Wednesday, August 9, 2017

3 Tried & True Picture Books to Begin the Year

Getting my brain wrapped around going back to school. . . I've noticed my attention span has definitely gotten shorter. . . so I thought I'd do a QUICK mini-series to help you get back into the swing of things!
I don't know about you, but I LOVE picture books! I've read them to all ages and grades (& to adults!) Here are 3 of my tried & true books to begin the new school year:
 
Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair is a funny story that emphasizes the importance of reading. As someone who hasn't regularly watched TV in about 18 years (I know. . . I'm the oddity), I'm always fascinated with how much TV is too much TV. In the town of Triple Creek, the townspeople watch TV day and night. They watch it when they're eating, working, playing, and sleeping. They even use TVs to teach the kids at school. But when Eli's eccentric Aunt Chip (who refuses to own a TV) discovers that her nephew and her neighbors don't remember how to read, she pulls the plug on the whole town, using books that have been piled high to build a dam to spread the magic of reading all around. This is the perfect book to begin setting up a classroom culture of readers and book lovers!



Beautiful Oops is a delightful, colorful little board book that celebrates mistakes. I love using this book to begin the year teaching growth mindset: It’s okay to make a mistake. In my classroom, we celebrate these "bloopers"! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill or scribble doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator. By fourth grade, some of my students already put undue pressure on themselves and as a recovering perfectionist myself, I want my kids to relax and see their "bloopers" as opportunities for something new or a new path.
This summer I've been hooked on listening to audiobooks and podcasts as I walk in the mornings. One of my favorites is How I Built This, a weekly NPR podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. I've listened to (& gained insight from) the creators of Whole Foods Markets, Spanx, Toms, and Huffington Post & Buzz Feed.   I will share some of their stories with my class and What Do You Do with an Idea? is the perfect introduction to Genius Hour or Maker Spaces: This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child's confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who's ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It's a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn't going anywhere. In fact, it's just getting started.
I love that picture books engage my students with their appealing pictures and short texts. They work perfectly for writing, reading, and morning meeting mini-lessons. What are your favorite picture books to read to your class?
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