Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Week Read Alouds

You can probably tell by the lack of posts recently that I have started school again.  Every year I think, "Oh, it's not such a big deal to start back.  It'll be easier this year."  But going into my 12th year teaching, I put just as much, if not more, effort into planning and preparing for those first few days.  The first few days of school scare me more than any other days of the year.  I am a creature of habit.  I crave routine.  And there is NOTHING routine about those first days.

But now, I've gotten through it.  I actually have to say that these first few days were some of my best ever.  Despite being a creature of habit, I always want to find the newest and most interesting activities for my kids to set off the school year.  This year, I did several new things that worked out really well.  I thought I'd share some of these activities over the next few days.

This summer I made an effort to read more picture books.  I went well over my book-a-day goal due to this fact.  I wanted to start the year thinking about working together to be creative, open-minded, risk-takers, inquirers, and thinkers.  I chose three picture books for the first three days that revolved around this theme.

First, we read On a Beam of Light:  A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne.  We talked about living a life that was filled with wonder and thinking.  We talked about asking questions and how to find the answers.  We talked about how some questions may not have answers and that is okay too.

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

On the second day, we read Mr. Flux by Kyo Maclear.  We talked about the importance of trying new things and being open to ideas that might be different from ours.  We also talked about how we are all awesome just the way we are :)

Mr. Flux

On the third day, we read Papa's Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming.  This book led us into discussions about never giving up, growing ideas by collaborating with others, and revising our thinking.

Papa's Mechanical Fish

After we had read all three books, we made a chart of the things we had learned that we can carry with us for the rest of the year.  Here were some of our ideas:

* A brilliant invention can come from anyone at anytime.
* Never give up on the things you want.
* Talk to others and share ideas.
*Any goal can be conquered when you put your mind to it.
*It's okay to be different.
*Change can be a good thing.
*Be unique.
*Be yourself.
*Keep reading, wondering, thinking.
*Be curious about the world around you.

I think those are some great reminders to have posted in our classroom this year!

Our first novel read aloud is Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein.  I think we will be able to continue our discussions about problem solving and working with others as we read that book as well!

Have you read and enjoyed any of these books?  My students and I would love to know what you think!

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