Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Groovy Joe by the one & only Eric Litwin

My phone rang last week and on the other line was the one and only ERIC LITWIN!!!! You might be thinking you don't know him, but here are 3 words to help: PETE THE CAT!!!!

Eric is the author of the first 4 Pete the Cat books and a #1 New York Times Best Selling Author! To say I was geeking out when talking to him is a huge understatement!! Not only is he a HUGE deal, but he is such a down to earth and incredibly nice guy!

I learned through Eric's books and from talking with him that he has a Multi-Learning Approach where he loves to bring early literacy and music together. You can literally feel his excitement and passion about early literacy and music through the phone!

Eric's 'Pete the Cat' and 'The Nuts' Series are in most of our classrooms! There may even be multiple copies of his books in our classrooms because I know my students just can't get enough! He makes reading and literacy so much fun! His writing has also given my students confidence, independence, and a love for reading with his contagiously fun and adorable books!

Some EXCITING NEWS... Eric has a NEW book coming out this week and I must say it is AMAZING!! I can't get my hands on it fast enough to bring into my classroom! If you loved Pete the Cat, just wait until you meet Groovy Joe!!

Groovy Joe is Eric's newest book series and he is pretty groovy!! 

Who is Groovy Joe? He is a guitar strumming, song singing, ice cream eating, and disco dancing type of dog. Groovy Joe teaches some wonderful lessons and sees the positive in every situation. 

I got to listen to the story and fell in love with the song that Eric has created and the message that the story has! The words in the story and the song are very catchy, repetitive, and they rhyme. All of the elements that not only help students read, but also gets them excited about reading! I know I will be reading this over and over in my classroom and I absolutely can't wait!!

To help celebrate the new book, Eric and his team are having a Groovy Joe Drawing Contest! The Grand Prize winner will receive a classroom visit from Eric Litwin!! He is also having 10 runners-up who will receive a listening library for school AND for home! 

**How to Enter** 
To enter this contest, draw a picture of your favorite animal singing a song. This contest sounds like a perfect follow up activity to do with your students after reading "Groovy Joe Ice Cream & Dinosaurs"!
(Click on the picture above to enlarge it and get the details of where to send your entry and what to include!)

After talking with Eric on the phone, I listened to the Groovy Joe song and story again and can't wait for my book to get here to share with my students. Pete the Cat was already a class favorite year after year and I think Groovy Joe may just give Pete a run for his money!! There is definitely more than enough room to LOVE both and I can't wait to bring the story into my classroom. 

Groovy Joe comes out this week and you can get the book for your classroom HERE.

While I eagerly wait for the book to arrive in the mail, I have been listening to the story and song. You can too! Check it out HERE (Groovy Joe Scholastic site) OR HERE (YouTube)

Make sure to check out my Facebook page in the next week or two because you'll have a chance to win Eric's new book Groovy Joe!! 

AND...as Eric would say, "Be Well, Friends." 
Have a wonderful week everyone!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back to School FREEBIES!!!

Back to School is often a time where my emotions are all over the place!

There is:
  • Sad- Summer Break is over :(
  • Excited- A fun year ahead with new students!
  • Eager- When can I get into my classroom? What are my students names? I need to label EVERYTHING!!
  • Overwhelmed- So much to do and so little time!
  • Tired- You all know teacher tired!
  • Anxious- Do I have everything ready?!?!
  • Nervous- I hope my students like me!
  • Happy- Doing what I LOVE!
Not sure if you ever feel any of those emotions, but no matter how long I have been teaching I still get them ALL! My husband can tell you all about them!

The weeks before students start school we spend TONS of time in our classrooms making it cute, pretty, organized, and as perfect as possible! Before we know it students are coming in a couple days and there has not been a lot of time to plan the first week of school!! Here comes in my 'overwhelmed' emotion!!

If any of you ever feel or have felt this way, I am hoping this post will be helpful to you!

Over the past few years, I have been sharing lots of ideas, resources, and FREEBIES to help with those first weeks of school. I often get asked where they can find a Back to School FREEBIE or idea that they once saw here on my blog. So I decided to include ALL of my Back to School FREEBIES from over the years in this one post to make it easy for you to find and hopefully help with your back to school planning! And to take away any overwhelmed, anxious, or nervous emotions!

Here are some FREEBIES that I hope can help kick off your school year!

These super stylish interactive hats are fun and easy to make during the first day or week of school! Choose from Kindergarten, First Grade, Preschool, or Pre-K. You can find these hats HERE or click on the pictures below:

This is a night that is so exciting for the students, families, and us teachers! In this post, you will be able to find a scavenger hunt, a gift for students, a gift for the families, and more for FREE! Click HERE or on the picture below to grab these freebies and see some ideas for Meet the Teacher Night.

I remember when I taught my first year, I had NO CLUE what the first day should look like. I remember asking so many questions and searching forever for some plans. I hope this can help! Even after many years of teaching, I love seeing other ideas too! Click HERE or on the picture below to grab these plans.
I LOVE Thematic Unit Plans! If you have been through my blog, I am sure you know! I can't say enough wonderful things about them! You can read all about how and why I use thematic units on my blog post here. You can also grab my Year Long Thematic Unit Plans by clicking HERE or on the pictures below:

An adorable first day/week of school story is 'The Kissing Hand' by Audrey Penn. I love making this craft after we read the story. We place a handprint on the back with a foam heart sticker. It melts my heart when I see how special these little raccoons are to my students!
I have been asked by many for templates for this craft and never put them together until NOW! You can grab the templates for this adorable craft HERE or click on the pictures below:

I have been asked a lot over the years about the handprints that I have in my students daily take home folders. These handprints are a quick guide for both students and families to know which papers stay at home or need to be returned back to school. They also help a TON at the end of the day when everyone is packing up to go home. I am always referring to which side of the folder papers need to be on by using these handprints. They are my end of the day life saver and I finally put them together for you to use too!! Click HERE or on the picture below:

7. First Week of School FREEBIES
There are so many FREEBIES on this post that I lost count! You can read about our first week and grab TONS of freebies HERE or click on the picture below:

These information sheets are a helpful way to get all of the contact, transportation, and other general information that you need about the student and family. They are a great addition for your students personal files. I like to have parents fill these out during Meet the Teacher Night or send it home with them that evening to fill out and bring back the first day of school. You can grab these HERE or click on the picture below:

9. Back to School Order Numbers 
Here is a fun activity for those first weeks of school! Students will cut the numbers and glue them in the correct order from 1-5 or 1-10. You can choose the one that works best for your students! Click HERE or on the picture below to grab this new FREEBIE!
Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you were able to find some helpful resources for your first week(s) of school! 
I am so excited for this new school year! 
Wishing you all the best for a wonderful year!!
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