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ISABEL AND HER COLORES GO TO SCHOOL by Alexandra Alessandri and illustrated by Courtney Dawson is a beautiful book focusing on first day jitters for a little girl who speaks little English. While the title, and various points in text, highlight colors, it is the addressing of themes such as belonging, friendship, and being different/unique, that make this a wonderful entry point to conversations with kids about first days, identity markers such as language and bilingualism, and emotions. 

Click here to download

READING THIS BOOK INTERACTIVELY, meaning asking questions & providing prompts during the reading, has allowed me to get to these themes within the context both of the book AND my students' own experiences. Questions such as 'Have you ever felt nervous on the first day of school?', 'Have you ever felt nervous coming to Spanish class, knowing a lot of English but perhaps only a little bit of Spanish?', 'How do we make classmates feel welcome in our space?' and 'How does it feel to belong?'... are just a few which foster reflection and connection with Isabel, Sarah, and ourselves. YES, I ask these questions in English (our common language in class). While reading the story, I incorporate a fair amount of Spanish, though I don't read it entirely bilingually; but the questions/prompts are in English. This allows us to dig deeper :) 

AS A FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY, and to reinforce how we can brighten, welcome and foster a sense of belonging, kids create a picture just as Isabel did in the book-either drawing a friend we already have or one we would like to invite as a friend. This is then given to the new/old friend as an action step in creating community. You can download the activity page FREE here! It has both a Spanish version & an English version :) 

How do you teach this book in your class? Please share in the comments below!

And for more teaching ideas with picture books, see my blog posts:



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