Thursday, August 4, 2016

Books for Building Your School Family

I kind of forgot I still had a blog over here! Blog posts constantly run through my mind but I seem to lose my way when I see the blank screen before me. After reading Teach Like a Pirate this summer for a book study, I remembered that I really do love blogging and sharing my heart for teaching and my kiddos. :)

As I see the days of August slowly fading away rapidly flashing by, my mind is thinking of those first few weeks of school. Those first few weeks are what I call BOOT CAMP (with love). The importance of those few weeks in establishing rules and routines is critical. You lay the foundation for your entire school year. These weeks are also when I start building Our School Family. Even though we jump into our curriculum week 1 day 1, I am more focused on bringing out the kindness and respect I want (and expect) EVERY member of Our School Family to show.

One of the best ways I start to build Our School Family is through literature. This really helps the kiddos because I can refer back to one of the books we read. I want to share some of these books with you. :)

My Mouth is a Volcano, Interrupting Chickens and Lacey Walker, Non-Stop Talker are all great books for talking about interrupting others. We talk a lot about how everyone's words are important and when you talk over someone you are not showing that person that you value what they are saying. We also talk about how students cannot listen and learn if others are talking or talking over the teacher. I tell my kiddos that my ears cannot catch everyone's words if everyone is talking at once.

Decibella and Her 6 Inch Voice is a great book for talking about the volume of your voice. Students learn about using no voice, a whisper, a 6 inch voice, table talk, a strong speaker voice, and an outside voice. This book is so cute and necessary because I ALWAYS have a screamer future public speaker. :)

There are so many voice meters that you can find on Pinterest that give the students a visual of where their voice volume needs to be during different parts of the day. It is good to remember though that talking can be GOOD if that talk is about learning. :)

After reading this book and talking about the volume of our voices, we also have a HUGE talk about the tone of our voices. Little kiddos often cannot pick up on voice tone cues. I like to turn with my back facing them and say something like "I am so happy at the choices you are making!" BUUUUUUTTTTTT I say it in a mean, angry voice. The kiddos have to tell me how they think I am feeling based on the tone of my voice. They LOOOOOVVVVEEEE this and like taking turns doing this too! We talk a lot about how the tone of our voice can communicate our attitudes and ALL of us have to be careful about this.

I LOVE Me First! Pinkerton Pig always wants to be first until he meets a Sand Witch. Pinkerton has to do many unpleasant chores for the Sand Witch and quickly learns that being first is not always best. I know you might (ha! ha!) have had a student before that always wants to be the first to line up or the first to finish their work. I think they think they will get a prize for finishing first and often don't do their best because of this. After reading this book, we practice slowly and safely lining up. We also practice different times when they can offer to let a friend go before them. This might be when I am passing things out or when I have a couple of students waiting to tell me something. We practice using sentences stems like You may go before me or Go ahead. I'll wait until you are finished.

Tattle Tongue is great for addressing the ever present issue of tattling. The book gives students a funny visual image of what happens when your tattle. I also love how the book gives students examples when it is okay to tell a teacher/grown-up what happened. When my kiddos come to tattle whine tell me something that happened, I usually ask them these 2 questions:
*Have you tried to solve them problem yourself?

*Are you being helpful or hurtful by telling me this?

Now, I only ask these questions after we have practiced, and practiced, and PRACTICED using sentence stems to talk to someone. Some of these sentence stems are:
* I don't like it when you ______. Next time please ______.
*I don't like it when you ______. Please stop.
*You accidentally ______. Please be more careful next time.

I never really even have to ask Are you being helpful or hurtful by telling me this? because usually they turn around and go talk to the person after I've asked Have you tried to solve them problem yourself?

If they have already talked to the person and there is still an issue, they ask me to help them solve a problem....and my ears don't have to hear tattling. Sometimes I joke around when someone forgets and starts to tattle by telling them I see their tattle tongue growing and changing colors. Sometimes being silly and getting that student to laugh helps me when I help them solve the problem.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? is one of my favorite books. I love the mental image it gives kiddos about filling a bucket with kindness or dipping into a sad bucket when someone is being hurtful. We have a class bucket that we fill with helpful hearts. You can read more about that is this ancient blog post...This is when I first started blogging and was taking pictures with an ancient cell phone! Happy to see how far I've come. :)

You Get What You Get...and you________??? I know we finish that sentence with AND YOU DON'T THROW A FIT! After reading this blog post by my sweet friend Holly, I too changed what I said. We read this book and then discuss how we are no longer 2 and we are big, smart, kind, and respectful boys and girls. We can feel disappointed when something doesn't go our way but we can take a deep breath, calm down and know it will be okay. Our new saying becomes YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU APPRECIATE IT! :)

The Recess Queen is a fun book to talk about being kind and safe on the playground. It is also helpful when talking about bullying. I love this craftivity from Smitten in First!

Chrysanthemum is hands-down my favorite Back to School book because it is our anchor lesson for talking about hurtful words and behavior. From this book we talk about our Heart Word and Heart Promises. You can read all about those in this blog post.

These are just a few of my favorites. There are so many more! I have found some AWESOME books this summer that I am soooooo excited about! I cannot wait to share with you how I'll be using them. :)

It has been FOREVEEEERRRRRRR since I shared a *freebie*! So, here is a little activity I will be using at the beginning of the year for letter recognition.

Thank you for hopping over here today! Wishing you an awesome year full of blessings!

From My Heart to Yours,

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