I have a top 3 that I read each year. I will also be sharing pictures of my finished classroom since I didn't have any good ones on for the Classroom Tour!
My first back to school book is Crysanthemum. I love this book for the first day because it teaches about accepting the differences in others. Many of my students have names that I can't even pronounce so it's great because other students can learn that it's okay to have a unique name. There are tons of activities you can do with this book such as graphing your class names, doing making words with your name, sorting names, etc...
The second book I like to read is First Day Jitters. I enjoy having students discussing what jitters are and then writing down their own first day jitters. We always share them after!
I realize that the other two books are commonplace in elementary classrooms so this should be a bit of a change. My absolute favorite back to school book to read is Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Suess. There are soooooo many amazing things that you can do with this book and I'm going to share a few things that I am going to do this year since our classroom theme is Oh, the Places We'll Go in Third Grade!
* Have students write down their academic or behavioral goals for the year.
* Ask students to paint a picture of a place they want to go and write a few sentences about where they want to go, why they want to go there, and what they'll do there! (I will be doing this and hanging them outside my classroom!)
* Play Balloon Geography - Start by reviewing geography facts (continents, oceans, landforms, states, cities, etc.) Blow up a balloon and have the class stand in a circle. The object of the game is to keep the balloon from touching the floor, but every time a player hits the balloon they must name a geography fact. If they can't say one fast enough, they are out! I would focus on one topic at a time. Play one round of continents and oceans, then landforms, etc... This is a great way to review at the beginning of the year!
* Have students analyze different parts of the poem and discuss what they mean. For example, "You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch."
* Give students a copy of the words to the book and highlight the words that speak to them and how it relates to their own lives.
* Make a book jacket for the book based on the students own uniqueness and goals.
These are just a few fun things you can do with this book! Here is my outside bulletin board that I will hang their watercolor paintings.
And here are the pictures of my classroom I promised! This is the view of my classroom when you first walk in.
This is from the other side of the front of the room looking at the back.
This is from the back left corner looking to the front.
And this is from the back right corner looking to the front.
Here is my essential questions board at the front.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed my activities and classroom photos! We have our first day with kids tomorrow so I will keep you posted as to how the week goes!