First Day Jitters (Mrs. Hartwells classroom adventures) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-06-25 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 303 user ratings

"This colorful children's book is about a girl named Sarah Jane Hartwell, who has bad jitters about the first day of school. She is really nervous because it is a new school and she doesn't know anyone. She refuses to get out of bed, until Mr. Hartwell finally makes her. He drives her to school as Sarah is still complaining about being sick. At the end, the author throws a twist in the book when the reader realizes that Sarah is actually a teacher on her first day of class!

This book was very entertaining with colorful illustrations to go along with each page. I loved how the author puts an interesting spin on the sheer terror suffered by millions of children as that first day of school approaches. This book could be used to teach about emotions and how everyone goes through things, and everyone may cope with things differently. It would be a fun activity to discuss emotions deeper and have a minilesson about them. Also, it's a great way for the students to make connections to their first day of school and real-life experiences. I love how the author uses this twisted ending to show that children are not the only ones who get the jitters before school, adults do too!
" said.

This book is about a girl named Sara and her father, and Sara’s first day of school. She is still in bed and her father tries to wake her up several times but she doesn’t want to go to school because she thinks that the children will not like her and she doesn’t have any friends at this new school. Finally Sara comes downstairs and is dressed and ready to go to school. Her father drives her to school and when they arrive the principal shows Sara to her classroom. You’ll have to read the book to find out the surprise ending.
I gave this book a five star rating because even though it is a simple book I believe that the message it gives is a very good one because children can learn that even adults get nervous on the first day of school. What I notice most about the book are the illustrations again. I think they really help the children understand the book and give them something to look at while the book is being read to them.
Classroom Connection
I think that this book could be used in the classroom to have the children wrote a short story about their first day of school and how they felt about it. This would allow the children to explore the emotions that were going through their mind on their first day.
Lexile/Guided Reading Level
The lexile for this book is 210L. The guided reading level for this book is K. This book would be appropriate for grades k-1 for a read aloud and should be read independently by grade 1.
" said.


About the story:
We follow Sarah on her first morning back to school, but we start off with her hiding beneath the covers, refusing to go to school, and as you go through the book, we never get to see Sarah other than a toe here or the top of her head there. Our attention and curiosity to see what Sarah looks like keeps us reading until the very end, and when we do finally get to see Sarah on the final page, there's a fun plot twist which is sure to make you smile!

It's not so much a story as it is almost a joke with a punchline at the end. It doesn't really teach children how to deal with first day jitters, but rather it acknowledges how children can feel on their first day of school (nervous / dreading it etc) and puts thier feelings into words. My only quibble with this book is that it reinforces negative feelings rather than helping children be more positive about their first day jitters and I felt like this book would be more feel-good and uplifting if instead of focusing so much on the negative, it helped give children tools of dealing with first day jitters. But then, it would be a totally different book.

About the artwork:
Drawn in a retro, classic, old-fashioned painted style that reminded me a little of Norman Rockwell illustrations: less cutesy and more realistic.

- - -

I was kindly provided with a reviewer's copy of this book for honest reviewing purposes
" said.

"Opening: When you woke up this morning how did you feel? (Turn and tell) What did you partner say? I bet a lot of people felt nervous or scared. Why would someone feel scared? If you weren't nervous this morning, when was a time that you did feel nervous? What do people do when they are nervous?

In the story we are going to read today, First Day Jitters, we are going to meet a character named Sarah. Now in the title I see a new word, "jitters." What do you think jitters means? Use the cover to help you think about it. What do you see? Sarah is super nervous for her first day of school...jitters are what you feel when you are nervous. What are some reasons you think she is nervous? Wait, where did you come up with those ideas? (Brainstorming/ own experiences) it is important to think about things we already know as readers when we read and try and understand what the authors saying.

As I read today, I want you to think about the things you have in common with Sarah. Also think about what you see that is different.

Rationale: This book is a great intro to the year in talking about feeling nervous coming into a new experience. I also like that is lends itself to allowing me to talk about how even teachers feel nervous. It also allows students to get a chance to talk about their feelings and start to build that positive, caring classroom environment. It also gives me an opportunity to touch on several reading strategies to their brains working the first day/week. (Making connections, predictions, understanding characters, compare and contrast, etc.)
" said.

"Sarah Jane Hartwell is terrified to go to her new school. She has to be practically dragged out of bed to get to school. After going through all of the rigmarole of getting ready—she has arrived! Sarah continues to complain up until the moment she enters the classroom. Finally, she is introduced—as Mrs. Hartwell, the new teacher!!

This is a story that any child and teacher can relate to! Each page is filled with the anxiety and anticipation that comes with the first day of school. When I first read this book, I was amazed and completely surprised by the end. I immediately read the book again! It was hilarious and I could completely understand those jitters that Sarah Jane was experiencing. This has definitely become a first day classic in my room.

On the first day of school, I read this book with my class towards the middle/end of the day. We talk about how it feels to start a new school year or even start at a new school. The class talks about what they expected when they came to school and what they loved about the school day. Towards the end of the conversation, I ask my students if they still have jitters about the school year (they always say yes). So, we make and drink Jitter Juice. We mix together fruit punch, lemon-lime soda, and **LOVE** to wash away the jitters! Once we drink our juice, we do the jitter dance and enjoy the rest of our day. For the friends who still have the jitters we talk about how it can take some time and more love to get rid of them! Even without the jitter juice, this is a great book to level the playing field, if you will, about starting school. It helps students see that even their teachers are nervous about school. This is also a great book about teaching predictions, surprise endings, and re-reading to look for details.

I would highly recommend this cute story to any teacher who has ever had jitters about starting a new school year!
" said.

"This is such a fun book because everyone on the planet can relate: a parent, a student, a teacher or a principal understands those emotions completely. The first day of school is exciting but also can be very scary. Everyone finds it hard to sleep the night before and they try to imagine in their head all night long what that first day will look like.

Will the teacher be nice? Will the kids accept me and be my friends? Will I miss my bus or .... horrors of horrors.... forget my lunch on the kitchen counter? Is what I chose to wear the right thing so I'll look cool? Is my backpack stuffed and ready to go? And on and on and on....... all these things swirl around over an over again as the alarm is anticipated every five minutes and your first day starts calling you forth.

Sarah Jane does not want to get up and head off and she pulls her covers back over her head and refuses to budge. She finally is lured from her hideaway and encouraged to eat a piece of toast, grab her lunch pail and head off into the wonderful world of first day jitters. She still is relucant and slumps down in the car en route trying to disappear into thin air once again.

She is met by the principal of the school and escorted to her classroom where a gaggle of students are anxiously awaiting her arrival. How will she be received? Will her jitters overcome her? Maybe she should have stayed home in bed. This book is humorous and extremely witty. The illustrations are just fantastic, full of detail, emotion and action. They were a great sell for me purchasing the book for myself. I truly loved them. Suspense is created as the reader turns each page because the true identity of Sarah Jane is not fully disclosed until the very end of the book. The unexpected twist that culminates the story will bring a great chuckle to readers of all ages.

I used this book when I was teaching in every grade: from Kindergarten through grades 7 and 8. Each time I read it aloud to my class, the kids enjoyed it immensely and we all had a great laugh because the characters portrayed in the book!! Highly recommended.
" said.

"Kaitlyn Ramirez:

First Day Jitters
By: Julie Danneberg

First Day Jitters is a book anyone can relate to no matter what age, we all get this when something new in our life comes up. Whether it be going to your first day at school as a teacher, or as a student entering a new school for the first time. In this book the author has the reader thinking that Sara is the student, and so Mr. Hartfield goes in to wake up his daughter as the book presumes us readers to think and yet she doesn’t want to get out of bed because she has the jitters of what the new kids might think of her. Some questions students might think as they start their first day of school is how is everyone going to react to the fact that they are new and don’t have any friends. As the story goes on Sara finally gets out of bed and gets ready for school. Here’s where the plot twist comes in. Sara is dropped off at her new school and the principle comes in to greet her, walking her to the classroom the principle says, “Class I would like you to meet your new teacher, Sara James Hartfield.” Isn’t that a funny and exciting plot twist to a great book?
Through the author’s craft and style they use some foreshadowing when we see Mr. Hartfield come and wake Sara up, many readers would think it’s a child while some could guess that it’s his wife. As the reader I liked how the foreshadowing was used and the author really drew the reader in to make them think it was a child this whole time not wanting to go to school after all. You know the book is a good one when you can’t stop turning the pages of a book. First Day Jitters is a good book to have in the classroom because it helps the students understand in a simple context that it’s alright to be nervous on the first day of school, just like in the book teachers get nervous too. A book like this might help someone get over their fears of coming to school. In the illustrations the author had bright vibrant colors even for a book that might have a mood that seemed a little down in the beginning. In the bedroom especially the author created a room of what it might look like in a typical child’s bedroom, messy, clothes laying everywhere, and the animals sleeping with them. This was another hint as to why it might be a child sleeping in the room instead of the teacher.
Overall from a reader’s perspective I enjoyed reading the book and it had a great ending to it as well. A lot of times I don’t think students realize how scared and nervous teachers get when it comes time to teaching a new class after summer is over. Meeting new faces after you were just starting to get used to your old classroom. It’s both an eye opener for students and teachers to experience this book for the first time and think all teachers should consider reading this book before teaching a new classroom filled with unfamiliar faces, maybe then it will help you get the jitters out.
" said.

" 90% of my love for this book is based entirely on the surprise ending, which I won't spoil. I read it several times through to see if there were any hints about the surprise ending and I couldn't find any. It is so wonderfully written, and kids will love it and probably laugh even louder and longer than I did. " said.

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