Back To School Teacher Swap!

Jen, over at Following the Footsteps is hosting a Back To School Teacher Swap to share your favorite books for kicking off the school year!

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!


  1. I LOVE the idea of reading Oh the Places you Go at the beginning of the year! Such a great idea! I always would read that toward the END of the year! LOVE this idea! As literacy coach I think I'll read this book to classes and do the balloon activity with them!! Thanks for the idea and linking up on my Teacher Swap!!

    I also love the pictures of your classroom!! Looks like a great place to learn!!

    Happy Sunday!

  2. Great classroom! I love the rug that is a map of the United States. Very cool!

  3. Your theme is darling! I can't believe your first day back is a Monday...ugh...what a long week! Best of luck!!!

  4. I read the first two every year too! I also LOVE to read a book called The Recess Queen before we go outside for our first recess. It is a great lead to talk about recess rules and expectations.

    Love your room. IT LOOKS HUGE!
    Good luck this week. We had our first week last week and I survived!! :)

  5. I never thought of reading Oh the Places You'll Go at the beginning of the year- I LOVE the bulletin board and that you wrote "Writing in Progress" on each one. So cute.

    Your room looks awesome too :) When do you guys start?

  6. Fantastic post! I have been collecting teachers' favorite read alouds to start the year, so I've added your three and will look for them in our library!

    Your room looks like such a wonderful place to learn! Best of luck on a great year!

  7. I'm going to be reading those first 2 books you posted also!!! Great books:)

  8. I love the first two books! Like the rest of the comments, I have never thought about reading "Oh the Places You Will Go" at the beginning of the year! Good Luck with your first day!

  9. Wooohooo!!! Boy am I glad I found your blog tonight! I am a third grade teacher too and love that I can visit you and get ideas. I think I might try Chrysanthemum this year to change things up. Thanks for all of the great tips you give. Can't wait to stop back! I'm your newest follower!


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