Osiyo Native American Heritage Month

Osiyo (hello in Cherokee)!

During the month of November – Native American Heritage Month and Picture Book Month – my lessons focused on the beautiful picture books Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard (illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal),  We are Gratitude: Otsaligeliga by Traci Sorell (illustrated by Frané Lessac), and We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom (illustrated by Michaela Goade).  It is incredibly important to share books that serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding doors, and I strive to help my students find text-to-life connections with all books.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story  is a lovely book about the importance of fry bread by explaining it in terms of the senses – how it feels, tastes, looks, smells, and sounds.  The ample backmatter further explains how “the story of fry bread is the story of the American Indians: embracing community and culture in the face of opposition.” My Fry Bread lesson includes an author interview, recipe video, read aloud, and discussion questions. 

We are Gratitude: Otsaliheliga takes the reader through a year of seasons, beginning and ending with the season of uligohvsdi (fall/autumn) the Cherokee New Year.  This story reminds us to be grateful every day,  in every month, in good times, and in sad times. My We Are Gratitude lesson includes not only an interview with Traci, but a read aloud video, and information about pileated woodpeckers, stomp dancing, and cane flutes.

We Are Water Protectors is a powerful book about the need to safeguard Earth’s water supply.  The artwork by Michaela Goade is stunning! I loved her art so much I found her Etsy store and ordered her beautiful Moonrise print. My We Are Water Protectors lesson includes a read aloud by the author and lots of additional information that helps students understand the importance of water to Indigenous people (and all of us!) and about the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Additional resources that may be helpful to readers of my blog:

Carole Lindstrom

Book Reading & Interview: https://youtu.be/2YHaRmj9wLU

Children’s Book Podcast:  https://www.matthewcwinner.com/post/carole-lindstrom-and-michaela-goade


Emily Arrow

Read Aloud & Song https://youtu.be/OmsGDCimLK8

Frané Lessac

Website: https://franelessac.com/

Juana Martinez-Neal

Interview: https://youtu.be/ghu66fEFVHI

Interview: https://youtu.be/-ZVTdxFgRRE

Website: https://juanamartinezneal.com/

Kevin Noble Maillard

Children’s Book Podcast: https://lgbpodcast.libsyn.com/kevin-noble-maillard-and-juana-martinez-neal

Interview: https://youtu.be/ocPWdWPiCgs

Virtual Storytimes: https://youtu.be/ZGoPq2CeJdw and  https://youtu.be/od-7XLABK2o

Michaela Goade 

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MichaelaGoade

Website: https://www.michaelagoade.com/


Website:  https://www.teachingbooks.net/

Traci Sorell 

Interview: https://youtu.be/qsIxsPDOVoA

Website: https://www.tracisorell.com/

Wado (thank you) for reading my blog, and donadagohvi (until we meet again).

I’m a Picture Book Month Ambassador – Are You?


I love Picture Book Month because I can highlight my favorite picture books throughout the month of November, and share my love of them with all my students – even the ones who think they are too old for picture books!

Some of my favorite picture books are these:

I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young




Ryan T. Higgins Be Quiet!  is an amazing picture book — it is hilarious, and even my youngest students appreciate the humor (and the adults in the room, even more!!).

Absolutely all Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems- especially The Thank You Book and We are in a Book!  I even decorated pumpkins like Gerald & Piggie to celebrate autumn in my library!  Mo has many fun resources on his site to go along with the books, too.

EPLRBadgeelephant and piggie

Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown’s Creepy Carrots and Creepy Pair of Underwear have my students sitting on the edge of their criss-cross-applesauce-bottoms when I read in my best creepy voice.  Their book trailers are great, and they also have activity guides available:    Creepy Carrots and  Creepy Pair of Underwear (scroll down)

pete the cat

Pete the Cat books by James Dean are also extremely popular with my students!  Another picture book pumpkin that graces my book shelves in my library is Pete-the-Pumpkin 🙂   Be sure to check out the songs that go along with the books!


They have a great teacher activity guide – check it out here!

I hope you enjoy Picture Book Month as much as I do this November!

Celebrating in the Library – November Edition

Happy holidays!  The winter months are full of many different holidays – Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day, to name a few.  Did you know that December 4th was National Cookie Day?  Or that December 10th was Dewey Decimal System Day?   My students do!  We celebrate lots of things here in the library.

In November, we not only celebrated Veterans Day, a very important holiday in honor of our armed service members, but also Picture Book Month, World Kindness Day, International Games Day, and Thanksgiving.   Throughout the month, in addition to reading a variety of them in media lessons, all students were encouraged to check out both non-fiction and fiction picture books in honor of the celebration. Students also added their favorite picture book titles to my interactive bulletin board.picture book month If you would like to read more, please visit Picture Book Month.

International Games Day, sponsored by the American Library Association, celebrated its 7th year of gaming in libraries.  I registered for the event early, and was able to request donated games from a variety of the ALA partners — my students and I were thrilled to receive all of these games just in time for our gaming week celebration!

WP_20141111_002Flower Hill ES media center, along with over 2000 libraries around the world, enjoyed games of all sorts.   Playing games with others is not only enjoyable, but also helps builds community, strengthen critical thinking skills, and teaches sharing, collaboration, and good sportsmanship.  The picture below is of the interactive bulletin board I created, asking the students to sign their names under the pictures of the games they most like to play (Minecraft was the clear winner!)



During media time, we incorporated the playing of many games into our lessons – board games, building games, online games (click to visit my Brainteasers & Logic Games website) –  even simple Tic-Tac-Toe on a piece of recycled poster paper was a favorite!  Click for  and website, which includes lots of great information in support of gaming for education.


For World Kindness Day, I asked my students to do something kind for someone else … and left blank note cards for them to complete and deliver to friends, family, and staff members.  Hopefully, there were many recipients of one of these notes!  More information and resources about teaching kindness can be found in my Choose Kindness Scoop.it.

thankful bulletin boardLastly, in celebration of Thanksgiving, I asked staff and students to share what they are thankful for on my bulletin board. I created  Tagxedo word cloud poster with lots of words related to being thankful.   Many students were thankful for their friends, family, their teachers, and Minecraft!  Staff were thankful for their own families, their students, and for working here at Flower Hill Elementary School!

thanksgiving tagxedo

Our media center was the recipient of a $500.00 grant from the wonderful literacy organization FirstBook, and our students received a book for their home libraries in time for winter break.  FirstBook also donated approximately 150 books to our school library, including books from kid author favorites Mo Willems and Rick Riordan. WP_20141106_006 WP_20141106_14_39_39_Pro

Thank you FirstBook for your outstanding work to give all children – especially those in financial need – access to books! To support the organization,and to say thank you for supporting our students here at Flower Hill ES, my daughter and I participated in  FirstBook – Montgomery County Run to Read on November 8th. WP_20141108_002  For more information about FirstBook, please visit their website.

Thanks for reading, a watch for my next post very soon!