Before I begin, when I say teacher, I am not only talking about a classroom teacher. I am talking about all forms of teaching and impacting children: parents, caregivers, grandparents, aunts/uncles, friends, neighbors. It takes a village, right?
I teach second grade. Second graders are seven or eight years old. Let me describe the average second grader to you:
2. excited about school
3. talkative and willing to share thoughts/ideas
4. willingness to please and work hard
Not all students walk into my classroom this way. Some students are shy, scared, stubborn, argumentative, angry, etc.
Some students ping-pong from a variety of mixed emotions as we spend 9 months together due to a variety of reasons or life situations.
There is magic in being a teacher. As a teacher, we have the GIFT to work with students so they know they are safe in our classroom, teach them the necessary academic skills as well as work on life skills to help facilitate kindness, empathy and compassion.
I believe that every single teacher has heard it over and over again about taking time at the beginning of the school year to set clear expectations and build rapport with students. However, doing that at the beginning of the year and never revisiting it, does not work. Over the years, I have found myself asking students, “Do you know why I am here? Do you know what my job is?”
I have to explicitly remind my students throughout the year that I am there to help them learn and to help them learn to solve problems. It is not enough to say it once or twice. We have to constantly remind our students what our job is and that we are here for them.
It is so important to start the school year off with meaningful conversations, positivity, clear expectations, kindness, inclusion and diversity. Picture books allow teachers the opportunity to introduce or review a wide variety of topics that often shine a beautiful spotlight on diversity and inclusion. Below are a list of 21 picture books I will be using to begin my school year.
|I Am Enough||Grace Byers||Kindness, respect, self-love|
|The Invisible Boy||Trudy Ludwig||Finding strengths and celebrating strengths|
|The Arabic Quilt||Aya Khalil||Celebrating culture and written language|
|The Lemonade Hurricane||Licia Morelli||Mindfulness and meditation|
|Your Name is a Song||Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow||Celebrating the beauty in names|
|There’s No Dream Too Tall||Amie Dean||Empowerment and dreaming|
|F is for Feelings||Goldie Millar & Lisa A. Berger||Identifying and exploring feelings|
|The World Needs More Purple People||Kristen Bell & Benjamin Hart||Celebrating all people|
|Perfect||Max Amato||Finding beauty in mistakes and |
|How To Get Your Teacher Ready||Jean Reagan||Humorous how-to book about teachers|
|What Does It Mean To Be Kind?||Rana DiOrio||Kindness and empathy|
|The Name Jar||Yangsook Choi||Celebrating the beauty in names|
|Happy Dreamer||Peter H. Reynolds||Dreaming and uniqueness|
|We Are The Same In A Different Way||Renee Ecckles-Hardy||Celebrating all people|
|Kindness is a Kite String||Michelle Schaub||Kindness and empathy|
|The Word Collector||Peter H. Reynolds||Celebrating the importance of words|
|Wonderfully Made||Kaitlyn Derosiers & MEgan McBryde||Celebrating all families|
|Books in the Park||Elle Montemayor||Celebrating the importance of reading|
|Say Hello!||Rachel Isadora||Celebrating languages|
|Nella’s Kindness Kicks||NelliRose Farella||Kindness and effects of actions|
|All Are Welcome||Alexandra Penfold||Celebrating all people|
What are you favorite books to start your school year or to read to the children in your life? I would love to continue to grow my classroom library. Please put the titles in the comments.
I invite you to visit my instagram page to see the video reel showcasing all the books above.