORE - today we are going to get out the cash register, a pretend candy vending machine and some of the candy. Each of the kids will get 6 cents to spend per day. Most the candy is 3 cents each, so they will get to buy two treats per day. (My son is learning how to skip counting by 3's and my daughter can count to 3, so that number will work for both of them.)

Science Experiments:

Floating S - take a bag of skittles and put them into a shallow bowl of warm water. Let them sit in the water until they begin to dissolve. Eventually some of the letter S's will float up to the surface of the water. Do not stir the water since it makes the edible dye dissolve. Also notice how the colors from the skittles stay separated at the bottom of the water. Out of a small packet of skittles we had 3 S's float to the top. We left the container on the table for a couple of hours and found a strange waxy cloud at the top, which I presume is the outer coating. When my son noticed it he said, "Yuck, we eat this stuff!" (ahhh, music to a mommy's ears)   

M&M Chromatography - declare that all plain brown M&Ms are to be saved for a very important science project. Then go to this website-  -- to find out how. All you'll need is brown M&M's, coffee filter paper, and water --- oh, and willing kids to give up some their M&Ms.   

Sink/Float - take a small container filled with water and experiment with a variety of candies. Record your observations on paper.

Gingerbread House Idea:
I suggested that we save a portion of the candy collection to decorate our annual gingerbread house. I think knowing that the candy is going to be seen in a few weeks and will be used for a fun projects makes storing it away an easier task.

A small portion of our candy loot will be donated to Daddy's classroom. We have done this for a number of years and my son is happy to send off anything sour, strawberry flavored, or that is too sticky (like Laffy Taffy).

Ideas from other folks:
"Halloween Fairy" comes at night and takes all the candy but leaves a book.
"Candy for Troops" - dentists in some towns pay kids $1 pound (up to 5 pounds) for their candy and then mail it to the troops.
"Store out of sight" so that kids just forget about it. (likely works for only younger children)

I'd love to hear you good ideas too!