From Unit Plan: The New and Improved "What I Did on My Summer Vacation"

Below you will find the books used in this unit along with others that help me get off to a great start.

Professional Resource Books

I use professional resource books at the beginning of the school year more than any other time. When you have a large collection though, it can become hard to manage and use them effectively. I realized my management system had to change a few years ago, after I discovered I had purchased the same comprehension book three times. I had never used it, but it looked so good in the catalog! Now, I keep my books organized by content area and a few weeks before school begins, I go through each one, marking pages I want to use in upcoming units with a sticky flag, then note specific titles, page numbers, and purpose in my plan book. Once a quarter, I revisit the resources and do the same thing again. This system keeps me from looking for ideas and reproducibles at the last minute, and it has kept me from buying books I already own!

The Big Book of Reproducible Graphic Organizers: 50 Great Templates That Help Kids Get More Out of Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and More!
by Dottie Raymer, Jennifer Jacobson; Illustrations by Amy Redmond

Personally, I believe a teacher can never have enough graphic organizer resources. This was one of the first I ever purchased, and I still use it constantly. You will help your students soar in reading, writing, social studies, science, math, and more with this giant collection of fun, easy-to-use graphic organizers. Includes 50 classroom-tested, reproducible templates along with simple how-tos and student samples.

Quick Tip: A great way to motivate visual learners! The wide variety of classroom tested reproducible templates help students process information and develop thinking strategies. Can easily be used across the curriculum.

Classroom Management in Photographs: Full-Color Photographs With Teacher Descriptions and Insights About What Really Works
by Maria L. Chang

I am always looking for new and better ways to organize my classroom and make my life easier, so I love this book. Dozens of full color photographs of practical management tips and strategies that are easy to implement will help your classroom run smoothly from the very first day of school.

Quick Tip: The pictures make this book a must-have for organizationally challenged, visual learners like myself. Take time to read the valuable management strategies and insights teachers have provided to go with each photograph.

Comic Strip Writing Prompts: 50 Favorite Comic Strips With Terrific Writing Prompts That Get Kids Revved Up for Writing!
by Karen Kellaher

Motivate every student to write using 50 favorite comic strips as springboards: "Peanuts," "Garfield," "Dennis the Menace," and more. Each reproducible page includes a fun comic strip and companion writing prompts on topics kids love.

Quick Tip: Because so many different genres and topics are covered, these work very well as morning or language arts warm-ups.

50 Graphic Organizers for Reading, Writing & More: Reproducible Templates, Student Samples, and Strategies to Support Every Learner
by Karen Bromley, Marcia Modlo, Linda Irwin-DeVitis

This valuable resource provides organizers for note taking, planning, presentation, and review. The 50 ready-to-go templates work well across the curriculum.

Quick Tip: Especially helpful are the "How to Use" pages and insightful strategies for supporting all learners.

Instant Map Skills: United States
by Spencer Finch

Teaching map skills has never been so easy. Use the dozens of great activities to teach essential maps skills such as cardinal directions, reading a map key, following a route, and lots more. Includes ready-to-use reproducibles.

Quick Tip: The brightly colored poster and coordinated activities make this perfect for a map skill-learning center or for daily activities.

Making Social Studies Come Alive: 65 Classroom-Tested Activities and Projects
by Marilyn Kretzer, Marlene Slobin, Madella Williams

Developed by three master teachers, the classroom tested activities and projects in this book help make Social Studies one of my students' favorite subjects to learn. Although my district has a great textbook-based Social Studies curriculum, this book has helped take my lessons to new levels.

Quick Tip: Do not let the title fool you. This is not just a Social Studies Resource. I have used the ideas in here for language arts, math, and science.

Practical Assessments
by Adele Fiderer

This is one of those books that makes me wonder how I went so long without it. Developed by a reading specialist, this comprehensive resource provides reproducible forms to make reading-writing assessment easy and effective. Includes scoring rubrics, skills checklists, home-school connections for reading and more.

Quick Tip: This is an especially important resource during those first days of school. Get to know your students and their learning styles more quickly with the student surveys and skills inventories.

Ready-to-Go Super Book of Outline Maps: 101 Reproducible Outline Maps of the Continents, Countries of the World, the 50 States, and More

Think of this as your one-stop, timesaving resource for outline maps. This wonderful collection includes outline maps of the 50 states and the continents, as well as maps of all the countries of the world. Designed to be reproduced, the maps are ideal for student reports and projects.

Quick Tip: This is the perfect resource to use in making your All About Me Museum Geography Flip Book.

Super Social Studies!: Quick & Easy Activities, Games, and Manipulatives
by Camille Cooper, Shirley Lee, Liz Van Tine, and Barbara White

A great resource jam-packed with classroom-tested, creative, hands-on activities I use over and over. Some of my favorites include the fold-up maps, timelines and flipbooks.

Quick Tip: My students use the flap books in here to drill math facts and the pop-up book is a great tool for book reports.

Super Ways to Jumpstart the School Year
by Michael Gravois

You'll find creative, interactive bulletin board ideas; fabulous, ready-to-go "getting acquainted" activities; classroom-proven management and organization tips; reproducible checklists, name cards, and parent letters; plus, irresistible illustrations created to be used as clip art and borders for newsletters, bulletin boards, awards, notes, and more.

Quick Tip: You may jumpstart your school year with this book but you'll wind up using the homework and parent-communication sheets all year long like I do.

Books for Reading With Students

The Teacher From the Black Lagoon
by Mike Thaler, illustrated by Jared Lee

On the first day of school, a boy contemplates all the horrible stories he has heard about his teacher, Miss Green, and the ordeals she forces her students to endure.

Quick Tip: I always read this humorous story to my class on the very first day of school. In comparison to Miss Green, my students begin the year by thinking Mrs. Connell doesn't seem so bad.

The Pledge of Allegiance
by Frances Bellamy

From a very young age, every child recites the words to the Pledge of Allegiance. The text is reproduced here and illustrated with stunning photographs of United States landscapes, monuments, and flags. Endnotes are included regarding the history of this national symbol and discussing its meaning.

Quick Tip: Although children recite the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, few understand what it means. Use this book and its photographs to teach your class about the meaning of the pledge.

The Relatives Came
by Cynthia Rylant; Illustrated by Stephen Gammell

In a rainbow-colored station wagon that smelled like a real car, the relatives came. When they arrived, they hugged and hugged from the kitchen to the front room. All summer they tended the garden and ate up all the strawberries and melons. They plucked banjos and strummed guitars. When they finally had to leave, they were sad, but not for long. They all knew they would be together next summer.

Quick Tip: Use this book to help students begin thinking about their own summer vacations and family customs.

Count to a Million
by Jerry Pallotta; Illustrated by Robert C. Bolster

Introduce readers to basic mathematical concepts using this colorfully illustrated book.

Quick Tip: This book helps students grasp the concept of the large numbers they will be working with in the economic portion of their museum project.

How Much is a Million?
by David M. Schwartz, illustrated by Steven Kellogg

With the help of Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician, the concepts of a million, a billion, and a trillion are not quite so intimidating. In fact, they're fun-for budding math students and for anyone with an imagination!

Quick Tip: If you ask your students to spend a million dollars for the economic portion of the All About Me Museum, use this book to help build concepts.

The Best Part of Me
by Wendy Ewald

Photographer Wendy Ewald asked children a compelling question: What is the best part of you? Her book captures children's thoughts in striking photographs and honest words that are sometimes funny and sometimes moving.

Quick Tip: This book is a great resource for discussing body image, self-esteem, and diversity with children. It is a wonderful model to use when you ask your children "What's the Best Part of You?"

Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul: 101 Stories of Courage, Hope, and Laughter
by Jack Canfield, Patty Hansen and Irene Dunlap

Trying to build positive self-concepts at the intermediate age is a must. It is sometimes hard for pre-teens to see what all their "best parts" are, let alone their classmates'. This book includes several funny and inspiring short essays, some written by well-known people the children have heard of such as Shaquille O'Neal and Roald Dahl.

Quick Tip: I use this book as a read-aloud to help address various issues and concerns that come up throughout the year.