Make Your Own Origami Yoda

Back in March, I wrote about Tom Angleberger's awesome Origami Yoda promotion, through which I acquired this super-cool signed-by-the-author origami Yoda
and this rad illustration.

My Yoda already made two guest appearances in book talks!  In August, my friend borrowed him to give a talk about the book--one of twenty chosen this year for the Texas Bluebonnet Reading List--to the librarians in our school district.  Then, last week, Yoda co-starred with me in this interview video, which I used to promote the book, and our upcoming book fair, to my students.
The script is available from the Scholastic Canada Book Fair site.  It can also be read by a pair of students.  If you want to skip the acting and get straight to building excitement about the novel, check out Scholastic's teaser video.

The book ties in perfectly with Scholastic's fall book fair theme this year: To the Book Fair and Beyond!  As we prepare for our fair at the end of this month, my classes are focusing on fiction and non-fiction portrayals of outer-space.  Since this book features a famous fictional space traveler, it was a fun story to kick off the theme with my 3rd-5th grade students.  After the book teaser, students got a chance to make their own origami Yoda using the simple, one-page tutorial from the Origami Yoda blog.
 There are also instructions for more detailed Yodas as well as other Star Wars favorites. 

If you plan to share Angleberger's novel with your students, also check out this fun idea.
This Vintage Chica used a clever turn of phrase to turn origami Yoda into Valentine notes.  The green, not-mushy nature of the geeky-in-a-good-way cards means they're perfect encouragements to send any time of year.  Students could make them for each other, substituting pal or friend or homey for Valentine


Free printable masks

With Halloween carnivals and class parties right around the corner, it's time to start planning a costume.  Masks are an easy approach to taking on a new role.  Check out these print-cut-wear masks for instant costume fun.

At many schools, students are only allowed to dress as storybook characters.  This Junie B. Jones printable mask certainly fills the bill.  Also check out my favorite character, Skippyjon Jones.  Click the keyhole to get into Skippyjon's closet.  Then click on teachers to find the mask and lots of printable activities.

If you are looking for more traditional Halloween characters, visit Goobitsa, Brian Gubicza's illustration site.

Find bunches of options at ClassroomJr.  Categories include animals, monsters, and masks from different cultures.

Let students explore their inner superheroes with printable masks from Disney, including Captain AmericaIron Man, and this cool Incredible Hulk mask.


Hoot Owl Stories, Crafts and Fun

Fall officially began this week (although, on the day our air conditioning didn't work, it definitely still felt like summer).  Despite the weather, the start of fall gets me thinking about squirrels and owls and other forest critters.  This week, my students and I read and learned about owls.  It was lots of fun.  Here are some of the owly stories and activities we did plus a few extras.

The grey and orange owl mask in the photo above is a free printable from AnimalJr.com, where you can also find spider, cat, and bat versions just in time for Halloween.  All four designs are also offered in black and white, so students can decorate their own.  I wore the mask and used an owl hand puppet to build excitement about the topic.

Owl Babiesis a beautiful 1992 picture book by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson about three owlets who don't know where their mother has gone.  Kindergarten listeners relate easily to the anxiety and eventual reassurance experienced by the owls in the story.  The dark setting in the illustrations helps students understand that owls are nocturnal animals.

  Little Hoot is another great owl-themed picture book written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace.  Little Hoot just wants to go to bed at night when his friends do, but his parents have other ideas.  Students will relate to bedtime disputes, and they can compare and contrast their desire to stay up late with Little Hoot's wish to turn in early.

After the read-alouds, we used these popsicle-stick owl puppets for an owl counting song.  Templates for the little owls are available at Sunflower Storytime*, where you can also see adorable examples of them all made up.  Then visit Mel's Desk where you can find the words to the song, Hoot Owl Count.

Next, students got to make owls to take home.  I used the simple owl template and idea from Woman's Day.  Kindergarteners enjoyed the craft and especially loved getting to smell the sweet candy corn noses.

If you haven't had enough owl excitement, visit Feeling Inspired to get these free printable owl bookmarks and book plates.

Also checkout the Owlygraphic novel series by Andy Runton.
At Runton's site, you can find six free Owly comics in downloadable pdfs.  Each of these nearly wordless comic stories features Owly and Wormy's friendship and adventures.  Older elementary school students seem to enjoy this series.  Reading wordless stories helps students understand visual cues and sequence of events.  Teachers can encourage students to make predictions about what the characters are thinking.  Readers can even create text to accompany the stories.  See for yourself just how cute Owly and Wormy are in their online animation.

*This post originally included a link to the wrong site for the owl templates.  Thanks so much to Leah from Sunflower Storytime for pointing out my mistake!!