August 2014 | Peace, Love, and First Grade


It's a Primary Chalkboard YouTube Party, friends!
And YOU are invited!
Have you checked out the awesome BTS video tips at The Primary Chalkboard?

My PC friends and I have come up with almost 30 tips
to make Back to School a little easier.

So, here's my tip! 
I promise my accent is not this thick all the time. 
This was at the end of a very long day!

FYI: This is the my very first video. 
Please have patience with the newbie! :)

Here we go!

Don't forget to head over to The Primary Chalkboard to see
the other video tips!

Have a wonderful year! 

20+ Favorite Picture Book Characters

Hello, Friends! 
It's Book Talk Tuesday! 
I apologize for not posting this last Tuesday, but we were back at school,
and I was suffering through some lower back pain! 
The things teachers careful, y'all!

This week, we're celebrating favorite characters from Children's Lit. 

There are TONS of fun characters out in Bookland! 
But...I limited my list to picture books this week, 
with the exception of Mercy Watson...
because I can't leave out my favorite pig!

The ones you see below are characters my kiddos have loved over the last several years!

Let's jump right in!

Arthur and DW by Marc Brown
  Arthur the Aardvark does everything from taking care of pets to visiting the President!
It always makes me smile when animal characters have pets!
His sister, DW, is one of my favorite characters, too!
She's a true little sister, full of spunk! 

Babymouse by Jennifer Holm
 Have you met Babymouse?
She's been a hit in my classroom ever since I found her several years ago.
Even the boys love Babymouse!
Babymouse stories are set up comic book style

 with pink, gray, black, and white illustrations.
Makes my kiddos feel like big kids!

I introduce her after Christmas each year!

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
 Karma Wilson has created a huggable, sleep-loving character with Bear!
Bear has many good friends and spends his time eating,
trying to fit through doorways, and hoping to stay up for Christmas!
You know, like all bears do!

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo
DiCamillo wrote her first book about these two in 2012.
Completely opposite friends.
Bink likes brightly colored socks and pancakes.
Gollie likes order and royalty!

They both like roller skates and each other!
So glad I happened upon these two sweet friends!

Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
 What's cuter than a precious puppy?
Especially if that puppy's name is Biscuit!
These easy to read books send Biscuit on lots of adventures,
but things always turn out right in the end.

Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child
This is not your typical brother and sister pair!
Charlie is constantly getting Lola out of jams.

I use this series during Author's Craft to show how authors use 
bold words, different fonts, and quotation marks. 
One of my favorites is But I am an Alligator.

Claude by Alex T. Smith
 I just met Claude last year. 
Claude's a dog from Great Britain whose best friend just happens to be a sock. 
They have lots of adventures together. Cue: Laughter from Firsties!
This is a great book for independent readers!

Clifford by Norman Bridwell
Do I have to tell you about Clifford? 
Seriously, isn't he a requirement for early elementary??
Who can resist this larger than life dog and his owner Emily Elizabeth?
I want my own Clifford, don't you?

Curious George by H.A. Rey
A favorite from my childhood! 
I'm so glad my students like him! 
George is another staple in a primary classroom! 
His antics are funny, and things always turn out in the end.

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
If you teach First Grade, run, don't walk, and find Mo Willems' books!
Kidlets love them!
Elephant and Piggie are two very different friends who have the same issues
children have-jealousy, sharing, and bullying. 

Let me just say, once you find these books, you'll be hooked!
 We also love The Pigeon!

Frances by Russell Hoban
 Another childhood favorite! 
Oh, how I love Frances! 
She is a sweet badger with a nice family, good friends,
and a sometimes annoying baby sister. 

By the way, she also loves to sing and writes her own songs! 
I want to squeeze her!

Franklin by Paulette Bourgeois
 How precious is Franklin the turtle?? 
Franklin spends most of his time overcoming fears, and learning life lessons.
There is a calming spirit to these books.
When I read them aloud, my room is silent.
The kiddos are seriously glued to the story.
I love that! 

The illustrations are beautifully detailed, too!

Froggy by Jonathan London
 Froggy is just cute! 
Like many other animal characters, Froggy leads a normal human-like life! 
Loads of friends and a little sister to boot! 
As a little sister myself, I love that!

George and Martha by James Marshall
 James Marshall is brilliant! I adore his books!
First graders love reading about friends,
and Hippos George and Martha are TONS of fun! Ha!

 Okay, that's actually the name of one of their books. 
The thing is, these two don't realize how large they are
and find themselves in all kinds of funny situations! Love them!

Harry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
 I listed Harry on my Color book list, but he fits here, too! 
Harry is one of those classic characters who never goes out of style!
He's a black and white dog who gets dirty,
gets a new sweater, and gets caught in seaweed at the beach. 

Love some Harry!

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
 Mercy Watson is a pig being raised as a daughter by an eccentric couple.
She doesn't talk but she does sleep in a bed, and in one particular book, she drives a car.
I laugh out loud at Mercy and the other characters in these books!
The illustrations by Chris Van Dusen are remarkable! 

You can find a few of her books on Tumblebooks.

Mrs. Wishy-Washy by Joy Cowley
 I was introduced to Mrs. Wishy-Washy when I taught Reading Recovery years ago. 
At the time, there was only one book. 
My kiddos loved that book!
Now there are dozens of books about this chubby farm lady!
Students feel so successful reading Joy Cowley's books!
The love for her hasn't diminished with time!

Olivia by Ian Falconer
 If you read my blog regularly, you know I love pigs! 
So you can guess, Olivia would be found in my classroom!
Olivia is a free-spirited piglet who wears her Mama out! 
I love her self-confidence and ability to say what's on her mind. 
She sees a painting at the art gallery and decides she could paint just as well...
so she does...on the walls at home.

Pete the Cat by James Dean
 Pete the Cat has been a hit since 2011.
He's the epitome of a "Cool Cat."
Pete is truly a must-have in Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms! 
I love Pete's "I Can Read" series now, too!

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
 Scaredy is an adorable squirrel! 
He's just afraid-of a lot of things. 
Like germs, and bad dreams, and leaving his nut tree. 
But he's prepared with stuff like band-aids and parachutes. 
Will he survive???
Completely adorable!

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
 Cats seem to be all the rage right now in children's lit!
Splat is sure a favorite in my classroom.
He has the same kind of problems my firsties have, and
they love hearing about Splat and his friends. 
Most of these books are available on CD from Scholastic!

SkippyJon Jones by Judy Schachner
 Who would have thought that a kitten who thinks he's a chihuahua
would be a staple in a primary grade classroom??
I love Skippy!
One word of caution, though.
You may want to practice reading these books before you read them aloud. 
They will stump you.
FYI: That's the first time I've ever typed the word "chihauhau,"
and yes, I used spellcheck.

The Henke Mice by Kevin Henkes
 Okay, there really isn't a character or a book by this name, but it sure does fit! 
The mice Kevin Henkes created are some of the most loved childrens' characters today: 
Chrysanthemum, Wemberly, Owen, Lilly, and all their precious friends! 
You'll definitely want to share them with your students!

There are many more characters my kiddos love!
 Check out my "Must-Haves for New Readers" post for more info on these favorites:
The Berenstain Bears
Cam Jansen
Fancy Nancy
Fox and Friends
Frog and Toad 
Henry and Mudge
Little Critter
Morris and Boris
Mr. Putter and Tabby
Oliver and Amanda Pig

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.