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April 17, 2016

Cinderella Around the World

Click here to see different versions of Cinderella from around the world.

World Travels

We are back at it again! Traveling the world and soaking up all the culture we can over the next few weeks. If you follow me on my blog, you will know that I love learning about and exploring other cultures.

This is the main reason I travel. To eat great food and experience cultures - hands on. You know, the same way we teach our students. :) I am so grateful for being able to visit Italy, Greece, England, Ireland, and Scotland. I have no plans of stopping there! (I live in the United States, so I also travel within my home country).

In December my class traveled around the world for our Holidays Around the World Unit. My class loved it! And so did I. We had some really great learning experiences.  

Since, I love cultures and traveling, I want to take my kinders around the globe one more time. This time we are going to dive into the story of Cinderella and compare and contrast just a few of the many versions. 

I teamed up with two of my colleagues and we are each reading different versions of Cinderella. What's sad is that over the years I have noticed that my students are not familiar with the Fairy Tale Classics! 

Fairy Tales

As I was preparing for my Cinderella unit, I just got WAY too excited! I had planned to just do Cinderella, but it turned into so much more. And I am glad it did! So it was go big or go home!

I began April by reading MANY fairy tales to my students. We learned about the different elements of fairy tales, wrote our own fairy tale, and read various versions of the same fairy tale. It is always engaging for them when the stories have a little twist to them. I have found these are also the ones my boys get into.

I purchased the fairy tale books I did not have (shh) and started making plans to transform my classroom. I reached out to my parents for their help. I had these great ideas but unfortunately, my energy is draining towards the end of the year! I am so beyond blessed to have had several parents step up and offered their help!

So the creativity begins! How cute is this guy? I originally saw him on Pinterest and my aide helped to recreate him! You can find a different template here! We made him after reading Tomie DePalo's - The Knight and the Dragon.

Check out my ideas on Pinterest by clicking below!

Classroom Transformation

Well, if you are going to do something -  you might as well go big! Right?! Let me tell you I was tired just thinking about this challenge. I was very excited to have a grandmother let me borrow some props and for those parents who offered to make some! It really turned out fantastic!

I also purchased some tiaras and wands from Party City. From oriental trading I picked up some masks. Finally, I grabbed some swords from the Dollar Tree.

I was beyond excited for them to see the room!! April is such a long month, I am hoping this classroom transformation keeps my students excited and engaged! (Coming in May will be Wizard of Oz!!)

Cinderella Books

Here are just a few of the versions of Cinderella I will expose my students to.

I will over the weeks read them ALL! But, we will only go in depth with a few of them. I purchased this paper bag product off of TPT from:
  Teaching on the Sunny Side 
and it was exactly what I needed to support my students! Yes, it is designed for older grades - but I made it work for K! Click on the image to go to the product in her store.

Cinderella Around the World Paper Bag Book

I am so excited for this unit, but I had a hard time finding age appropriate activities for my students. So, I created some! Be sure to click on the image to go to my Cinderella/Fairy Tale products. I hope that they are useful for your classroom as well!

Check out the digital version of this flip book! Such a great way to integrate technology no matter what you have access to!
Cinderella Flip Book for Google Drive

Do you kiddos love scoot games? I am pretty obsessed, and I love watching my kiddos work in such a fun way!
Fairy Tale Addition Scoot Game
I love challenging my students with ABC order activities. I created a fairy tale version to go with our theme!

Fairy Tale ABC Order

April 12, 2016

Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness

I have to say, I am ashamed that I have never taught my students about Autism. In a whole I always teach how we accept differences and embrace them. But this resource helped me take it a step further.

But, to me, that is not what this month is about. Kelsey Mango of Mango Deigns created this PERFECT packet for elementary aged students. Grab it here from her TpT store. You could ABSOLUTELY use it with your older students! 

This packet had just what I needed to help me, help educate my students. That is what I love about educators - we all share our strengths, passions and knowledge. 


This packet was LOADED with tons of information for the teachers and students alike. I am loving this for many reasons. One of which is I can use this when supporting my clients. I work one-on-one, in the home, with children who are identified on the Autism Spectrum. The flip book is perfect for me to take and share with parents and their children when they are first diagnosed. 


So the big question remains. How do you start teaching your students about autism? For older grades Kelsey provides a KWL chart that would be great for beginning a dialogue with your students. For my kinders, they may not even know the word autism. So here is what I did.

I began my discussion with one of the Sensory Sensitivity stories. Spoiler: it was a home run!!

Setting the Scene

I explained to my students how 8th grade was going to come down and listen to a story with us. They were very excited for this! I said it would be a fairy tale (which is what we are currently learning about) and then I had some questions for them.


So down comes 8th grade. I begin to read. As soon as I do, they erupt into chaos! They are singing, stomping their feet, playing with the lights, poking my kids and so on. (Exactly what I wanted).
As I was reading my class was getting so frustrated with them. Once I reached the end of the story, I said "the end" and 8th grade left like nothing had every happened. Perfect.

So with that I send my utterly shocked students to their seats.

The Lesson

So we are answering questions from the story and one of my littles starts to get so upset. Why? Because they didn't know the answers. Why? Because there was such a distraction!

At this point I brought them back to the carpet and we had a discussion on why the 8th graders did that. We took our learning to the point of now having an idea of what it is like for some children every day. Having so much going on. Having a struggle just to listen to a story!

We re-read the story and I did let them go back and adjust their paper as needed.

Extending Our Learning

To wrap up our learning (but not forever - my hope is that all teachers will continue to educate children on while others may be different, we have so much to learn from all people.) I sent home a note (provided by Kelsey!) to our parents explaining how we learned about Autism. Their job was to decorate a puzzle piece at home and bring it back to school.

We then used that puzzle piece as the cover of our book. In school we wrote what we learned about autism. I can honestly say that my students learned a lot in a short amount of time. I hope that what they learned about others will be carried through the years. 

Read Alouds

Kelsey offers a lot of ideas of books and videos to use to support you and your students during your lessons. I used a book that I have had forever, but never read to my classes!

My Brother Charlie is a touching story of a sister talking about how special her brother is. It is told from her point of view as she shares how Charlie teachers her family about love and acceptance.

Light It Up Blue

Now my challenge to YOU! What are you going to do to light it up blue? How will you help others have a stronger understanding of autism? You can not do anything too small. 

And when you are all done - check out how GoNoodle is here to support us teachers! Be sure to have a little brain break in April as you light it up!

How We Celebrated

We danced, read books, made puzzle pieces and had 8th grade help us!