Monday, January 20, 2014

R is for Robots


Trying to get back in the swing of blogging for 2014... let's hope I am successful in posting at least once each week!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0449810798/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0449810798&linkCode=as2&tag=katisliteloun-20Fliess, Sue.
Robots, Robots Everywhere!
August 2013.
Random House Children's Books.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Children will quickly learn all of the ways that robots exist our lives today - in space, on farms, inside homes... this book about robots is sure to be a hit in a household or classroom with boys!

The colorful illustrations and simple rhyming text is easy to follow and allows for a quick read-aloud with lots of room for discussion!  I've already got plans to use this in my classroom with one little guy in particular who is constantly building robots out of anything and everything!

Pair Robots, Robots, Everywhere! with the following products and you've got a super gift that's sure to be a hit:
 


If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Transportation Gift Set for Toddlers

Know a transportation-loving toddler?  This combination of book and puzzle would make a great Christmas gift for the little one!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061958174/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0061958174&linkCode=as2&tag=katisliteloun-20Biggs, Brian.
Everything Goes: Santa Goes Everywhere!
Balzer + Bray (An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers).
September 2013.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher. 
$7.19

From Amazon.com: It's Christmas Eve, and Santa's doing something a little different this year. Instead of by sleigh, he and a reindeer pal travel by boat, plane, truck, train, and more, delivering presents to children around the world.

The book features bright, colorful illustrations that will attract the eye of young readers.  The book is ideal for young children (ages 1-4) who enjoy vehicles, as they are introduced in one-word fashion, one per page.  

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002N7W7E0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002N7W7E0&linkCode=as2&tag=katisliteloun-20
Transportation Big Knob Wooden Puzzle
by Callie's Corner from Amazon.com
$10.50

Pair this big-knob wooden transportation puzzle with Biggs' Everything Goes: Santa Goes Everywhere! for a great gift combination.  Almost all of the means of transportation depicted in the book are represented in the puzzle (with the exception of a canoe and sailboat).







If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Day Thanks

There's still time to share new Thanksgiving reading material!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060002360/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0060002360&linkCode=as2&tag=katisliteloun-20Elliott, Laura Malone.
Thanksgiving Day Thanks.
August 2013.
HarperCollins Childrens.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Sam's class has been busy preparing a special feast to celebrate Thanksgiving.  As the rest of the class thinks about a special project and "thankful feather" to share during the feast, Sam feels as though he's faltering, and not sure what he's really "thankful" for.  However, as the festivity preparations continue and eventually take place, Sam's project is ruined.  However, with the help of his class, Sam discovers what it is that he's truly thankful for - the perfect thing to write on his feather to add to the class' yarn turkey. 

This book is a great way to introduce young children to the most basic details about Thanksgiving - how the holiday came to be and the reasons that it is still celebrated today.  There's still time - make sure to pick up a copy of your own while you're out finishing the shopping for your festivities!  You might even find a new tradition to begin in your family!





If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Guidecraft Educator Review/Giveaway Link: Barnyard Activity Boxes

I've really been slacking lately in the whole blogging and reviewing department... I'm making it part of my goal to get back on track, as I keep receiving lots of amazing products and books!  So, to start over...

Each month, the Guidecraft Educators share our honest feelings
about a Guidecraft product(s) and how these products would fare in an
early childhood classroom. This month's selection is from Guidecraft's Manipulatives line - Barnyard Activity Boxes.


From Guidecraft: Can you count them all? One red horse, two orange cows, three yellow sheep, four green pigs, five blue geese, and six purple chickens. But don’t forget the six barns as well. Our 28-piece set features six wooden barns and their corresponding farm animals to help with counting, sequencing, shape-sorting, color-matching and more! Each barn has the animal screened on one side; a shape-cutout on the opposite side; a barn door with child-friendly elastic hinges; and a color-coordinated Acrylic panel so children can see who lives inside each barn! A great combination of dramatic play and educational elements all wrapped up in one!

Our Thoughts: From the minute the Barnyard Activity Boxes found their way into the classroom until it was time to put them away for the day, children were mesmerized and wholly engaged in them!  In fact, the children moved so quickly to get to them, that I wasn't even able to get a picture of all of the barnyards together! 

The children used the barnyards in MANY different ways, but by far, the most popular was using the animals as puzzle pieces and inserting them through the cutouts on the sides!  This in particular, is great for increasing fine motor, eye-hand coordination and manipulating the pieces to make them fit. 

The barnyards also came in very useful in individualizing activities to meet the academic and learning needs of the children.  They foster a great deal of language usage (discussing numbers, animals, animal sounds, colors, etc).  I used the boxes with several children to practice counting (as we have many children who struggle counting past 1).  We also used our imagination and had a barnyard parade (creating patterns with the animals)! 

The Barnyard Activity Boxes are wonderful for (literally) hours of play and engagement and can be used in so many purposeful ways!  For the time being, they've found a home on our math manipulative shelf and are still being used daily!  They are well worth the investment!!!

So... what do other 'Guidecraft Educators' have to say about the Barnyard Activity Boxes?


Maureen at Simply Stacie
Andrea at MommyPR
Deborah at Teach Preschool
Carrie from Huppie Mama
Jody from Mommy Moment
Candace at Mamanista!
Vanessa from Pre-K Pages
The Giveaway

Guidecraft is generously offering ONE lucky reader of the Guidecraft Educators a chance to win one of these Barnyard Activity Boxes sets!!! To enter, head on over to MommyPR for details!

Or... if you just can't wait to win one and NEED them now, they can be purchased online at: 
Barnyard Activity Boxes:  Guidecraft.com or Amazon.com
 



If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Guidecraft Educator Review/Giveaway: Texo Builders

Each month, the Guidecraft Educators will share our honest feelings
about a Guidecraft product(s) and how these products would fare in an
early childhood classroom. This month's selection is from a long-awaited new line by Guidecraft - Texo.

From Guidecraft:  TexoTM is the award-winning 3 dimensional design and construction system by architect, author and designer Lester Walker. The beauty of TexoTM is the variety of building systems found within one toy: simple puzzles, shape sorting and color matching at its most basic level, the system allows for a gradual progression to stacking the interconnected shapes and on to advanced architectural models such as bridges, houses, skyscrapers and more! Solid wood rods and planks coupled with the geometric precision of molded plastic connectors enhance the design and construction potential. Also included is a deluxe Activity Guide with how-to’s, commentary and step-by-step instructions on maximizing the potential of TexoTM. Ages 3+.

The TEXO builders were a HUGE hit in my classroom!  I broke them out during work time (a time when children have a choice about where they're going to "work," what they're going to "work" with and who they're going to "work" with and then have the opportunity to follow through with that plan with staff support).  Two children started out at the table with the TEXO builders, but the crowd quickly grew.  One child worked with a staff member to try and build a model from the activity book that was provided - that proved to be a little too difficult for her and she quickly moved on to her own creations.  Other children made simple representations - magic wands... this has been the biggest use so far.  However, as their little minds develop, I'm sure the structures will as well!

While the children were exploring, I too, was exploring!  Exploring how these could best benefit the children in my classroom.  Fine motor coordination was most prevalent in my mind!  Creative representation was also at the top of my list... along with the incorporation of literacy into the activity if children opt to take advantage of the activity guide with provides photos of structures that children can try and mimic as well as text that can be shared. 

My Thoughts: The TEXO builders provide for a variety of learning mediums to be explored - color, shape, creative representation from simple to complex.  This particular 100 piece set is ideal for a group of MAYBE 3-4 students... any more and things get a bit chaotic.  The wooden pieces are very sturdy and held up very well.  There are a few of the plastic "rod" pieces that are already breaking a bit at the ends.  That was a bit disappointing, but to be expected when being used by 4-year olds.  Overall, the TEXO builders are well worth investing in and will provide for many hours of enjoyment.

So... what do other 'Guidecraft Educators' have to say about the TEXO 100 pc Building Set?


Maureen at Simply Stacie
Andrea at MommyPR
Deborah at Teach Preschool
Carrie from Huppie Mama
Jody from Mommy Moment
Candace at Mamanista!
Vanessa from Pre-K Pages
The Giveaway

Guidecraft is generously offering ONE lucky reader of the Guidecraft Educators a chance to win one of these PowerClix sets!!! To enter, head on over to Pre-K Pages for details!

Or... if you just can't wait to win one and NEED them now, they can be purchased online at: 




If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hello Genius series

Hello Genius is a new series to me, despite being published by Capstone Press almost a year ago!  All of the books in the series were written by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Oriol Vidal. 

Absolutely love the series and the simple lessons each book teaches!  The books are also slightly repetitive, (enough so to be efficient, yet not overwhelming) and ideal for pre- and beginning readers!  Definitely want to get my hands on remaining 8 titles!!! 

From the back cover page:
This book promotes: self-care, animal recognition, speaking skills and first words

Children will likely enjoy the fact that Duck's way of using the potty chair is flying by and trying to aim!  At the end of the story, after Duck has learned to sit ON the potty chair, Mommy reminds him to wash his "feathers."

From the back cover page:
This book promotes: manners, first words, speaking skills and animal recognition

While at first little penguin is very demanding in attempting to get his needs met, Mommy (or Daddy) Penguin is adamant in insisting that little penguin say please first.  After a while, Little Penguin catches on and everyone's happy in the end.

From the back cover page:
This book promotes: manners, first words, speaking skills and animal recognition

Despite little bear being awfully demanding in having his needs met instead of being self-sufficient, he does use his manners, remembering to say thank you after all of his requests are met!

From the back cover page:
This book promotes: self-care, animal recognition, speaking skills and first words

Little Pony wants to be "Just like Dad" - from eating a lot each day right down to brushing his teeth, Little Pony imitates dad's motion - learning an important aspect of self-hygiene in the process!


 Also in this series:





If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Literacy Activity Bag #2 - Monsters

Sharing the 2nd of my take-home literacy activity bags with you tonight!  This one focuses on monsters - with an emphasis on counting, number recognition and social-emotional awareness.

 Contents:
 These are the two books that are the focus of the "Monster" themed activity bag.  Ten Furry Monsters is intended to help children with counting practice through 10 and introduction to the ideas of addition and subtraction.  Glad Monster, Sad Monster was selected in the hopes of getting parents/guardians talking about those feeling words that children's so frequently seem to lack and to get families as a whole, thinking of ways to handle the different emotions appropriately.

To go along with Ten Furry Monsters, I used the Klutz Pom Pom Monster Salon to create ten furry monsters!  I think these will be a hit!  The monsters are included in the kit for practice counting 1-10 and to be used to introduce children to the concept of adding and subtraction through manipulation of the objects.  (While not intended for this purpose, I'm sure they'll also elicit lots of vocabulary usage!!!)

Also included in the kit is an activity for Playdoh Monsters, intended to help children with fine motor skills.  I included 5 small containers of playdoh and a small craft box with a variety of materials that could be manipulated along with the playdoh to create Playdoh Monsters.  I really think this activity will be a hit, but playdoh will likely have to be replaced on a regular basis and the materials inside the kit will probably need restocking periodically. 

Last but not least is the Build-a-Monster game.  This game has players rolling the die, counting the number of dots and then using that for number recognition, finding the numeral and then following the directions on the director card.  For example, when a player rolls a 1, they select the body for their monster.  If they roll another 1 at any point in the game, the play advances to the next person.  The object is to be the first person to collect all of the parts they need to build their monster.  All of the body pieces (except the main body) are laminated and contain a Velcro dot on back to adhere to the felt body.  The game is stored in gallon-sized Ziploc bag. 

Again, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE leave a message if you're interested in purchasing any of these kits and I'll make them available for purchase!!!







If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New Reads for a New School Year

A new school year has lots to offer in the way of new reads from HarperCollins Publishers - there's something for everyone!

Hale, Bruce.
Clark the Shark.
June 2013.
HarperCollins Publishers.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Clark the Shark learns a valuable lesson at Theodore Roosterfish Elementary School - there is a time and a place for everything.  The lesson is learned after Clark becomes just a little too enthusiastic about everything at school - talking louder than everyone, munching on everyone's lunch, playing too rough at recess.  When his friends start to steer clear of him, Clark is suddenly left wondering why.  His teacher, through her use of rhyme finds a way to appeal to Clark to consider his actions and think of others at the same time.  Clark takes the idea and runs with it, eventually gaining back his old friends and helping out a new student at school as well! 

The book is a lot of fun and a great story - would make for a great book if there seems to be animosity that exists in your own classroom!  However, although being geared for children between 4 and 8, I'd hesitate to use this with the younger crowd, as some of Clark's actions might set a minor fear in their minds about what could possibly happen to them at school.  Wouldn't want to scare children before they experience the whole school-idea!


Drummond, Ree.
Charlie Goes to School.
June 2013.
HarperCollins Publishers.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

This is a great book to use when introducing children to the concept of home-schooling, especially if it's new to your family and something that you intend to try out!  It briefly touches on the idea of home-schooling and what a home-schooled child might expect of the learning process.  The book would also be great for children starting preschool or kindergarten for the their first schooling experience, as it really makes learning look fun and appealing!  A great read for a new school year!

Rockwell, Anne.
First Day of School.
June 2013.
HarperCollins Publishers.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

I'd say this book perfectly sums up what children look for as they head back to school - a little bit of excitement twisted into a little bit of nervousness!  It shares the excitement of new haircuts, new supplies, new clothes, but allows readers to connect with the nerves that are often experienced on that first day of a new school year - uncertainties about teachers, being in a class with friends.  It is a perfect combination to help children transition into a new school year while reassuring them that even if they aren't in a class with their best friends, they can still be friends!

This is a definite must-read before the new school year begins!


Dean, James.
Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus.
June 2013.
HarperCollins Publishers.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

What a wonderful, refreshing, new take on a classic children's song!  And a great way to start out the new school year!  I'll definitely be using this new title as an intro on the first day of school in my classroom - especially considering what a hit the "Pete the Cat" series has been in the past two years with the preschoolers!  Much of the song is the same, with just a few newer parts/phrases that fit the traditional Pete the Cat style... can't wait to see if it's a hit!


Scotton, Rob.
Splat and the Cool School Trip.
June 2013.
HarperCollins Publishers.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Not necessarily a back-to-school book, but a fun story none-the-less!  When Splat joins his classmates from Cat School on a field trip to the zoo, he's super excited about seeing the penguins.  However, as the class detours to see the giraffes and elephants, Splat's own pet, Seymour, upset from being left behind, opts to find a way to zoo and causes some trouble of his own, resulting in Splat not being able to see the penguins.  However, Seymour decides to take matters into his own hands and saves the day for Splat in the end!  A fun read!


Farley, Robin.
Mia Dances Back to School!
June 2013.
HarperCollins Publishers.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.


When Mia attends back to school night before the start of school, she becomes very disappointed to find out her two best friends are in a class without her.  Mia is upset and decides she does not wish to attend school if she can't be in a class with her friends.  However, with her mom's insistence, Mia does attend the first day of school and slowly learns that she'll still have her best friends but now there's an opportunity to make new friends.  A loving, caring teacher makes this difficult transition easier for young Mia.  Great choice for a child struggling at the beginning of the school year after being separated from a close friend(s).

Yankovic, Al.
My New Teacher and Me!
June 2013.
HarperCollins Publishers.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

When Billy, a lively imaginative boy is paired with Mr. Booth, a very strict teacher, for the new school year, things are bound to be interesting!  The first day results in near disaster experience, but the two quickly realize that they obviously have a LOT to teach EACH OTHER over the course of the upcoming school year.  The book is an easy read and fun with lots of rhymes, however, it's more appropriate for upper-elementary aged, as some of the language may be a bit too advanced for younger children to comprehend.  Otherwise, a great read and lots of fun!







If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!