Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone!!  I have until Friday, and then my kinders are done for the year!!  As of next Tuesday I will officially be on summer vacation, and I'm SO EXCITED!!!

The super-fabulous Deanna Jump from Mrs. Jump's Class has started a linky party where we all get to share our favorite books!  Last Tuesday I posted about some professional development books I have assigned myself over the summer so that I can launch Writer's Workshop in my class next year.  Today I'd like to share with you one of the books I enjoy using in the beginning of the year, when we're first starting to learn about what it is to be in school and the importance of school rules.  I use A LOT of literature in the beginning of the year to help my littles understand why we have rules at school, and I'll be posting about more of my favorites on later Tuesdays.

Today's story is Tony Baloney School Rules written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham.

I got my copy from Scholastic, but you can click on the picture to jump over to Amazon and get a copy for yourself.  This book is 40 pages long and split into chapters, but there is not much text on each page and it's an easy read that flows very well.

The illustrations are bright and colorful, and can be used to help teach the littles about the job of an illustrator.  They characters are drawn with expressive faces and body language, and can be used to prompt a discussion about how the pictures can help us understand what's happening in the story.

The story starts with Tony getting ready for his very first day of school (while the story doesn't state which grade, I'm pretty sure it's kindergarten).  He is packing up his backpack with all of his favorite things, all of which usually are not things that are allowed to come to school.  We talk about what he's packing in his backpack and if that's something that should come to school or not.

One of the things Tony brings to school is his best stuffed animal friend, Dandelion.  Throughout the story Tony talks to Dandelion about his day and his worries, and Dandelion responds in the way a good friend should.  We take this opportunity to talk about stuffed animals and how they can help us feel better when we're sad.  We also point out that we shouldn't be bringing our stuffed animals to school.  Tony's older sister tells him one of the rules is to keep toys in their cubby, which for some classrooms might be an acceptable place to keep them.

The book teaches us that Tony does not love trouble, but that trouble loves him.  Throughout the book he acts impulsively during different situations and trouble seems to find him.  We talk about how we can have problems at school and what the best way to solve them is.

When Tony gets to school his happy, smiley teacher begins to teach all the little penguins the rules of the classroom.  I like how each rule rhymes, and we use this time to try and find the rhyming words on the page.  We also talk about why it's important to have our rules written down somewhere in the classroom so everyone can see them.

The teacher explains to the class that at different times during the day she will be working with some little penguins, and whenever that happens they cannot interrupt her.  She teaches them the 'B Emergencies': Bathroom, Bandage, and Belly-Ache, and that they can only interrupt her if one of these things is happening.  I love this part of the book, because it's a great intro into what I expect of my kinders during our rotation times.  I also really like how the illustrator shows Tony thinking about what each of those rules mean and what it would look like if a 'B Emergency' might happen.  We take this time to talk about what it should look like in the classroom during rotations, and what an emergency might look like.

Tony has a hard time on the first day remembering the rules of the school, and he needs several reminders from the teacher.  I love the graphics on these pages, it's a great way to start talking about how the illustrator can help the author tell the story.  We talk about how they think the teacher feels about Tony's behavior and how they can tell what she's feeling by looking at the expression on her face as well as her body language.

Tony tries hard to follow the rules, but in his excitement he forgets a few and needs to have a conversation with the teacher about the rules.  I use this time to talk about our behavior charts and we go over how to use them and what they're for.

After having a talk with the teacher about his behavior, Tony tells his friend Dandelion all about his day.  Dandelion offers him some good advice to help him make it through the rest of his day.  We talk about how taking a break or walking away for a moment can be a good choice to help us calm down when we're upset or angry.  We also talk about how it is important to share what we're feeling with someone (or something) that we trust.

At the end of the story Tony is chosen as the Friendship Ambassador since he was such a kind and helpful friend when someone needed him.  I really like this idea, and we stop to talk about how the students think the characters are feeling and how they can tell.

Tony ends his day with his buddy Dandelion, and the two reflect on their first day of school.  This is a great time to talk with students about how every day we start off brand new, even if we had a bit of a rough day yesterday.

I just love this book and the message the author conveys.  If you have never read this book with your littles, you should really give a try next year!


  1. The perfect book for the beginning of the year! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for commenting!! This is definitely one of my favorite beginning-of-the-year reads, and I hope your littles enjoy it as much as mine did!! :-)

  2. Sounds like a great book to share at the start of the year. I'm always on the lookout for books to teach about behaviour in some way. Thanks!
    Growing Little Learners

    1. Thank you so very much for taking the time to stop by my little blog and to leave such a wonderful comment! I hope you are able to come back on future Tuesdays and learn more about some of my favorite books!! :-)