Celebrating Our Identity with The Name Jar


Click here to find ideas for teaching inclusion and asking important questions in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book The Name Jar.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

As someone who has a last name that no one can pronounce, I feel a deep connection with Unhei from the book "The Name Jar".  The Amazon description reads, "Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it".  This book is a wonderful way to teach children that our differences are to be celebrated and not changed.  It's also a great reminder to teachers that it is our responsibility to learn our student's names and not try to change them.

If you use this book during shared reading it's a wonderful opportunity to teach students to ask questions about key details.  We practice this a lot in the beginning of the year while the kids are mastering their reading stamina and questioning.   It's important to keep the questions simple like seen below until the students are ready to move on. As the year progresses we will add on to the questions and even learn how to ask higher order questions.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Click here to find ideas for teaching inclusion and asking important questions in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book The Name Jar.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Click here to find ideas for teaching inclusion and asking important questions in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book The Name Jar.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}


Teamwork with It's Mine

Click here to find ideas for teaching teamwork in the classroom while looking at how character's react.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book It's Mine by Leo Leonni.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Hi there and welcome back! It's Mine is a wonderful story about teamwork that works great for primary grades.  One lesson that is a must for every reading teacher at the beginning of the year is teaching response to reading. We want students to be able to organize their thoughts in their heads and write them out clearly in response to a particular question.   In order to do this it's important that we start with a simple story with a clear answer.  In this story the characters have a clear change in behavior from the beginning to the end.  This makes it ideal for teaching students how to write proper sentences in response to how character's react to events or change throughout the story.  You will see an example below.

Thank you so much for stopping by today! We hope to see you tomorrow.

Click here to find ideas for teaching children about how special they are, learning and new classroom cheer and finding the lesson of a story.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Pout Pout Fish Goes To School.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Click here to find ideas for teaching children about how special they are, learning and new classroom cheer and finding the lesson of a story.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Pout Pout Fish Goes To School.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}


Launching STEM with Rosie Revere & The Most Magnificent Thing


Click here to find ideas on STEM, engineering and learning to overcome failure in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging books Rosie Revere Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing.  Get your back to school lesson plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Hi and welcome back! Hopefully you have read a few posts prior to this one and are planning to teach your students how to work in cooperative groups.  Once that is established, consider launching inquiry-based science in your classroom.  What better way to launch science then to read Rosie Revere Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing. There is a little more information about how I use the books in reading below in the video.  I plan on reading the books and comparing and contrasting them during shared reading.  Once the students are excited about engineering we will practice working in a group and creating bug homes.  Read below to see what we have planned.

Click here to find ideas on STEM, engineering and learning to overcome failure in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging books Rosie Revere Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing.  Get your back to school lesson plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Click here to find ideas on STEM, engineering and learning to overcome failure in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging books Rosie Revere Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing.  Get your back to school lesson plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Click here to find ideas on launching STEM, engineering and learning to overcome failure in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging books Rosie Revere Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing.  Get your back to school lesson plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}


Research shows us that students perform better overall in school when they take part in inquiry-based science investigations.  Inquiry-based science allows students to explore questions and problems, develop explanations, elaborate on findings and concepts and assess their understanding.  To launch inquiry based science in younger grades consider starting with a simple yet engaging question.  Your question must have a measurable outcome.  For this project consider this question:  Do bugs prefer to live in hard or soft materials?  It's a simple question with a measurable outcome that can spark a number of follow up inquiries.  

You can use whatever materials you have on hand.  Here students have the choice between cups, trays, straws, pom poms, pipe cleaners and plastic tubes.  I also considered using paper tubes, paper egg trays, and strings, but wanted to keep it simple.

Students will work with their group to develop a hypothesis.  Once they have their hypothesis they will create homes with only one variable.  So if they want to put straws in a cup for hard materials, then they would put a soft material like pom poms in a cup. Once they build the homes they put them outside in a safe place.

You will then decide how long the investigation will last.  One suggestion would be to do this investigation on two Mondays, but record data every day in between during transitions.  Students will observe the homes at predetermined days and record their findings in their science logs.  When the investigation is over they will make a conclusion and then you can determine if they will come up with another investigation based on the first or if you will move on to another topic.  Before you move on, make sure students have plenty of opportunities to explain the findings of the investigation.  

Click here to find ideas on launching STEM, engineering and learning to overcome failure in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging books Rosie Revere Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing.  Get your back to school lesson plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Click here to find ideas on launching STEM, engineering and learning to overcome failure in the classroom.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging books Rosie Revere Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing.  Get your back to school lesson plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Teaching Teamwork with Tops and Bottoms


Click here to find ideas for team work, launching cooperative learning and compare and contrasting.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Tops and Bottoms.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Tops and Bottoms is a quick read that would work for grades k-5, but is best suited for grades k-3.  It does an awesome job demonstrating how teamwork and hard work are much more effective than laziness.  In the story the character Bear inherits property and wealth that he is way to lazy to take care of.  Down the street from Bear is a family of hares who got into a little trouble and have a hard time getting what they need to survive now.  So the father hare tricks Bear over and over again to feed his family.  At the end Bear wises up and starts to work his land and the Hare family no longer has access to food because they tricked Bear so many times.

If you have been following along to our Back To School series then you might have read the post "Say Hello" which showed how I introduce Think-Pair-Share to my classroom.  Now that students have been practicing and know how to work with a partner it's time to launch expectations and procedures for group work.  It's really nice reading a book before hand that demonstrates so clearly what benefits might come from teamwork.  After reading the book we fill in a Venn diagram as a class that explores the character's traits in the book.  Then I pose the question:  What would have been a plan that worked best for all of the characters?  After we have a class conversation I then pose the question, "What's the best way for everyone in our class to work together?" We fill out a Do's and Don't anchor chart that can stay up all year.  Once our anchor chart is filled out, students need a break and we move onto something else.  After the students have a break I will teach another lesson that requires group work and we will develop our procedures from our expectation chart. Then I will have the students work together in a group.  The lesson that we use for practicing group work really doesn't matter.  It's so nice to be able to teach standards, procedures and character education all in a 30 minute lesson.  Be sure to check out the video below and come back tomorrow for another post!


Click here to find ideas for team work, launching cooperative learning and compare and contrasting.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Tops and Bottoms.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Click here to find ideas for team work, launching cooperative learning and compare and contrasting.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Tops and Bottoms.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Click here to find ideas for team work, launching cooperative learning and compare and contrasting.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Tops and Bottoms.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}


Behavior Management Expectations for Back To School

Click here to find ideas for creating classroom rules and a behavior management plan.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Back To School Rules.  Get your back to school plans for standard RL.2.1 ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}




Hello there! Welcome back.  Make sure to check back every week day because we'll be taking a look at more than 20 different books that are perfect for the k-5 classroom and we don't want you to miss anything.  If you have a question that you need answered, make sure to send me an email at amylabrasciano@yahoo.com and I'll see if I have an answer for you.  A big thank you to my Instagram friends for sending in so many questions already! (@amylabrasciano)

This is the second post that discusses behavior management.  I'll explain my thoughts in the video below, but because I'm so uncomfortable on camera I thought I would put it in writing for you here too.  One of my Instagram friends asked what I recommend for behavior management.  So here's the thing, I've implemented a lot of different behavior management plans.  Each one has been just about as effective as the other.  My two favorites are clip charts that go up and down and Dojo.  Both have their benefits and drawbacks.  There are a lot of teachers who are very vocal about not using the clip chart, while I support their feelings I think if they are done in a consistent respectful way clip charts  are just fine.  Dojo works nicely because kids get and lose points.  The downfall for me was that parents didn't click to see if their children were losing points and why.  Dojo shows a total so if they lost a point for being disrespectful, but gained two points because you needed to encourage them to produce work, the parents never saw this behavior and didn't follow up with a conversation.  I will use Dojo again, but I will also be sure to have students write how many points were lost in their binders for a parent signature.

More important than consequences and rewards for behavior are ENGAGEMENT and EXPECTATIONS.  You can have the best reward system in the world but if you aren't engaging your students in lessons they are going to play around while they should be learning.  You can have the best lessons in the world, but if you aren't consistent with expectations then your kids won't know what to do and you will lose them.  So instead of worrying about clip charts, you should be planning awesome consistent lessons and an expectation procedure for your classroom.  If you want to add engagement to your classroom, check back in my blog.  I have published my lessons for free here for over a year.  You might also want to give a student interest survey to see what your kids want to learn about.  There is a free interest survey here.  It is super easy to teach reading and writing standards while using books that your kids love.  While it's a bit more difficult, you can also do it with math, science and social studies.  Let's talk about expectations now.  You should have a procedure for everything in your classroom.  We'll talk about what those procedures are a little later in this series.  To set expectations for every lesson consider using CHAMPS.  It has worked brilliantly for years in my classroom.  It tells students what conversation level you want them on, how to get help, what activity, what movement is allowed in the classroom, how to participate and if they are successful or not.  You can buy the book on Amazon used.  I have yet to find a program that helps set such great expectations for kids. (Again, they did not pay me to say this I just love them that much!)

For a reward system, I allow students to turn in their Dojo points for a classroom store on Friday.  The classroom store sells mostly things that didn't cost me money like:  socks in class, change desks, super supplies, lunch with teacher, hat in class, read with a stuffed animal, etc.  Before Dojo points we gave out classroom cash and the premise was the same.  A lot of emphasis is put on the reward system, but we also have a consistent natural consequence procedure.  If students break a rule or procedure after clear expectations have been set and practiced, then they lose a Dojo point.  The natural consequence is that they won't get their Friday reward if they don't have enough points.  There are also consequences that encourage students to do work.  If they don't finish written responses or certain assignments, then they don't get to do center work or other fun learning activities.  If there is an ongoing issue with behavior, then you have to dig deeper and connect more with your student.  At this point we implement a personal system that works for the student.  If by chance you end up with a student who does not respond to your efforts, you just have to keep trying until you reach them. This can be very stressful and wearing, but you can't give up.  Just make sure to take care of yourself and take your breaks as needed because your health is very important.

So hopefully you found some value in our post on classroom rules, consequences, expectations and rewards.  Make sure to come back every week day to read more.



Thanks so much for stopping by today.  If you are looking for a way to increase engagement in your classroom, check out the video below in my TPT store.



Class Cheer with The Pout Pout Fish

Click here to find ideas for teaching children about how special they are, learning and new classroom cheer and finding the lesson of a story.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Pout Pout Fish Goes To School.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Character education is so important to teach in the classroom.  We are very lucky to have millions of books to choose from to help us with this.  One cute book that's an easy read is "The Pout-Pout Fish Goes To School".  The lesson is that everyone learns at their own pace in their own time. Who doesn't love that lesson?  What's really fun about this book is that you could use it to teach your class a cheer.  
Fact One:  You are smart!
Fact Two:  You can get it!
Fact Three:  You belong!
Four:  Don't forget it!
If you want to tie it to a standard you could teach it along with a story's central message or lesson.  I hope you are as excited about teaching this cheer as I am!!! Maybe I'll even teach it to teachers at my school?

Click here to find ideas for teaching children about how special they are, learning and new classroom cheer and finding the lesson of a story.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Pout Pout Fish Goes To School.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}


Click here to find ideas for teaching children about how special they are, learning and new classroom cheer and finding the lesson of a story.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Pout Pout Fish Goes To School.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Creating Classroom Rules with the book Back To School Rules

Click here to find ideas for creating classroom rules.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Back To School Rules.  Get your back to school plans for standard RL.2.1 ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Hi again and welcome back to our Back To School blog series.  We opened up the series to questions from our Instagram followers and a lot of people asked about our behavior management plan.  We are going to break our ideas on behavior management up into two parts.  The first part we will address today and that is making classroom rules.  The second part which will be published Monday  will focus on incentives and how we manage them.

We found this super engaging book called "Back-toSchool Rules". It's fun, bright, humorous and perfect for grades k-5.  One of the best parts is that the main character describes the rules in a few ways so that students are sure to understand.  As we read this book we look for key details.  The key details are going to focus on the 10 rules that the character thinks every student needs to follow to be successful.  Most teachers will be happy to support these rules.  After we read the rules and chart the details, we open it up to classroom collaboration.  Students work together to come up with their own rules and then we list them for the classroom to vote on.  It's really important to have student buy in to the rules. Please stop back tomorrow for the second most controversial part of this post!

Click here to find ideas for creating classroom rules.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Back To School Rules.  Get your back to school plans for standard RL.2.1 ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Click here to find ideas for creating classroom rules.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Back To School Rules.  Get your back to school plans for standard RL.2.1 ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}