I Like (actually LOVE) Kids Books Linky!

So excited to be linking up with Primary Polka Dots for this...





One of the best things about being a teacher is getting to share great books with kids! For this linky I will be sharing my favorite picture books- to see a list of my favorite chapter book read alouds you can check out this blog post of mine- The Importance of Read Aloud

My favorites in children's literature are always changing- but here are my CURRENT faves!


I love, love, love the book Duke the Dairy Delight Dog. It might have something to do with my love of all things dog, but this book has it all! 


Great characters- Darla is a hoot to read aloud and Duke is the hero you root for! 
Action- there are lots of action scenes in the diner!
Humor- the action scenes in the diner are hilarious!
Heartwarming- the ending is the best!
Plus the illustrations are great!

I have written about this book is a previous blog post- Book Talk Tuesday: Duke the Dairy Delight Dog. This book provides the inspiration for a character project we do in my class after our RW unit on character. Here is a peek at my "Darla"...


So, my favorite author is LISA CAMPBELL ERNST- the author of Duke the Dairy Delight Dog and many, many other wonderful books. I discovered her books several years ago and fell in love with them, and then after some research realized that she was a local Kansas City author- which was so cool for my students. 


Miss Penny and Mr. Grubbs and Squirrel Park are definitely on the "favorite book runners-up" list! 

Goldilocks Returns and Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale are both books I use in my classroom during my Fairy Tale unit. 

If you haven't ever read one of her books, I would encourage you to check one out!

This one is a little harder for me... there are several I really like. But I would say that right now my favorite would be J. Otto Seibold. I love the style that he uses. You probably know his illustrations in Olive the Other Reindeer

Here are a few books he has illustrated... 


J. Otto Seibold is also the author of one of my new favorite Halloween books... Vunce Upon a Time!

And here is a book that I love to use to teach how a character grows and changes during the course of a story. This is a book I would use to introduce the concept, as there are very evident changes in Mr. Hatch, and he changes more than once over the course of the story. It also happens to be a very sweet book that really touches your heart. 

There is also a Storyline Online reading of this book by Hector Elizondo that you can watch. 


For more information about this lesson (including anchor charts)- you can visit my blog post Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

I have created an activity that you can use with this book if you like- you can find it here!



Hope you find some new books to love this school year! And another big thanks to Primary Polka Dots for this fun opportunity to link up!



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The Importance of Read Aloud

Do you read aloud to your kids everyday? Once upon a time in my classroom, read aloud was something I did if I had time, not a regular part of my schedule. I had all the reasons for skipping it- we had too much to get done, we had to get prepared for "the test", etc., etc., ...

I don't recall the exact moment in time that my perspective on read aloud shifted, but boy did it shift! I realized just how valuable that time spent in my classroom was. I figured it out. 





Read aloud time provides me with so many opportunities... 

1.) It allows me to BOND with my students. I am able to build relationships with my kids over our shared love of the books that I read aloud to them. We laugh together, try to figure out mysteries together, worry about the characters together, and often times we cry together (I have yet to get through Stone Fox without crying- huge dog lover here). At the end of the year...


I want my kids to remember me as their teacher that loved to read to them 
and the connections we made together over books. 

2.) It inspires CONFIDENCE. For me, one of the greatest things that happens during read aloud time is the magic that happens for my struggling readers- especially the kids who struggle with decoding. Those are the kids who reading is so hard for because they can't enjoy a book because they have to try SO HARD just to figure out what the words say that they can't even think about the meaning of what they are reading. During read aloud they are on an even playing field with everyone else. When they laugh at a funny part, or are outraged when someone is treated unfairly in the story, or when they worry about what is going to happen next when the characters that have become their friends are in peril, they are connecting with text in a way they can't independently. Those are the moments that are like gold! 

A few years ago I had a kiddo that had a learning disability in reading and read aloud was her "time". She had great comprehension. She got the jokes in the stories that would go over most everyone else's head- she would laugh out loud! It was the best sound. And when we would stop to talk about a plot point- she was a leader in the discussion. During read aloud she could hold her own with everyone else and that was such a confidence booster for her. 

3.) It INTRODUCES kids to all kinds of great books. It broadens their horizons! Through read aloud I am able to choose the books I want my kids to experience. I choose carefully- trying to find books that will touch them in some way. I mix it up- choosing books from a variety of genres, books that are funny, sad, suspenseful, books that appeal to both boys and girls, classic books from my childhood. We are always discussing what I am going to read next. I try to take an informal poll so that I am not reading something that they have heard before. I try to choose authors that have many books, so that after we finish reading one- they will be dying to read others by the same author. Some books I read every year, others are new- we have a set of books called KC3 that are award books the kids get to vote on. I have found some great new ones while reading those. 

Here is a list of my favorite read aloud books. It's a mixed bag- some sad books, some suspenseful, some funny (but all great in my opinion)...


Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L.Konigsburg

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Frindle by Andrew Clements

Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley (these are addicting as there are 
9 books and each one leads into the next) 

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements

Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret

Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum


I know that teachers are feeling so much pressure these days. The testing and assessments that are being forced on teachers and kids are ridiculous. It is so easy to let the "fun" stuff or "extra" stuff go. But I want to encourage all teachers to hold on tight to those things that you know are good for kids. Fun is good for kids! Hearing great stories everyday is good for kids!

What are some of your favorite read aloud books? 


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Back to School- Science: The First Week of School


Back to school is an exciting time! As a teacher, I am always ready to jump right in and get started! Of course, it is so important to take the time to establish routines and procedures and those things tend to fill up a majority of my time the first few weeks. 

So... as a way to kind of merge the routines and procedures and get into the meat of things, I like to set up our Science Notebooks. I started using Science Notebooks several years ago and my kiddos love having  an artifact that shows their learning and what we have done during the course of the year.

To start off the year I like to read a book about science. I LOVE to read the fiction story:
The Science Project that (ALMOST) Ate the School by Judy Sierra

It is a fun book that really holds my kiddos attention and the illustrations are GREAT!

After reading, we create an anchor chart where we brainstorm the word "SCIENTIST". 
The kids will use this chart as inspiration to create a cover for their Science Notebooks. The covers are always so creative and fun!


This year I have created a week's worth of Back to School Science Notebook pages- it is available in my TpT store and it includes:

* cover template for their notebook
*Scientists Can... Scientists Use... interactive notebook page
*The Scientific Process interactive notebook page
*Types of Scientists interactive notebook page
*Science Tools interactive notebook page
*Science Safety interactive notebook page


Thanks for reading! 


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Book Bin & Table Shelf Organizers

It's that time of year when we are all thinking about classroom organization and what we need to do to start preparing our classrooms for the upcoming year. 

I want to share with you a purchase I made at Wal-Mart a few years ago that has made my teacher life so much easier! 

That purchase would be small plastic shelves to use with each of my tables (or rows- I like to rearrange in my classroom... ALOT). 

These shelves are great to use to store my kiddos' book bins and also provide a place for a box of Kleenex, hand sanitizer, extra pencils, and to display their table numbers. 

I love having a central place for the kids to keep their book bins...


I can fit up to 6 of my book bins on the shelf...


I also love the plastic picture frames that I use to display the table numbers! 


Enjoy the rest of your summer! 


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