Have you ever heard a couple of sports nuts talking about their favorite players? When they find a fellow fan, they get all excited and animated and trip all over their words. Kindred spirits sharing a passion – they could go on & on . . . It’s quite an experience. It usually goes something like this…
Dude 1: Did you see Joe Athlete play last night?
Dude 2: OMG! He scored 32 points while pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out four assists!
Dude 1: He’s a genius! It’s such a rush to watch him play!
Dude 2: I know! I think he’s playing even better than he was last season!
Well, I totally had the teacher’s version of such an experience this morning at Barnes and Noble. I had a $50 gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I headed straight to the children’s section to pick up a few new releases and titles from my wish list. I ran into another teacher looking at some of the same books that I was picking up and we started chatting. We pretty quickly morphed from two calm shoppers to two very boisterous ones. It went something like this…
Teacher 1: Have you seen the new Jon Klassen book?
Teacher 2: OMG! It’s hilarious and the illustrations are fantastic!
Teacher 1: He’s a genius! I love using his books during Readers’ Workshop!
Teacher 2: I know! I think this book is even better than his first one!
Like the sports nuts, we were kindred spirits sharing a passion – we went on and on… until the stern librarian-looking clerk shushed us. (The nerve!) We recommended some titles to each other and both left with a giant pile of books (I completely exceeded the gift card…). It was terrific. If the fellow book nut from the store is by chance reading this – it was great chatting with you!
I get absolutely giddy about a pile of new books so I rushed home, reread them all and was inspired to create some activities to go with them. I thought I would share them with all you fellow book nuts out there. (Click on the pics to download the activities.)
The first book I found was 123 versus ABC by Mike Boldt. It's an adorable story in which the numbers think they are the stars of the book and the numbers think they are the stars. Then, along comes 1 alligator, followed by 2 bears, 3 cars . . . you get the picture. I'm planning on reading it during the first week of school and using the sorting activity below to assess who can differentiate between letters and numbers.
Next up is The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. This book is absolutely inspired - I can't wait to use it in so many different ways! It's about a little boy who finds letters from each of his crayons stating that they've had enough - they quit! Blue is tired of always being used to color the water and orange and yellow are fighting over the real color of the sun. (You'll have to read it to find out what happens.) My first thought was that his book will be perfect for our Writers' Workshop launch unit when we talk about different kinds of writing. It could also be used for problem solving, teamwork, and color recognition. I LOVE a book that you can read and reread for a bunch of different lessons. Check this one out for sure! I thought a cute writing activity would be for the kids to pick a crayon to write back to. In the beginning of the year, writing skills are just starting to blossom, so I made a letter template with that in mind. I can't wait to see what the kids come up with!
Last up tonight is Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by Nick Bromley. This book is hilarious! It starts out as a retelling of The Ugly Duckling, but then a crocodile appears and starts eating the letters right off of the page. Then he starts eating words and sentences. Something must be done to stop him because you can't have a book without letters and words! So . . . the reader has to try to shake him out, rock the book from side to side, etc. to try to get him out. I won't ruin the ending for you, but it's pretty funny! I thought this book would lend itself perfectly for a lesson on the difference between letters and words. This cute little activity will reinforce the concept and can be used for assessment as well. The kids will glue the letters into the crocodile's belly and put the words in the fridge for him to eat later. I think they'll get a kick out of it!
I hope you can use some of these freebies with your kids. I'll share some more about some of the other books I picked up another time. Do you have any new books to recommend? I'm sure I can talk myself into another trip to the bookstore . . .