Tuesday, July 30, 2013

School Week Linky: Read Alouds

.I'm linking up again with Tracey today at The Teacher's Chair for her School Week Linky...
on the menu today:

Like every other teacher, I LOVE children's books and read one to my kiddies *at least* once a day. There are soooo many to chose from and, taking Tracey's lead, I've added a couple of my back-to-school favs to the carousel above.

From that list, I'm going to focus on this little gem:
The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane DeRolf

Okay, I'm gonna get deep here! I had a difficult class last year. Don't get me wrong, they were absolute *sweethearts* and I loved them all to death, but they were a tough little bunch--to say the least. 

I stumbled across this book and thought that it would be PERFECT for my kiddies. It is simple, straightforward, engaging, and relevant...even for a 5 year old. The Crayon Box That Talked explores "harmony through diversity," teaching us that we are all very different and, even if you have a hard time liking someone, you can still learn to get along. That, I found, was the key to my kiddies. They needed to be taught HOW to get along with one another. They were often downright nasty to each other and it took me almost the whole school year to figure out why. 

I often just chalked up the constant bickering and arguments to strong, clashing personalities. But after almost a whole year of endless failed behaviour and conflict management techniques and tricks, I realized: they do not KNOW how to get along and accept one another's differences. I needed to teach them how to be kind to and accepting of one another.

ANYWAYS, let's get to the activities!!
As a quick intro & check-for-understanding after reading the book, I used a couple of the activities from The Bubbly Blonde Teacher's great little FREEBIE:
But the activity that I found to be the most meaningful with my little monsters was a group activity where they were forced to work together harmoniously:

In groups, they worked together to come up with a single idea, and draw one complete picture altogether. (None of this "I'll draw a picture of an ocean and you draw a picture of a circus," but rather "do you want to draw a picture of a farm?" etc...).
We did this same activity a couple of times (which was welcomed by my class since they LOVE art time). The first time, we completed the activity in groups of two--after all, it's easy to come up with an idea between only two people ("easy" in theory haha). Then, I made the activity a little harder by placing the kiddies in groups of 4-5. Finally, I split my class into two groups and they had to work with many more of their peers to first agree upon an idea, then illustrate the idea.
The catch: not one single argument the whole time!!!
We discussed how, of course there was going to be disagreements, but those disagreements did not have to turn into arguments. We talked about compromise and we talked about speaking kindly. 
The end results were beautiful and displayed proudly in our classroom :)
(I forgot to take pictures during our activity so I borrow Cyndi's over at Lacy's Letters, where I originally got my inspiration for this activity...thanks for sharing, Lacy!!! Go and check out her original blog post HERE)

So that's it for now! Thanks again to Tracey for this great School Week Linky...pop on over to The Teacher's Chair to link up on one or all of the days.


  1. I love that book! Good choice! I've had some classes like that!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  2. I need to get that book! Thank you so much for blogging about it!


  3. Thanks for including me in your blog post! It's always a great activity for the beginning of the year!

    Lacy's Letters


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