Tag Archives: monsters

Monster Mash (Wa ooh)

This post has been awaiting final touches for a few days now.  It’s been pushed to the side for other things, but after reading other posts by colleagues – I knew it was time to polish it off and get it out there!  Some days, you just need a few minutes to breathe – even if you have great ideas to get out.

I was talking about my topic with my mentor today.  She includes app smashing in many of her posts –  including some of our monster unit.
“It could be called Monster Smash!”  Great minds think alike – and I’m continuously thankful I get to put my head together with hers often.

During our Monster unit last week, we mashed a lot more things together than apps.  We mashed literacies, intelligences, experiences, strengths, and technologies.  This unit is always very popular.  We lead up to it by learning about nonfiction texts and some real life “monsters” such as bats, owls, and spiders.  We compare and contrast fiction and nonfiction, real and make believe.  We read wonderful stories, create anchor charts, and illustrate a monster poem. We discuss the parts of a book, make connections, and form opinions.

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The first read aloud was the classic by Ed Emberley.  I borrowed an idea from a fellow K teacher to read the words and have students draw what they hear.  Many students recognized the book right away, but they continued to draw each part of the big green monster.  We used our iPads and the Drawing Pad app to create our monsters.  They then uploaded their monsters into Showbie and I created a class book using Book Creator.  Some students chose to draw their picture in Drawing Pad and then “smash” their picture into Pic Collage for typing about the monster.

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There was an Old Monster is a great text to connect with others.

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And Leonardo is just the best monster…

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Our math target standard also fit in perfectly with monsters – shapes and sorting.  Using the smartboard, we created monsters from pattern blocks.  We talked about the attributes of the shapes we used, the color they were, and how we could sort the shapes into groups.  Cookie Monster helped us practice patterns online with this game.


Little minds were so creative during this unit.  Writing time was joyful, even for my most reluctant writers.  We wrote about monster lives, monster food, monster homes – pretty much anything monster.  To end our unit, we included some of our writing with a handmade monster.  Scissor skills are difficult for little hands.  The idea of cutting without lines excited some and intimidated others.  It was rewarding to watch them sigh with relief when hearing there was “no right way” to make their monster (a little sad too…).

20131031-082855.jpgMy monster eats poopy diapers.

20131031-082901.jpgMy monster eats fruit.

20131031-082908.jpgMy monster eats bones.

20131031-082915.jpgMy monster eats people.

20131031-082922.jpgMy monster eats tires.

20131031-082929.jpgMy monster is scary.

20131031-082939.jpgMy monster is scary.

Happy Halloween!



Filed under iPads, Literacy, math literacy, Mentor Text, Read Alouds, Technology, Uncategorized

Just Five More Minutes!


Mentally – I just had to drag myself kicking and screaming out of Barnes and Noble. I mean, full on terrible two’s tantrum of not wanting to go, please-don’t-make-me-leave-the-train-table fit pitching (this was a common occurrence when I worked at B&N for four years).

I love books.  If you have read even one of my blogs, I think you know that right away.  imagesa-reader-lives-a-thousand-livesMy love for books and reading should come across everyday in my classroom – well at least I hope it does.

Today, I went in to Barnes and Noble to distract myself from other things.  I love browsing the picture books and making my wish lists.  I look for books I needed this year but didn’t have, books I knew I wanted to check out, and books I had no idea I even wanted.

These are some of the gems I found today (titles linked to B&N website):

by Daniel J. Mahoney, Illustrations by Jef Kaminsky
We teach a monster unit every year, so I was automatically drawn to this book by the cover alone.  When I started to read, I wasn’t disappointed.  Patrick is very worried about not being scary enough for the first day of Monstergarten.  His friend, Kevin, offers to help him polish his scare tactics.  This book would be a great read aloud, component of my monster unit, or mentor text for compare/contrast using Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems.

20130630-180849.jpgDinosaurs Love Underpants
by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
We also teach a dinosaur unit.  I like to break up the nonfiction with some fun fiction read alouds.  Right away, I knew from the title that my kindergarteners will love this book.  What kid doesn’t giggle uncontrollably when you talk about underwear? According to this adorable book, underwear were invented because the cavemen were tired of running around naked and dinosaurs are now extinct because of an underpants war.  The illustrations are colorful, dinosaurs scientifically correct, and text is humorous.  It is going to be a great addition to my dinosaur collection!

20130630-180906.jpgThe Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
I am very particular about crayons.  Apparently, crayons can be particular too.  Duncan’s crayons leave him their “walking papers” one day to air their grievances and he must figure out a way to make them happy and get them back to making his world colorful again.  I found the illustrations to be charming and the use of letter writing appealing.  This would make a great mentor text for point of view, letter writing, and persuasive texts.  I’m thinking it could also go well with The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane Derolf.  Keep your crayons happy and equally loved!

20130630-180856.jpgIsabella, Star of the Story
by Jennifer Fosberry, Illustrated by Mike Litwin
By far – my favorite find of the day.  My attention was grabbed by the cover alone and next came my heart within the first few pages.  Isabella’s parents are taking her to the library.  As she goes running in to the library her father says “Isabella, slow down”. She responds with, “My name is not Isabella.  I am Peter Pan”.  And I became a fan, right there on page 3.  Isabella searches for the right book and morphs from one classic character to the next.  This book is a great mentor text when talking about imagination and how we use other stories to help us write our own.  It could easily be paired with Not a Box or Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis. Next best thing about this book – it is the third book all featuring Isabella.  I may have found a new favorite author!

So… If you do not have an educator card with Barnes and Noble, please get one.  You will receive 20% off in store and online.


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Filed under Literacy, Mentor Text, Uncategorized, Writing Workshop