AAAHHH ... I have been blinded by the light! What is that shining orb in our upstate New York sky? It is so bright, and it feels so warm. Could it be .... the sun?? Why, yes. Yes, it is!! Hurry. Hurry. Grab your flip flops. Grab your sunglasses. You are long overdue for some Vitamin D.

Okay, perhaps I am being a little bit dramatic. But, it has been a LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG winter here. Our first snow day was granted in early November, and the snow is just finally beginning to melt. A few weeks ago, a small town just ten miles from my home went on record as having the snowiest winter in the ENTIRE United States. So, bear with me, as I celebrate the sunshine and 60 something degree temperatures. {Insert Happy Dance here.}

Last night, as my windows were open, I heard the peepers for the first time in twelve long months. It was glorious! It put me in the mood to share some of my Spring critters' clickable bibliographies.

If you are doing research with little ones, then you REALLY want to make sure that you have the best resources available. Let your virtual librarian help you out with this! Click on the pictures below to download a couple of FREE bibliographies. You will be taken to Google Drive where you will click on the "Download" arrow and then save the PDF file to your own computer.

  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byk7Fm3Q76yZX2tFUnZpbk05TFk/view?usp=sharing      https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byk7Fm3Q76yZbjk2aTZyR3pDTG8/view?usp=sharing


Each bibliography is an interactive PDF. After you download the file, once opened, you can click on the snapshots of books, websites, and videos. Each snapshot will quickly and easily take you to the website or video shown. These resources can easily be used on your Smartboard, ipad or tablet, desktop or laptops. So many uses!!

Happy researching!


Kids LOVE animals!! It is the number one "GO TO" research topic for kids, teachers and librarians. Free websites that provide animal facts for kids are one of my most common requests. I have spent LOTS of time searching the Internet for websites that are easy for elementary students to navigate. I hope that this post will make your job WAY easier.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/FreeDownload/Animal-Research-Websites-for-Kids-1641256 

1) San Diego Zoo for Kids: Great animal photos!! Easy to read facts.

2) National Geographic for Kids: There are no better pictures on the Internet. Lots of comprehensive facts too.

3) Ranger Rick: LOVE that this site is full of facts mixed in with PDF files from their magazine. Awesome.

4) Wild Kratts on PBS: Check out Creaturepedia!! Fun facts for kids.

5) Animal Fact Guide: The reading level is geared for older students; however, the text is comprehensive and printer-friendly too!

6) Soft Schools: A hidden treasure with straight-forward facts about tons of different critters.

7) Science Kids: A simple and straight-forward collection of animals and facts.

8) Enchanted Learning: Lots of animal printouts great for kids.

9) ESpecies Fact Sheets: Got an endangered species to research? Can't go wrong with this website.

10) Smithsonian National Zoo:  Facts! Videos! Live cams!

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If you are REALLY lovin' this list. Click on the infograph above, and you will be magically transported to my TpT Store where you can download a FREE clickable, yes clickable, PDF file. What does that mean?? Well, if you open the downloaded file on your computer, you and your students will be able to click on each picture to be taken DIRECTLY to that website. Easy Peasy Right???


Happy Researching
 
As I was planning for my first graders' holiday read alouds, I decided to read several stories revolving around Christmas trees. My student body is primarily full of students who do celebrate Christmas in a myriad of ways, and nearly ALL of them have a Christmas tree!! I knew that I would find common ground here and that I could add to their holiday spirit ... Not that they need much more spirit. Boy, oh boy, if only I could bottle up a bit of that energy and spirit!!

I chose to start with a book that I had NEVER read before, and admittedly had never even recalled being on my shelf ... A Christmas Tree Farm by Ann Purmell. I chose this book thinking that it would be a good intro to "Christmas Trees." And boy, was it ever PERFECT.

It does an engaging job of describing "how" a Christmas tree becomes a Christmas tree. The book offered the opportunity for me to talk about vocabulary words like pine, spruce, fir, and trimming; all words which were essential for my next two books. The kids especially seemed to enjoy learning about planting the seedlings in the spring, trimming the branches in the summer, and measuring them in the fall.

In my opinion, the following two Christmas tree books should be holiday MUST READS!! Undoubtedly, if you are as old as I am, you have read or even had read to you, Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry. Yes it is a classic ... not that I am, mind you ... but certainly the book is!!


Mr. Willowby's tree is so LARGE that the tippy top of the tree must be cut off so that it will fit into the parlor. The top is passed on to Miss Adelaide to be used as her Christmas tree. However, alas, it is too tall for her room and needs to have the top trimmed off. Miss Adelaide throws the top away in the garbage, but Mr. Trimm finds it and takes it home to his wife. However, it is also too tall for their snug little house, and Mrs. Trimm cuts off the top and throws it out into the yard ... You can most certainly see where this is going!! 

We ended our Christmas tree read aloud session with the Kindle version of A Wish to be a Christmas Tree. This beautifully written story tells of a GIANT Christmas tree that wants nothing more than to be able to go home with a family and be decorated. But, he is much too large to fit into anyone's house, so his woodland animal friends decorate him to show him how much he is loved and appreciated.


Hope that these holiday selections help you during this holiday season!
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My name is Sonya Dykeman, and I am an elementary school librarian in upstate New York. I taught third and fourth grade for 12 years, and then I went back to school, so that I could get my dream job. I have been in the library for 7 years, and I can honestly say that I LOVE it! Feel free to message me at sjdykeman@gmail.com.

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