March 2018 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Nonfiction additions for April!

When Amy and I decided to add nonfiction readers to all of our Rooted in Reading units, I didn't realize what a staple they would become for your classrooms!

I recently purchased a binding machine off of Amazon to put together all my readers in a way that they would last and I LOVE it.  I wanted to share with y'all!

Below is an affiliate link to the one I purchased.  Now I have had ones through school before that were just okay, but this one is SO easy that even I can figure it out! Ha! This is not normally my strong suit. 

I was able to do all four books for April's Rooted in Reading unit in about twenty minutes including printing, hole punching, putting the coils in, and adding the covers.

We are so impressed to learn the different ways that you all use these books in your classroom.  Here are some pictures from instagram:

Using readers during small groups in page protectors and highlighting main idea and supporting details. BRILLIANT!

These students are completing research and group work to demonstrate learning about presidents!  Every nonfiction reader also comes with a quick follow-up activity so that if you need evidence of understanding, you will get it!

One of our most popular weeks of all of Rooted in Reading is SHARK WEEK!  These students are creating posters by cutting apart the black and white version of the readers and making posters! 

These students created powerpoint presentations using the President's Day readers1

And last but not least....these second graders cut apart their Brown Bear readers to dig into captions and other elements of nonfiction readers. 

So just to recap...if you have never used a Rooted in Reading unit, each week we focus on one super high quality picture book, but we also provide tons of additional resources for your week. So if you were to buy the April units you would get four nonfiction readers to add to your library!

Here is a peek into more of the unit:

Each unit also comes with anchor chart pieces, grammar, vocab, and art work! Seriously- I don't think you could squeeze in one more thing if you tried!  Amy and I love hearing your success stories so please let us know if you love Rooted in Reading as much as we do!


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Challenging Kids of ALL Ages

You heard me.  The "product" I love that challenges my two year old and my ten year old. AT.THE.SAME.TIME.

I am a huge proponent of play based learning. I also have a almost three year old boy with speech goals.  There could not be a better way for me to work with him on these goals.  I don't do very well with toys all over the place- it actually makes my eyes cross.  I love that STEM bins allows him to play to his heart's content WITH some structure.  Let me give you a little peek....

We lost our playroom when we moved to our new house so I am working on a play closet.  It is a very long closet under the stairs.  I am pretty obsessed with these shelving units from IKEA...they are perfect for everything!!!

Smith loves to look at the cover of the boxes and decide what tools he wants to work with.

 And those dino jammies make my heart swoon!!!

My favorite part of STEM bins?  These cards!  They are perfect for Smith.  He doesn't have to read anything to understand that he has a task.  There are also cards that challenge Nash and Emmie as well, I just forgot to get a picture! Drats!

I can't say enough about the wonderful talking Smith was doing while he was building and engineering!

After the big kids came home from school and I was working on dinner, all three kids grabbed a different STEM bin and set of cards to work on.  
 Nash even asked me if I could suggest STEM Bins to his teacher :)

 Another part of STEM bins that I love so much is the collaboration aspect.  When kids have a mutual purpose, their discussions typically shift in the direction toward more productivity. 

Last but not least reason that I love STEM bins for at home is the focus on fine motor.  Nash has always struggled a little with his grip, handwriting, tying, etc.  This is a perfect way for him to work on these skills in a play based way!

Overall we are INCREDIBLY happy with STEM Bins and know they will grow with our family. What you didn't see in my post was the box that came with every last thing I could ever need for STEM Bins, even down to the velcro circles and small binder rings for the cards. Brooke also included a blackline booklet so that you can copy and use the accompanying printables over and over again!


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10 Amazing Picture Books for Women's History Month

I am constantly blown away by the amazing biographical resources available to our students in 2018. They are SO lucky!  I have learned so much as a grown-up, seeing as picture books are my choice of literature, and I want to share that wealth of knowledge with you!
{Each picture will link to an Affiliate link to purchase the book!}

1.  The Tree Lady
Kate Sessions was a botanist in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  She is known as the mother of Balboa Park in California for planting hundreds of trees each year.   Sessions had a dream and a love that she kept alive quite literally through persistence. 

2. Catching the Moon- 
Marcenia Stone began playing baseball at a time that it was not acceptable for African American girls were not to concern themselves with such nonsense.  She went on to become the first woman to play professional baseball as a part of the Negro League in 1953.   This book highlights her early aspirations and struggles when her family didn't approve of her goals. 

3. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures
Temple Grandin was considered weird and made fun of by her peers when she was young.  This picture book allows us to see how her mind works differently than most people. We also get to learn of her tremendous accomplishments in agriculture. 

4. Me...Jane

Jane Goodall was a first of her kind.  When many women were not accepted in the world of science Jane pushed ahead to study and advocate for chimpanzees. This book shows us what she was like as a child and how her interests led her to her lifelong mission. 

5. Rosie Revere, Engineer

With an emphasis on encouraging girls to enter into STEM fields, Rosie Revere, Engineer is the perfect book for your classroom! While the text is not specifically about Rosie the Riveter, there are many allusions to her impact on history.  The rhyme, humor, and detailed illustrations pull students into the impactful storyline. 

6.  I Dissent

Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  What a woman!  I find this text particularly encouraging as we learn that many found Ruth to be a pain and focused on her faults over the many gifts she brought to the table. I think many girls are used to keeping the peace as opposed to "rocking the boat". I also love the example of Ruth being a mom and top-notch lawyer and judge. 

7. The House that Jane Built

Jane Addams grew up in the 1800s as a very wealthy woman.  She used her wealth to establish the Hull House.  The Hull House allowed immigrants to gain some footing and find the resources that they needed in order to obtain jobs in America.  Jane Addams could have easily enjoyed her fortune, but she chose to make helping people her life's work. 

8.  Wangari's Trees of Peace

Wangari was shocked to see the trees of her youth disappearing in Kenya. This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is an excellent example of how one woman can make a huge impact. 

9. Ruby's Wish

Ruby wasn't like the other girls.  She wanted more than just getting married.  She wanted to go to school and have a career. Ruby gets her wish through persistence and the trust of her grandfather.  This book is based on a true story!

10.  When Marian Sang

Marian Anderson. What an a treasure she was!  Marian Anderson faced extensive racism throughout her life that almost ended her singing dreams. She found ways to study abroad and eventually came back to the states. The picture book includes details of her performance in front of the Lincoln Memorial for 75,000 people. 

While there are GOBS of amazing picture books about amazing women, I chose these ten because Amy and I have resources (or will soon!!!) for these books. 

Here are your links:


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