Favorite Books for Fall


Fall is one of my favorite seasons! I LOVE opening up my bins of Fall themed books because there are just soooo many to choose from; leaves, scarecrows, apples, pumpkins and owls. It seems that this is my biggest collection of books! This collection also includes my all time absolute favorite books to read to children. I've included my 5 favorite fall books for Kindergarten below {with affiliate links}.

1. Count Down to Fall by Fran Hawk

I love this sweet little counting book! It introduces children to a variety of leaves to count from ten down to one. Each page features adorable forest animals that are getting ready for Fall. There are rhyming words on each page, too!

2. We're Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger

This story is about three children that go for a "leaf hunt". On their way they find colorful leaves from a variety of trees - maple, birch, hickory etc. There are many opportunities to add movement while reading the story like pretending to pick up the leaves, stepping "squish squash" through the forest, and rowing across a lake. You can even take a walk with your class and have them collect leaves of their own. I like to have my class sort the leaves they find on a large piece of paper. Some kids sort by color and others by type. This story is always a favorite!

3. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

This is another wonderful book about fall leaves! I love the pictures in this book because they incorporate watercolor paintings AND real pictures of objects like bird seed, worms, leaves, branches and ribbon. This is a great opportunity to have children use leaves in their artwork!

4. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves! by Lucille Colandro

Children just love this funny old lady who seems to swallow everything! This is one of those books that I don't put on the shelf until AFTER I read it because I want the ending to be a surprise! This story is repetitive so the children love to help say the words on each page. The are always surprised at the ending after her great big SNEEZE!

5. Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
 
This is a simple, yet wonderful story of the life cycle of a pumpkin. A little boy plants a pumpkin seed and he waits and waits and watches it grow. The illustrations are soft and peaceful much like the garden where the pumpkin grows. It is a great lesson on nurturing a plant and having patience! I love the last page . . . after the little boy carves his pumpkin he saves six seeds . . . what do you think he'll do with them?

After reading the story I use this emergent reader with my class. It is a simple book using the sight words "see" and "the" and focuses on the life cycle of the pumpkin. It is FREE in my store:

Looking for more great ideas? Visit my friend Robin at Class of Kinders for more great Fall books!

Be sure to stop by each store for more Fall favorites!





Visual Daily Schedule



Using a Visual Daily Schedule will help ensure a successful day for your students (and you)! Knowing what is happening throughout the day helps to relieve stress and anxiety in young children. It also helps them to feel safe and secure in their environment. Your transition time will run more smoothly because the children are prepared ahead of time. Using the schedule consistently will help foster independence and confidence in your students!

I use a Visual  Daily Schedule on the very first day of Kindergarten. This Carson Dellosa Pocket Chart is perfect for a schedule chart. It is hanging on the wall in our Morning Meeting area which is the most important area in our room. I read the schedule each morning as part of our Morning Meeting. Doing this teaches the children what to expect during the day; where they will go and who they will see. It also ensures that events WILL happen . . . they WILL eat lunch, they WILL play outside, they WILL go home . . . these are all things that little ones (especially first timers) worry about. Using the schedule also helps children know WHY we are doing certain activities. For example, we are cleaning up because we have PE in 5 minutes.


The school day can be long especially for Preschool, Pre-K and Kindergarten. When you have a child missing their family the schedule is a helpful tool. You can show them the schedule and say "we will eat lunch, then play outside for recess, play math center games, go to PE and then it will be time for mom to pick you up".  You will see that child will feel better knowing that there are 4 more activities before pick up time.


In my classroom I keep the Visual Daily Schedule in a pocket chart. I flip each activity over when we are finished. I do this every day for the first month of school. Starting in October, the "Teacher's Helper" (one of my classroom jobs) takes on the role of telling the class the daily schedule at Morning Meeting. That child also turns over the activities as they are completed.

Ready to start using a Daily Schedule in your classroom? Pick up the Daily Schedule Cards in my TpT store. There are 98 schedule cards that are perfect for PreK, Kindergarten and First Grade. 


Happy Teaching!

Back to School Essentials

Back to School can be an overwhelming time of year for kids, parents and teachers, too! Stores are stocked with brightly colored bins, borders, and stickers and it's easy to get distracted from what we NEED to make our classrooms run smoothly. Over the years I have found that there are certain things that I MUST HAVE at my fingertips when the kids walk through the door. Here are my 10 Back to School Essentials for teachers.


1. LABELS

Label, label, label! I label everything in the classroom! Print out sheets of name labels before the first day of school. They can quickly be placed on art projects, papers, folders, and school supplies. Print them on Avery Address Labels and keep them handy!


2. NAMES, NAMES, NAMES

Children feel better when they know that they are part of a classroom family. Have each child's name written in a variety of places on the first day of school and throughout the school year. Have names already written on cubbies and desks or table areas. I also have a name list hanging in our Meeting Area that we refer to all year long. Keep several sets of name cards to use for games, circle time, pocket charts etc. Simply write the names on sentence strips and store the sets with a rubber band. You will use these again and again! I also keep a set of prepared name tag necklaces to wear for substitutes, specialist teachers and other occasions.

3. MUSIC 

Every kindergarten teacher must have songs, fingerplays and poems at their fingertips! Whether it is one you sing on your own, with a CD, on the computer, iPad, YouTube or phone . . . just be sure you have quick access to it! Have a variety of music, too, such as quiet songs to settle them down, active songs to get their wiggles out, and songs with actions and movement. Singing a song is magical in a classroom!  Some of my favorites are Greg & Steve, Jack Hartmann, Laurie Berkner and Dr Jean.

4. TEACHING EASEL

My Meeting Area is the central location for Morning Meeting, Shared Reading, End of the Day Circle and so much more. I would be lost without my teaching easel! I write my Morning Message on the whiteboard, hang song charts on it, hang a pocket chart on it, place the daily books on the ledge, and store dry erase boards, lesson supplies, and journals in the bins.


5. CIRCLE TIME SUPPLIES

It is important to have a variety of materials close at hand in your circle time area. These are items that you can use during circle time while playing games and activities (that you don't want to search for in the middle of the lesson). Here are some things I keep in my bin: , pointers, soft ball, finger puppets , feelings bear, large foam dice, two sets of name cards, small piece of fabric (for playing guess what's missing games), rhythm sticks, alphabet cards, number cards and sight word cards.


6. MONTHLY PLANNING SHEETS

As a teacher you always need to plan ahead. Editable monthly planning calendar sheets are great for looking ahead at your year and scheduling around important dates and events. You can also use them to send home with monthly homework or a calendar of classroom events (show and tell days, special snack days etc).

7. DRY ERASE LAPBOARDS

I have a class set of dry erase lapboards. They are great to use when teaching handwriting and writing words. I also love to use them for quick games like "Beat the Teacher". Be sure to make rules with the boards and dry erase markers (or you will be out of ink in no time!) and the markers are expensive! 

8. TAKE HOME FOLDERS

Using a daily take home folder will save you TONS of time and keep you organized! I use poly folders because they are durable and (most) will last the entire school year. All papers that need to go home (forms, permission slips, book orders, corrected papers) are put in the folder each afternoon. Parents empty the folder each night and they are returned in the morning (hopefully, empty!) The children put the folders in a basket near my desk each morning as they enter the room.


9. INSIDE RECESS TOYS

Yes, inside recess will happen so be prepared! I have a shelf that is designated for inside recess only. I do this for three reasons. One, to keep the rest of the classroom materials clean and organized. Two, so the kids have special toys, supplies, and games to look forward to using during inside recess days. And three, so the inside recess duty teacher knows which toys the kids can or cannot use. Yard sales are the best way to stock up on board games, art supplies, puzzles, blocks, dolls, doll houses, Legos, wooden trains, and other fun and educational toys.

10. LAMINATOR

I laminate everything in the classroom. . . posters, center signs, center activities, calendar pieces, bulletin board letters and more. I invested in a personal laminator so I could get things laminated at home and on the weekends. It's definitely a MUST HAVE in my book!

AND . . . a little treat to take home on the first day of school! My Back to School Editable Stickers are FREE through August 18th so get them now! Add your name, print, and stick to a 4 count Crayola Sidewalk Chalk pack (the best price is to use your teacher's discount and a coupon at Michael's!)

Get your centers printed, cut and laminated! My Back to School Centers Bundle and Fine Motor Activities are 20% off until August 18th!


I've teamed up with my #Kinderfriends to share our favorite Back to School Essentials. Be sure to click through all of our blogs for great FREEBIES and deals to make Back to School run smoothly for you! Just follow the link below to visit Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten.
Happy Teaching!