The official countdown is on, I have 2 weeks from Wednesday until I get to greet my new kiddos at my door. (Insert panic face emoji!) There are still lots, and lots, and lots of things on my to-do lists, but I am slowly checking them off.
I have three days to work with during our first week, and I recently planned those days out focusing around community building and building relationships among the students and me. I think my favorite part about teaching is building those relationships and seeing relationships build between my kids. What better way to start the conversation in my classroom than through books. I love books, especially when I get to read aloud a good picture books to my fifth graders. I am going to share 3 books I plan to use at the beginning of the year to help build my classroom community.
Wild About Us! by Karen Beaumont
This is one I am very excited about starting the first day of school with! Sarah from A Rocky Top Teacher posted this book on Instagram, and I instantly went to Amazon and pressed add to cart, purchase, and in just 2 clicks it was on its way. Amazon is a scary, yet wonderful thing.
This book goes through the different animals in the zoo and brings out all the special qualities of the animals. It is fun, cute, and a quick read. After you read it, the conversation about being different and acceptance in the classroom will naturally happen. I cannot wait see what conversations come from this book.
This could be turned into a writing activity where students right about what makes them special and unique. I think this could be rather challenging because I don't know about you, I am not good at saying what makes me unique or writing about myself at all. It'll be a fun challenge for them.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Wow. What a powerful book. If you do not have this, I believe every class should have access to this book, no matter how young or old. This story follows a young boy who feels 'invisible' at school and how much of a toll it takes on his life. I will spare you the rest of the details because you need to go get it and read it for yourself! Once again, the conversations after this book would be incredible talking about including everyone in the class.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This book, right here, is hands down my favorite book. If you have not heard of Wonder, please run to your nearest bookstore or Target and pick this up! I have read it more times than I can count, and every time it makes me laugh, cry, and feel all the feels. I have read it to both of the classes I have had, and each of them LOVED this book and fell completely in love with the characters. In May, they were still mentioning Auggie and this story. (Side note: This is being turned into a movie!) I could go on and on about why this book is amazing, but I will save it all and allow you to go feel all the feels!
I hope these texts inspire you to use books to help build a community in your classroom this coming school year.