Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: David Goes to School

As today is the start of a new school year for teachers and students in Virginia, I thought it would be appropriate to review a book about going to school! 

David Goes to School by David Shannon

In the next adventure of David, he goes to school! As in the original book, No, David! (a Caldecott Honor Book in 1999), David gets in trouble a lot. He comes late to school. He doesn't sit in his seat or raise his hand to speak. He chews gum in class. And he doesn't pay attention!! David doesn't wait his turn in the lunch line and starts a food fight in the cafeteria. David doesn't want to come in from recess. When he starts drawing on his desk, that's the last straw. David has to stay after school to clean all the desks. He does a good job of that though and his teacher lets him go home.

This book makes me nervous about what I'm getting myself into with teaching! What if I have a class full of Davids!!

The author, David Shannon, has a note at the beginning of the book where he talks about a book that he made when he was little. The book only had the words "no" and "David" because those were the only words he could spell. Accompanying those words were pictures of David doing things he wasn't supposed to be doing, which is where the idea for his first book originated. In this version of the book, David, the author, brought in all of the things David, the character, would do wrong that his teacher would tell him no about.

I love the way the illustrations and writing go together in this book. It's very appropriate that the author tells readers that he found his old writings and pictures because the illustrations at the very beginning look like something a child colored in. Some of the coloring is out of the lines. The words are written on the lined paper that young children write on. The illustrations when the book starts still seem appropriate for the age group that the book is intended for. All the pages are two page, full bleed spreads with a lot of bright colors. There are usually not many details in the background because the characters and what is going on up front are the most important parts of the illustrations.

I have seen a lot of teachers use this series and especially this book, as part of their first week of school activities when they have to explain to the students what is and isn't appropriate behavior and the rules. One example that I really like is from Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade. She read this book with her lesson on bucket fillers. Students came up with ways that the can be Peacemakers or Peacebreakers. When students are acting out, they can tell each other "Don't be a Peacebreaker!" Check out her blog to find out more about this activity! Scholastic also has two extension activities on their website that teachers can use to when reading this book with their students.
Mrs. Ayala's Kinderfun David art project.
Jackie at Ready. Set. Read! created a class book activity where students came up with positive things that David could have done in class. Mrs. Ayala at Mrs. Ayala's Kinderfun created these adorable David faces,on the right, for her students to decorate.

There are many different ways you can incorporate this book into your class. I look forward to using this next year when I hopefully will have my own classroom!

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