Friday, July 24, 2015

Let Them Be 'In A Book!'

Hi All!
Although I still have over a month left of summer, I know many of you are beginning to think of 'Back To School!'
(Just remember- I was still sweating it out through June 26th- when many ended in May!)

This year I want to do something different for my beginning of the year shared reading/read alouds that we use to inspire our first class books.

I have always used Brown Bear, Brown Bear (and I LOVE it) but am finding with more and more students attending preschool that they find this to be 'a baby book' by the time they get to kindergarten!
Sad- but true!
(I still pull it out as a mentor text for writing and reading pattern books though!)

Last year we used Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes and it was a hit!
 (You can read all about our first week with Pete in our classroom on this post!  It shows how we used each of his books as a mentor text for interactive writing and class books!)
Pete then became our class mascot, so to speak, and spent a weekend home with each of the kids (you can read about that on the post too!)

But then the kids really started taking a liking to Elephant and Piggie books!
They would just about do ANYTHING to hear one!

Fast forward to now....
My boys signed up for the summer reading program and guess what books they decided to check out....
Elephant and Piggie!

As my 6 year old read them on his own and I read to the 4 year old, my wheels started turning!

A few of these titles would be SUPER FABULOUS beginning of the year books!

Take for example...
What a perfect story for beginning of the year!
New friends are great...but we never forget our old friends!
This would be a perfect springboard for listing names (aka friends) and we could also use it to make a class books about friends!

Then there is... 
The whole first month (sometimes longer) in kindergarten is all about learning patience and waiting for your turn!
We can use it to make a list of things that are hard to wait for...birthdays, holidays...a turn at the water fountain!
Then we could make a class book... 'It is really hard to wait for _____!'

Piggy backing off that (no pun intended!) is...
For a 'first timer' all the 'sharing' involved in school can be hard!
This would be a great book to use to talk about the 'pros/cons' of sharing!
We could then use it to generate a list of things you share vs. things you don't (ex we share pencils- we don't share toothbrushes!)
We could make a class book about something we shared....or like the '100' day when we each bring in a snack food and then combine them to make a class snack...we could 'share' a snack with new friends!

And another great one to generate discussions would be...
Especially if you have students that were together the previous year who are 'best buds' and then a 'newcomer' comes along and wants to join the group!
Discussions and lists about things we can play in groups would be a great follow-up!

I love this one for celebrating getting through the first week:
Have a happy pig day- or a happy '-insert your grade level- er' day!
You can let them choose a favorite animal to be and let them announce what their 'happy day' is and try out how to be each other's animal!
What a fun way to end an exhausting week!
Not only is it a fun book, but it has a great message about being different, as well!

But I still needed that 'one perfect book' that would help me make my initial class book.
The one that would have their pictures inside- and their attempts to write their names.
The book they would go to all year long in our book nook until the pages literally crumbed from all the turning and love!
And as I listened to my boys chuckle as we read this one, I knew it was perfect...
My students L-O-V-E-D this one last year!

This book is perfect...I can have them be 'in a book' and also use it to talk about what a 'reader' is and how pictures and words can both be 'read!'
(If you are not familiar with this book, you will want to be!)

What was even better?  I had purchased 'Elephant and Piggie' inspired clip art during the last TpT Site-Wide Sale from 2 Super Teachers!
Time to get to work...and here is what I came up with...

So here is an example of what it could/would look like (thanks to my awesome helpers who don't mind testing out Mommy's goodies!):

BEST YET....You can download it for FREE right here!

The cover has room for a class picture, but if you don't have one, or don't have time to take one during those first few weeks of chaos school, you could leave it blank, cut/glue a picture of Elephant & Piggie (from the last page) in or have students draw something in for you!

The next page is for you!  Glue in a picture of you (your students will LOVE this page the most!!) and write in your name.
You are acknowledging each kiddo that puts this book in his/her hand as a READER!!

Give each student the next page.  Either have him/her draw a picture of themselves and/or glue a picture of them to the page.  Have them write their name in the speech bubble.
(This is also a great way to informally assess handwriting/how and if they can write their name, the maturity of their drawing, etc!)
***There are 2 options for this part- you can use the 'already ready' page that has the speech bubble printed on the page OR go for the 'make it more realistic' option where the speech bubble can be cut/glued to fit exactly out of each mouth!**

Compile the pages (Cover, Teacher Page, Student Pages, Ending Page) and bind into a class book!

Share it aloud with your students- you could even do it each day to kick-off you literacy block or part of your morning meeting, to get students to start to recognize each other and put faces to names! 

It would also make a cute book to display at Open House/Meet the Teacher night!

Now where to get all these great books?
I have gotten many of mine through Scholastic Monthly book club order forms!
But they are also available on Amazon- and you can even find 'used' copies for as low as a penny (you just pay shipping- usually 3.99)
Then there is always the options of  your local library, book stores and borrowing from peers!

But I have a fun surprise for you (and your students) as a 'Welcome Back' gift from me to you...
(To those entering- please make sure you live in a place where Amazon will ship because I will have them ship it directly to you)

I can't wait to read all the tips and am hoping to share some on my FB page and/or blog!
But it won't be until after I return from a much anticipated secret visit with a very large mouse...
Can you keep a secret??
This is happening!
I am BUSTING to tell them, but am doing my best to keep this secret until we are headed to the airport!

To those starting school,  I wish you and your students a wonderful year!
To those still enjoying summer, soak up every precious second!

I'll 'chat' again with you on August 24th!
Until next post,


  1. You are the kids first perception of what the school year holds; so whatever you do make sure that you motivate them to want to come back to school day after day.

    I would love to be the proud owner of I Love My New Friend.

  2. You are the kids first perception of what the school year holds; so whatever you do make sure that you motivate them to want to come back to school day after day.

    I would love to be the proud owner of I Love My New Friend.

  3. I would love We Are in a Book!
    BTS tip: make extra copies of everything you make for the first week and put it in a new student zip lock bag (Ex. Letters to parents, book labels, desk plates) so you are not scrambling to find things when the new student(s) come! This was very helpful last year when I got 3 new students!

  4. I would love a copy of my new friend is so fun . I take a picture of each child at open house holding their name so I will know who everyone is on the first day. I use this to make their pictures to sign in on the first day.

  5. I would love to get a copy of We Are in a book!! My BTS tip is to not sweat the small stuff!! Don't get caught up in Pinterest and overwhelming yourself! What a great surprise trip!! My boys are so excited for our trip to WDW as well!!!

  6. I would love a copy of Happy Pig Day! :) My BTS tip is to have everything in baggies for "new students" as you are making name tags, folders, notebooks, etc. It makes the stress of getting a new student a little easier!

  7. I would love to win a copy of "We are in a book". My e-mail is My back to school tip is to prepare extra sets of materials for new students who arrive throughout the year. I keep these on ziploc bags in my first two weeks box, and they are easy to put my hands on no matter when the students arrive. Also, I love your class book idea. Last year I had a special ed student in my grade 2 class who was slow to learn classmates names. I'm thinking this class book could be made with "text" at 2 levels, one for my weaker readers and one for more advanced readers. Anyway, love your idea.

    1. Congrats Kelly! You were selected as the winner! I will be emailing you so we can get you that book!
      Crayons & Cuties In Kindergarten

  8. I would love the book We Are in a Book.
    My tip is our meet teacher night is before school starts. I asj my parents and students to put their supplies up where the child will be sitting. I also ask them to.put extra supplies up where they go. This makes it easier for everyone to know where their spot is and my room before the first day.

  9. I love I love my New Friend.
    Tip: Enter the school year with a positive attitude. Do not rely on the comments that a previous teacher has to share about a difficult student. You and that student may have many things in common!

  10. I would love Happy Pig Day! I'd like to use it as you suggested - to celebrate the end of our first week. We fell in love with Elephant and Piggie this last school year. Thanks for the class book!

  11. I forgot my BTS tip - For a new teacher, make sure you know how each child is getting home before the parent leaves the student with you. There is nothing scarier than not knowing how a child is supposed to get home. :-D

  12. Hi! great idea! I am adding it in my first week plans! My e-mail is I would love We Are In a Book. I have a bunch of Elephant and Piggie books since I am such a big Mo Willems fan. Fingers crossed for a win! My back to school advice is to prepare as many first week activities as you can that will help those first weeks of school go smoothly when you are running around like crazy! Have your plan book filled in with a basic plan for the first semester so you can easily pull things together. Make back to school student gifts and Back to School night gifts for parents ahead of time so you can focus on other things that can't be done ahead of time. Make Birthday treats for the year and display them in your room so you can easily hand them out on birthdays! Enjoy the fun that the beginning of year brings!

  13. I would love to win "My New Friend is so Fun".
    BTS tip: It's going to be alright if your room is not exactly the way you want it to be on the first day of school. Parents and students will not notice BUT they will notice if you do not have your lessons and activities ready to go. : ) Plan, Plan, Plan!

  14. I would love to win "We Are in A Book"!
    BTS tip: Ask parents to be early for dismissal, nothing is scarier than all the other children have been picked up and nobody is there for them!

  15. I haven't really heard of these books so thank you for sharing them with us. I would love a copy of "Can I Play Too?" My Kinders really struggle with this in the beginning and for some reason only think they can be committed to one "best friend" at a time. This book would be a great opportunity for some in-depth conversation in class before they really get settled in! My back-to-school tip would be to check out! I wish I had known about this website sooner. It's simply a search engine for shopping online but with cash back including at all our favorite teacher stores.. like Amazon and Office Depot! No strings, hidden fees or fine print included. I definitely recommend checking it out.

  16. I would love a copy of "Can I Play too?" I have never heard of these books and can't wait to try some of them with my class. My back to school tip is to be flexible. Go with the flow, and don't feel like you have to stick to a schedule or plan. Make sure your kiddos are getting the practice they need with the procedures and spend time getting to know each child.

  17. I love Elephant and Piggie books and so do my students! Thanks for the class book idea! I just adore it!

  18. I love Elephant and Piggie books and so do my students! Thanks for the class book idea! I just adore it!

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