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July 12, 2013

Reading Superpowers and Superheroes!

Reading Superpower and Superheroes! - HeidiSongsReading Superpower and Superheroes! - HeidiSongs


Did you know that all of those guided reading skills that you have been teaching your students can be thought of as “Reading Superpowers?”  Yes, they can!  In fact, when your students use their Guided  Reading Superpowers, they become Reading Superheroes!!!!  I learned this when I recently received an email from Anmarie Galgano, a teacher that uses HeidiSongs in her classroom. She shared her wonderful idea of changing my Zero the Hero Project into a Reading Superhero project and attached a picture as well!  She made an entire bulletin board about it- and here it is:

I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to bulletin board ideas; follow it here!

I asked her if I could share this wonderful idea here with you, and she readily agreed.  I think you will love it; it turned out sooooo cute!   I decided to recreate the printable sheet that she made for her students to fill in so that you could download a similar one here. 

This is what my free download looks like.  I copied Anmarie’s as well as I could, but added writing lines the way I would have wanted my students to have them.

Here are some close up examples of Anmarie’s students’ “superpowers!”  Aren’t they sweet?

Can you tell I am having a little fun with some digital paper that I bought on Etsy?  I got them from a store called Pininkie.

This is what Anmarie wrote:

Hi Heidi,
I thought you might like to see how I adapted your cute Father’s Day Superhero project.  All year I frame my reading workshop mini-lessons on acquiring “Superpowers”.  So as a reflection, we make this project and the students identify two superpowers that make them feel strong. The bulletin board is adorable and I love the connection to our lessons.  There’s a really nice variety of skills that the students list.  I have more photos, but I don’t know how to blur out the student faces!  :). I thought you might like to see this one.
Thanks for continuing to inspire!

Here is the original project that Anmarie downloaded from our website:

Note the x-ray vision and the lightning bolts coming from the shoes!!!  Love it!

The original Zero the Hero project was intended as an extension for a math unit on place value, in which the children would focus on counting groups of tens and learn to skip count by tens.  (We have a skip counting song on the Musical Math CD/DVD, and a whole album of Skip Counting songs available on iTunes!) and a Zero the Hero song that my students always ADORE and beg to sing on the Number Jumble Animated DVD.  In fact, that seems to be the case in many classrooms, because we got several entries of this song for our annual video contest this year!  Here is just one of them.


I also use this same project as the basis for a Father’s Day card.  The children turn him into a “Super Dad!”  They always love this idea, and the pictures turn out so cute!  This is the original post here.  I have placed one of my student’s pictures below.

I just LOVE the phonetic spelling skills on the left!  So precious!

One other thing that I LOVE to do with my class on every tenth day of school is to use my very old Zero the Hero cone puppet and use it when I count with my class up to the numbered day of school we are on.  For example, if we are on the 30th day of school, then we count up to number 30 with the puppet.  But I only get out the puppet on every tenth day of school!  That keeps it special.

I use the stick end of the dowel to point at the numbers while we count.  When we get to the tens, we all pop up (including the puppet!) and jump up high, shouting out the number!  Then, I make the puppet do something, such as dance a little, sway to the left or right, bow, jiggle, etc.  But whatever the puppet does, everyone must copy!  The children love this game!  And the great thing is that it holds their attention quite well!  I do these little movements with the puppet for about 30 seconds, and then the puppet pops back down into the cone, and the children must also sit.  Then we keep on counting, and on we go!  This game stays fresh and fun for a long time, as long as you don’t do it every day.  I usually drop the game after we hit the hundredth day of school, though, because it gets tedious popping up and counting up to such large numbers!

I was thinking that we could even switch things around and if “the puppet” notices a “Superpower Reading Strategy” being used during a guided reading lesson (or any other time), it could pop up and announce the strategy. What do you think????  Oh boy, I love this!!!  Reading Superpowers, to the rescue!

Here is a picture of my old Zero puppet, and the new one sold on Etsy here.

I actually inherited my puppet from a retired teacher many years ago, and I have no idea where she got it.  After much searching, I finally found a similar puppet on Etsy several months ago, but it was showing up as out of stock.  When I contacted the shop owner, she said that she wasn’t making any more puppets for a while because she was due to have a baby very soon.  Well, guess what?  I got a message last week that she had her baby (congratulations!) and is ready to begin making these adorable puppets again!  Hooray!  They look a lot like my original, too!  Here is the link.  They are $18.  I wish they cost less, but I know that I have been using mine every single year since I started teaching kindergarten in 1993, so if you are anything like me, it might be a good investment.  I doubt that counting will be removed from anyone’s curriculum anytime soon!

I know that puppets like this can be made out of felt, with the puppet going up and down into something that looks like a an envelope or sleeve, but I have a feeling that the puppet wouldn’t go up and down very easily that way.  Someone also told me that you can make this sort of puppet out of an empty Pringles can covered with Contac paper.  She said that you just empty out a Beanie Baby and put a dowel up inside of it, securing it with glue.  Add a little cape with a zero on it, and you have a pop up puppet with a cape!  I haven’t tried it before, but it seems to me that it would work.

Then I googled “Do it yourself pop up puppets” and clicked on “images” and WOW!  There were TONS of ideas!  Most notably, I found this blog post here, from which I captured the image below.

This image came from

Do you have a great idea or game to share that incorporates a HeidiSongs product?  I would LOVE to hear about it!  Send me your idea, and if I use your idea in a blog post, I will send you a FREE HeidiSongs product!  It’s especially helpful if you have pictures!  (There is no deadline to send these ideas in.)

Send it here:  Thanks, and have a happy summer!