My mom was a wonderful teacher and I saw the difference she made for so many children.  I know that meeting the diverse needs of your students is a continual challenge, and I appreciate all your hard work.  I hope you will find the following resources helpful.

The Who Behind World War II: A Lesson in Biographies (a Powerpoint in PDF Format)

The Who Behind World War II: A  Lesson in Biographies (teachers’ guide)

The Who Behind World War II: A Lesson in Biographies (student packet)

History Makers—Students can participate in making history.

Virginia Hall: Spy Extraordinaire: A Study  of Character Traits  (a Powerpoint in PDF Format)

Virginia Hall, Quite a Character: A Lesson in Character Traits

Sugar and Spice and Everything Spies: Female Spies in World War II (a PowerPoint in PDF format)

Teachers’ Guide with slideshow, “A Lesson in Story Elements,” and Student Packet

Classroom Activities
Ideas for classroom activities from art projects to discussions of comparisons, word form matching, and writing, all centered around Polka-dot’s story.

Character Traits
Polka-dot Fixes Kindergarten is a good book for studying social-emotional topics.  You’ll find a Character Traits PowerPoint (in PDF format), a student packet, and lesson plans.

Irregular Verb Matching Game
One of the challenges of learning to read is the mastery of irregular past-tense verbs. Many children — especially second-language learners — automatically create past-tense verbs by adding ‘ed.’ Often they need extra help to learn the many exceptions to the ‘ed’ trick.

Using words from Polka-dot Fixes Kindergarten, this game challenges students to match a verb with its past-tense form. To create the game, make two sets of cards using the pattern and verb templates. One set will have polka-dots on the fronts and present-tense verbs on the backs. The other set will have stripes on the fronts and past-tense verbs on the backs. Print multiple sets double-sided on heavy paper. Then cut them into cards and mix one set of polka-dot cards with one set of striped cards. You also can use the templates to create your own pairs of past/present tense verbs.

Divide the children into groups of four or five and give each group a set of cards. Children take turns flipping over a polka-dot card, then a striped card. If the striped card is the past tense of the polka-dot card, the child puts the two cards in his or her lap. If the cards don’t match, the child flips them back over and play continues.

  Sheet Size
  Full Half Quarter
Polka-Dot Patterns Click to download Click to download Click to download
Stripe Patterns Click to download Click to download Click to download
Present Tense Verbs Click to download Click to download Click to download
Irregular Past Tense Verbs Click to download Click to download Click to download
Blank Fill-in Cards Full Half Quarter

Polka-dot Party!
Nothing says PARTY like polka-dots. Here are some dotty ideas for throwing your own polka-dot party.

Character Puppets
Download sketches of the characters for coloring and puppet theater activities. Students can act out Polka-dot Fixes Kindergarten or create stories of their own. Four characters are included: Polka-dot, Liz, Grandpa, and Mrs. Jackson.

Discussion Questions
You can use the following guide to help in your classroom discussion of Emma’s Question. (PDF, 61kb)

Healing Stories: Picture Books for the Big and Small Changes in a Child’s Life
Dr. Jacqueline Golding’s book and supporting website contain unique resources to support you in using picture books to help children through the challenges they face, from the everyday to major trauma.

Books about Illness and Death
Books can help us face our biggest fears and deepest grief. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books dealing with illness and death.

Writing Activities

You Can Write!
A five-step guide for helping young writers understand some tools that I’ve found helpful. (PDF, 75 kb)

Creating Characters
To make an interesting story, you need interesting characters.  And to create interesting characters, you have to get to know them—just like you get to know a real person. (PDF, 37 kb)