Picture Books and the First Few Weeks of School

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Ahh picture books, one of the most un taped resources a teacher can use in his/her classroom.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to picture books for #allthereasons.  
Not only can picture books teach valuable lessons regarding behaviors you are desiring in your classroom BUT they can do so much more.  My friend Courtney : the author behind Ramona Recommends offers the best tips when it comes to using picture books in the classroom.  She has an amazing personal story that shows how she opened the magic as a child and how you and your students can too.
I wanted to offer you a list of Back to School picture books that I find valuable and have tips and ideas on how you can use them to teach procedures/ behavior/ growth mindset/  etc. in your classroom so you can set the stage for the environment you hope to achieve all year long.  
There are so many to choose from but here are some all time favorites of mine that have proven to be great time and time again.

back to school pictures book favorites

back to school read alouds

If you are wanting to teach on growth mindset:

This sweet story has #allthefeels  you will fall in love with Jabari and enjoy his journey of having to be brave.  It's perfect to get discussions going around courage and achieving your goals.

giraffes can't dance growth mindset activity pack

Gerald the giraffe is awesome!  He is fun loving and definitely shifts his mindset over the course of this story - a must read for sure to encourage your students to have the power of yet.

If you want to teach on acceptance and build your classroom community:

Elmer the Elephant craft and activity pack

Elmer is a loveable elephant that doesn't look like the rest of the elephants - he goes through a journey of insecurity and then decides to embrace who he is and what he looks like.  It's a great story to teach accepting others and celebrating differences. 

wonders picture book activities

Another great book to teach your students about empathy and acceptance.  Auggie shares feelings of wanting to belong and feel accepted.

Class rules, blurting out, expectations..

officer buckle craft, book extensions and activities

Officer Buckle is a great person to help you get a conversation started in your classroom about school/class rules.  This is a fun, easy read that will get the kids laughing and thinking.

my mouth is a volcano craft

This book is probably my favorite when it comes to teaching on class expectations and  NOT BLURTING OUT.  This book teaches kids strategies on how to control your tongue and thoughts instead of blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.  

rainbow fish activities

These books are great to get a discussion going about friendship. How to treat a friend, how to share and being mindful of how others around you are feeling.  

If you are looking for great back to school stories to teach alphabet/names,etc. these are wonderful:

chicka chicka boom boom activity pack

Chicka, Chicka, Boom,  Boom is an amazing story to read with your Preschoolers/TK/Kinders/Firsties if you want to have fun with the alphabet!!

chrysanthemum activity pack with name activities

This story is great to talk about names and how important they are, also to embrace all names and teach acceptance.

first day jitters activity pack

Another favorite among teachers and students is for sure:  First Day Jitters.  I think it's important to share that teachers have back to school nightmares and get a little nervous every year to meet their new students as well.  It makes you seem more real and eases their anxiety a bit as well.

swimmy activity pack

Also if you are planning on having your students collaborate often in small groups then Swimmy is the perfect story to teach how we are better when we work together.  It's a sweet story about how Swimmy solves a big problem with the help of his friends.

This is truly a very limited list of great BTS books that you can use for the first few weeks of school.  #therearesomanymore 
I hope it helped a little if you were looking for some quick ideas. 

Just be sure to read all your picture books with enthusiasm and really reinforce the lessons/generate discussions and share the love of reading with your students.
Happy back to school friends,


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Chicka chicka Boom Boom activities

One of my favorite back to school read alouds/picture books to introduce words/letters/the alphabet has got to be the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  It's great for kinder babies and firsties the first few days/weeks of school to get them talking about letters/sounds before you do any letter sound assessments on them.  It's a fun way to look at the alphabet and if you can get your hands on the Ray Charles song/rap either on you tube or an old school cd that is super fun for them too.

chicka chicka boom boom ideas
There are so many different ways you can incorporate this read aloud and tons of extension activities to do with it that are perfect for those first few weeks of school.  
Kids LOVE to talk about their names and while I'm on the subject let's talk about names.  KNOWING and LEARNING kids name is of upmost importance!  If you aren't sure how to pronounce it - ask them, tell them you want to say their name correctly so you don't 'butcher' their name every single time.  It's hurtful to your students if you don't learn their name and say it correctly.  I had a student a few years back in 3rd grade.  I could not pronounce his name correctly and it was frustrating.  I finally pulled him aside and told him how important it was for me to say his name correctly.  So I had him say it to me slowly and I phonetically wrote it on a sticky note in a way that I knew I could say.  He looked at the note and laughed saying that is NOT how you spell my name.   I told him I knew but I would  never mispronounce his name again.  Guess what!?!?!  I didn't mess it up ever again.  Last year I ran into his mom and she said her son still talks about how I made such an effort to say his name correctly.  He said he loved that about me and wished all his teachers tried that hard to learn his name.  WOW, you never know the impact a simple gesture has on kids. 

and now back to the original blog post...( #soapbox )

As I was saying Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has so many different possiblities:  snack ideas, alphabet ideas, crafts, letter recognition, name spelling, vowels/consonant activities and more.  

Here are some things I created to extend the learning from the story.

 chicka chicka boom boom craft

The types of sorts/letter worksheets you can do with this are endless:

chicka chicka boom boom worksheets

chicka chicka boom boom alphabet worksheets

and so many more in my pack as well.

chicka chicka boom boom math and STEM activities

You can also have them taste a coconut, I've included an idea for an anchor chart/graph you do whole class.  

chicka chicka boom boom snack ideas
Need fine motor skill practice?!?!  This is also included:

chicka chicka boom boom fine motor activities

This story is so great and as you can see there are so many ways to extend the book in your classroom.  You can even recreate the book on larger paper and make a class book assigning different pages to kids or table groups.  

*** I take no responsibility for the presence of allergies in your classroom for the snack ideas, always check your students health records to be sure it's safe to expose your students to these products. ***

If you want to grab these activities you can find them by clicking 
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