Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Remembrance Day Ideas for Primary

Although November 11th is sombre day of reflection, even our youngest learners are able to understand its significance and participate in age appropriate ways to commemorate Remembrance Day.  I want to thank my friend Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog for hosting this Remembrance Day linky.  I hope you come away from it with some amazing new ideas to use with your students this month!
Remembrance Day holds a dear place in my heart.  I am especially proud of the role that my great-grandfather, Percy Griffith Davies, played as a Major in the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada based in Toronto during the Great War of 1914-1918.  

The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada was a regiment headed by Sir Henry Pellatt, the multi-millionaire who built Casa Loma.  Before WWI, my great-grandfather was his Personal Secretary.  Great-Grandpa Percy took a battalion overseas and fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge in Normandy, France.  He survived and returned to Canada to bring up his young family in Toronto and lived to be 100 years old.
There are a few activities that I find myself doing year after year with my second graders because they are so tried and true.  In the days leading up to Remembrance Day, we create a wreath of poppies for the assembly with our older Learning Buddies, make paper wreaths to hang from our classroom ceiling and paint poppy masterpieces for our bulletin board.  The last two of those activities can be found in the TPT product below.
I also fill my classroom library up with as many picture books as I can get my hands on about WWI, WWII or peace before November 11th .  

Last year I came across two outstanding books that I had never seen before. BONUS: they are available ==>now<== in November 2016's Grades 2&3 Reading Club flyer.  
 Grades 2 & 3 Scholastic Reading Club, November 2016
Bunny the Brave War Horse by Elizabeth MacLeod and The Soldier's Puppy (also known under title "The Anzac Puppy") by Peter Millett and Trish Bowles are both incredibly touching stories. Although they deal with hardship and war, the books convey an underlying message of hope, love and loyalty. Your students will fall in love with the true tales of Bunny and Freda the dog. 
You can grab this FREEBIE I made for Bunny the Brave War Horse by clicking on the picture below.
What are your favourite Remembrance Day picture books?  I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.

All the best,

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Staircase Facelift using a Target Dollar Spot find and Ikea Frames

Do you have a large landing in your staircase like I do?  Are you unhappy with the wasted space?  If so, I might be able to help.  Since we've moved into our home, we've had all sorts of things hanging up in that awkward location but not one of them looked quite right...
until now.
 I have always been inspired by this project from my beloved (but now on permanent hiatus-sniff! sniff!) blog, Young House Love.  If you want to be inspired and have a good laugh, I strongly suggest you read their design blog from the beginning.  John and Sherry have a way of making you feel like you are their BFF.  Unfortunately, I just couldn't find the time or had the energy to collect as many different frames as they did. Enter everyone's standby for home decor-IKEA.
We bought 9 Virserum frames for $12.99 each and by the time they (painstakingly) made it on the wall in a perfect formation, I realized that I hadn't actually figured out what should go inside.  So I found a few odds and ends around the house that reminded me of my boys (class pictures, artwork) and put them in.  The problem was, it looked so "messy."  What would PLAN B be?  
I had no idea until April 1st.  And that's NO joke, lol.
 Shortly before 2016, I found this gorgeous calendar at Target's Dollar Spot.  I should have bought 20 of them instead of 1.  I knew it would have an important spot on my wall in my home office but as I ripped off the month of March today, I realized how perfect these pages would look framed on the wall in my staircase.  Suddenly, I had a design vision and I already owned everything I needed.  How often does that happen?
 Now I know what you are thinking, "Doesn't she know it's April already"? and yes, trust me I do.  It just so happens that there are NINE months left in the year and I have exactly nine frames to fill. #nailedit
 Now I get to look forward to the rest of 2016 multiple times a day.  And the gold shimmer seems to be glittering a little extra brightly around my #39forever birthday on the 15th.
A word of advice for all of your high traffic hanging spaces in your home-buy sticky tack!  The name  might be different, but the results will be the same.  My version is actually blue like the brand I used to buy in France. You should be able to find it at any home renovation place or most major supermarkets in the office supplies aisle.  It's about $5 and works great to keep things fixed on the wall.  I love to use it to hold paint chip samples in place and in my classroom too.  

Happy decorating!