The Night Before The Night Before Christmas- by Natasha Wing

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas – by Natasha Wing

Grades: K-2                        

Subject: Language Arts

Skills: Word Study,

Reading Comprehension, Writing

Grade Level Equivalent: 2.8

Genre/Theme: Holidays, Humor,

Rhyme, Christmas

Summary: “The Night Before The Night Before Christmas” by Natasha Wing is a highly engaging rhyming book that follows the rhythm and rhyme of Clement Moore’s classic Christmas poem. The book is a fun read plus the students will appreciate the humor all the way through. The story begins with Mom catching the flu two days before Christmas, and then cookies are burned, Christmas trees were almost sold out, stockings had holes,… however, it all ends well. A great way to celebrate holiday season in your classroom with a story that everyone will enjoy.

 Merry Christmas!

Holidays in the Classroom – Best Reads

"The Worst Christmas Ever" by Kathleen Long Bostrom - Lesson Plan

“The Worst Christmas Ever” by Kathleen Long Bostrom – Lesson Plan

Parents and teachers of small children are well aware of the craze that ensues with “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” story. This has become a yearly tradition with primary grades, even though the story teaches kids literally nothing about Christmas. It’s a story about a an elf who is a spy for Santa noting all the things kids do throughout the day. Some kids love it. Some kids find it stressful, and some kids really dislike the whole idea of someone watching them and reporting their every action to Santa. I must admit that the whole idea is creepy :). There is no elf in our classroom. Finding picture books that are not going to replace Christmas with Santa and Hanukkah with latkes is harder than one would think. This year, our main Christmas read is going to be “The Worst Christmas Every” by kathleen Long Bostrom. It’s a story about a real family that moves to California and misses the Christmas feel of the Northeast. A family that goes to church on Christmas Eve, participates in the Christmas pageant, and finds the miracle of Christmas. “The Worst Christmas Ever” is a story of Christmas, faith, family, hope, and a miracle. Beautifully written and illustrated by Kathleen Long Bostrom and Guy Porfirio.  

"The Worst Christmas Ever" by Kathleen Long Bostrom - Lesson Plan

“The Worst Christmas Ever” by Kathleen Long Bostrom – Lesson Plan

"Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf" - by Wolfe - Lesson PlanOur selected Hanukkah story of the year is “Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” by Greg Wolfe. Unlike the elf that spies on kids, Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf teaches kids about Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, the military victory and the miracle of menorah oil that was only going to last one day but kept going for eight. Shmelf does a wonderful job introducing the meaning and celebration of Hanukkah for our cultural holidays around the world theme.

"Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf" - by Wolfe - Lesson Plan

“Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” – by Wolfe – Lesson Plan

Native American Heritage Month Books

"Two Roads" Novel Guide by Joseph Bruchac

“Two Roads” Novel Guide by Joseph Bruchac

November is a Native American Heritage Month and along with Thanksgiving lesson and activities an ideal time to incorporate social studies with language arts especially when it comes to older grades that have aged out of picture books. This yearTwo Roads” by Joseph Bruchac make it for a perfect Native American Heritage Month Read. It is a heartbreaking coming of age story with themes of heritage, loss, nationality, family, friendship, identity, culture, and acceptance. In addition to teaching about Native American History, Joseph Bruchac skillfully intertwines our nation’s Great Depression economic struggle and the Bonus Army protest of American veterans. Readers get to know Cal and experience Indian boarding schools through his story. Hopefully even come out remembering a word or two in Creek. This is an amazing read.

Watch the Book Trailer Below – “Two Roads” 

Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 9.38.12 AM.png

“Two Roads” Novel Guide: 

"Two Roads" Novel Guide by Joseph Bruchac

“Two Roads” Novel Guide by Joseph Bruchac

Red Cloud A Lakota Story of War and Surrender – by S.D. Nelson 

 "Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender" by S. D. Nelson- lesson plan

“Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender” by S. D. Nelson- lesson plan

This is another Native American read for older students. This text presents to students complicated relationship between Native American tribes and the U.S. government. Chief Red Cloud was a successful Native American leader who was able to organize his people and win a war against the U.S. Army, but he was also wise enough to realize that in the end the war will only destroy his people. The reader is able to grasp different perspectives of the conflict between native tribes and the U.S. government, which were quite complicated due to large number and diversity of native tribes, making it impossible to come to an agreement that would have been widely accepted. Concepts covered: Oregon Trail, Manifest Destiny, and the Lakota tribe Destiny connection.

"Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender" by S. D. Nelson- lesson plan

“Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender” by S. D. Nelson- lesson plan








“A Normal Pig” by K-Fai Steele – Lesson Plan


"A Normal Pig" by K-Fair Steele Lesson Plan ; picture book

“A Normal Pig” by K-Fair Steele Lesson Plan

“A Normal Pig” by K-Fai Steele is a new wonderful picture book. I needed this book for years, and thankfully now it’s here. A timeless story of a pig who didn’t think twice about her school lunch until a new pig comes to school and tells her that her food is weird. There isn’t a child who didn’t experience this situation or a teacher who didn’t have to address this type of interaction. Luckily there is a clever mother in the story who takes her child to the city so that she can learn that people everywhere are different, look different, speak different languages, and like different food. What is normal means different things to different people. Great story, super cute piggies, and a wonderful message. 

Happy Reading!

Mrs. Lena, M.Ed. 

"A Normal Pig" by K-Fair Steele Lesson Plan

“A Normal Pig” by K-Fair Steele Lesson Plan

"A Normal Pig" by K-Fair Steele Lesson Plan

“We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World” – Lesson Plan

"We Are All Greta" Lesson Plan

“We Are All Greta” Lesson Plan

We have all listened and heard about Greta. My students learned a great deal of science from “World Without Fish”, “Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam and Science of Ocean Motion”, “More Deadly Than War”, and The Mysteries of Beethoven’s Hair” by Russell Martin” just to name a few. 

“We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World” by Giannella is a timely book that discusses a range of environmental issues facing our planet and provides an array of possible solutions. Each chapter addresses one of complex issues, but what Giannella does the best is allow a reader to visualize these intertwined and interdependent issues as global issues in which every part of the world has a role to play. We are all in it together. A drought in the Middle East will reduce the amount of available water and the ability to grow food, this in return is likely to result in social unrest and human migration. Climate caused migration will disrupt human lives and societies.
With text like “We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World” students not only learn what is in the text but go beyond present learning and research additional information. We calculated our ecological footprint to get an idea of the level of resources that we use and the amount of waste that is accumulated as a result.
Lastly, young people are listening to Greta, Alex Schulze, Andrew Cooper, Andrew Forrest,… They want to learn and make a difference. It’s our job to help them help all of us.
"We Are All Greta" Lesson Plan

“We Are All Greta” Lesson Plan

Lesson plan includes; 
– pre, during, and post reading activities
– chapter by chapter comprehension questions
– word search
– additional interactive resources

Concepts covered: ecological footprint, carbon-dioxide emissions, biodiversity, ocean pollution, plastic & waste, human migration, sustainability, deforestation, etc.


Happy Teaching!
Mrs. Lena, M.Ed. 

“George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides” by Rosalyn Schanzer

Interest Level: Grade 6 – Grade 8                   

Grade Level Equivalent: 8.6

Lexile® measure:1120L

DRA: 44

Guided Reading: T

Genre/Theme: General Nonfiction

Topics: Economics, Historic Figures, World History, Power, Authority, and Governance Leadership and Responsibility

Summary: Students in grades 6-8 love this book. Unlike most informational books that are jammed with too much info, this book tells a story of American Revolution in a most engaging way. It is full of great pictures and well paced text. It makes it ideal for a week long study of the American Revolution and our nation’s first presidents, George Washington. “George vs. George” by Rosalyn Schanzer, takes a look at the American Revolutionary war from both sides, British and American. The book’s primary focus is on the two leaders, George Washington and King George III, causes of war, major battles, affects on  general population, the two armies and the outcomes.

This book is a true gem.

For a week long lesson plan go to:  

Happy Reading!

Lena M. Ed.

George vs. George Lesson Plan

George vs. Geroge Lesson Plan

Fall Books for Children

Books About Autumn:

Fall is perhaps the best season in the school year. During fall, we get to enjoy the outdoors, learn, have plenty of activities in and out of school. It’s an ideal time to learn about season and incorporate cross curriculum across subjects. Spring would be more exciting in the school year if it wasn’t for the yearly standardized test craze. Nothing beats fall. There is simply too many unbeatable things fall offers. Here are some my classroom favorite fall reads that are engaging and cross curricular.

"Awesome Autumn" by Goldstone - Lesson Plan

“Awesome Autumn” by Goldstone – Lesson Plan

“Awesome Autumn” by Goldstone –  is a comprehensive non-fiction for K-3. The text is visually engaging, and the book presents changing seasons, equinox, winter solstice, vanishing chlorophyll, harvest, and animal adaptations perfectly. This book is a great resource for many additional questions and further study of autumn and other seasons.

Fall Mixed Up Lesson Plan - by Bob Raczka

Fall Mixed Up Lesson Plan – by Bob Raczka

“Fall Mixed Up” by Bob Raczka – is a beloved humorous picture book. If your students are like every other students I ever met in primary grades, they love to correct other people. They will love catching all the backwards things in the text.

“Apples turn orange.

Pumpkins turn red.

Leaves float up into

blue skies overhead.”

(Note: Don’t expect the same type of enthusiasm when you asked them to correct their own writing :).)

Bob Racka’s “Fall Mixed Up” offers super humorous engaging text and illustrations that are a discussion of their own. This is a definite re-read year after year.

Fall Mixed Up Lesson Plan - by Bob Raczka

Fall Mixed Up Lesson Plan – by Bob Raczka


How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin Lesson - K - 2

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin Lesson – K – 2

“How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara is another must have in your fall reading selection. “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin” story incorporates language arts, math, and science in the story. It’s idea for practice skip counting by 2s and 5s, retelling the story, sequencing, comparing numbers, estimation, relation of number of seeds in a pumpkin and its size/ length of growth, etc.