read alouds

Books We LOVE!

Hey everyone!! If you're like me, you are always on the lookout for great books to use in your classroom. Once a month, a group of 12 bloggers and I will be bringing you books we love, and how we use them or will use them in our classroom.  Each month, you will have a chance to win 4 of the 12 books that we blog about!

Some are books you've heard of before, and then some are books you may not have heard of. We are also going to give you a chance to win a few books each month!! Yeahh!! I'm excited to get my read on!

The book I am going to be talking about today is, "The Night Before First Grade." I am sure you've heard of this book or even used it before.

I am going to be reading this book to my firsties this year and I am so excited! They love this book and so do I!

My first year of teaching I came up with a simple lesson, writing activity and craft. I finally put into a back to school activity unit this year so I could share it with you.

I don't have a picture of it all set up from past years, but I'll do my best to explain.

First, I read students the book. Then, we go right into talking about different types of feelings we could feel. I want to go further than just sad/happy. Why not start right in with the content?

So, we answer the question about each emotion. "Why would someone feel scared/worried/excited?"

I have the cards taped onto an anchor chart - or - on a board. Then, we write down a scenario as to why someone would feel that way. For example, a student may say someone could be worried because they won't get to see their mom each day. We write down each scenario and discuss it. Yes, this may take more than one day to do -or- you could always pick just 6 or so emotions to focus on. Perfectly fine. I want to start forming that classroom community, and working to understand one another is key!

After we talk about  emotions, we jump right into our writing assignment.

I give the students a sentence starter, "The Night Before First Grade I felt..." Then, students use what they learned about emotions to answer. Then, since we had a discussion, I will push them to try to provide a reason. Coming up with reasons before hand is always helpful too if they weren't written down by the emotion cards.

After the kids finish their writing, I then allow them to color their boy or girl. Then, we have a simple little craft! :) I'm all about those colored crafts!!


Something else that I like to do with my firsties is talk about WHAT a first grader is?! Mine are coming in from half day kindergarten next year, and I am kind of nervous about it! The first few days may be a little rough. All I have to say is, Cosmic Yoga may give us a little relaxation break mid-day.

I set up a little poster that looks like this. These key words have also been big, big, big in my room. I always catch myself saying them, so I'm just going to jump right in and make it the basis for our year.

When I set up the board, I introduce each of the four words to the students. 

I use these scenario cards to get our brains thinking about each of the words. 
 We then use the scenario from the card to come up with ways first graders are, 'ready, responsible, respectful or problem solvers." Each card fits pretty well with one or two of the words, so by the end of all of the cards, each word can have plenty of information under it.

After we discuss each word, I write down our thoughts under the word.

When our poster is finished, we each get to finalize (is this ever finalized?) our learning with a little booklet! I love doing things like this because it allows students to internalize what they've learned.

Inside the book, students answer a prompt about each of the four words.

Example: "I can be responsible by..."

Students finish the sentence on the lines provided and draw a scenario to show they understand.

The kids love to share these, and they're always a great thing to keep when kids need a reminder mid-year! ;-)

I just love, love, love this book!! 

Now, don't forget to ENTER to win the following books:

a Rafflecopter giveaway ***********************************************************************

Lastly, if you haven't read others posts, you will want to do that! They have such great ideas!!
Just click below to read on!




1 comment

  1. I picked this book up at a yard sale this summer, and even though I have students in grades 1-4, I want to use it on the first day of school. I absolutely love what you've shared about how you use this book in your classroom. It gives me a GREAT place to start for planning my lesson! Thank you so much for sharing!