Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Day of School titles- suggested titles

  1. Cam Jansen and the First Day of School by David Adler
  2. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
  3. Junior goes to School by Samantha Berger
  4. Arthur's back-to-school surprise by Marc Brown
  5. Look out kindergarten, Here I come!  by Nancy Carlson
  6. First Graders from Mars by Shana Corey
  7. Sam starts school by Barbara Cook
  8. A fine, fine school by Sharon Creech
  9. First day jitters by Julie Danneberg
  10. Get ready for second grade, Amber Brown by Paula Danzinger
  11. Wimberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
  12. Off to school, Baby Duck by Amy Hest
  13. Froggy goes to school by Jonathon London
  14. Judy Moody by Megan McDonald
  15. Moses goes to school by Issac Millman
  16. When an elephant goes to school by Jan Ormerod
  17. Little Cliff's first day of school by Clifton Taulbert
  18. Llama llama misses mama  by Anna Dewdney
  19. Talking hands at school (en la escuela) Kathleen Petelinsck
  20. It's your first day of school, Annie Claire by Jan Ormerod
More to come

Tracy : )

Saturday, June 30, 2012

First Week Book List Coming!

Hi, this is Tracy again. I am working on getting a list of book titles that are perfect for the first day and first week of school. There are some really good ones out there. Your local libraries have plenty of them, but they will be checked out fast with the first day of school approaching in August. Stay tuned for a list. I will include titles, authors, and author websites if available. If you are wondering what the book levels are, you can go to www.arbookfind.com to look up book titles and you will see what the grade level is for the book if available.

Happy reading,


Children's Librarian and Michelle's friend

A Winner!!!!

Just popping in to announce the winner of the Whatif Monster.

Congratulations  Miss Trayers at NotJustChild'sPlay!

Also, here is something fun that I grabbed from Pinterest.  Dr. Seuss is one of my all time favorites!  I love what is at the bottom:

Dr. Seuss baby, Dr. Seuss!

Keep Reading,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Whatif Monster

Just one more day until someone wins the the Whatif Monster. Looks like it's going to be an easy choice, unless someone leaves a comment. :)

Here's a link to the book

and a review I pulled from Facebook, written by Tabatha Miller Roach. This says it all!

"What a universal message for ages 2 to 100...don't let the fear of 'whatif' stand in your way of doing something you really want to do! WHATIF you DO go for your dreams and they are even better than you imagined?! A must have in every home & library...and I am so in love with Michelle Nelson-Schmidt's artwork in this book, she has created a masterpiece!!"

  Click here for a video of the author reading the story.

Keep Reading,

Monday, June 25, 2012

Meeting an Author

Last week, Tracy had an author visit as part of her Summer Reading Program.  We went and had such a great time!  I think it may be the first time I've met a children's author and I know it's the first time I've had a chance to talk with one.  Pretty exciting for me.  :)

Sorry for the blurry picture.  I was standing in the back of the room as she was presenting. 

I was blown away by Michelle Neslon-Schmidt.  She is a fantastic artist and brought lots of pictures (portraits?) to her presentation.  The kids loved them!  She is also very inspirational and such an encourager.  This is one smart lady.  She was going to school for physics and math, was doing great, but it wasn't her dream.  She followed that dream and now she is living a "magical" life.  She spoke about how it wasn't easy and she almost give up, but kept going...... she had lots of rejection, but it only took one "yes" to change her life.

She has 2 children's books published (along with some coloring and drawing books).  They are Dogs, Dogs! and Cats, Cats!  Both of these books are great.  I can't wait to use them in my classroom.

 They are fairly short and are written in rhyme.  I think these would be perfect to use with a writing lesson about stretching sentences out and using describing words.  They also have some great vocabulary words (shaggy, stubborn, timid, nosy).  Every child I know can identify with cats and dogs.  Even if they don't have one, they probably know someone who does.  The very last page on each book is a mirror page where they can describe themselves.  I know these are going to be a hit with my kiddos!

"Shaggy dog, shaggy dog, with so much hair. 
Do you really have eyes under there?"
"Timid cat, timid cat, under the bed, 
Won't you come out, even to be fed?"
"Little girl, little boy
reading this book. 

Which dog are you like? 
Take a look!"

The illustrations and lettering are so fun! 

Here's a review from the School Library Journal-
"Text set against plenty of white space, with a few sophisticated words to challenge youngsters, make these good choices for emerging readers. The bright, crisp illustrations are cheerful and attractive and will call out to children who want to look at playful pictures of cats and dogs. These books are also useful as introductions to adjectives, with the art adroitly reinforcing the texts. All in all, these are versatile titles that should find a home in most collections."

WAIT!  There's more!!! Today is the release of her newest book,  Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster.  She read this book during her presentation last week and it adorable.  Briefly, it is about self doubt and fear.  Who doesn't doubt themselves and get scared?  Jonathtan James finally makes peace with the Whatif Monster and turns doubt around.  Stay tuned.....I'll be back with a better review and some more pictures when I can get my hands on the book.


Mrs. Schmidt believes in herself and the Whatif Monster.  She designed the monster and had some made.  (You need to hop on over to her blog and read about it here). Now, from what I understand the publisher is also making a Whatif Monster, but this one is a limited edition author designed and autographed original!  Each of my girls got one and Mrs. Schmidt was so kind as to give me one to share.... so let's have a giveaway!  All you need to do is become a follower and leave a comment.  The drawing will be done Friday night.  Also, you should really should check out her blog here and/ or follow her on Facebook.  Just to give you a tiny taste here's her copyright warning.... "all this is mine, please don't steal. it's not nice and will make your mama sad" that just that cracked me up!

Holding the Whatif Monster

Here's the one you could win

See, he's autographed (she also initialed the tiny tag on his bum!)....
aren't you impressed?  :)  

Soooooo.... become a follower, leave a comment and he could be yours! 

Keep Reading, 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Frugal Finds

I wanted to share a few goodies I have been picking up here and there.  There's nothing earth shattering here, just what works for me.  :)  My first little frugal find is getting books at yard sales.  Now, I realize yard sales aren't for everyone, but you can find great bargains out there! I am able to go more in the summer, than during the school year.  I love it when the stars line up just right and my sister and I can go together.  It's more fun with someone else, and she can really spot some bargains!  I am always on the look out for books and let me tell you.... I find great children's books.

 A couple of weeks ago I picked these up for a dime each!  That's 70 cents ya'll!  I can barely buy a coke for that! I love picking up books because 1) I am able to build my library  2) It's not quite so bad when a book tears up (as they eventually do) and I know paid very little for it 3) If I end up with multiple copies, it  allows me to generous and share with others  4) Most people love to know a teacher is buying them and lots of time they will give you a really good deal, so strike up a conversation!  :)   and 5) You never know what you are going to find.... It's like a treasure hunt!  I have bought lots of different things for my classroom.  Another favorite is using flashcards to make ring books.  I find all kind of great things at yard sales, but I'm trying to stick to school related items here.  :)

I also popped in the dollar tree and picked up a couple of goodies for my class.  I am going to make the cute birthday balloons I have seen all over blog land.  I have seen different versions, but a straw (6 for $1), a little construction paper and you have a cute treat.  I love how colorful and fun these straws are! Here's a picture from Kindergarten Rocks. She has tons of great ideas.  I really like this one because it is a no sugar alternative to the jumbo pixie sticks. Be sure to check out her if you aren't familiar with her blog.  You will not be sorry!

I also found some birthday crowns.  These are pretty self-explanatory.  I am actually pretty impressed with the teaching/ classroom section of the Dollar Tree.  It may not be the highest quality, but not everything has to be..... depends on what you are using it for.

Moving on, this is not a bargain but it is definitely a great idea!  I was over at Growing Kinders  the other day and she shared how she organizes math stations and literacy centers. I love it when someone else figures it all out .  I haven't gotten a good system going for my station storage yet, so this is perfect.  (Click over to check out the entire post.)  I LOVE IT!!!


 All of the containers are not going to be cheap, but as I was reading through the comments someone said you can buy the these at Dollar General for a little bit cheaper than Target (only about 50 cents in my area).  However, you can get a $5 off $25 coupon on your receipt when you buy anything (like a pack of gum).  Use this coupon to buy your containers and it helps out a little bit...... and every little bit counts!

Finally, another favorite place for bargains is the Dollar Spot at Target (Our Walmart has a similar section now, but not as big).  I love to pick up cute note cards and they should be putting out school stuff soon.  I always check it out.

I love hearing about good deals others have found, so share yours!

I am linking up with Primary Possibilities.

Keep Reading,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I am Tracy, Michelle's friend and her librarian. I am so excited to be joining in on the blogging adventure. I've been a children's librarian for almost 9 years and love it. I love encouraging kids to read books and to find books about their favorite subjects and topics. Of course, I have always loved to read. I'm the kid that mom had to tell to put the book away and go to bed! Now that I am a mom of 2 children (3 if you count my husband). I encourage my kids to read everyday and to read for fun. Reading is fun and learning is fun, too. I can't wait to continue this adventure with you all. Thanks Michelle for inviting me on this journey.
Tracy: mom, wife, children's librarian and reading enthusiast.


Summer is here!


I can not put into words how much I love the lazy, carefree days of summer!!! The girls and I are enjoying the break immensely! My poor hubby doesn't get much of a break. :(

There has been some of this....

A little of this..... (not only are the dolls reading, the people in this house have been reading too!)

Even some of this....(Mom's Taxi is in full swing)

We are having a fun, relaxing summer so far. Summer gives me time to catch up on some things, think about what's been working and what hasn't, and make some plans for the upcoming year (am I the only one who thinks in school years and not calendar years?).
I have been thinking about my blog a lot lately, even though I haven't done anything with it. I have been this close (imagine me holding my fingers veeerrry close together) to just deleting it several times, but that never felt quite right. I have thought about it, prayed about it and just given it some time. One thing I have learned is that blogging is not easy. I'm sure it comes natural for some of you wonderful people. I have tons of ideas.... it's just that technology is difficult for me. My sister is going to be helping me in this area though (big hug). I respect bloggers so much. It is a lot of work.

That being said, I LOVE blogs! They are full of wonderful ideas and are so helpful to tons of people. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am for the fantastic blogs out there. They inspire me! I believe in my little blog and my ideas, however I am a busy teacher and mom like so many of you. Time just gets away from me and months have gone by and I haven't posted a thing! I think I have found a wonderful solution though. I am very excited about this.....I have convinced one of my bestest friends ever, Tracy, to join me in this little adventure! She is wonderful and she will be a perfect fit for a Children's Lit blog. She is a children's librarian at one of our local libraries and she knows her stuff! I am always asking her questions and she helps me out so much. She also runs a fantastic Summer Reading Program as well as a homeschool program. We have know each other since 6th grade (which means we have been friends for more years that I like to admit to). :) She is so much fun to be around and I think you will love her! I'll let her post and tell more about herself, but be looking for another friendly face around here. Hopefully things will get back on track and we will have lots of interesting stuff coming your way!

Thanks for sticking around. I can't wait to share something fun that we did today. Stay posted......

Keep Reading,

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I am sending my kiddos home with cute little bubbles for Valentine's Day thanks to Fran over at Kindergarten Crayons (she has a cute freebie on TPT). My problem is my daughter's first grade class. Another mom and I have been splitting treats this year. We've already done treat bags for Halloween and Christmas, so I wanted to do a little something different this time. When I asked the teacher what she would like us to do she asked if we could get the kids some flashcards. No problem! Getting the flashcards was easy enough at Target's dollar spot. Love that dollar spot! Princess for the girls and Spiderman for the boys.

My problem is how to make them cute. You know they need to be cute, right? :) I thought I would tie them with a ribbon and add a card. I have searched for some kind of math valentine card and I can't find anything! Does anyone have any ideas? Is there somewhere I am not looking? Is there a really creative, tech savvy person out there who can throw somthing together? I might be willing to pay a small price. Someone please help me out!

Keep Reading,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Importance of Non-fiction

This is something that happened in my class last month. I loved some of the answers and wanted to share. Here goes.....

I like stories. Stories that are cute, stories that are fun, stories that rhyme or have pretty pictures, stories with happy endings, lots of stories. :) However, I know that non-fiction has it's place and is very important. It's not that I dislike non-fiction, but given the choice I'll usually pick a fiction book.

Soooooo, I was recently reminded just how important it is for children to hear nonfiction read aloud. It taps into a whole new set of listening skills. Evidently my kids need lots of practice!

When we were learning about penguins we read a nonfiction book. It had great information and a lot of fun facts. I realized how important those listening skills are. My class has a habit of blurting out answers without thinking. One page was about different kinds of penguins and their names. The question was "Why do you think the penguins have this name?" One was the rockhopper penguin.

You should hear some of the answers I was getting. "Because it has those feathers on his head" and "becasue it can swim", So, I'm saying "Now listen the name is ROCKHOPPER penguin". Someone answers "because it can slide on it's tummy!" Me again: "The name is ROOOOCKHOOOOPPPPER penguin.... what could that be telling us?" At this point I'm trying not to laugh. Who has a great inferencing activty? I need it ASAP! Someone FINALLY gets the correct answer and then we move on to the chinstrap penguin.

Things are not much better here. Some answers include "because he has a chin" and "because he likes to be scratched on the chin, like I like to be scratched on the back!" I decided it was time to give lots of clues and move on. :)

The thing that really got me was the comprehension questions at the back of the book. I had to get a piece of paper and start writing the answers down! They were so funny. It was all I could do not to laugh out loud! The question was to name 3 types of penguins. They managed to get a couple (with reminders) and then I started giving hints about the chinstrap penguin. Here are some of the answers and I promise I am not making this up: "copper head penguin", "copper strap penguin", "copper hopper" and "robber hop". The answers were coming quick. At this point I'm thinking we really need to be reading lots more nonfiction! Retelling fiction is a lot different than recalling information and names of things.

**Disclaimer- Before you think my little sweet kinders are totally dense, I do want to point out that they did get some questions correct in between the ones I told you about!**

Keep Reading,

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Well, hello!

Did you think I had dropped off of the planet? It seems like I have been hibernating this winter! Although it seems funny to call it winter when the weather is beautiful here and I wore short sleeves to church this morning. My dad just told me the other day that have changed the name of January to June-ary. Seriously, my azelas are blooming! I am loving the weather, but I am all about a little snow each year and a good snow day! You know, just enough to be pretty and play in a little bit. :) We'll have to see what the rest of the season holds.....

Sorry, where was I? I got distracted talking about the weather.... oh yes! Hibernation. I don't really have any good excuse or stories. I have just been busy with life and time has gotten away from me.

Michelle from Inspired by Kindergarten tagged me and I thought I would hop in and play along. Thanks Michelle! (love your name, by the way!)

Now, I hope I can come up with 12 interesting things! Let's see... here goes.

1. I have lived in the same town almost my entire life. I lived in another town for 3 years, but it was still in the same county.

2. I love to travel. I used to travel a decent amount, but then got married and had kids. Things have really slowed down in the travelling department, but my gilrs are old enough now that I look forward to that picking up some. :)

3. I have been to about 35 states. I hope to hit all 50 one day.

4. I was on Inside Edition just after my first daughter was born. At the time we had so many pregnant teachers at our school that The Atlanta Journal sent someone to do a story on it, and then Inside Edition came and did a story! We had something like 15 teachers pregnagnt and 16 babies that year. It was crazy! My daughter was #4 and I was on camera for like 3 seconds. They are all first graders now.

5. My enitre teaching career has been in kindergarten. I love this age group.

6. I also teach 4 year olds at church on Sunday mornings.

7. I love chocolate. Saw a cute Valentine shirt the other day that said "I love chocolate... and the man who brings it to me." :)

8. I also love coffee, but my husband can't stand the smell of it so I never make or drink it at home.

9. I was a parapro for two years before I went back to school to be a teacher.

10. I am a technology idiot! My husband teases me all of the time and my seven year old can figure out things quicker than I can. Sad, but true!

11. I am a Crayola crayon and Elmer's glue snob. I'm not agaist off brands, but these are just the best in my opinion. I really stock up at the back to school sales. :)

and last, but not least, probably the most interesting (at least to my teacher friends)....

12. Dr. Feldman was my first Children's Lit teacher. This is before she was "Dr. Jean"! She was wonderful! I think she is responsible for my love of Children's Literature. Hmmm.... maybe I should send her my Scholastic bill! LOL

12 questions to go anwer:
1. What is your favorite store? Target
2. Do you have a class pet? No
3. Do you prefer Dollar Tree or Dollar General? Dollar Tree
4. How many pets at home do you have? 1, we got a dog for Christmas.
5. Do you have kids of your own? yes, 2
6. How do you deal with help helicopter parents see your side of life? I don't have very many helicopter parents. If they show up much, I put them to work for me!
7. How do you involve absent parents in school activities? I don't stress about it. The only time I really care is if I am trying to get them in for a conference.
8. What is your favorite sport? Baseball, but I'm really not much of a sports fan.
9. What is your favorite team of #8's sport? Atlanta Braves
10. What is the piece of jewelry you wear most often? wedding ring and mothers ring
11. Do you like curtains or blinds? blinds
12. What can brighten your day when nothing else can? My husband and daughters

Wow! This has gotten long. I think I'm late for this party, so I'm not usre I can link up with 12 others, but I'll see what I can do. Thanks again Michelle. This was fun!

Keep Reading,