Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Snowing Symmetry!

There's no snow here in central Florida, but that doesn't mean I can't draw a flurry of line symmetry designs, right?
Snowy Symmetry has designs for Winter and Christmas such as a penguin juggling snowballs, silly snowflake and star characters, a walrus, a teddy bear, a gingerbread boy, girl, and house, and Santa holding a gift. There are 16 designs with 3 levels of difficulty, making 48 designs in all.
Teachers have left enthusiastic feedback on my fall and spring symmetry packets such as
Great symmetry lessons that scaffold for younger students.
My kids love these and the differentiated variety meets everyone's needs!
Loved this activity. The kids wanted to do it all afternoon

If you would like to combine math and art in a seasonal project, please check out Snowy Symmetry. There is a FREE sample to try in the Preview.
Click cover to view Snowy Symmetry!
Another chilly option is one of the first classroom resources I made, Ready, Set, Snow! Printable Snowflakes to Match Pairs and Halves:
Click cover to view Ready, Set, Snow!
I wish you a very happy holiday season!

My web site

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Andy's famous spiced cranberry sauce

If you'd like to try something a little different for Thanksgiving, check out this easy recipe. My husband Andy tasted this at a party a couple of decades ago and has been making it ever since. It gets gobbled up in a hurry every year!

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

4 cups fresh cranberries (2 standard-sized bags)
2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger

Wash cranberries and drain. Combine rest of ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil. Add cranberries, cook at medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes until the skins pop (see below.)
Mash the berries (below.) Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes with the lid on but askew to allow steam to escape. Stir occasionally until dark red and thickened.
Remove from heat, pour into glass or ceramic container, and chill.
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

My web site

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 'em or hate 'em?

Like many of us, I have a love/hate relationship with deadlines. On the one hand, who needs the pressure? On the other hand, it motivates us to get things done. This post has two deadlines...for you, not me (hee hee!)

The first one involves 6 teaching resource bundles and 1 clip art bundle to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It's a great cause and the feedback has been terrific. The benefit is over at the end of October and the current price per bundle of around 25 resources is discounted to only $20. The Grades 3-5 ELA and Math covers shown are the ones I donated to but there are also K-2 and 6-8 grades also. Click here to see all of them.
Click to visit bundle page
Click to visit bundle page

The second deadline is tomorrow (October 30th)'s the last day to sign up for a chance to win 1 of 5 copies of Jack & the Hungry Giant Eat Right With MyPlate on Goodreads. The giveaway was supposed to end after the 31st, but based on what the site says, it's going to end on the 30th. I hope some of my blog readers will be the winners! Click here for more info about this book and a link to a FREE book activity.

Good luck!

My web site

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Two Book Giveaways and a TpT Flash Sale!

Because TeachersPayTeachers has reached 100,000 followers on Facebook, they've decided to have a sitewide 10% sale until midnight on Sunday, October 13. And everything in my shop is 20% off, so that adds up to a big discount. My sale actually runs through Monday the 14th to give my followers some extra time. Click here to visit my shop.

My brand new Radiant Rainbow Brushes, Pencils, Clouds, Drops, and Borders clip art graphics are included in the sale.

There are only a few hours left in the Jack & the Hungry Giant book giveaway on the Bunting, Books, & Bainbridge blog, so it's enter now or never!

The book giveaway on Goodreads runs until the end of October and there are 5 copies of Jack to win there.

Good luck and happy shopping!

My web site

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Giveaway of Jack & the Hungry Giant!

During the month of October, my publisher (Holiday House) is sponsoring a giveaway of 5 copies of Jack & the Hungry Giant Eat Right with MyPlate on Goodreads! For more about the book and a link to a free activity, read this post.

I happened to meet a teacher a couple of weeks ago at the UVU Engaged Reading conference who teaches health topics in elementary...she was SO excited to find this book. Apparently, she has a tough time finding fun resources for certain topics. Guess I should keep writing and illustrating!

This #giveaway is a first for me, so it will be yet another "learning experience," no doubt. Click "giveaway details" on the widget below or use this link. I did figure out how to upload an excerpt from the book onto Goodreads, so that's something.

Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Jack & the Hungry Giant Eat Right with MyPlate by Loreen Leedy

Jack & the Hungry Giant Eat Right with MyPlate

by Loreen Leedy

Giveaway ends October 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crazy Like a Fox nominated for the ORA Gallagher!

It was a wonderful surprise this week to find out that Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story has been nominated for the Patricia Gallagher Picture Book Award by the Oregon Reading Association. Here is the page with all the nominees.

It's a children's choice award, so the winner is chosen by kiddos across the state. All the books are good ones so they'll have a tough decision to make! In the meantime, it's a fun way to promote literacy and celebrate reading.

The trailer gives a sense of what the book is about without giving too much away:

To visit the book's page on Amazon, click this link: Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story  
My article about the process of writing the book is on the I.N.K. blog: Crazy About Similes!

This FREE follow-up slideshow has photographs of the the items used in the similes such as a log, a lion, a leaf, and so on. It's a great way to help kids understand the comparison each simile is making. The PowerPoint is located in my TpT shop at this link: Crazy for Similes Book Activity 

I drew and painted the illustrations in Adobe Photoshop. The image below gives an idea of the process. I make fairly rough sketches, either in color or black and white. The artwork is divided into layers so each piece can be moved independently. The layers also allow me to try out different colors very easily. It's akin to word processing in that you can keep fine-tuning the artwork until the very last second.

By the way, if you haven't travelled to Oregon, it is a wonderful place to go...there are mountains, the Pacific ocean, fossils, lava fields and tubes from volcanic eruptions, rainforests, lakes, rainbows, fabulous pies, and much more.

Thanks for stopping by!

My web site

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Information Options: Presenting Nonfiction Topics in Picture Books

Today I'm delighted to be presenting a keynote address for the Utah Valley University Forum on Engaged Reading. This post has my notes as well as links referenced in Information Options: A variety of ways to present nonfiction topics in picture books. The links for my breakout sessions are included also.

How do people get information? How do children get information?

From prehistoric times, humans have observed the world around them, and wanted to tell somebody about it.

Kids are told many things by adults including parents, relatives, neighbors, and teachers. Children also find things out by first-hand experience, by doing things.

Long distance and mass communication: Town crier, carrier pigeon, letters, (now emails or texts,) newspapers, magazines, radio, telephones, TV, movies. Then computers, Internet, smart phones, search engines

Today's focus: The kind of information children can find in picture books and the multiple ways it can be presented.

What can nonfiction books look like? The bad old days of long paragraphs of text with a few rectangular photos...are they really gone?

Some general categories of nonfiction books:
Just facts
Information + Context to make it more meaningful
Information + Process: how X is built
Information + Activity: make a craft, do a science experiment
Information + Argument: why X is good or bad

Solving for X: key elements to consider when creating an informational picture book
Main Idea; Facts; Age level; Title; Setting; Characters; Plot or Sequence; Writing options; Image options

Some of the combinations found in my books (links go to the book's page on my web site):
Symmetry + Many Examples + Line & Rotational symmetry + realistic images = Seeing Symmetry
Sequence: “What is symmetry?”...starts with Line then Rotational

Mars + Photographs + Kids + Writing = Messages From Mars
Plot: group of kids that win a trip to Mars, write home about what they learn

Animal sayings + Meanings + Comical animals + Antique art = There’s a Frog in My Throat
The groupings are based on where animals live, e.g. On the Farm; In the Wild

Similes + Story + Comical Animals + Transformations = Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story
Plot: Fox acts “crazy,” provokes sheep to follow him, leads her to surprise party

Prehistoric + Chronological + Realistic art + Playful = My Teacher Is a Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Poems, Jokes, Riddles, & Amazing Facts
Chronological overview, realistic artwork, playful presentation

Math + Delete Numbers + Problems + Fantasy = Missing Math: A Number Mystery
A way to show the value of math by removing it, detective story

Energy + Types + Step-by-step + Characters = The Shocking Truth about Energy
Major types, Steps of energy production, characters come to life with energy

MyPlate + Big food images + Read aloud + Fairy tale = Jack & the Hungry Giant
Large images of food, story for context, Jack & the Beanstalk

Diverse ways of presenting information in books is important, because READERS are diverse.


All Loreen Leedy picture books are on this page of my website. There are links to individual book pages that have a summary, the ISBN numbers, activity ideas, trailers, and more.

This is a blog post with ideas for introducing Seeing Symmetry including using hands-on foldables and the words to a symmetry chant.

I've made several free activities for my books including the ones shown below:
Click image to go to activities download page on TpT
Click image to download
Download my free book activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop. More are under construction and will be in my shop as they are created. Be sure to "follow me" to be notified.

Other activities are downloadable from this page of my web site.

The Nonfiction Reading Response Cards shown on the left will be free during the conference.

My Pinterest boards are mostly full of teaching ideas on various topics such as Making Math Fun, Kids + Nonfiction, and Eating My Plate. Click to view them all and follow the ones that interest you. A collaborative board I contribute to called Learn to Read has over half a million followers!

ClipArt Etc. has thousands of antique images that are free for educators to use in the classroom. Additional images can be found on a sister site, Presentations Etc.

Holiday House Books for Young People has a page of books categorized by themes such as character education, cultural diversity, math, science and nature, and many more. They also have Teachers guides, Activity pages, and other freebies on this page. Here are all my Holiday House books that are in print.

Life Changing Nonfiction Series: during the month of September, I.N.K. bloggers are writing about nonfiction books that inspired them as children and comparable books that are available today: I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids)

Nonfiction Monday is a weekly roundup of blog posts about nonfiction books. It's hosted on a different blog every week, so check the schedule here.

Here is a free template for kids to make a map of their bedrooms using Mapping Penny's World as a mentor text on the School is a Happy Place blog.

See a class writing their own simile story using Crazy Like a Fox as a mentor text on the 4th Grade Frolics blog.

Why should kids read nonfiction?
Beyond Once Upon a Time by Nell K Duke.

Whew...hope this post is useful...if so, please leave a comment!

My web site

Friday, August 30, 2013

Opening night is coming soon for Princess K.I.M. the Musical

With an impressive display of perseverance, an author-illustrator colleague of mine, Maryann Cocca-Leffler, has transformed two of her books into a musical play! Princess K.I.M. the Musical tells the story of a little girl who is new in school…in order to impress her classmates, she claims to be a princess. Once the lie is revealed, Kim starts being overly honest even if it hurts people's feelings. For example, she tells the teacher that her baby is "ugly." Oh dear! Eventually Kim discovers that being authentic and kind is the best way to make friends.

The books are available in your local library or can be requested. To see them on Amazon, click here: Princess K.I.M. and the Lie That Grew
or here: Princess Kim and Too Much Truth

If you'll be anywhere near Milford, New Hampshire on October 3-6, 2013, the production will be at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets and more information, visit the Princess K.I.M. blog. The most recent post shows photos of the sets, which are in the charming style of the book illustrations.

New Hampshire is a little far away for me to go, but I am happy to participate in a teensy way by being a sponsor of this lovely ad for the playbill:
My new book is right under the word "mind." For more about my book see this post, or see it on Amazon: Jack and the Hungry Giant Eat Right With MyPlate

I can only imagine how much work it was for Maryann and her team to turn her books into a stop, Broadway? Let's hope so!

My web site

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Label a Sea Turtle, Woolly Mammoth, or Allosaurus!

An example of one of the Common Core State Standards that pertains to learning vocabulary is CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text... Labeling a diagram requires linking the word with an image, which activates multiple pathways in the brain—always a good thing!

Another relevant standard is CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.7: Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.

I've created three printable labeling activities so far. As shown below, the artwork for these activities is realistic which I think is important for this kind of nonfiction material. Cute images are fun but can be misleading in a science education context.

Sea turtles are one of my favorite animals—it's truly amazing that these reptiles have been around for millions of years. The Label a Sea Turtle! diagram includes the vocabulary words head, eye, nose, beak, neck, flipper, shell, scute, tail, and scale. A second diagram of the sea turtle life cycle is also included with the words eggs, hatchling, beach, nest, female, tracks, adult, ocean, juvenile.
Click cover to download the preview in my TPT shop

Answer keys are included, naturally. It's perfect for Ocean, Marine Animal, and Reptile units. The species of sea turtle is the loggerhead, by the way.

The Woolly Mammoth is another wonderful creature that is included in Ice Age and Prehistoric units as well as ancient North American history. Label a Woolly Mammoth! has the words hair, eye, foot, leg, tail, tusk, trunk, ear, back, and head.
Diagram to label a woolly mammoth, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.7
Click to find in my TPT shop

Last, but definitely not least is a fearsome meat-eating dinosaur diagram. Label an Allosaurus! can be used with Dinosaur, Prehistoric, or Predator units, and includes the words arm, back, claw, eye, head, leg, neck, tail, teeth, and toe.
Diagram of an allosaurus dinosaur to label. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.7
Click to go to my TpT shop
I hope these activities will be useful to help kids learn about animals past and present.

If you're interested in an entertaining book about prehistoric life, please take a look at My Teacher Is a Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Poems, Jokes, Riddles, & Amazing Facts. The School Library Journal review says: ...the tantalizing facts and pictures in this book will stimulate readers' curiosity.

These FREE activities to go with the book are in my TpT shop at this link.
Thanks for stopping by!

My Web Site

Friday, August 16, 2013

New Classroom Resources + Freebies!

While on a trip recently, I doodled this idea for a poster activity:
The purpose is to help kids focus on descriptive sensory language in what they are reading. When they find an example of a sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch-related detail, they will record it in the corresponding area of their poster.

The poster can be used with any text of reasonable length such as a magazine article as well as fiction or informational books. Here is a sample of the poster already filled in:
As they read, students will record words or phrases that relate to the 5 senses— rough fence; everyone stares; flavor of grass; sniffs the air; listens for the cow bell— or write a short summary as shown above to give more context.

There's also a vertical version included which you can see in the lower right of the cover:
Click to see 5 Senses Read & Write in my TpT shop.

Another new item is this Owl Combo Pack of Whooo's In Our Class? get-to-know-you foldable plus Owls Are All Write! Graphic Organizers and Writing Papers.
Though this is discounted already, it will be included in the sale. The same goes for the Similes Classroom Books Combo Pack:
Similes & Meanings has 30 familiar similes for kids to illustrate, while Simile Starters has 30 prompts for students to write new, original similes.

We're Nuts About Goals! is a fun craftivity for kiddos to learn about setting goals as early as Kindergarten. They don't even have to be able to write, they can just draw pictures on the acorns. Learning how to set and achieve goals can make all the difference in life so it's an important concept for all students.
Age-appropriate goals could include:
Learning a specific new skill
Meeting a particular Common Core State Standard
Following a class rule
Improving a certain behavior
Trying new things
Reading X number of books
Practicing something a certain length of time per/day or week

As always, my classroom resources including the graphics are original creations by me. Speaking of graphics, this Apple Frames FREEBIE has gotten a ton of downloads and great feedback already:
To make it easier for teachers to find my freebies, there is now a Freebie Category in my shop. To find the newest resources, click on the Most Recent link on the main store page or the NEW! category.

These are most of the "newbie" resources in my shop. I love making classroom resources so more are on the way!

My web site

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Making Math Fun!

In my junior high school days a guidance counselor had to listen to this confident declaration: "I'll never pursue any career that has to do with math!" Naturally I ended up being a bookkeeper for my freelance business, measuring pages, illustrations, and/or type on a daily basis, and have created over a dozen math picture books so far. It wasn't a very good estimate of my future activities, was it?

One of my primary goals has been to present the side of math to kids that is intriguing, entertaining, other words, fun! In that spirit, here is a screenshot of my Making Math Fun! board on Pinterest:
This board has over 300 pins with all sorts of ideas for teaching elementary level math from place value to money to basic facts to graphing. I follow over 5,000 people/boards on Pinterest, so great ideas are added on a regular basis. 

If you'll be implementing Common Core this year, over fifty pages of teaching tips and links to freebies can be found in this FREE Common Core Math Back-to-School eBook for Grades 3-5, from a group of teacher-authors on TeachersPayTeachers. (There are similar ebooks for other grade levels and ELA topics.) Here are some pages, just to give you an idea:
The Math Content standards are cited to make it easier for teachers to find what they need. Here is a close up of my page (22), which focuses on line symmetry in Grade 4 Geometry, CCSS.Math.Content.4.G.A.3:
One of my Pinterest boards is devoted to symmetry and has hundreds of pins, if you need any more inspiration on that subject. Collecting ideas and images on a topic is a little obsession of mine which makes Pinterest my favorite place to do research on almost anything.

I hope you have plenty of fun with math in your future!

My web site

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bloglovin' + How to Crop iPad Screenshots

Follow my blog with Bloglovin The reason the follow link is at the top of this post is it appears that is how you "claim" your own blog for bloglovin'. (I could be mistaken but I'm trying to follow the directions! Update: it seems to have worked!) By the way, if you are new to bloglovin' and want to make a custom follow button for your blog, here is a post on Raspberry Sunshine that explains how. I haven't made one yet because things have suddenly become "hectic" around here, but hopefully will get around to it soon. For now my blog just has a generic follow button. The bloglovin' reader has a nice layout so that should help me keep up with the blogs I'm following more easily.

Incidentally, this is the first post I've (mostly) written on my iPad, so yay! Here is a way to crop screenshots on your iPad using the free PS Express app:

1. Most people already know this but just in case: to take an iPad screenshot, press the Lock and round Home button at the same time. Here is a screen shot of my Pinterest boards:
As you can see, it shows the entire screen with the timestamp and extra "stuff" as well as the cut off boards at the bottom. To crop it, you'll need to download the free version of the  PS Express app from the iTunes App store. When you launch the app, you get this screen:
Click on the Select Photo grid in the middle and find the screenshot you just took, which should be the last image on your Camera Roll. Now tap the icon in the lower left corner (see below) then tap Crop in the pop-up menu.
Adjust the "handles" to crop the image however you like, then tap Save. It will save a new copy and not alter the original screenshot. Here is the cropped image of 8 of my boards.
I use this technique to get images from my iPad to upload to my blog, my Google+ profile, and so on. Have fun with this #edtech tip!

My web site
To check out my new picture book on Amazon, click here: Jack and the Hungry Giant Eat Right With MyPlate

Monday, July 15, 2013

Falling for Symmetry...Autumn Pictures to Draw and Color!

Ever since working on my picture book Seeing Symmetry, I've had an ongoing obsession with symmetry. My Pinterest board with teaching ideas on the subject has over 1,500 followers, so at least I'm not the only one! Because my Spring/Easter egg activity has been so popular, it seemed like a good idea to make a similar one for fall. It's called Falling for Symmetry: Math + Art for Autumn, Halloween, & Thanksgiving. The feedback has indicated that teachers and students LOVE to be able to combine a math lesson with an art activity.

As the image below shows, there are 3 levels included: Color only; Trace dashed lines; Draw the missing half. It's easy to choose the right one for students with different abilities.
Two of my lovely nieces were able to help "demo" Falling for Symmetry, using the most advanced version. Kids can draw the missing half by eye (scarecrow) or can use a ruler to measure and mark key points first (owl.) One of the girls measured the width of the owl's head, chest, leg, and so on.
Using the ruler definitely made it easier for her to draw the 2 halves as matching mirror images.
After the lines were drawn, she went over the lines with a black marker. Next the owl was partly colored in ...symmetrically, of course.
And here is the scarecrow in progress. I asked the girls what their favorite coloring tool is...markers, colored pencils, crayons? They like using crayons the best because they don't bleed like markers and give a more vibrant result than colored pencils.
Here are all of the pictures the girls completed. One of the fun aspects about these symmetry pictures is that each student chooses their own colors so they all turn out differently.
The packet has 20 images in all: 10 general autumn, 6 Halloween, and 4 for Thanksgiving. To download the Preview with more info and a free sample page to try from my TPT shop, click here or on the cover image below.
Click to visit my TPT shop
The Common Core State Standards include line symmetry in 4th Grade geometry (4.G.3) but the underlying concepts of equality (matching), halves versus wholes, unit fractions, and so on appear in earlier grades. Thanks for reading!

My web site
Click link below to check out my newest picture book on Amazon:
Jack and the Hungry Giant Eat Right With MyPlate
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