Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back to School Mentor Texts ~ Back to School Ideas and Activities

Happy Sunday, Friends!!! :)

I am SUPER EXCITED about today's topic: Back to School Mentor Texts

Out of the whole year, I would have to say that Back to School books are probably my favorites!!! They are so cute and fun and silly and I just LOOOOOOOVE them!!!  I literally can't wait to see what books y'all link up because I will probably go and place my Amazon order for them tomorrow. Hopefully my hubby is not reading this because he may get mad if I buy too many......hehe.  :)

Okay, so I couldn't narrow it down to just one, because like I said, these are my favorites! So, I have picked 3 of my MUST READS for the first week of school. I know this is gonna be a long post, but PLEASE stick with me...these are awesome books and I think you will really like them too!!!

The first book is Enemy Pie by Derek Munson.

This story is ADORABLE! And look at the earthworms coming out of the pie!!! Ewwwwww! blurb: "It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends."

I LOOOOVE this book because it teaches the kids such an awesome lesson about friendship and making new friends. I read it the first week of school because the kids are always a little nervous about being in a new class, and it helps them to see that if they give each other a chance and get to know each other that they may just make some great new friends. Also, it is perfect for reviewing or introducing literary elements and parts of speech. I also do some beginning of the year writing activities with this book that the kids enjoy. But, my favorite activity is creating our own "friendship pie." The students have to brainstorm a list of ingredients that they would use to create their friendship pie. And, I think maybe this year we will really make them...hmmm, Amanda will you help me with that project? We can have a cooking/friendship day! :)

The second book is First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.

I adore this book because it really captures how ALL (the students and the teachers) of us are feeling at the start of a new school year. blurb: "Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending."

This book really is the PERFECT book to read on the first day of school! If you haven't read it yet, you will LOVE the ending, and I think it will surprise you. :) The kids can definitely relate to this book, and the silly illustrations make it come to life. I use this book as a jumping off point for talking about the new school year. I usually have my whole class sit in a circle (a GIANT circle now that our classes keep getting bigger) and we talk about what we are jittery or nervous about. It is a good way to comfort the kids and help them realize that we are all a little anxious. Then, we talk about all the exciting things we are going to do this year and start to play some icebreaker and get to know you games. I am really eager to try out 2 new activities that I came up with for this year called the "Jitters Jar" and "Jitter-Free Jellybeans." We are going to have a classroom Jitters Jar where we store away all of our jitters about the upcoming year, and we are going to eat some special Jellybeans to help us calm down and realize how wonderful our year will be. I have information about these in my First Day Jitters Pack if you want  to learn more. :)


The third book is Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann.

This book is another favorite because it is a great introduction in to talking about classroom rules. It gets the point across that safety and rules are important in a funny and silly way! And it has a dog, and I love dogs sooooooo.....I have to read it.  :) blurb: "Officer Buckle is a roly-poly bloke, dedicated to teaching schoolchildren important safety tips, such as never put anything in your ear and never stand on a swivel chair. The problem is, Officer Buckle's school assemblies are dull, dull, dull, and the children of Napville just sleep, sleep, sleep. That is, until Gloria the police dog is invited along! Stealthily pantomiming each safety tip behind Officer Buckle's back, Gloria wins the children's hearts. Meanwhile Officer Buckle assumes the cheers and laughter are all for him. As the master comedian Jerry Lewis once explained, every slapstick artist needs a straight man! Children will be highly entertained by the laugh-out-loud, adorable illustrations in this 1996 Caldecott Medal winner, while learning the value of teamwork and a pawful of nifty safety tips."

This funny book teaches the students that safety and rules are important, but it also emphasizes the importance of always sticking with a buddy. My students love the story, and are always laughing at the fun illustrations. I read this book right before I am about to discuss the school and classroom rules. Instead of just telling the students what are classroom rules are for the year, I like to have a discussion with them focusing on why we need rules anyway. Then we talk about the rules we do need and it helps the class take ownership of them. This year, I have decided to make our class rules a sweet treat! Let's just say that some candy is involved...I know the kids love candy...and okay I have to admit I do it should make going over the rules a little more exciting! :)  You can learn about how we will "treat" others how we want to be treated in my mentor text unit

Okay, so THANK YOU for sticking with me through this incredibly tooooooo looooooong post!!! I am just so thrilled to share these books with you! :)

I created units and activities for all three of these texts if you are interested. They are available in our Teachers Pay Teachers store. Here are some previews.

I hope that you will enjoy these books as much as I do! And, keep an eye out because Amanda is working on units for 2 more texts that we love to use at the beginning of the year!  Can you tell we LOVE back to school books?  :)

I'm looking forward to reading all about your back to school mentor texts! :) Thank you again for stopping by!  And don't forget to enter our giveaway!  Only a few hours left!!  Click HERE!


Now, it's your turn!

(If you have never linked up before you can check HERE for more information.)

For the Linky- Please make yourself a SANDWICH!  Please comment on the person who linked up before you and the person that linked up after you.  I know everyone puts in a lot of time and effort to these posts and I want everyone to feel the love!!!  (Haha, see, you're a know...because you are in the middle of the you get it?)  ;O)

Next week's topic- Language Arts


  1. These books are so cute!!! I am ordering Enemy Pie NOW!!! We are moving to Columbus next weekend from VA and I am so hoping to come to the Atlanta get together! I will RSVP asap when I get a better idea of our life down there! Thanks for setting it up!

    The Army Wife Teacher

  2. These are great books. I have always loved Officer Buckle and Gloria. :) Such a fun book.
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. I've never read Enemy Pie or Officer Buckle and Gloria, but I love First Day Jitters. I love it so much I bought Last Day Blues last year. I will have to check them out.

    What cute unit ideas, too!

  4. I love all of these books, although besides First Day Jitters I don't read them at the beginning of the year-but I love your rational why you do and I may need to change things up a bit!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

    1. Same here! All 3 titles are fantastic for back to school- Thanks for the suggestion :)
      Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  5. Enemy Pie looks great! I haven't seen that one! Your units look fabulous. I'm going to pass those on to several of our teachers!
    Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

  6. I love Enemy Pie and First Day Jitters. I have only seen Officer Buckle and Gloria on Pinterest and blogs, but love how you described how you will be using it. On the wishlist it goes. Your unit looks great!

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  7. I love all of these books! :) The units look fantastic!
    ideas by jivey
    Follow me on Facebook!

  8. You chose one of my all time FAVES....First Day Jitters so I had to link up another favourite of mine...The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. Sometimes an oldy really is a goodie!
    Thanks for your work ladies, I have ideas for so many different mentor texts I can use next year!

  9. I love the book Enemy Pie! They have it on Storyline Online. I have my students listen to it read aloud!

  10. I have never heard of Enemy Pie, but I'm with you on the other two. I'll have to check it out.
    Thank you once again for hosting.
    Have a great evening.

    School Is a Happy Place

  11. Enemy Pie is one of my favorites! Thanks so much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas!

    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

  12. So many wonderful more units to fill up my wishlist and soon after cart with!

    Thank you ladies for so many wonderful products/resources/ideas!

    Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road

  13. Thanks for sharing so many great ideas! Enemy Pie looks soooo cute! I know I've heard of it but I don't own it! I will now! Thanks again!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

  14. Great suggestions! My class loved Enemy Pie this year. They listened to it over and over on Storyline Online. Your packs to go with the books look awesome!
    A Burst of First

  15. There are SO many great books in your link up!! Love it! I am officially ordering Enemy Pie now too. Your packs look amazing and Enemy Pie is also mentioned in the "Writer's Notebook". Awesome suggestions and thanks so much for hosting:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  16. I love the book Enemy Pie, and I pinned your idea about having students write about their "Friendship Pie". I will be back to pick that up. Thank you!

  17. Back to school ideas have been cited with every possible detail which will help students to regard about more of the mentoring concepts and features. check grammar english


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