Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our Books

Every year, without fail, the most popular book basket in my classroom is the one that is full of books I've made with the littles or for the littles. They love to see photographs of themselves and their friends and they feel proud when their artwork is displayed in a book for friends and parents to read. Most of the books are just pocket folders with three prongs to hold page protectors. Larger books are in 3-ring binders (again, with page protectors). A few books are laminated and hole punched with book rings to hold them together. One of my favorites is from recycled grocery bags held together with twine. And one or two are from Snapfish of Shutterfly when they are having a special deal on photo books.

These are some of my favorites:

1. Our Big Book of Names - I begin by writing a letter of the alphabet on each page. Then each day, for many days, we go through the alphabet and write in our names. I write the featured letter in red and all of the rest of the letters in the name in black. Example: On Aa, Anna will be written with the A's in red and the n's in black. We do this for every letter in every child's name. And the children are fascinated by this book. They read it over and over, looking for their name and their friends' names.

2. Our Book of Birthdays - I buy an inexpensive month chart at the teacher store and cut out the months. Behind each month I put a page with a child's birthdate and name at the top. The child draws his/her birthday cake and puts on the number of candles that will be on the cake on his/her next birthday. Sometimes they dictate a sentence or two about what kind of cake they like to eat on their birthdays. I always do a page for myself as well.

3. Where is VPK? - Here in Florida, VPK is voluntary pre-k. This is a predictable book for all of those littles that come in wanting to learn to read! After I read this once, they are all able to read it on their own. The pattern is: Where is (child's name)? Here is (child's name)! For the where is page I place a photo of the child. For the here is page the child draws a self-portrait.

4. Our Centers - I write the name of a center at the top of the page and then attach photos of the children using the center.

5. Our Day - This book allows children to follow the rhythm of our day. It's great for the child that always wants to know "What comes next?" The pages in this book are: arrival, breakfast, outdoor play, circle, centers, etc.

6. Eleven Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens - When we do this rhyme I let each child dress up as a kitten and we play a lost/found game with mittens. As the children find their mittens I snap their photo and we make it into the book. "Kitten ______ found her mittens behind the blocks!"

7. The Little Ghosts - (I found this on a website several years ago. I don't remember where but if you know please tell me so I can provide a link!) "______'s little ghost was out in the fog, out in the fog at play. Along came a ___________ and frightened ____'s ghost away!" Children come up with an adjective and a noun to fill in the blank. Example: a flying bat, a hungry goblin, a wiggly monster, etc. Then I have them do a watercolor resist with white crayon and black watercolor to illustrate.

8. Hello Friends! - Another great "Read it yourself" book. I take a picture of each child waving and write Hello (child's name) above the photo.

9. Thank you, Johnny Appleseed! - I got this from Mailbox magazine. (Child's name) loves
(apple product), yes, indeed! Thank you, Johnny Appleseed!

10. Who Has Been Eating My Porridge? - When we read "The Three Bears", I serve oatmeal
(porridge) as a snack and snap a photo of each child eating it. Then I write what they say about it (Lauren tried the porridge and it was yummy! Sebastian tried the porridge and it was just right. Anna tried the porridge and it was yuck!)

11. All About ___________ - This is a series. When we finish a unit, we do an All About . . . book. Each child dictates something they learned and then illustrates the page. For example, we did All About Bats and one child wrote, "Bats come out at night."

12. Dilly Dilly Pickadilly, Tell Me Something Really Silly - We tell knock knock jokes and riddles during our circle. Towards the end of the year I record some of the jokes that the littles tell and let them illustrate them for a book.

At the end of the year, I let each child select two books from our class books to take home as a remembrance. I always keep a few for myself, too. Love to look back at them and see all of the sweet faces of the littles I once knew and loved.

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