Tuesday, July 30, 2019

5 Free Library Books About Back To School

Photo courtesy of: libellule789; courtesy of: Pixabay

Back To School Season is nearly upon us. It may be July but the stores are chock full of school supplies, the commercials on TV are loaded with parents and children searching for unique items students can use in class, and the Summer Reading lists are starting to garner attention.

In light of this exciting and often tumultuous time of year, I went to the library and found five books that help prepare little ones for their first day of school. I've also done a series of mini-reviews to aid you in quickly finding quality books to read to your children.

1. The Night Before Kindergarten

Author: Natasha Wing

Illustrator: Julie Durrell

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap An Imprint of Penguin Group

ISBN: 9780448482552

Rating: 4 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

A playful rhyming story about children preparing for their first day of kindergarten. An assortment of emotions circle the students the night before school begins and careens them into their classroom the next day. In no time at all, apprehension turns to joy as the teacher invites the children to play games and sing silly songs.

Caught up in the revelry, the children fail to recognize that their parents are watching them and in need of comfort. In the end, compassion and comunity are the most important lessons of the day.


Twas The Night Before Christmas gets schooled in how things go down in kindergarten!

A frolicksome tale that embodies the same rhythmic vibe as its classic holiday predecessor. Wings' delightful verses and Durrell's cheerful illustrations create a merry story children will enjoy listening to several times over.

2. Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!

Author: Nancy Carlson

Illustrator: Nancy Carlson

Publisher: The Penguin Group

ISBN: 9780670833783

Rating: 4 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

It's the first day of Kindergarten and Henry is bursting with excitment about finally starting. He eats a good breakfast, packs his bag and talks about all the things he's going to do when he gets there.

But, when he arrives the first day jitters set in. It's all so overwhelming. The building is so big; there are so many new faces. After some gentle persuasion, Henry takes a look around the classroom and decides kindergarten is going to be as much fun as he thought.


Carlson has captured the exuberance and hesitation most kindergartners feel when starting school. I met many students who acted the same as Henry, in the end, they also realized school was the place to be and stayed.

One of the things I liked most about the book was the discussion between Henry and his mother about the school day. It sets the stage for children and gives them an idea of what to expect when they finally arrive.

3. the CLASS

Author: Boni Ashburn

Illustrator: Kimberly Gee

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

ISBN: 9781442422483

Rating: 4 Lemon Drops  

Book Summary:

Bed head, mismatched socks, a morning buffet of emotions; twenty children prepare for their first day of school. A rhyming concept book that celebrates children on their fist day of school and invites readers to count them.


A lighthearted story that will bring a smile to readers' faces. The characters epotimize the silliness and apprehension of children preparing for their first day of school.

I like the picture of the easel on the title page. As soon as the reader opens the book they feel the creative possibilities school offers. The characters are adorable, playful and authentic. A fun story that  should spark children's attention and help them open up about their own concerns for the first day of school. 

4. Tinyville Town Time For School!

Author: Brian Briggs

Illustrator: Brian Briggs

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

ISBN: 9781419725661

Rating: 3 Lemon Drops

Book Summary

It’s Ellie Emberly’s first day of school in her new hometown of Tinyville. Amid the hustle and bustle, the principal, teachers and students give Ellie a warm welcome to the school. She even makes a new friend named Chloe.


A fast-paced story full of playful illustrations that draws the reader’s eye. Biggs’ enthusiastic portrayal of the first day of school should grab a pre-reader’s attention and have them talking about the characters’ activities in the pictures.

5. Adventure Annie Goes To Kindergarten

Author: Toni Buzzeo

Illustrator: Amy Wummer

Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers


Rating: 5 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

Adventure Annie is off to kindergarten. This high-spirited pioneer and extrovert extraordinaire simply bursts with childhood enthusiasm. Her creative spontaneity stuns her classmates and keeps her teacher, Mr. Todd, on his toes as he gently reminds Annie about the classroom rules. By the day’s end, Annie’s energetic leadership helps recover two missing classmates and the milk for snack.


Adventure Annie is a high-spirited character that will have children laughing in their seats. Teachers will find her impulsive antics relatable and endearing. A marvelous story to read children as they embark on their own kindergarten adventure!     

Friday, July 5, 2019

9 Sticky Note Teacher Hacks

post it notes
Photo courtesy of: Scara; courtesy of: Pixabay

The little sticky squares, used by thousands of people every day, were an essential tool in my teaching itinerary. They were all over my classroom.

To stay organized, I bought different colors, shapes and sizes and used them for many different reasons. I'd like to share nine of them with you now.

1. Tabs for notebooks or binders

Write the name of the topic on the sticky note and place it either on the top or along the side of your book.

2. Cubby Labels

There are so many cute shaped sticky-notes that will match your classroom theme.

3. Reminders

Write the subject of your reminder on the note then stick it in a place where you're sure to see it. I put mine on my calendar or in an unusual place where it will stand out.

4. Anecdotes

Whether it be for an academic subject or a behavior concern, teachers need anecdotes for their students. 

Pop a pad in your back pocket for the moment note taking arises. When you get a minute, file the notes wherever you keep your anecdotes.

5. Student Check-Ins

Sticky notes are a quick and easy way to have children interact with an anchor chart. I used them all the time for yes or no questions or for surveys like "What's your favorite color?"

Write your target question at the top, make your columns then have students put their labeled sticky note in the column where it belongs.

6. Read-Alouds

Before you read a book to your class, write your comprehension questions on sticky notes and put them on the page they pertain to. It's a great way to make sure you hit all of your target questions.

7. Use different colors and sizes.

Color code your notes for easier accessibility and to keep track of things.

8. Book Markers

Rather than dog ear your favorite read-aloud or reference book, slap a sticky note on the page you want to save for later.

9. Personalized Sticky Notes

As a small token of friendship for a grade partner, give them a pack of sticky notes with their initial on it. Oh, and don't forget to add a chocolate bar or a cup of their favorite coffee. Oh, or maybe a fresh pack of pens to replace the ones they lost. Pens are very hard to keep track of in a busy classroom.

I'd love to hear how you use sticky notes in your classroom.