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!


Practicing Math Skills with a Deck of Cards

One of my very favorite way to practice math is with a deck of cards! Students LOVE when you bring out the cards. It's such a fun and non-monotonous way to practice math. There's so many ways to change it up, with all the different skills!

You can practice place value a multitude of ways.

This is from my Deck of Cards pack 

This is one where we were learning how to represent the numbers in First Grade.

Food makes everything better :) 

You can use giant cards, too! This version was a "place value war" game.

This is a version of the game "Heads Up." Here, they were trying to make a ten. The person NOT holding the card would say what number you would add to the card on their head to make a ten, so the person holding the card would have to guess the OTHER number to make a ten.

You can even do multiplication with it - here they were doing times two... so person B would say "four" and then person A would have to guess what times two would equal four.

Here's another game you can play - set out 5 cards, and the goal is to make a ten. You can use anywhere from two to all five cards. 

So this one used three cards to make a ten. 

I use cards to make a "Random Number Generator" for all kinds of different math activities, too! I've done them for both First and Second grade.

And to do addition and subtraction skills

In addition to the giant deck of cards, I've also used an online version to flip over cards for the whole class to see. 

Oh - and I've used them in small group for intervention.

There's so many ways to use a deck of cards!

Check out my Math with a Deck of Cards packs - HERE

Check out my Amazon Math Manipulatives List to see what other goodies I like to use in math!

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