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Ringing in the New Year!

Well Happy New Year (well almost)!

I hope you've had a wonderful break, and if you're anything like me, you can't wait to get back on a regular schedule and me with your students!
That's not to say I don't love sleeping in and binge watching Netflix...I do! But I also love my job!
I spent a lot of my break creating fun and engaging resources to use with my kinder darlings!


One thing that I am most excited about is my New Year's Day resource pack!!
There are over 30 pages in this pack and TONS of activities.
I want to show you a few of my most favorite activities!





This might be my most favorite activity!!


It's a party horn countdown craft! Your students will practice their counting skills and get in some very important fine motor practice as they create this craft!


I LOVE to show my kids the video of the ball dropping in NYC. We practice counting down as we watch the ball drop.  But this year, I'll have my kids create their very own ball drop as we watch!
Your students will practice number writing and ordinality while they write the numbers 10-0.


The new year is also the time when we get serious about our reading in Kinder. This top hat craftivity is a great opportunity for students to reinforce their word family practice!

Another activity in the pack is a countdown sorting activity, perfect for a math center.  Your students will practice counting down with numbers 10-0 or numbers 100-0.  There are multiple recording sheets included for you, so students can document their learning.

There are LOTS of goodies in this pack, (including a New Year's day reader) and your students will have a great time participating in these fun and engaging activities.  You can grab them HERE in my TpT store!

And just in case you need a few more activities to help you ring in the new year, check out these products.


 New Years resource

And please check out my set of New Year Freebies!

You've been Gobbled!

It's that time of year when we want to show others how thankful we are for all they do!
So, I created this FREE resource for you to show others how much you appreciate them.

the tutu teacher


You've been Gobbled! works similarly to being BOOED!
You make two copies of the resource, add some gifts and goodies, and leave them for neighbor or friend.  Then they follow the directions and keep spreading that kindness around!

the tutu teacher


You could even include an additional note, thanking them for the special things they've done for you!
It's so important to spread kindness and joy, I hope this resource will allow you to do so easily.

While you are spreading kindness and thankfulness, you might want your students to show their thankfulness too!
I have created a Thankfulness Craftivity Book for your students to write and create pictures to show who or what they are thankful for.

I love this resource because it allows children to express and discuss their thankfulness.  They love being able to take the book home and share their thankfulness with their families.

the tutu teacher


But most importantly, please remember to be kind to one another.

Diversity Matters: Books about strong girls and women


These books feature a strong girl or woman. They help introduce children to girls as main characters, girls who try new or hard things, or girls who are proud to be whoever they are.

If you have questions on how to take advantage of these (and many other books) wonderful books during the entire school year, please email me at vera@thetututeacher.com...we can chat!
This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links.

the tutu teacher

And here's how I score the books:





Is the true story of Jazz Jennings a transgender teen.  Her story is so powerful and important to share with other children.  While I understand the conversations around gender can be difficult for young children, the deeper more meaningful message of acceptance is the bigger take away from this story.  Jazz describes her feelings as, "I have a girl brain but a boy body".  Teachers will have to provide some scaffolding and support with this story as not all children are familiar with idea of transgenderism but Jazz's story is an important story for children to hear.



This book is a wordless picture book, and when I first read it, my heart exploded.  Well not literally, but I was overwhelmed with emotions.  This is one of the most beautiful wordless books I have ever read.  Unspoken is the story of a young girl who comes is visited by a stranger, another young girl who is a a runaway slave.  Their exchanges are wordless...unspoken but the story speaks volumes about human kindness.  This book is appropriate for grades 2-5.




I have loved this book for years! It is beautifully illustrated and the story is one of my most favorites.  Elena is a little girl who dreams of becoming a glass blower like her father.  When she tells her father of her dreams, he tells her that glass blowing is only for men.  Elena, heartbroken but determined sets out on a quest to prove her father wrong.  You could pair this book with Drum Dream Girl, to have students compare and contrast the struggles both girls faced.



This is story is beautiful for so many reasons, but one important lesson from the story is the power of words.  A mother sings songs and tells stories to her daughter through messages on a cassette tape. We soon learn that the mother is in jail due to issues with her citizenship.  The little girl writes a very important story of her own, one that helps her mother earn her freedom. You will have to have conversations with students about immigration and citizenship to establish background knowledge, but this is a very appropriate book for grades K-5.










Please tell me you already have this book in your classroom library and you're looking for new opportunities to integrate it into your learning.
Phew! Thank you!
IF you don't have this book please purchase it as soon as possible. The message is powerful for both students of color and girls.  Grace is bright light! She enjoys singing, dancing, creating, moving, learning, and being herself! She is so excited to try out for the role of Peter in her school's performance of Peter Pan. However, there are some students who think that the role should go to someone else. Someone who isn't black and isn't a girl.  This story is great for students K-5.








What a timely book to add to your classroom library! Grace is astonished when she learns there has never been a woman president. She is determined to be the next female president of her school.  She learns a lot about herself and her peers while she campaigns.  This book is appropriate for grades K-5.






   


Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer both by Andrea Beaty

I'm sure you know how amazing these two books are.  They are a vital addition to any classroom.  I love the message that girls can be successful in the sciences. Ada is always wondering "Why?". And while her parents and schoolmates can never quest her thirst for knowledge, she never stops learning.  Rosie loves tinkering.  She is constantly building and rebuilding but often times she is told, "But, you're a girl."  But Rosie never stops.






Well, it seems that ALL of these books would be a wonderful addition to any classroom.  It is important for girls to see themselves in books.  To see smart, strong, powerful women and girls in books helps our children know that they too can be smart, strong and powerful.

Do you know any other books that feature strong girls/women?











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But, what about me?

I've thought long and hard about this topic.

It's something that has been swirling in my mind and I've struggled with finding the right words to say exactly how I feel.

Do you ever think about the presentation you are putting forth in your classroom? You try to make your blog a place for students to feel welcome and valued, correct? If you blog, are you ensuring students of ALL backgrounds are included in your posts, on social media, and in your resources? If you follow blogs, what types of bloggers do you follow? Click through to see if you are allowing ALL students AND teachers to be seen and valued. If you're not, learn how to fix that today!


We all know how important it is for children to be able to "see" themselves in our classrooms.

We find books that feature diverse characters and take the time to integrate them into our classroom libraries.

We talk with them about the importance of respect and inclusion and encourage them to be kind.

We know that they will group and experience hate, disrespect and exclusion but we want the very best for them and hope that they will overcome these experiences.

But, what happens when we become adults?

We know we all carry around biases.  We work very hard to keep those biases in check and hope they don't negatively influence our decisions and behaviors...but they're there.

What do we do as adults to ensure that those biases aren't affecting what we do and say with other adults?

First let me say this: I love the blogging community and I love the experiences I've had and friendships I've made by being a member of this community.

However, I want us to make an effort to be more aware of our biases.

When we create lists of
"Top Teachers to Follow on _____" or
"The Best Books to Teach _____" or
"Top Educational Leaders", are we aware of the diversity (or lack thereof) in these lists?

When we look at a lists of experts or presenters for conferences/presentations, are we aware of the diversity in these lists?

And if you're thinking, "Good thing I don't make any of lists," think about some possible exclusionary behavior.  Who are you including in your mastermind groups, or hops or other positive group experiences? Or, if you're thinking, "Good thing I'm not a blogger".  Who are the bloggers you follow or who would you recommend as "great person" to follow on social media?

What does it mean to be a diverse educator who sees these lists and never sees someone who looks like you on them?
Is the message, "You aren't good enough,"?
Is the message, "No one who looks like you deserves to be on these lists"?

Absolutely not.

I DON'T believe that people are CONSCIOUSLY making the decision to exclude diverse educators from these lists...

But, what about me? 

When I am constantly shown images of "top teachers" or "Teachers you should follow", and someone who looks like me isn't on those lists... it doesn't feel right.

It hurts.

It feels exclusionary.

Again, I don't think ANY member of this community is purposely excluding diverse educators in these lists...but my feelings are what they are.

After talking with my husband about my feelings, he mentioned something called KOL.

In the world of business, KOL stands for Key Opinion Leader.

This is someone considered to be the "go to" for a particular idea or thought.  There can be more than one KOL, there can exist a team of KOLs.

For my example, we will say the KOL(s) is like the lists of "Top Teachers".

If we agree that biases exist (whether conscious or subconscious), then we know that our KOLs are a list created with some bias (again, conscious or subconscious).
IF our list is created with bias, THAN we must do something to counteract the bias.  Those who create said KOLs, must make an effort to include some diversity  in their list to ensure they eliminate some bias.

Does this sound like affirmative action?

Yes, because it is.

But if you were to switch the word "teacher lists" or "KOLs", with "Children's Books", you would come to the same conclusion.

Example:  I teach a variety of learners and I want them to be able to "see" themselves in the classroom.  I know that I have biases (as do publishing houses) and I want to overcome those, to ensure my students see their value.  So, I purposely buy three books that feature a diverse character for every one book I purchase.  I want to over come the bias, so I am making an effort to do so.

This isn't easy, it means making a conscious decision to include diverse teachers into these lists.

That may feel artificial.

It may feel forced.

But it is what our community must continue to do, until it doesn't feel that way anymore.

Until when someone sits down to create a list, they are thinking of EVERY teacher, they have ever seen...and they've seen many teachers because we've all agreed to make an effort to include more diverse teachers.

Challenging our bias is tough. Its confusing and many times emotional. But when we've had the difficult conversations, asked questions and made inclusive decisions our answer to the question:

But, what about me?

Will be, "Of course!"

Día de los Muertos resources

Back home in Texas, celebrating and discussing Día de los Muertos is as second nature as eating breakfast tacos. But, when we moved to the East Coast a lot of that changed (well, not the part about eating breakfast tacos...that will never go away).  I had to find new ways to talk to my students about a holiday that wasn't culturally relative to them.
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dia de los muertos


One way I talked about Dia de los Muertos was through books.
Here are a few of my favorites:

dia de los muertos
It's a great counting book and sneaky story about a skeleton who comes to take a woman to the afterlife.  You would need to have some background conversations about death for students to comprehend why the trick was successful.  This book would be a great opener for a class discussion Dia de los Muertos.

dia de los muertos
This is another great book! I love this book because it is bilingual! It is full of beautifully illustrated pictures and helps younger children understand the important aspects of Día de los Muertos.

Once we've read a few stories, I try to have my students engage in activities that will spark conversations.  We talk about how we feel when a family member or pet has passed away.  We make a list of things we did or happy memories we have had with that person.  Then we talk about how it feels to remember the happy memories of someone who has passed and how those memories are important.
Similarly to the celebration of Día de los Muertos, students practice writing a letter to someone who has passed away.  I model this lesson by writing a letter of my own:
dia de los muertos

During our learning time about the holiday, I post vocabulary cards around the room in both English and Spanish.  We also use the cards in a game of memory.

dia de los muertos

At the art center, I leave a blank sugar skull template and encourage students to design their own sugar skulls.  We used Kwik Stix (if you don't know about Kwik Stix, read my blog post here) to make beautifully vivid sugar skulls. As my students were designing their skulls, they were so engaged and excited.
dia de los muertos

All of these resources can be found in my Día de los Muertos packet on TpT.
dia de los muertos

How do you celebrate Día de los Muertos?




This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

Diversity Matters: Books for National Hispanic Heritage Month

Hi!
I have been so busy with the start of school, I've neglected this blog of mine.
But today I wanted to share some great books with you.
Today, October 15th, is the last day of National Hispanic Heritage Month and I have some great books for you to integrate into your classroom library.

Please, please, please, please remember that while it is wonderful to celebrate and acknowledge a culture during specific months, these books should be a part of your classroom library and classroom discussions every month. All the time.  They should be weaved into classroom continually.
Please, don't let these books sit on a shelf to only make a debut once a year.

If you have questions on how to take advantage of these (and many other books) wonderful books during the entire school year, please email me at vera@thetututeacher.com...we can chat!
This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links.

The Tutu Teacher


Diversity Matters: Books for National Hispanic Heritage month



diversity matters: books for national hispanic heritage month
Just A Minute by Yuyi Morales

I love this story! It's a great counting book and sneaky story about a skeleton who comes to take a woman to the afterlife.  You would need to have some background conversations about death for students to comprehend why the trick was successful.  This book would be a great conversation starter for a class discussing Dia de los Muertos.





diversity matters: books for national hispanic heritage month

To say I love this book is an understatement.  I LOVE this story.  It is about a little girl named Maria Isabel who struggles letting her teacher know the importance of her name.  It would be a great book to use as a read aloud in the beginning of the school year as students start to discuss their identity, their families, and their names. 






diversity matters: books for national hispanic heritage month

Another book I can not say enough about.  Drum Dream Girl is the true story of a little girl growing up in Cuba. She wants to be a drummer, like so many of the talented musicians she sees in her country.  But she is constantly told no, drumming is for boys only.  This story is beautifully illustrated and tells a very important story with a very powerful message. 


Diversity Matters: Books for National Hispanic Heritage Month

                                                                                                In full disclosure, I have yet to read this book. BUT, I think it would be a great addition to any classroom.  This book is about a boy in America who writes letters to his cousin who lives in Mexico.  The two boys write back and forth to one another, comparing their lives.  The text is sprinkled with Spanish and provides a wonderful point of view, not normally seen.  It would pair very nicely with the story, Same, Same but different.  I would also use this book as mentor text before teaching letter writing to my students.  It is currently on my wishlist!                                                    





Diversity Matters: Books for National Hispanic Heritage month
Sonia Sotomayor: A judge grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter                                                                                                                                   I just ordered this book through Scholastic Reading Club! Scholastic has recently teamed up with We Need Diverse Books, and is now offering a wider range of diverse books.  If you are wondering how you can order a catalog for your classroom, please check out my short tutorial here.  I was so excited to order this book because not only does it show a woman in a powerful, important position, not only is this woman from a minority population but the books is written in both English and Spanish!! And just look at that cover!! So powerful.




Diversity Matters: Books for National Hispanic Heritage month
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan                

I first read this book when I was working on my masters' degree. I have never stopped loving this story.  There aren't enough words to express how much I love ANYTHING written by Pam Muñoz Ryan.  If you haven't read any of her books, you could literally close your eyes, and grab one and fall in love.  Esperanza is a young girl who grew up in Mexico, but her family has to move to California, during the Great Depression. There are some tough issues to discuss and some historical background information would need to be previewed before and during reading of this book. But, it is so worth it.  This book is better suited for 5th- middle school.   











My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Crus written by Monica Brown                                                                                                                                                                        The illustrations in this book instantly captivate me.  They are so vibrant and beautiful.  If you are unsure of who Celia Cruz is and her impact on the music industry...please Google her and come back to this post.  Did you see it?  All the awesome?  I remember my mother playing Celia's songs when I was a child, and dancing around out house.  Her music is powerful, but so is her story. This book is also in English and Spanish!






Diversity Matters: Books for National Hispanic Heritage month

This is another book that I do not yet own, but knew I needed to add to our classroom collection as soon as I saw it.  This book tells the story of Neftalí, Chilean author and Nobel Prize winner.  It is a great book to help children see that telling their story is important and that stories can be told in many different ways.  I can't wait to read this book!




Diversity Matters: Books for National Hispanic Heritage month

Again, another story full of captivating illustrations.  The story of Tito Puente told by Monica Brown tells of a young boy who truly "felt the music" from a young age.   I would use this story with Drum Dream Girl to talk about gender roles and why Tito was encouraged to follow his dreams, but Millo was not.  The book is full of onomatopoeia and would be a great mentor text when teaching students how to color their writing with sound words.   





Diversity Matters: Books for National Hispanic Heritage month

This book is such a great story of a great great great man.  What I love about this book is not only the historically importance, but it is a conversation starter about the importance of social justice.  This is a great mentor text to use when having conversations with students about working hard for what's right and standing up for others.




I could go on and on and on about these wonderful books! 
Do you have any great suggestions? Leave a comment.



This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.