Hello and sorry for my extended absence from my blog! I was busy last week preparing for the first week of school, and didn’t have enough time to write a blog post for the week.
As a teacher, the first week of school is an exciting, insane, and busy time (especially when beginning the year virtually!). It’s a time for getting to know new students, building classroom community, practicing routines, and establishing expectations.
One of my favorite ways to accomplish all of these things is through picture book read-alouds! There are so many great ones out there, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites to use in the first couple weeks of school.
These are some of the read-alouds I like to use during the first week. The three books in the top row are about first days, being a new student, and feeling like you don’t fit in. They’re great conversation starters for students who are likely feeling many of the same things, and for developing compassion for others who are experiencing those situations.
In the second row, there are three books about names! These are also great to read during the first week to learn your students’ names, where they came from, and just learn more about your students in general. Talking about our names oftentimes can give great insight into who we are and where we come from! “Alma” in particular is one of my absolute favorites.
These are books that I’ll be reading during the second week of school (though truly they could be read anytime). Most of these books are about growth mindset, and I like to do activities related to this during the first few weeks of school. It’s a great way to build community by establishing that mistakes are good because they help us grow, and we can support each other in having a growth mindset by kindly acknowledging our mistakes and celebrating what we learn from them. These books are a great tie-in to whatever growth mindset activities you choose.
The yellow book on the bottom right is actually about words! In English, it’s called “The Word Collector.” I also like to read the chapter book “Donovan’s Word Jar” if I can find the time to read it (it’s a very short chapter book). As a literacy teacher, I love doing this at the beginning of the year to spark my students’ passion for learning new words. After reading the book (whichever one I choose), we begin finding and collecting our own words and displaying them throughout the year. My students last year LOVED this activity, and were so excited whenever they discovered a new word to add to the jar.
Of course, there are so many great books to choose from for these first few weeks of school, but these are just a few of my favorites! Also, no matter how old your students are, there’s still something to be gained from reading these accessible, engaging, and thought-provoking books.
To those teachers out there who also just survived their first week of school: congrats! We did it! I think it’s going be a strange but wonderful year.