June 30, 2013

First Week of School… Top 8 Books!

I am UBER EXCITED to share my favorite picture books for the first week of school with First Grade and Fabulous! I chose my top 8, which was very hard to do considering all of the wonderful resources out there!!!
Let's get started…
Click on any of the book cover photos to direct you to Amazon. Chrysanthemum is an absolute MUST! I read this book on the very first day of school to make note of all the students' names, and their uniqueness. Instead of beginning homework, we do a mini-project where parents help to fill out a worksheet that states the student's name, it's origin, why it's special, and so on! I then have my kiddos decorate their names (that I cut out in bubble letters) whichever way they like. This past year, I had names with cake sprinkles, glitter glue, beads, sequins, collages, and even pom-poms! I try my best to laminate the ones I can and hang them up in the classroom ALL YEAR! Click for the FREE quote poster I hung up near all my kiddos' names, and a video of the entire book.
Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell really know how to capture feelings and thoughts when they wrote this book! I am a big fan of I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem because it teaches the idea of not being perfect all the time. We all know that every child will have their "moments", whether it is good or indifferent. I read this to preach the word ACCEPTANCE!
Onto the next book… Fancy Nancy is a personal favorite of mine (love her attitude)! If you want to bring on a different perspective of the first day of school, read this! JoJo's First Day Jitters speaks more about the role of being an older sibling… I know that most students can relate because they are either an older sibling like Fancy Nancy OR a younger sibling like JoJo. Going to school for the very first time can be scary, but having your family there to support you makes it all the more better!!!!
My number four pick is Ish by Peter h. Reynolds (Luh-luh LOVE his work). You can never go wrong with this book as it shows, in some ways, the opposite of a few of the books above. Ramon is discouraged by his older brother, but later finds that his little sister finds his artwork "ish-ly" perfect! In first grade, we are still getting the hang of pretty much… everything. So the word "ish" before and after ANY word helps us to accept the imperfections in the classroom!
Making our way down the list with a new series I am really interested in! I included the next four books specifically because these are all series books in my classroom library. I think that by introducing them during the first week of school will encourage my munchkins to pick up a book from these bins… and read! The younger version of Amelia Bedelia is back and ready for action… these books are just right for children to learn about Amelia as a child herself. The special thing is that she did not change one bit! Amelia is just as silly as ever when she encounters all the first grade happenings in such a literal form. Can't wait for this one!!!
Splat the Cat… OH… Splat the Cat. He cracks me up (I think it's just the way he looks that does it)! There is something about this book series that totally has my first graders hooked. Common nerves and objects that serve as a comfort zone (much like Owen by Kevin Henkes) seemed to get the best of Splat the Cat… but not enough for him to realize that school will be the right fit for him!
Biscuit books are cute, short, and have repeated lines. I like this series because of those things solely. I read this not for content, but for motivation… when my students listen to me read these books, they tend to join in! 
I saved the BEST for last!!!! Oh, Pete the Cat- what will I ever do with you??? Pete has such a relaxed mindset (I am jealous)… we all can learn a little bit from Pete the Cat's mentality. I love to sing, which is just another reason why this book serves to all students. Everything you need for Pete the Cat is HERE (click to go)!

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