Photo a Day for your classroom

Welcome back to school, teacher friends! The summer sure flew by! Not nearly enough time was spent wearing flip flops in the sunshine and wondering what day of the week it was! 

At the start of the school year those first couple of weeks are packed full of routine practice. We plan out the whole day and some activities take WAAAAY longer than we planned because we had to redirect a few friends and come back to the carpet for a chat. Other activities we find go so smoothly that we are rushing to our pile of back to school books looking for what we would like to read next. Sometimes we just need something for our kids to do that takes 5-10 minutes. 
I have your solution! 
I created a Photo a Day pack for you classroom. Have you participated in one of those on Instagram? They are so fun and easy and it's a great way to connect with new people. 

How can you use this in your classroom?

*students can create a photo album- something to show off at Open House and get your students talking about their classroom and school.
*graphing what students choose to draw- ex: Who drew shoes with laces? Who drew shoes without laces?
*as a writing tool- even your most reluctant writers will be able to create a sentence about their photo.
*Collaboration! Create a class or group poster. If your students sit in groups they may enjoy making a group poster or even big group photo album. 

*Many students are unsure of themselves at the start of the year, but everyone can draw a little something. Drawing helps to improve those fine motor skills. Your ELL sweeties will get extra vocabulary practice as well. My group of students last year loved to talk about what they were writing or drawing and we talked a lot about how we can use what we say in our writing. 

I left several of the prompts very broad, for example, "In PE." This could wind up being a rule, a game, a friend, a teacher, a basketball, etc. Some of your kids might surprise you with what they choose!

You can grab this pack on TPT right now!! Have an amazing week at school!! XO

YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND & other books

It's back to school time and although this is my post from last year I thought I would re-post. That first week back to school is SO IMPORTANT! We want to make a good impression and part of setting the stage is using picture books to convey important messages. So if you're a new teacher get ready to shop!

My name is Jennifer and I have a picture book addiction. 

Seriously, put me in Barnes and Noble and it's like I'm in Target. I have no self-control! I know I'm not alone!

I have 5 books that I read every year and I can't imagine beginning my year without them.

1. Do Unto Otters- Absolutely the cutest book about the golden rule of do unto others. Great for manners and treating others with kindness. Every year I draw the main character and we record all the words we can think of on how to "do unto otters." There's also a VERY adorable DVD that you can find on Amazon (it includes 3 other stories By Laurie Keller). It's an animated version of the story and it's always a big hit. The kids are usually giggling at the little rabbit's do-dee-do song.

2. Wemberly Worried- So many students can relate to being nervous on the first day of school. 

3. You Will Be My Friend- HILARIOUS! Peter Brown is too funny. Lucy, the cute bear on the cover, has the hardest time making a friend. She even yells "YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!" which of course does not help her in making any new friends. The kids laugh at her ridiculous behavior and it leads to great discussion about how to make a friend.

4. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse- Another fabulous Kevin Henkes book. When Lilly draws a nasty picture of her teacher at the end of a bad day her teacher tells her "Today was difficult, tomorrow will be better." I say that same phrase to students all year long. Students easily relate to Lilly's excitement to show and tell about her purple plastic purse, movie star sunglasses, and jingly quarters. 

5. Library Lion- the illustrations in this book are so gorgeous. If you aren't familiar with this book it's so sweet. The librarian is very adamant that everyone follow the rules- most importantly STAY QUIET. But what if there's an emergency? Is there ever a time when it's okay to break the rules?