Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Read Alouds for the First Week of School

Read-Alouds for the First Week of School

Reading aloud is an important part of my classroom.  It is especially important at the beginning of the year.  The books you choose to read aloud set the tone for your classroom community and teach lessons that will last the whole year!

Here are three of my favorite first week read-alouds:

Shubert's BIG Voice by Dr. Becky A. Bailey and Leigh Ann Burdick
This is an adorable story about a lightning bug named Shubert who has an encounter with a bully named Benny on the first day of school.  His magical teacher, Mrs. Bookbinder, teaches him to use his "Big Voice" to stand up for himself. 

I've been reading this book on the first day of school for years and my students always enjoy it.  More importantly, I am able to make using your "big voice" an important first step in dealing with conflict.  My students learn to tell others, " I don't like it when you..." and often, this results in an apology from the other student.  When students come to me to tattle, the first question I ask is, "Did you try using your big voice?"

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
This story about a rat named Rodney who can't pronounce his R's, is a great way to introduce a lesson on individual differences.  Wodney is often teased by his classmates for his speech. To their surprise, he becomes a hero when a bully named Camilla Capybara joins their class. This book leads to great discussions about what it feels like to be teased and the importance of showing respect for others.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
This is another story that I use to help students value differences and stand up for themselves.  Molly Lou Melon is a tiny first grader with buck teeth and a voice "like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor." When she moves to a new town, she encounters Ronald Durkin, a student who delights in picking on her.  You and your students will cheer Molly Lou Melon's self-confidence as she counters each of Ronald's digs with her strengths.  

Of course, during the first week I read aloud many books. These are my favorites for setting the tone for the rest of the year.  Feel free to add your suggestions. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

My first blog post!

Wow! I can't believe I'm finally taking the plunge into the blogging pool!  I have been planning to start a blog for a while, but I've been procrastinating. This summer, I decided I just needed to get started.  Of course, as teachers, we know that getting started can be the hardest part.

This summer has been a challenging one.  After eight years at a school in a neighboring county, I began looking for a teaching job closer to my home.  Several applications, emails, and interviews later, I was offered a job at a school just 10 miles away.  I'm so looking forward to less time in the car and more time to spend on my classroom. But now, I have to take care of all the business related to starting a new position - employment physical, fingerprinting, drug test, paperwork, etc.  Ah, the joys of being a teacher!

On my blog, I'll be sharing some of the ideas, activities, and lessons I use in my classroom. I'm a great believer that teachers need to share what they do, not only what works, but also what doesn't. Our profession can be so isolating. In spite of Professional Learning Communities and team planning, we still bear primary responsibility for educating our students.  We close the door to our classrooms and try to make magic happen everyday.  Not so easy.  So, I hope this blog becomes a place where we can share and support each other in our teaching lives.

For full disclosure, I do have a store on Teachers Pay Teachers:
I'll be sharing some of my products on this blog and I hope you will visit my store and check them out.