2019 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Book Lover's Gift Guide

Oh my goodness. It has been a MINUTE.  It's such a crazy time of year that I wanted to make something easy for you all. I wanted to have a landing spot to help you find gifts for the book lover in your life. Are you yourself the book lover? Then forward this link on to a special someone in your life. Tell them I said it was okay :) 

The following is a list of incredibly affordable (all under 20 dollars!) stocking stuffers or gifts for the people in your life who love to read.  I will be writing a post soon with the best books I have read in 2019, but for right now I was focused on the non-book things!


{Affiliate Links Included}

1. Eat.Sleep.Read Coffee Mug- First things first. Let's get hydrated.  I love, love, love this 8 dollar mug. Hopefully all three of these things, eating, sleeping, and reading are things that you are doing A LOT of over your winter break.

2. Old Bookstore Puzzle- Next up I included an old musty book shop puzzle. Now I am making an assumption, not everyone that loves to read also loves to puzzle, but I can tell you that I SURE DO. I love puzzles so much (pro tip- it is the best way I have found to stay off my phone in the evenings. I puzzle while Jon and I watch one of our favorite shows.  Also the brand of this puzzle- White Mountain- is one of my favorites!

3. Warm and Cozy Candle- You will notice a trend with this list. ALL.THINGS.COZY. Candles make me feel warm and snuggly and I love having one lit while I am reading. This candle is actually on the way to my house right now bc they totally hooked me with font selection and name.

4. Magnetic Bookmarks- Magnetic bookmarks are new to me (I just picked some up at Barnes and Noble yesterday) but for that someone who is ALWAYS dog-earing pages or finding the nearest receipt to mark their page...I can't imagine a better gift!

5. Read Because you Can Sticker - Alright guys, there's no affiliate link on this sticker, but this is a personal connection. Jessica (the creator of this sticker) is a friend who just oozes talent and passion all over the place. I have this sticker PLUS two more InkChicago creations on my laptop currently. What better way to show the people in your life what is important to you than some laptop swag made my a teacher?!?!

6. LED Clip Reading Light- Alright, I always get people trying to bring me over to the dark side with reading on a Kindle so this may be a silly gift for those of you already over there, BUT for someone like me who really, truly can only read in print...this is a great gift. Especially when you are trying not to wake the snoring bear next to you (Ahem, my husband).

7. Read Read Read Sweatshirt- Remember- Warm and Cozy? This sweatshirt is such an essential piece to this gift guide that it is the only item I picked that is over 20 dollars.  I have this sweatshirt and wear it at least once a week! I know the reader in your life will just LOVE it too!

8. Pike Roast Coffee - I have been drinking my coffee black for about two months now and this Pike Roast is MANDATORY. There is nothing worse than bad coffee with no creamer to cover it up. And if you are anything like me

9. Barnes and Noble Gift Card- What more could a reader ask for, well, MORE BOOKS of course. Send the reader in your life on a post-holiday shopping spree so they can post up on the couch and read to their heart's content.

10. Fuzzy Socks - Comfy, cozy, and enables you to pull a little Tom Hanks slide into the living room if you are up for it. Need I say more?

11.Rose Gold Book Ends- I don't typically need bookends (because why be a quitter and stop before the shelf is full) but if I did, I would TOTALLY want these in my stocking! I would actually like about anything in rose gold.

12. Where the Wild Things Are Pins- And last not but least, I would take a Max and Wild Thing please! I love the Out of Print company and Where the Wild Things Are has been an absolute favorite book of mine for as long as I can remember.

Alright, now get to clicking! What did I leave off my list that you would like?!?!

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Back to School with Frank

For years Amy and I have had requests to bring our Rooted in Reading units to upper grades. We thought Being Frank was the PERFECT book to try it out! 


If you haven't read Being Frank, you must find it! It is so unbelievably clever and hilarious. My favorite kinds of books are ones that have some hidden humor that allow adults to have a little chuckle too! 

Frank is SUCh a memorable character that he naturally lends himself to working on Character Traits. 


What Amy and I have done is allow you several different baby steps for learning how to analyze characters. We use this AMAZING short film (5 mins) Soar to help us out. 

Next up, we look at things that Frank does, says, and and thinks to help us learn more about him. 

And lastly we ask the kids to flip what they have learned and apply it to themselves.  They come up with a name for themselves- just like you see with the characters in Being Frank. 

I adore using picture books as mentor texts for big kids and I think that you will too if you try it out with Being Frank. You can find Amy and I's unit in her TPT store. 



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#KKingRecommended July Post


{This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links}

Since I know some of you aren't on instagram I thought it would be best to start gathering up the book I recommend every couple of weeks. Soooooo here we go:

1. The King of Kindergarten
As your loved ones and precious students head back to classrooms this year, The King of Kindergarten is a perfect back to school book.   
Every one of our students deserves to see themselves in the pages of the books we read to our students. I love that the main character of this book is a a black boy. 

2. Words to Love By
Words have power. This book is an amazing way for children to see that good or bad, words have impact. 


The Wonky Donkey is a silly and hilarious way for kids to work on rhyming skills! I know my second graders would have been in stitches over the Honky Tonky Wonky Donkey. 



This book is a Writers Workshop MUST. It is the perfect book to help motivate students who think they don't have a story to tell. 



Ohhhhh Kwame Alexander, this book is SO perfect. It explains exactly who I feel about reading and I can't wait to read it to a group of wide-eyed children. 



Fireflies is another must for your Writers Workshop block. It a nostalgic take on summer time that adults will love. Students will see a perfect model of how to SHOW excitement and not just say it. 



Another one to get your students laughing their heads off? Yep, Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas is that book! 



I love, love, love this book. I think it's a fantastic example of a fiction story with facts infused in an interesting way.  I think students will love Misunderstood Shark! 



We LOVE a Jory John book in this house. Seriously, we may own them all.  That's What Dinosaurs Do talks about being tempted and having to work through those temptations. And Pete Oswald's illustrations are amazing as usual! 


Oh I just LOVE Dandy!  This book perfectly showcases the lengths a dad will go to for his little girl. It is hilarious and engaging as well! I can't wait to find just the perfect moment to use this one with students. 
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The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!

When Brooke and I saw it, we KNEW the latest Mo Willems' book was going to be a must for your first week of school. 

We tried to think of all the things that you would like on those first few weeks from a book. Through these fun and easy puzzles, your students will have a chance to connect.  The pigeon's anxiety serves as a perfect springboard for connecting to all kinds of emotions on the first day!

These simple but engaging STEM options will have your students giggling and creating from Day 1 in your classroom.

Brooke thinks of everything you need to make these challenges happen.

She even introduces simple machines to them through QR codes. Science the first week of school? Check! 
This amazing book allows you to jump right in to discussing author choices, text to self connections, and vocabulary.

If you snag it today (7/13 or 7/14) you can get it at 20% off. I can't wait to hear what you think! 
{The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!} Storybook STEM
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The WHY Behind Rooted in Reading

When Amy and I began creating our 2nd Grade Rooted in Reading curriculum we were solving a problem for both of our classrooms. We had both been using picture books to teach comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar, but we did not have a go-to resource. We had activities and lessons that we were creating year after year, but we wanted something that would bring consistency to our reading block.
That’s when we got together and decided we wanted to take what we were doing each and every day in our own classrooms and create something for the entire year, something that other teachers could benefit from as well. In the fall of 2015, we chose 4 picture books and began developing a curriculum that our 2nd grade students fell IN LOVE with. It TRANSFORMED our ELA block. It helped us fall in love with teaching again. It helped our students fall in love with reading in a way we had never seen before.
Over the next few years we began creating curriculum for 1st and 3rd grade classrooms. It has been a true blessing to see so many teachers use our curriculum over the years. It touches our hearts to see every picture, read every review, and hear how Rooted in Reading has impacted so many classrooms.
We know how beneficial it can be to use picture books in the classroom, but we know that some teachers need to provide evidence to their administrators. Well, now we have you covered! We have put together a document with information, testimonials, and more! You can click HERE to check that out.
We hope that this document is just what you need to help bring Rooted in Reading to your classroom. If you want to see the specific books we chose for each of our units you can find them all listed on Amy's Amazon storefront HERE.
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First Grade Rooted in Reading March


I swear the months are flying by....and I can't keep up!  Let's slow down for a second and just appreciate these beautiful books! You can find them through my affiliate links below:


The following are the four nonfiction readers included for the month. One to pair with each book! I love the topics for each one and found myself learning A LOT! 

I haven't blogged a ton about the first grade units so I wanted to make sure you saw a good bit of what is in each one. 

For the Magical Sea Creatures nonfiction reader, I chose to focus on the habitat AND habits of each animal.  I think with more understanding of what lives below sea level, comes more compassion and effort to protect our beautiful oceans. 


For each week, you will receive two to three digital anchor charts and relatively quick comprehension activities to allow your students to demonstrate their understanding of the whole group lesson. 

After The Fall offers a wonderful opportunity to review nursery rhymes that your students may or may not be familiar with. 

Have you ever read The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig? What a FANTASTIC book! I find myself giggling several times when I am reading it because I find the author so clever. 

And because it is SO hard to show you everything but I don't want to miss anything, here are some more images.  You may click on any of the pictures to see the unit in Amy's store! 





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