Happy Thursday, friends! I'm super excited to share a brand new book with y'all today that is not only gorgeously illustrated, but also contains such a relevant and important message. I'm talking about Brady Smith and Tiffani Thiessan's (yep, Kelly Kapowski!) new book, You're Missing It!

This book tells the story of a little boy who goes to the park with his dad. The only problem is the dad is too busy on his phone to pay attention to everything around him. Throughout the book, the little boy sees amazing things and tries to share his discoveries with his dad, but the dad is too busy. This is such a great story for theme. 

You may not have known, but this week is actually Screen Free Week- yep the irony isn't lost on me LOL. This book is the perfect way to talk with kids about being present and actually living life. 
Our schedule is jam packed every day, but we sometimes have days (especially here at the end of school) where we have a school event or some kids have a field trip with clubs and we don't have a regular class setting that day. On those days we usually have some free time and I hate to just let my students sit and "play" on their Chromebook. 

I've created a short list of ways to disconnect from the screen if this is a problem in your classroom. I know it is in mine at times. A few years ago, whenever we had free time, my kids would always beg to play interactive class games or draw or have "Storytime." But now, they just want to "play on the Chromebook" which is a term I loathe! I always like doing something as a class because it allows for myself AND the kids to be in more of a relaxed setting and develop a sense of family. 

Here's a few ways I have found to get kids to put down their screens and be present whenever we have a little free time in class:

* Go on a nature walk* 
Our science teacher does this and has the kids walk around the campus and simply observe their surroundings. Then they come back and do ABC's where they recall something they saw/smelled/felt that started with an "A" or a "B" or so on.

 This incorporates teamwork as well as speaking and listening standards. A huge plus in my book! If you google charades for kids, you can find examples for the kids to do. 

 Another highly requested favorite

Start off a story by saying something along the lines of "Once upon a time" or "One day, a boy named _______ went to ______" Then pick a student to continue your story. They will say a few lines, and then call on another student to add to the story.  

*Reverse Read Alouds*
 I build time into our schedule each day for a read aloud, but that doesn't mean if we have some free time we can't read another! Switch it up and have the kids be the teacher. Have a student pick a favorite book and read it to the class just like the teacher would. 

* Directed Drawings*
 We LOVE doing directed drawings and they often times result in some funny conversations and drawings LOL You can find tons of directed drawings online and you can even tie it back into whatever topic y'all are learning about at that time. 

What else can you think of to do during free time in your classroom to promote being present and screen free? Leave a comment below so we can all get ideas!

Thanks so much for my copy of the book, Penguin Random House Children's Books.