Tiny Books

Kids love to self-publish and there are so many fun ways to make booklets with materials you already have in your classroom or at home. One easy booklet I like to make with students uses one piece of copy paper and scissors. I call it a Tiny Book. After it is finished, the book will have six interior pages.

There are many ways students can fill the Tiny Books. I have students use these little books to practice procedural writing and make “How To” instructional manuals. When we read Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, the students create a step-by-step guide for one of the poaching methods.

While practicing Helping Verbs and Verb Tenses, the students re-write and illustrate nursery rhymes in past, present, and future tense using a Tiny Book.

When we study colonial life, students research a specific role in the settlement and describe the colonist’s life in a tiny book. They write about clothing, food, housing, and jobs for a specific person and add illustrations with captions. It does not take too much time to complete and reinforces non-fiction text features.

For back to school, you could have students create a Tiny Book that shares facts about the student as a way to introduce each other to the group. Students could create a Tiny Book promoting any favorite summer reading they completed. I love the books because they do not involve a lot of prep and can be used for many different lessons… and they are mini, and I am a sucker for anything mini.

Materials:

  • basic white copy paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″, (one per student)
  • scissors

Directions:

  • Step 1: Gather your paper and scissors.
  • Step 2: Fold one piece of paper in half the hamburger way. Repeat two more times. Unfold the paper and make sure you have 8 rectangles on the paper.
  • Step 3: Fold the paper the hamburger way again, one time. Your paper will be 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ with 4 rectangles showing. From the folded edge of the paper, cut down the middle along the fold line to the center of the paper.

  • Step 4: Open the paper flat. Fold it one time the hot dog way. Hold each side with one hand and push towards the center until your fingers meet. The center of the paper will push out creating 4 flaps.

  • Step 5: Press down, so pages line up into the booklet shape. The finished booklet is 6 pages.

2017 BTS Emergency Kit Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who left comments here on the blog and on Facebook and Instagram. Congratulations to Barbara M, the winner.

For those who did not win, it is easy to put together one of these kits on your own. Find a small cosmetic bag, plastic box, or even a gift bag and fill it with daily life items that are handy to have, but you don’t always remember to keep stocked. Based on all of the fun responses, some items that are must-haves are a Coke, Diet Coke, Mountain Dew or other soda, coffee, chocolate, chapstick, granola bars, movement breaks, and flexibility!

Happy Back to School!

Caitlin

BTS Teacher Emergency Kit 2017 Giveaway

Did you see my LAST POST with information about a fun back to school teacher gift? I’m having my annual giveaway, so you don’t have to put one together yourself; you can win two!

One Lucky Winner Will Receive TWO Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits!

Keep one kit for yourself and give one to a teacher friend (or make two teachers, friends, co-workers, neighbors… super happy and give both as gifts). Giveaway ends this Saturday, August 5 at 3 PM (EST). Shipping addresses must be within the USA or Canada.

The winner will receive two clear cosmetic bags and emergency kit contents. Each kit contains a $10 Starbucks giftcard, Blistex, travel sized Pepto Bismol chewables, cough drops, dental flossers, two hair bands, four quarters for soda money, disposable toothbrush and paste, Band-aids, tweezers, and an emery board.

To enter, comment on this blog post with any teacher or parent (or teacher parent) life emergency supply, trick, or advice you have. Do you have a great MacGyver-type move that really saves the day? I’ll share one– if you need deodorant in a pinch because you live in South Carolina and have recess on a playground in direct sun at noon with little shade, and you get totally sweaty no matter what you do, wipe some hand sanitizer under your arms with a Kleenex.

You can also leave a comment on any of my INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK giveaway posts for additional entries. Each comment = one entry. Random name chosen from all comments when the contest ends 8/5/17 at 3 PM (EST).

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit 2017

Since my children started attending elementary school, I have been cooking up some little back to school teacher emergency kit to give my kids’ homeroom teachers on the first day of school. Each year, the kits are a little different, but the contents are always based on items I need at school but don’t always have. I usually change up the bag or box to hold all of the items, but this fall, I am returning to the plastic bead box with removable divider slots that was the first container I ever used.

The Box: I purchase the bead storage boxes from Michael’s. It has ten slots with removable dividers. I remove a few of the dividers to make sections of the box bigger depending on what I have that needs to go in the box.

The Contents: Below is what I included in the kits this time. You could also consider adding things like mints, a good Flair pen or Sharpie pen, travel sized lotion, Advil or Tylenol, mini Windex wipes for electronics (I have seen these at Target), a Tide to Go pen… I browse the travel-sized aisle at places like CVS and Target for inspiration.

  • cough drops
  • safety pins
  • soda money in quarters
  • Blistex
  • Pepto Bismol chewable tablets
  • tweezers
  • disposable toothbrush and paste (one time use)
  • emery board
  • Band-aids
  • hair bands
  • dental flossers

The Labels: I printed THIS 2″x 4″ label for the lid of the box using a Red Cross style logo to make it look like an emergency kit. I created a table for the inside of the box and printed it on cardstock. Using a paper cutter, I cut it down to fit the inside lid and attached it with clear tape. I wanted the “map” on the inside to look like one of those lists they have in the big chocolate candy boxes, so you know what kind of chocolate you are eating. Here is a copy of the Teacher Emergency Kit Map.

To get more inspiration for Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits, take a look at some of mine from previous years by clicking the links below.

Teacher Emergency Kit 2012

Teacher Emergency Kit 2013

Teacher Emergency Kit 2014

Teacher Emergency Kit 2015

Teacher Emergency Kit 2016

Author Inspiration

I love getting to the end of a book and reading an author’s note that provides insight into the story’s inspiration. The story is classified as fiction, but there is a seed or small moment that the author used as a starting point to create a character or event. Most recently, Miss Priss and I read Curtain Up by Lisa Fiedler and Anya Wallach. At the end of the book, Wallach explains that, like the main character in the story, she too started a theatre company in her neighborhood as a teen. That real-life experience inspired the book.

After reading The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies, I found an article where Davies explained that her two children were arguing over who had the rights to the driveway for a lemonade stand, and the idea for a lemonade war was born.

Kate Klise, the author of Dying to Meet You, responded to a letter from my students and shared some background information on her book. She told us that she read a newspaper article about an elderly couple who were selling their house with all of the contents including the dog. From that article, Klise was inspired to write a story that would include a house for rent. If you rented the house, you agreed to “rent” the owners’ child as well.

Now that most authors have websites or author’s notes at the end of books, it can be easy to locate the answer to the question, “How did the author get the idea to write this book?” Hunting down the answer to the question is a great way to inspire interest in a book or author, and it has been a great way for me to motivate readers. It also shows students how writers gather ideas and encourages students to analyze small moments in their daily lives and use that as inspiration to start writing.

Here is a short list of books that have interesting backstories into why the author decided to write his/her story. Use THIS ACTIVITY PAGE to have your students complete an author inspiration scavenger hunt to learn how or why an author created a character or plot line in their novel.

  • Curtain Up (Stagestruck series) by Lisa Fiedler and Anya Wallach
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Betty Bao Lord
  • Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Frozen Fire by James Houston
  • Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose
  • Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
  • Blood on the River: James Town, 1607 by Elisa Carbone
  • Ruby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin

If you want to hear from the author directly, use this freebie CONTACTING BOOK AUTHORS ACTIVITY.