Our October Booklist

Our theme for this month is

Fall Leaves

Here is a booklist to take to your local library.  It’s full of our favorite books including my latest find – and what a find it is.  Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow.  Please find this book and experience the beauty of the illustrations as you enjoy a walk through the woods.   All of our activities on TheFirefliesClassroom.com will be based on this book.   Join us!


Baseball Memories Collage

Memories are precious gifts from God.  Memories made with our children, even more endearing.  Engaging your little one’s skills with cutting and coloring, you can also save his/her hand print and their “signature” as well with this sweet memory-making project.

In my last post we looked at the watercolor masterpiece of my 16-year-old daughter, Amber, who loves baseball and balancing spoons on her nose.  Now you will meet my son in the photo above.  Seven years ago, he played baseball, and his toothless smile and tough-as-nails stance in the photo above still melt my heart.  Since we’re traveling down memory lane and talking about baseball, I decided it’s time for a fun collage that’s great for engaging students and building memories.

You will need for each child: a copy of the coloring page baseball mitt template (emailed FREE to you upon request), a SOLO cup to trace the proper circle size for the baseball, a plastic grocery bag to stuff the ball and glove if desired, scissors, stapler, markers, plain white paper, a sheet of colored paper, and a squirt of washable tempera on a paper plate.

First, have your child/student color the mitt in whatever colors they wish!  Next the student will cut out the mitt.  It is an easy shape for little ones to practice on.  (If you wish to stuff your mitt to make it dimensional, like a real mitt, cut out two at a time.)  Staple the two mitts together around the perimeter and leave an opening to stuff the mitt with a plastic grocery bag cut up into pieces and then staple shut.  Trace a SOLO cup on a piece of white paper and, again, cut out two at a time.  Again using the SOLO cup, trace half circles on each side of the ball in red marker to create the red stitching.  Now the student can write their “John Hancock” on the ball and staple around the perimeter so it can be stuffed if you wish.  Finally it’s time for the hand print!  If you have a photo, that, too, may be added to your collage.

My neighbor Naomi wanted to get in on the fun so she colored her mitt with pink and purple picked out purple paint.  She also added a fingerprint on the ball.  I’d say she’s officially made her mark on this project!

This is my neighbor Naomi who loves art!
Squishy-squashy fun!
Naomi’s masterpiece!

Now it’s time to mat, frame, or place into a shadow box your beautiful memory collage!  Enjoy and happy memories!

By Laura Bird Miller

Storytelling: Sunflowers

It is the season of gratitude. A season that reminds us to take the time and give thanks for all our blessings. Why not show your appreciation this month by creating a gratitude book with your little one? Have your child choose a family member or friend that they are thankful for — I know, it will be hard to pick just one! Delight in a conversation with them about all the wonderful traits this special person has that you adore. Encourage them to think of a special memory they have shared with this person.

The giant, colorful beauty of a sunflower provides a great foundation for our DIY Book!


You’ll Need:



Construction Paper (yellow, brown, and blue)

Glue Stick

Writing Paper



  1. Have your child cut out a large brown circle from their brown construction paper. This book is a great opportunity to practice those scissor skills, so I encourage you to let your child free-cut their shapes. If you would prefer using a template, I have provided one HERE!
  2. Next, use the yellow construction paper to cut out your petal shapes. Again, feel free to free-cut or use the template.
  3. After your child has cut all their shapes have them recall your earlier conversation about their loved one. Have your child write the name of the person they chose on the brown flower center. Write a character trait about that special person on each petal.
  4. Once your petals are full assemble the flower using a glue stick. Then glue onto the blue construction paper cover piece.
  5. Use the writing paper to write a short story featuring that favorite memory!
  6. Complete the book by compiling the cover, the pages of your story, and a final blue piece of construction paper for your book backing. Staple to bind together.




Jocelyn Bartle

Writing Personal Narratives

How to introduce personal narrative writing to a budding author.

Concept of preschool, kids education, learning and art, child drawing in class

  1. Understand what a personal narrative is and explain the writing goal to your child.
    A personal narrative is a TRUE story that tells about something in your life. [a person, an experience, an event…]   You are the author and the point of view is YOUR point of view.  Your readers should learn something about you after reading your personal narrative.   Be sure to include sensory details so that your readers can see, hear, taste, feel and/or smell, your story.
  2. Begin with oral storytelling.
    The more you tell stories together as a family, the easier it will be for your child to transfer their storytelling efforts to paper.  Tell stories around the dinner table or in the car on the way to the grocery store.   It’s okay to begin with “Once Upon a Time” but remind your child that a personal narrative is about something the author experienced.
  3. To get started, think about a small moment in your life.
    Every Tuesday I go to gymnastics class.
  4. Have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
    First I put on my leotard.
  5. Extend the experience by using descriptive words.
    First I put on my soft, pink leotard.
  6. Tell how you feel.
    I was so excited when I put on my pink leotard!  Soon I will be at City Gymnastic Center with my best friends – jumping, running , and rolling.
  7. Use dialogue when possible.
    When I get to the gym my coach always greets me at the door and says, “Hi Heather!  I’m so glad you are here today.”
  8. Finish with a picture of you at gymnastics class – perhaps while you are on the balance beam!
  9. Don’t forget to publish your book.
  10. Place your book on your special author’s shelf in your home.  You do have one don’t you?  Everyone should!

If your children are too young to write their story, have them begin with a picture about a moment in their life and ask them to dictate their personal narrative to you as you write it down.   As your child sees you write the words he/she is speaking, they will begin to connect that words (their words) actually mean something.

The biggest mistake I see parents make is that they forget their ultimate objective when they ask their child to engage in a writing activity.    If your objective is constructing perfect letter forms, that’s penmanship.    If your objective is learning to spell words correctly, that’s spelling.   If your objective is having a child grow their confidence in constructing interesting stories – then by all means focus on the story.   Don’t mix handwriting or spelling skills into the brainstorming session.   After the story is complete, you can ask a 2nd or 3rd grade child to rewrite in their best handwriting and check spelling – but remember that you are celebrating the story.   If your child keeps asking how to spell words – then you know that you have already communicated to them that correct spelling is more important than a well constructed story.   Expect consistently corrected spelling the second semester of 2nd grade and beyond.  Hopefully by then your child will be a confident and enthusiastic young author.



Why not have your young author write about a time you went apple picking together.  Don’t miss an upcoming storytelling post where Jocelyn Bartle will show you how to publish your own apple book.

Keep telling, writing, and publishing stories together!