- Age Range: 5 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
- Lexile Measure: AD520L (What's this?)
- Series: Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures (Book 1)
- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Charlesbridge; 2/14/00 edition (February 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 158089061X
- ISBN-13: 978-1580890618
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 443 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Day Jitters (Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures) Paperback – February 1, 2000
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From the Publisher
First Day (and All Year Round) Icebreakers!
1. Put students in pairs. Each student must tell their partner about a time they were nervous. Once students are finished discussing, go around the room and ask each student to describe their partner’s experience.
2. Trace every student in the class on roll paper using a black marker. On one side of the body, have students write some of their favorite things. On the other side, have students write their goals for the year. Students can also color and decorate the outline of their body. Then hang up the projects and discuss.
3. Play team charades with scary situations! Write down a bunch of nerve-wracking moments (flying in a plane, meeting someone new, giving a speech, etc) on notecards and shake them up in a hat. Divide the class into two teams; each team will take turns to send two actors to the front. The first team to guess the situation wins a point. After each charade, brainstorm coping mechanisms with the class.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Sarah is hiding under her covers as Mr. Hartwell asks, "You don't want to miss the first day at your new school do you?" From under the blanket she replies, "I'm not going." When he reminds her how much she liked her other school and asks her to think of all the new friends she'll meet, she imagines a classroom where a paper airplane is flying, a boy is pulling his neighbor's pigtail, and another is blowing a gigantic bubble. Mr. Hartwell finally gets Sarah to stumble out of bed, eat a bit of toast, and get into the car where she slumps down into her seat. At school, the principal cheerfully welcomes her and takes her to the classroom where she is introduced as "Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell," the new teacher. There is a bit of foreshadowing that Sarah is an adult, but as she is always partially hidden, the ending will come as a surprise to most readers. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations are full of action and maintain the lighthearted tone. A little subplot in the paintings shows the family cat and dog having their own contest of wills while their owner is trying to get his wife up and out. The joke provides a good laugh and children may find it reassuring that they are not alone in their anxieties about new situations.
Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Every child who has moved to a new school or is simply reluctant to start a school year can identify with this wittily drawn and suspensefully told story. From the moment she awakens on the fateful day to the moment she steps into the classroom, Sarah Hartwell imagines the worst. Love's ink-and-watercolor illustrations add humor to Sarah's fears, which range from bratty kids to a police search when she doesn't show up. Mr. Hartwell's reassurances don't seem to be much help. The pictures mirror the jangled nerves and outsize expectations (the double-page spread of a looming, prisonlike school is priceless) everyone faces when they are new, all of which leads to a nifty surprise ending that is a delight. Funny and insightful."—Booklist
"First Day Jitters which was written by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love, makes a great companion book to Wemberly Worried. In the opening pages, we meet a certain Sarah Jane Hartwell, who's in the midst of her own first-day-of-school-related panic attack. Sarah Jane is buried under her covers so far that you can't even see her face. In fact, you have no idea what she looks like until the very last page of the whimsical book, which suddenly delivers a sly and funny twist..."—Newsweek
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The book reads as if it's a child who keeps trying to delay getting out of bed in the morning and going to school for the first day. At the end, it turns out it was the teacher who was delaying it because she herself was very anxious about it. This struck my son and he asked if teachers get nervous too. I said that they do because they want to do a good job and will have to learn all the new kids and parents and figure out how to uniquely deal with each one. It made him feel better to hear the teachers are also nervous.
I bought this in my first year of teaching and it summed up how I was feeling and of course as most teachers are, I get nervous on the first day even though I've been teaching for years. The kids in class always love knowing that even teachers get nervous about the new school year and students - it makes teachers seem more human and relateable to the kids, which I really like.
I'm giving this 4 stars because the illustrations are HIDEOUS. The colors are fine and so are the background details, but the illustrations make the people's faces look distorted, exaggerated, and frightening. I also didn't like that the teacher says she'll "hate" her new school several times - I don't think that's the best choice of words so I replace that word when I read it aloud each year.
Overall, this is a great book to start the school year with!
*Don't order this too close to the first day of school. I put it off and it literally came the day before school. I was very stressed as I planned for it to take up a lot of the first day. I thought I would have to redo my plans and recycle my precious copies. It worked out but I would encourage you to order in advance.
*Order a copy for each one of your teammates. When your grade level teammates hear and see this story and the cute activities you are going to do with your class, they will want to do the same. This will mean that you have to pass this to a different teacher at each of your breaks and you won't get it back until Thanksgiving. Better for them to have their own book.
*Don't share with the grade below you. You don't want them to start reading this book to their kids because they will know it when they get to you. Not to include spoilers-- but it's most fun if you haven't read it before.
In the book, the morning is hectic and Sarah Jane Hartwell is quite hesitentant to begin her first day at a new school. She has excuses for not going, believes no one will like her, states she hates her new school and she really liked her old school. The art wonderful details Sarah Jane's vision how she believes her new class will be (disruptive and unruly) compared with Mr. Hartwell's vision of a calm class full of potential friends.
This book is wonderful for starting Kindergarted or a new school. The ending made me laugh and cry at the same time. My daughter finished Kindergarten and is getting ready for the first grade, but she still asks me to read this book about once a week and we laugh as hard as we did the first time we read the book.