First Few Days of 2nd Grade - 2023

Welcome back to school!! We only had 2 days of school for our first week, but next week, we're going to be going right in to all of our curriculum. It's a great curriculum, so that doesn't bother me any.

Last year, I was just trying to stay afloat with all the NEW in my life. SO this year, I'm going to try and blog about our week so you can take a peek into our Classical Academy life. It's quite grand.

Here was my Meet the Teacher Picture - I shared a reel over on my instagram, if you want to see that!



This is what the board has looked like in the past...but we don't have bulletin boards yet (new school... doing things in stages as the money comes in), so I just improvise and put them on the white board with magnets. 


Now, obviously, we take a LOT of time going over procedures, the notebooks, folders, and binders...and alllll the other to-do list items we have to get done on the first day or 2. But these are some of the fun things we did throughout. 


We read one of my favorite books for the first day. And it was really awesome last year since our school was a new school. 


I also took their picture for their memory books. I was so proud of myself for actually doing this the first day! lol That's why my sign says the first week...because sometimes I don't get to it on the first day. Although, now that my students wear uniforms, no one would be the wiser, right!? ha!


They also started coloring some of their pages in their Memory books. I love these books every year. Here's what they beginning of the year looks like....


And then at the end of the year, they get the same pages, but don't remember their beginning of year responses, so they can compare their answers...but also their handwriting and their drawings!



In math, we do an activity where we try to figure out the teacher. I give them some different math problems, and they have to try to work it out on their desk. It's a great way to see who remembers what strategies from First Grade. 


To get them up and moving, we play a "Snowball" game where they write their name on a piece of paper and crumple up the paper. 


I play music and they throw around the snowballs at each other until I stop the music. Then they have to open the paper, find the person whose name is on the paper and then introduce themselves or say hi to each other (using their names). We do a few rounds of this, and they love it!



Another ELA activity we do is to read Listen Buddy, and then talk about Whole Body Listening. Now, you would hopefully know your students at this point, if they have a 504 or IEP. They may not listen like this...but in general, these are the things we focus on when we're listening. 


We also did the "M&M" activity - Marvelous to Meet You. 


I played KidsBop music and they walked around (or danced around!) and when the music stopped, they did "hand up, pair up" to find a partner.

I told them the person with the shortest hair always went first. They grabbed an M&M and read the chart for the corresponding color. Once that person was finished, the other person went. We did a few rounds of this, and the kids asked for more!


You can click THIS LINK to download a printable copy of this. I just hand wrote this real quick the day before.




And since our heat index here is through the roof, we had inside recess on Friday. So that meant we had plenty of time to get done with our first window clings!

I did the pineapples at the end of the year last year, but my teammate convinced me to do them first this year. I just love how these look on our windows.



Check out THIS post for more ideas throughout the year.




And then it was time to go home, after a FULL two first days.

Next week, we're hitting the curriculum and first up is Fairy Tales! Hopefully, I'll be back to share with you more on that.



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Picture Books for Character Traits - Courtesy

Welcome to the SECOND installment of the blog series - Picture Books that Inspire Good Character Traits!



At our school, we call them the Pillars of Virtue, and we have six of them:
  1. Honesty
  2. Courtesy
  3. Courage
  4. Perseverance
  5. Self-Government
  6. Service

Since last year was my first year, I decided to try and find a bunch of books to read throughout the year to attach to these pillars. Most of these books can be used for multiple character traits, so use these posts as a guide. 

Each pillar will be in a separate post, but in each post, I will link all of the posts so you can easily find the ones you are looking for!



Today's Character Trait is Courtesy.



My Mouth is a Volcano - Oh, the tale as old as time... interrupting while someone is talking...or teaching. ha! I remember when my youngest heard this story. She would come home and say, "Mommy, I'm going to try and not let my mouth be a volcano today."  haha! Kids are so precious. 


Mind Your Manner, B.B. Wolf - I usually read this book during my Three Little Pigs unit. It ties in so well with the story line. Then, inevitably, as we read different versions of the books, the students start to have conversations about the characters' character traits, and evidence as to why they think that. I mean, how perfect of a reading lesson (with meeting your standards) is that?!



Mary Louise Loses Her Manners -  Mary Louise realizes one morning, that she has lost her manners. She spend the day trying to find them, only to be causing trouble wherever she goes.  


The Recess Queen - Mean Jean, the Recess Queen was ruler of the playground, and mean to everyone. Until a new girl came to town, and didn't know. How things turned on the playground when the new girl befriended Jean.


Do Onto Otters - This one has been in my classroom library since I started teaching, 20 years ago. It's such a cute story about how rabbit is getting new neighbors, the otters and he doesn't know if they'll be nice. He gets advice from his friend, Owl, who says to treat them they way he would want to be treated. Oh, how I've said that phrase to my own children so many times. lol


Are You Quite Polite? - Just a fun, silly rhyming book that talks about manners. I love this duo and their books. 


Madeline Says Merci - There was a time that one of my daughters LOVED Madeline. So of course, I had to add this book to our bookshelf! Plus, now they know another way to say Thank You. 


The Bad Seed - Oh my goodness. The original Jory John book. I love his books. This seed has a bad temper, bad manners...and just a bad attitude. But then he meets a little seed that changes everything.


Be Kind - This book has all kinds of different examples of what it means to be kind to others. 


Pout Pout Fish - The first in a whole series starring this grumpy fish. I just love these books. The pouty fish spreads his dreary attitude everywhere until he turns that frown upside down. 


Strictly No Elephants - It's Pet Day at school and everyone is bringing their pet dog, cat, fish, mice... but elephants are not allowed. The boy shares that elephants are pets too - pets come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors, just like friends. A great book about including others who are not like you. 



I hope you have found a few books that will help you with presenting Honesty to your students or children. 

If you want to check out all the books I have in my Amazon List for Character Traits, click HERE.

Here are all of the posts in the series. 
  1. Honesty
  2. Courtesy
  3. Courage
  4. Perseverance
  5. Self-Government
  6. Service





12

Picture Books for Character Traits - Honesty

Welcome to the first installment of the blog series - Picture Books that Inspire Good Character Traits!


At our school, we call them the Pillars of Virtue, and we have six of them:
  1. Honesty
  2. Courtesy
  3. Courage
  4. Perseverance
  5. Self-Government
  6. Service

Since last year was my first year, I decided to try and find a bunch of books to read throughout the year to attach to these pillars. Most of these books can be used for multiple character traits, so use these posts as a guide. 

Each pillar will be in a separate post, but in each post, I will link all of the posts so you can easily find the ones you are looking for!



Today's Character Trait is Honesty


Kevin - When Sid makes another mess and his mom asks him about it, he makes the quick decision to blame Kevin, the furry yellow and pink friend. He soon finds out that even thought Kevin's world is make-believe, his feelings are not. 



Princess K.I.M - When Kim starts school, she tells everyone she is a princess and she wear a tiara to school and that her grandmother is a queen. Now everyone at school wants to meet a real queen and Kim is faced with what to do with her lie.


The Boy Who Cried Wolf - The tale as old as time...and one that as a parent and a teacher, I have referenced many of times. This is a classic about not joking around about something serious, because when it actually does happen, no one will believe you. 



A Bad Case of Stripes -  This book works with the trait of Courage as well. I like it when the students can see multiple traits in one book. Camilla Cream LOVES her lima beans but is too afraid to be honest about it, for fear of other's opinions. Then her world is turned upside down...until she is honest and admits home much she loves lima beans. 




The Empty Pot - Oh, gosh. This book is so good. When everyone else is cheating to make themselves look good, but then you do the right thing, even though you don't think you'll "get the prize." And THAT actually gets you the prize. What a great book to show that just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean you have to, too. 




Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse - Being honest is hard to do when you think you're going to get in trouble. But that's exactly the kind of character trait we want to instill in our children. You can get in a lot less trouble if you're honest than if you lie and get caught. 





The Colour Thief - Zot lives in a land without color. He sees the world with color and thinks it'd be a good idea to steal their color for himself. Such a great lesson about honesty. 


A Hen for Izzy Pippik - A story about a girl who finds a hen and instead of giving her back to her owner right away, she decides to keep her and take care of her until the owner comes for her. Then mayhem ensues. This is a great story about doing the right thing.



The Sad Little Fact - This story is about a little fact that can not lie. But no one believes him, and all these "lies" were created and were running around the world sharing their "facts." But they keep trying and they get back out there and turn the world a little brighter with their true facts. 



A Bike Like Sergio's - Ruben REALLY wants a bike like Sergio's. So when he finds money that fell out of someone's purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket instead of returning it. But as the story continues, his conscience gets to him about the money. 



I hope you have found a few books that will help you with presenting Honesty to your students or children. 

If you want to check out all the books I have in my Amazon List for Character Traits, click HERE.

Here are all of the posts in the series. 
  1. Honesty
  2. Courtesy
  3. Courage
  4. Perseverance
  5. Self-Government
  6. Service






13

Beginning of Year Books

Ok, I know this list can be EXTENSIVE. There are a TON of beginning of year books. 

Here are JUST A FEW (ha!) of my favorite Back to School books!

Get ready, settle in, and prepare to scroll - ha!


Do Onto Otters - I've had this book ever since it was a Florida Sunshine Junior Reader book WAY back in the day. It's such a great book to talk about how to treat others.



Edward the Emu - Another great book that focuses on celebrating who you are. There is no need to change who you are. 


Pencils on Strike - You've heard of The Day the Crayons Quit - right? This series is such a fun extension of that book. In our school, we spend a LOT of time talking about correct pencil grip and pressure and paper slant. So this is a fun book for us to read in the beginning of the year.



This is one of my favorites for the beginning of second grade - it's a good picture book to chapter book Segway. In the book, Amber Brown is nervous to start school, which the student can usually relate too.

 

Listen Buddy - This is SUCH a cute book. Buddy has trouble listening and causes all kinds of chaos. The kids get a good laugh throughout the book. By the end of the book, Buddy SHOULD learn his lesson.  Check out my activities I do with this book in THIS POST


The Smart Cookie - This book is perfect to show that we are all smart in different ways and that getting perfect test scores doesn't mean you're worthy. PLUS, this book series is just the best!



The Day You Begin - Gosh this book is so good. It's about how you might feel different from everyone, and it can be scary. But you can find the courage to make the connection with your classmates or teammates. 


A Letter from your Teacher - I have this on my End of Year Books post, too. It's such a heartwarming book to share with students that you're there not only to teach them, but to provide a safe and caring environment for them. 


Yoko - This book is another one that is great for talking about the differences we all have. Yoko gets teased for the food she brings for lunch. 

I've done the Friendship Sushi activity to go along with it. It's always yum to bring food into the lesson!





We Don't Eat our Classmates - So this book was actually introduced to me by a former student when it first came out. He was so excited to bring it to class to read to the class. It's another book about learning manners and etiquette. It's such a fan-favorite! 


Hooway for Wodney Wat - OH. MY. GOODNESS. I absolutely LOVE this book. And if you have any kids in your class with a speech impediment, this book is SO cute! And who doesn't love a Helen Lester book!?


A Bad Case of Stripes - Honestly, I LOVE reading this book in the beginning of the year! But I actually don't read it because Sean Astin does an AMAZING job of reading it. Check it out on Storyline Online






You're Finally Here - I've done this book for a few years too! I've done a lot of activities from Linda in SECOND GRADE and when I taught FIRST GRADE



Our Class is a Family - another book from the same author as "A Letter from your Teacher" that helps to build that classroom community.


First Day Jitters - I KNOW you have heard of this book, but I couldn't NOT put it on the list, right?! I just love that it's about the TEACHER who is nervous...because, YES, teachers are nervous, too!


The Name Jar - I just love this book. With all the different cultures we have in our school (and I'm sure yours too!) it's such a great book to celebrate their name and their culture. I've learned so much from having discussions about names. 


Elmer - awww, Elmer. He's such a favorite of mine. It's a book all about being yourself.  I've been using Elmer for many years - here's a POST about some activities I've done with him in the past. 


The Magical Yet - This is fun rhyming book about having a growth mindset. Check out some of my Growth Mindset activities I've done HERE


The Book with no Pictures - SOMEtimes you read books JUST for fun...and to get them excited about learning. Well, this is one of those books. This book is so fun!!


The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors - This is another book that you read JUST for fun (and yes, you have to do it in your dramatic voices - ha!). It gets the kids excited about reading and they want to keep picking it up to read. Of course, we have our own battle of Rock, Paper, Scissors. 


Giraffe's Can't Dance - Another one for the week of Growth Mindset. Check out some of the activities I have done with this book on THIS post.






Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun - okay, THIS one, is one of my ALL.TIME.FAVORITES. We read it just to read it and have a good conversation afterwards. But THEN... I show them this picture...


Yep - that's my Caroline at 2.5 years old eating spaghetti in a hotdog bun. It's one of my most favorite pictures ever. 


And every year, without fail, I have kids going home and asking to eat spaghetti in a hotdog bun. 



You can find ALL those book in my Ideas List on Amazon - HERE


And don't forget to check out my other Beginning of Year posts - click on the pictures below!








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