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Sunday, June 28, 2020

10 of the Best Picture Books for the First Week of School

I love using picture books to introduce new concepts in my classroom. The beginning of the
year is one of my favorite times to use picture books. There are so many great books to help
students understand the classroom culture and procedures. Today I am going to share some
of my favorite picture books to read at the start of the school year. 

    This first book is one of my favorite books to read on the first day of school. I love seeing
all the different cultures in this book. I also love that this book allows us to discuss that
everyone is welcome in our classroom and everyone will be encouraged. I want my students
to know that I will not tolerate mean behavior towards others. This is a book that I bring out
often throughout the year when we need to revisit the lesson that we are all welcome in the

   The next book is a brand new book, but it is a great one! This will certainly be part of my
first day of school books. One of the things I talk to my students about on the first day of
school is that we are a family. We talk about how we don’t always agree with our moms and
dads and siblings, but we still love them and would do anything for them. This book will make
a perfect addition to your first day of school books to talk about being a family. 

   The next book that I always read on the first day of school is First Day Jitters. This is a great
one for the first day because students are always nervous on the first day, and this book helps
them to know it is ok to feel that way. This book helps to calm those nerves and lets them
know it is going to be a great year. 

   This next book is a great one for the first week as well. It really helps the students
understand that we are all unique and that is to be celebrated! I love the message that this
book shares. It is a great one to add to your library shelves. 

   This next book is a great one for helping students to understand growth mindset. We all know
that we make mistakes, and that is ok. This book helps students to realize that also. I know
that I have had a lot of perfectionist students in the past. I mean heck, I can even be a
perfectionist at times. So this book really helps students to understand that it is ok to make
mistakes and to keep trying until you get it right. This is a must to include in your library! 

   This is another great book for your library. I love to read this book at the start of school to
help my students understand what kind of teacher I am. This book helps me show my students
that I care for them and want the best for them. 

      This is another newer book that I just learned about. It is a great picture book for right now
with distance learning. This book talks about students who are learning at home. It also
explains different strategies that children can use to calm their emotions. That is definitely
something we need to be talking to our students about right now. Their emotions are all over
the place and we need to help them understand it is ok, and how they can help themselves
through it.  

   The next book on my list of favorites is Do Unto Otters. It uses animals to talk about
manners. This is a great book to discuss doing to others what you would want to do to you.
This is definitely a lesson that needs to be taught at the start of the year. Sometimes I feel
like students forget their manners when they have been home for a couple months and are
just starting back to school. And this year they have been home and away from their
classmates for a really long time. So we need to make sure we are covering this lesson when
we return. I love using this book to help students understand how we should be treating others.
The kids also love seeing all the different animals that are used also! 

   This is a new book that I just learned about. How many of you have students that love
to be the first one done, then you look at their work and none of the answers are correct?
This book will help them to understand that it is not always the best to be done first. It will help
teach them to slow down. I can’t wait to introduce this book to my students in the Fall and
help them care a little more about the work that they are turning in. 

   This last book on my list is probably one of my all time favorites. I bring this book out at
all different times of the year when we need to revisit being kind. I feel like this is a lesson that
needs to be taught often, so I use this book a lot to revisit the lesson. This is a great book that
talks about acts of kindness. I love introducing the idea of random acts of kindness to the
class using this book. This book certainly needs to be on your list for your library. Your students
will love this one!

   Picture books are my favorite way to introduce ideas and topics to my class. What are some
of your favorite back to school books? I can’t wait to hear all about them and add them to my
list too. Let me know in the comments what some of your favorite books are! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

5 of the Best ELA websites for Distance Learning

  With distance learning happening right now, teachers are having to find more and more
ways to teach online. Today I am going to tell you about some great apps and websites for ELA that
you can use while distance learning or when you are back in the classroom. 

     The first set of apps is the Google Suite. There are lots of different uses for Google apps for
education. I love to have my students publish their writing with Google Docs. My students love to have
a record of all of their writing. They also love to type out their writing because they feel like a real author.
I also love that they are practicing their typing skills and getting ready for testing with real-life
experience. I like to use Google Classroom to assign the work for my students. Google Classroom
makes it so much easier to track all of my students' online assignments. 

     Another Google app that I love to use in my classroom is Slides. This is perfect for having my
students put together presentations. They can work on their own or they can work with another student
on the same document.

     The next app and website that I use a lot in the classroom is Flipgrid. This is a great site to allow
students to discuss different topics. I love to have my students use this site for practicing their fluency.
I have the students practice their passage for the week and then on Friday, they record themselves
reading their passage. This allows the students to hear how they are reading. It is amazing to hear
how much more fluent the students' reading becomes after having them record themselves. The
students love listening back too, which I love to see. 

     This next app and website is great for reading. Epic has tons of digital books. There are so many
different titles. The kids love to search for fun books to read. They also have lots of educational videos
for the students too. One of my favorite things about this site is that I can create reading lists for my
students and then assign it to them. It works out great to assign a reading list when we need to do
research. I can create the list of books and then the students are not having to spend all their time
searching for books. 

     This next site is called Vooks and it’s similar to Epic, but all of the book titles are put together like
a movie. This is a site that the kids really love, and they have so many different titles. My students don’t
even realize they are reading when they are using Vooks! I also love that this site allows my students
to really hear excellent fluent reading. This is definitely a site you need to check out. 

     The last site and app that I am going to tell you about is Raz-Kids. This site goes along with
Reading A-Z. It uses the same stories from Reading A-Z and puts them digitally for the students to read.
You are able to assign a level to the students, and as they advance with their reading, you can change
the level that is assigned to them. It also allows the students to take a quick quiz when they are
finished reading. This site is great for working on comprehension as well. 

     During distance learning, we have to rethink the way we are teaching. Using apps and
websites to help students with their learning is where education is moving. These sites can help you
during distance learning, and also when school resumes back to their buildings. I hope that this list
helps you incorporate more apps and websites into your ELA instruction. What site are you going to
try first? 


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