Teaching Classroom Expectations through Picture Books in 2024

At the beginning of the school year, you’ll focus on teaching classroom expectations. This post shares our favorite picture books for teaching classroom expectations to students. All of the picture books on this list lend themselves to this topic really well. Take a peek below to learn more about these children’s books for teaching classroom expectations!

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9 Books for Teaching Classroom Expectations

Below is a list of some of our favorite picture books for teaching classroom expectations to share with elementary students. Check them out!

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1. A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook

Joshua is constantly tattling, even when he is not involved in a situation. His tattling has become so bad his classmates and friends don’t want to play with him at recess or sit with him at lunch. Joshua’s mother says if he keeps tattling, he will get tattle tongue. That’s when your tongue turns yellow with purple spots and grows so long it doesn’t fit in your mouth! Fearing he will get Tattle Tongue, Joshua doesn’t tell an adult when Billy the Bully is going to beat up Edith.

That night, Joshua is visited by the Tattle Prince. Joshua learns that he should have told someone about Billy because Edith was in danger. Tattling is when there is a problem you can solve on your own or the problem is none of your business. The Tattle Prince teaches Joshua the rules of tattling. The next day at school, Joshua does not tattle on his classmates and his friend wants to eat with him again!

Check out these A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

2. Decibella and Her Six Inch Voice by Julia Cook

Everyone calls Isabella the name Decibella, because she is always too loud! In the movies, at the library, and in class, Decibella is always shouting. Her teacher keeps her in one day during recess to talk about making better choices when it comes to the volume of her voice. 

Decibella’s teacher introduces her to five different kinds of voices: whisper, 6-inch, table talk, strong speaker, and outside. The two spend time practicing what each voice should sound like and Decibella’s teacher explains when she should use each voice. Decibella learns she was using an outside voice inside and that can bother people. After learning about the different voice volumes, Decibella is able to make good choices about the voice she uses depending on the situation she is in. This book is a great way to introduce students to volume control. 

Check out these Decibella and Her Six Inch Voice teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

3. Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

Mr. Rabbit finds out he has some new neighbors, the otters. He is a little nervous because he doesn’t know anything about otters. Thankfully, an owl is there to teach him about an old rule: “treat otters the way you want otters to treat you.” This causes Mr. Rabbit to think about how he would like otters to treat him. 

Mr. Rabbit decides that he would like the otters to be friendly, kind, and considerate. He hopes that they can work together, play fair, and share with one another. Mr. Rabbit hopes that the otters will know when they need to apologize and that they will be able to forgive him when he’s done something wrong. Mr. Rabbit learns that getting along with his new neighbors will be simple if he treats them how he would like to be treated. This book is a great way to talk to students about behavior and manners.

Check out these Do Unto Otters teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

4. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard

The story, Miss Nelson is Missing, is about an unruly classroom of students and a teacher who finds a creative way to teach them a lesson. The students in Room 207 were the worst-behaved students in the whole school. 

They were constantly acting up and poor Miss Nelson was unable to teach. Then one day, Miss Nelson goes missing and Miss Viola Swamp comes into the classroom. She wears an ugly black dress, never smiles, and loads the students up with homework. 

It isn’t long before the students miss Miss Nelson and start to look for her. When she returns a few days later the students are thrilled to see her. They no longer misbehave and act like angels in the classroom. 

In the end, we find out that Miss Nelson was in the classroom all long and she had dressed up as Miss Viola Swamp to teach her students a lesson about being respectful.

Check out these Miss Nelson is Missing teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

5. My Mouth is a Volcano! by Julia Cook

Louis can’t seem to stop interrupting! He interrupts his teachers, his parents, his friends and his sister. When words pop into Louis head, he feels them slide down his head, onto his tongue, and they erupt out of his mouth just like a volcano! Louis’ interruptions get him in trouble and he gets sent to his room or time out. 

When it’s Louis’ turn to be the star student and tell his classmates special stories, two of his classmates interrupt him! Louis can’t believe how rude they were to interrupt his special moment. At home, Louis shares his frustrations with his mother who suggests their mouths might be volcanos just like his. She recommends that when words pop into Louis’ head, he bite down, take a deep breath and breathe the words out. When it is his turn to speak, he can breathe the words back in and share what he wanted to say. This strategy helps Louis become a better listener.

Check out these My Mouth is a Volcano teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

6. Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! by Trudy Ludwig

There is nothing Owen McPhee loves more than talking. In class, he is always talking to his friends. His talking causes him to miss out on important directions when making a volcano and it erupts and destroys his friend’s bridge. Owen interrupts his teacher while reading a story and his friends when they’re talking about a movie. His constant talking causes his friends to get upset with him. 

One day, Owen wakes up with a bad case of laryngitis. He must write down everything he wants to say, however, it is difficult for Owen to keep up with how fast can friends can talk. Frustrated, Owen returns to his classroom and helps his friend Isabella fix her tower. He learns that sometimes, it is good to take a break and let others take a turn talking. 

Check out these Quiet Please, Own McPhee teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

7. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

It’s time for Penelope Rex’s first day of school and she is nervous! She has her new backpack with ponies and tuna sandwiches her father made her. However, when she gets to school she is surprised to find out her classmates are children! Penelope thinks children are so delicious and she eats them! Her teacher has to explain that they don’t eat their classmates. Even though Penelope tries her best to make friends, everyone is afraid of her. Penelope sees that all of her classmates are making friends and she starts to feel lonely. 

She decides to try and become friends with the class goldfish, but it bites her! This helps Penelope learn what it feels like to be someone’s snack and she loses her appetite for children. She eventually starts to make friends with her classmates and enjoy school.

Check out these We Don’t Eat Our Classmates teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

8. What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick

The storyWhat If Everybody Did That? Is about a boy who struggles to use his manners and make good choices. He does things like push his grocery cart as fast as it will go, throw his garbage out the window of the car, interrupt his teacher, and splash in the pool. Whenever he makes a poor decision, the adults around him ask “What if everybody did that?” The boy then has to reflect on what would happen if everyone was making the same decision that he was choosing to make. The boy uses his reflections to make better choices.

Check out these What If Everybody Did That? teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

9. Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale

Clark the Shark is about a shark named Clark who loves school and loves his life. He gets really excited when he is at school and has a hard time controlling himself. He talks really loudly, plays really hard, gets overly excited, and has a hard time making good choices. His classmates start to be annoyed with him. 

Clark’s teacher Mrs. Inkydink teaches him that being excited is okay but to remember to be cool at school. Clark repeats rhymes to himself to help him remember the rules of school. This helps him control his impulses and his friends at school love to see this change in him.

Check out these Clark the Shark teaching resources and activities to help you plan and deliver highly engaging read aloud lessons!

Grab the Free Reading Resources!

In closing, we hope you found this list of picture books for teaching classroom expectations helpful! You may also be interested in these back to school read alouds. If you want to get more book ideas to read aloud to your elementary students, then grab this reading freebie. It includes read aloud books lists, reading logs, and reading challenges for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom teachers. It will have you covered for the entire school year, as well as the summer months! Grab this free elementary reading packet now!

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