Sunday, July 12, 2015

Must Read Monday: Books about Compassion

Yay, time for another Must Read Monday with Suzanne from Kindergarten Planet and Alex from Kindergarten Connection! I love talking about books! 

This week it is all about COMPASSION. I really love this topic, and it is SO important to teach to little learners. Children are naturally all about themselves, and some have not had to ever deal with other kids before coming to school. They are living in a world with many people unlike themselves, and having compassion is a must. Here are some of my favorite books to teach compassion. 

Those Shoes is a great book for showing that material possessions aren't always the most important thing. Jeremy is pining after "those shoes" that everyone seems to have, but his family can't afford. When he gets teased for having dorky shoes, there is one kid who doesn't make fun of them. When Jeremy finally gets "those shoes," he sees that they aren't all they are cracked up to be. He does a great deed for his friend at the end, and sees how thinking of other people feels pretty darn good. 

Another one I love is Each Kindness. This one is emotionally heavy, and I always have some very silent, very introspective kids as we finish this one. Maya is the new girl at school, and she is poor. Everyone in the class is mean to her because of how she looks and dresses, even though she is always kind to them. One day she transfers and no one sees her again. When the class is talking about the acts of kindness they have done, Chloe can't think of any- but she keeps thinking of how she was always mean to Maya.

This story always catches my students off-guard because it doesn't wrap up in a nice little package. Maya never comes back, Chloe never has the chance to apologize. It really gets the point across that those mean words can stick with people, and that if you are always mean to people, you are going to be facing some major guilt one day.

I love Leo the Late Bloomer! Leo is just that- a late bloomer. He's not yet doing all the things his friends can do, and his dad is worried. In his own time, he blooms! I use this one when we talk about our "just right learning." I always have the "smart kid" who came in ahead of everyone, and has been told by their family how *smart* they are. I always see a few kids glancing between  their A book and their friend reading a K...or looking at their writing and comparing it to the kid who had 2 years of Head Start. I want my kids to know it's okay for us to be at different stages, and that we will all bloom in our own time.

I'll admit, I originally judged Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! by it's cover...and I'm glad I did! Not only does it have great illustrations, it is a short read with a great message. Tyrannosaurus doesn't really know how to play with others- he pretty much wrecks everything around him, hurting his friends' feelings. Around the middle you start to see that Tyrannosaurus isn't merely a bully, but he really just struggles to work with other people and express himself. Instead of holding it against him and staying mad, his friends help him be successful.

I LOVED this one because as I read it the first time, I thought of a buddy I had a few years back. This student had many problems interacting with the others, and did things very impulsively. They weren't trying to be a bully, but if the other kids did the same things back to them, it would be bullying. It is hard to 5 year olds to really understand that their classmate's needs were different than their own, but this story was a start!

What are some of your favorite books for teaching compassion? I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Must-Read Monday: Friendship!

Yay, Monday!

Today I am linking up with Suzanne from Kindergarten Planet and Alex from Kindergarten Connection for Must Read Monday! This week it's all about friendship books. Here are some of my favorites!
I couldn't pick just one!

Any Elephant and Piggie book is excellent for talking about friendship. Mo Willems is a genius (more on that later), and perfectly captures the feelings young friends can have, like being sad about breaking your friend's toy, being scared when a new friend comes into the picture, or trying to tell your friend they just aren't that good at playing the trumpet. At their core, Gerald and Piggie really care about each other, and they always find a way to solve their problem and be friends again. Plus, they are hilarious and easy for beginning readers to read on their own, so they are MUST HAVES in any primary classroom.

Farfallina and Marcel is another one of my favorites. This gosling/ caterpillar duo do everything together in their little pond. Things start to change, and they are sad when they think they've "lost" their best friend, but they stay friends despite their differences. This is a good one for stressing that although we might change (physically or emotionally), we are still capable of retaining our strong friendships.

The Sandwich Swap is another one I read every year, and is great at teaching about embracing each others' differences. Lilly and Salma are BFF's, but one day, they just can't keep in their thoughts about the other girl's "yucky" sandwich. This causes some BIG PROBLEMS, and they eventually find out that different foods are not so bad, and that being different/ liking different things isn't a reason to fight with your friends. Reading this also leads to a good discussion on the "right" way to express yourself to/ question your friends without hurting their feelings.

Also really cool, this book is written by a QUEEN. Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan to be exact. I love to point this out to my kids (especially my girls) so they know that being a queen isn't just about looking pretty and hanging out in a castle- a queen can do meaningful, powerful things!
A new book that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE is The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. I saw this one when it JUST came in to the library and was the first person to check it out because I was immediately blown away by the illustrations. THEY ARE GORGEOUS. The super cute Beekle is the only "imaginary" friend without a friend. So he decides to go out and find one. His adventures are excellent, and the illustrations are magical. Check it out now!

What are your favorite books on friendship? Join in and tell us about them!

*I am not affiliated with Amazon, links are provided for convenience*

Monday, June 15, 2015

Must Read Monday: End of the Year Favorites!

The end is near. Wednesday is my last day with my babies! This has been a LONG YEAR, and I am ready for the much needed break ahead. 

One of my big summer goals is to blog more, and I am starting a little early to link up with Suzanne from Kindergarten Planet and Alex from Kindergarten Connection for Must Read Monday! My favorite topic! 

For the kickoff, we are talking about some of our favorite books for the end of the year. Here are a few of mine:

This is one I just discovered this year, but it will be in my rotation for a long time. I am a messy person. I try SO HARD to stay organized, but I just can’t keep it together. So when I saw Mrs. McBloom, CleanUp your Classroom! By Kelly DiPucchio at the library, I picked it up and loved it! We read this last week, and discussed how we don’t want the “babies next door” (i.e. pre-k kids, many of whom are siblings to my kids) to have a messy room next year, so we have to pitch in to help Mrs. Garcia clean it up and make it perfect. It was a cute story, and drove the point home that many hands are better than one.

 Of course, there is this one. We read Dr. Seuss weekly, because he's one of my favorites, and Oh, The Places You'll Go! is no exception. This one is a little above most of their heads, but my students do appreciate the Seussical illustrations and melody of the words, and I need the reminders in those last few crazy days of what is in store for my babies. 

This may not be a traditional  end-of-year book, but I always read Knuffle Bunny Free at the end of the year. We are big Mo Willems fans in 110, and this one provides a sense of moving on, growing up, and gives a sense of closure to the year. The epilogue is great, too, and reminds me that I will get to embark on this journey again soon (and so will they)! 

What are some of your favorite end-of-the-year books? Link up to tell us about your favorites!

*Product links are provided for convenience. I am not affiliated with Amazon*