Saturday, September 30, 2017


Form or join a book group this year to encourage reading and take your friendships to a new level. Think you are too busy? A Book Club can help you focus your time and give you, your child or students a meaningful sense of accomplishment and community.
There are many different types of book clubs to fit all ages and schedules. Readers Circle is a book club networking site where a person "attends" and discusses the book they are reading and it services sites all over the world. Andrew Luck, the Quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, has an book club that can be accessed through Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter. He encourages people of all ages to read, but to participate in his club you must be 13 years of age or older. Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and many others offer ways to connect about books. You can even win copies of books for your group, check out The Book Report Network. If you are looking for a way to connect with other readers in an already established group - check your local library or "google it."
I'm hoping that you will take my challenge and start your own book club with family friends or a group of students. There are plenty of online guides with checklists on how to start your own group and this checklist from ilovelibraries covers the basics. Don't make it chore and focus on fun. For younger children, try a Reading Rocket Adventure Pack that comes in both Spanish and English. Día also offers some great organizing tips and you can always contact me if you have any questions! Take the first step and start your book group today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

MS. M'S MATERIALS - 1st Graders From Mars!

One of my favorite units with first graders was our trip to Mars! Many students feel anxious or worried about trying new things and the transition from Kindergarten to First Grade can be daunting for some children. In the series by Shana Corey we make friends with Horus, Pelly, Nergal and Tera and learn that being successful may mean trying new things and forming new friendships. We see that each character has special qualities and none of them is good at doing everything. In the end doing your best most important. The series also helps us talk about how classroom rituals and routines allow ALL students to learn to their potential. These books are great IN the classroom, but are also great family reads that can lead to discussions about the importance of school, being a friend and trying your best. Check out your local library or buy them below.
Buy me here!
Buy me here!
Buy me here!
Buy me here!

In addition to the series by Shana Corey, I also incorporate to nonfiction books about the Solar System, Mars info from NASA and use NASA's Curiosity Rover VideoCheck these out as recommended by The Horn Book. The big ending is our experiment with space sand. I purchase the red because Mars is the "red planet." 

The Rover Perseverance left the United States on July 30, 2020 and landed on February 18, 2021. It was every bit as exciting as the landing of it's predecessor, Curiosity. You can follow Perseverance on the NASA News site. Aboard Perseverance is carrying a drone named Ingenuity that will attempt to fly over Mars. There's more information on the NASAKids web page for Perseverance.

If you are a teacher or home-schooler and would like to learn more about this unit, additional resources and lesson extensions, please contact me through this blog.

Get "space sand" here!

Monday, September 25, 2017


Ms. M's Materials is an opportunity for  me to share some of the amazing books I have read with my students over the years. I'll be sharing them with you by describing in simple form how I used these texts in my classroom. 
What Is Beautiful? - We Are! is an introductory unit I use when teaching Preschool and Kindergarten. The unit was inspired by the book What Is Beautiful? by Maryjean Watson Avery and David Avery.  In this unit we get to know each other as we connect to text with basic body part vocabulary - eye, ear, nose, mouth, smile, hair, hands and arms. Students are able to identify a “favorite” part, we take close up pictures and they create posters. I use software that allows me to outline the sentence they create about their favorite part and they trace their sentences. They also learn each other’s names and it’s a fun unit that builds community and respect in the class. This unit can be modified and expanded for higher level grades and English Language Learners by adding additional texts and making some of the activities more cognitively demanding and age appropriate. 

If you are a teacher or home-schooler and would like to learn more about this unit, additional resources and lesson extensions, please contact me through this blogFeatured books in this unit include;

I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
The Ear Book (Dr. Seuss Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners) - Hardcover - First Edition, 44th Printing 2008 by Al Perkins
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (Bright & Early Books) by Perkins, Al (unknown Edition) [Hardcover(1969)] by Al Perkins

Saturday, September 23, 2017

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month

Launched in 1987, this is the 30th Anniversary of Library Card Sign-up. Initially instituted to ensure that every child had a library card, library cards are FREE and ANYONE at any age can get a library card. Some libraries require some identification and if you lose your card you may be asked to pay a small fee ($1.00) for a replacement.
Libraries offer many services and have evolved with the changing technology landscape. Librarians are literacy experts and offer guidance to help you find the information resources that are important to you. Get the card!

Friday, September 22, 2017

ARTSEDGE is for everyone!

The ARTSEDGE website is a way to connect to The Kennedy Center for an abundance of materials and resources for arts integration in your classroom, after school program or home. The free digital resource is leading the charge in curating digitally supported arts experiences for all. You don't need to create an account to use the site and they have discontinued the updating of their "curate your own" feature but this does not stop you from using your own bookmarking tools. The amount of valuable material here can be overwhelming at first. As a practical exercise, try adding one video or strategy to one of your existing lessons each month. ARTSEDGE also is on Twitter, Facebook and has a free mobile App called Arts Days available at itunes.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reading Rockets, Rocks!

If you are in the position of helping a young child learn to love reading Reading Rockets is one stop shopping. Parents, teachers, librarians, and caregivers of all types can access clear information about reading basics, strategies, booklists, author interviews and reading topics from A to Z. Sign up for their free e-newsletter and share the love and power of reading.