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Ms.Wolfe's Classroom Books and Finds

I am a future elementary school teacher who loves to read and try new books both inside and outside of the classroom. This blog is dedicated to cataloging and keeping up with all the books I would like to use in my future classroom as well as ways I can use them in my classroom! 

Diary of a Worm

Diary of a Worm - Harry Bliss, Doreen Cronin

Just a the title says- this is the diary of a worm. But this worm is just like us! He has other insect friends, a family, he goes to school and has a teacher. He has fears and dreams, and anything else that we experience in our everyday lives. This book is sure to have your students a giggling mess over the adventures that worm experiences. I think a wonderful activity to have students complete once you have finished reading this book is to have them keep a diary for a week. Not only does it get your students writing but it also allows you to get to know your students a little better. This would be a great activity to do towards the beginning of the year so you can not only get an idea of students writing but you can also get to know what your students like or dislike. Once they have completed, their diary you could come back and have students compare and contrast what they did differently or the same from worm in the story. 


Lexile Measurement: AD510L


Hooray for Reading Day!

Hooray for Reading Day! - Margery Cuyler, Arthur Howard

This book is a wonderful reminder for students who might struggle with reading themselves. Jessica has trouble reading aloud in class and is very discouraged by it, especially when all her classmates laugh at her about it. When Jessica learns that they are going to have a Readers Theater day at school, she is so nervous that she is going to mess up in front of not only her class but all the parents there too! However, once Jessica practices and practices she blows her Readers Theater out of the water when the time comes! I related to this book when I read it in my teaching of reading class because I was a struggler when it came to reading for a long time. I think this would be such a powerful book to share with struggling reader to show that they are definitely not alone. An activity I would have students complete with this book is having students complete a writing activity about how they feel when they have to read out loud. While it may show that some students are confident and excited to read out loud, there will also be students who will feel comforted by the fact they they do not enjoy reading out loud and there are classmates who feel the exact same way!


Lexile Measurement: AD380L

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - Laura Joffe Numeroff, Felicia Bond

This is a wonderful book with a circular tale that will entice readers into a wandering mouse's shenanigans. With the well know sentence "If you give a mouse a cookie.." readers are launched on a series of events of what happens once you give a mouse a cookie and the chain of reactions that come after. This is a wonderful story to introduce sequencing to children. The activity I would have students complete with this story is to have my students place the events of the story in their correct order. Once they have done that I would have students make up their own sequence of events of what would happen if THEY were given a cookie. Obviously students would need to be encouraged to complete more than "I Ate it" but I think it would be an excellent way to get their imagination working and make connections with the story. If you did this with a lower grade, you could have them draw their story out and then explain it to you or a classmate. 


Lexile Measurements: AD410L


The Day the Crayons Came Home

The Day the Crayons Came Home - Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers

Duncan's crayons are tired of being forgotten about. Poor Maroon got lost in the sofa cushions, turquoise got stuck to Duncans socks after accidentally being stuck in the dryer, and Pea Green who knows no kid likes peas so he won't get used. All of these crayons write post cards to Duncan asking to be rescued from their fates. This is such a fun story to read to your kids about what might be going on in their crayons heads when they aren't around. An activity I would have my students complete after reading this book is to have them write a letter to one of the forgotten crayons urging them to come home. In the book, Duncan makes a compromise on how he can make all his crayons feel loved and I would have the students try to pitch this to one of the forgotten crayons to get them to come home. It gives them experience in not only writing letters but in persuasive writing as well. 


Lexile Measurement: AD490L

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Ray Cruz, Judith Viorst

Things are NOT going Alexander's way today. It was bad as soon as he woke up and things just kept getting worse. It was just a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This is a wonderful book to show students that we ALL have some days where things just do not go right for us- and that is okay! Each day is a new day and everyday won't be a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day. An activity I would have students complete after reading this book is doing a journal entry on a day that was just not good for them and how they overcame it or what they learned from it. I would not have students share these unless they wanted to since they could contain sensitive information. This would also be a great book to have around if students are having a rough day for them to read, that way they felt like they someone could relate to how they were feeling that day. 


Lexile Measurement: AD840L

Bad Kitty

Bad Kitty - Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty is normally a VERY good kitty. But when his owners run out of food for him and offer him delicious and healthy options, Bad Kitty shows where his namesake comes from. He destroys the house, makes racket, and starts annoying everyone he can get his hands on. But once his owners bring his favorite foods back, he has to start making amends for his actions and all seems well. Until they bring a puppy home. This is a wonderful book to introduce students alliterations as each of Bad Kitty's favorite foods consist of them such as "Zebra Zitit" and "Whale Waffles". An activity to engage students with this story is to have them create their own food that Bad Kitty would like using alliterations like the author did and illustrating it. An example could be "Dinosaur Donuts". 


Lexile Measure: AD390L

The TRUE Story of the 3 Little Pigs!

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs - Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith

Do you ever wonder what the bad guys are thinking in a story? Well in this version of The Three Little Pigs you get to find out! This is the Big Bad Wolf's side of the story. The big bad wolf only wanted to borrow some sugar for his grandmothers cake. But things become disastrous when he starts sneezing due to a cold! And why waste a perfectly good meal? This is such a fun book that will have kids wondering if they really know the true story of a common fairytale. Not only does this teach kids that there is two sides to every story, but it is also wonderful to teach compare and contrast. An activity I would have students do with this story is to have students compare and contrast the original story to this one. You could also have students write a journal entry on whose side they believe is the real story. 


Lexile Measurement:  AD510L

Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley - Jeff Brown, Scott Nash, Macky Pamintuan

Flat Stanley is a SUCH a fun story to share with your class. One night while Stanley is sleeping a bulletin board falls on him and makes him half an inch thick! Stanley is able to be folded up and flown and mailed around the world and go on an amazing adventure that leads to him being a hero. This is a great book to read with your third graders, and have a fun writing activity to go along with it. You could "flatten" your own students by taking a picture of them and attaching it to a cutout and having them decorate the body. One your students are flattened, have them write a letter to a mysterious pen pal. And the exciting part is you as a teacher actually gather people from around the country (or even the world if possible) to exchange a letter with! This not only helps students get writing practice in but it also get them excited about writing as well. I remember this was an activity we did when I was a kid and I was so excited to get mail from another country! It was so much fun to see where other classmates had gone as well! Obviously, this would need to be approved with the proper people (such as administrators as well as parents), but I just think it is such a valuable activity to attach to this book! 


Lexile Measurement: 750L

What is a Verb?

To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What is a Verb?: What Is a Verb? (Words are CATegorical) - Brian Cleary, Jenya Prosmitsky

This is an amazing set of books to use in the classroom to introduce different parts of a sentence to your class! To Root, To Toot, To Parachute teaches your students about verbs in a fun way as well as some examples of them. After reading these books, I would have my students take the book they are working on and use highlighter tape to identify what verbs the author is using in that book. I would then have them compile a list of verbs they would be able to use in their future writing and have a class share time to help grow that resource for the students. 


Guided Reading Level: O

It Okay To Be Different

It's Okay to Be Different - Todd Parr

Its Okay to Be Different is wonderful book to show kids that we are all different in our own ways and some ways that we are different. Maybe some of us are missing teeth, or need some help from friends. Maybe we wear glasses, or need some wheels to get around. Maybe we have lots of hair or no hair. Its okay to talk about our feelings! There are lots of positivity and good feelings to be spread throughout this book. I think this would be a wonderful character development book in kindergarten. I would have my students create a version of themselves to finish the sentence "Its okay to be....." and make a drawing to go with it and their name. This is something that I would also love to hang these in the hallway to show our classes unique features and show the rest of the school it is okay to be different!


Lexile Measurement: AD200L


First Day Jitters

First Day Jitters - Julie Danneberg, Judy Love

This is the one of the best back to school books there is! The main character of this story is SO nervous for her first day of school. Her dad has to encourage her and help her get to school, despite her many protests. However, the reader gets a BIG surprise when they finds out that the main character is actually the teacher who is so nervous for her first day! This book helps show students that we as teachers are just as nervous for our first day of school as they are for theirs and helps relate everyone in the classroom. A fun activity that you could do with this book, is having everyone write down their feeling about the first day of school on an index card ( or for younger grades pick a word out of pre-made stacks) and creating a class  collage to compare how everyone is feeling. I would then personally have my students do a short writing activity on what they learned from seeing how their classmates felt vs how they felt. Was it the same? Was it different? Did it relieve any anxiety seeing how else the rest of the class felt? 


Lexile Measure: AD502L

Bubba, The Cowboy Prince

Bubba, The Cowboy Prince - Helen Ketteman, James Warhola

If I could give this book more than 5 stars- I would. This is a southern twist on the classic tale "Cinderella". Bubba is a ranch hand on his step fathers farm and the stepfather and 2 evil step brothers torment Bubba to no end. Bubba wants to go to the ball to meet "Miz" Lurleen (who bears a striking resemblance to Dolly Parton) but is not able to thanks to his step family. Bubba is devastated and rides out into the field to tend to the cows when all of a sudden his Fairy God Cow appears to rescue him and make sure that he makes it to that ball. Miz Lurleen and Bubba hit it off but in his rush to get home before midnight he loses his cowboy boot. Miz Lurleen searches the kingdom for the owner of that boot and eventually reunites with bubba and they ride off in the sunset to live happily ever after. This is a wonderful story to use in a fairytale unit. I would have my students create a t chart to compare and contrast the original Cinderella story to this one. 


Lexile Measurement: AD620L

David Goes to School

David Goes To School - David Shannon

David is back but this time causing mischief in the school! Follow David as he gets into trouble at school and his teacher try to teach him the school rules. As any other David book, this will have your students cackling and invested in the story. This a story that is great to start the school year off with. This would be a great story to read to students to spark a class discussion on what we can do in school and what we can't do in school. Then you could have your students create their classroom rules after their discussion (all teacher facilitated of course). 


Lexile Measurement: BR210L

No, David!

No, David! - David Shannon

Follow David as he does a lot of things that makes his mom say "No!". David learns at the end of the story that even though his mom can tell him no a lot it's all because his mother loves him. This is a great book that kids LOVE and will have them cackling. This a great book to have students make inferences with since there is not much writing or dialogue to the story. You could have students write what inferences they pulled from the story and what in the pictures lead them to believe their inference. Once everyone has finished their writing prompt you could have a class discussion to see what inferences everyone agreed with and where they differed. 


Lexile Measurement: BR100L

A Bad Case Of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes - David Shannon

Camilla loves Lima beans but she NEVER eats them. Her classmates all hate lima beans so to try and fit in Camilla refuses to eat them despite how much she loves them them. One day Camilla turns up with a rainbow stripes all over her! Every time she worries about what others will think it gets worse and worse! None can figure out what is causing Camilla to turn different colors and swelling up. Eventually, an old lady reveals that the only way to solve a case of he stripes is to eat lima beans. This is a wonderful story for character development and to show your students that they should all like what they like no matter what their classmates like. An activity I would use with this book is having students create their "stripes" with things that they like/ their personality on their "face" (a face given tot hem that they color to look like themselves). This could spark a discussion on character traits and personality. 


Lexile Measurement: AD610L

The Watsons Go To Birmingham

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 - Christopher Paul Curtis

The Watsons go to Birmingham is both a heart wrenching yet funny and relatable book about the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. As someone who as grown up in Alabama my whole life, I remember reading this book and laughing at some of the mannerisms Grandma had because it was something that I had seen from other grandmothers around me growing up. However, it also covers the tragic 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. This would be a great book to link to Alabama History or to read before a field trip to Birmingham to give students a context to what they will see on the trip and the history of the city. An activity that you could do with this book is having students link this book to a place in Birmingham and having them research their chosen place and present it to their classmates. 


Lexile Measurement: 920L