Dedicated to: Abigail and TJ

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3 Dedicated to: Abigail and TJ 3

4 Good morning, sweetie! Mom whispered as she walked into my room. It s your first day of 3 rd grade, Chip! Aren t you excited? I rolled over and said, Kind of. I think this is going to be a really good year for you, Chip. I have already met all of your teachers and I think they have a few tricks up their sleeves to make this the greatest year yet! Yeah right, I thought to myself. I have never really liked school because it can be kind of hard for me. I don t always understand the new stuff and reading is a little bit tough. It s not like I don t try, in fact I try really hard! But sometimes I just don t understand what we are learning. Come on, get up and get ready for school! I ll have your banana bread with bananas on top and a banana smoothie waiting for you! Okay, okay! I say getting up. 4

5 The first thing I do is turn on some music. I love music! I have a set of bongo drums, a guitar and a tambourine. Music class is my favorite time at school. My teacher says I m really good and should stick with it. Maybe I ll be a famous singer one day! She lets me help out around the classroom unlike my other teachers I ve had. Sometimes I have trouble following directions, so my other teachers think I ignore them, but it s just hard for me to understand and put all the steps together. This is why I really like Mrs. Lion because she always gives me extra time to get the job done and she always congratulates me on a job well done. Anyways, I turn up the music extra loud and pull on my favorite t shirt that says MONKEY BUISNESS! in bright red letters and head downstairs. 5

6 My school is really neat. It is at the bottom of a waterfall and there are all sorts of trees and vines and flowers around. There are so many different animals from the jungle that go here. Like lions and tigers and bears, oh my! I m feeling really nervous as I walk in, I don t want to let go of Mom s hand. You re going to do great sweetie, I love you! she says. I take a big gulp, let go of her hand and say I love you too Mommy. She gives me a big kiss and walks out the door. 6

7 I start walking towards my classroom, I don t see my best friend Ellie the elephant anywhere! Some of my old classmates start saying Hi Chip! How s it going? How was summer? I just kind of mumble and keep my head down. I can t always say what I want to say to my classmates and if I get really nervous I get a little bit of a stutter. This makes me feel left out sometimes; but it s okay because Ellie knows how friendly I am and always hangs out with me. Hey Chip! I hear as I arrive at the door. I turn around and it s Ellie running towards me. We must have the same teacher! Hey Ellie! I say excitedly. I am so excited that we have the same teacher. I hear Mrs. Tigress is really nice, she says. 7

8 We get inside and get settled at our desks. Mrs. Tigress calls out our names to make sure we are all here. Chip Chimp? Here I kind of mumble. After roll, she gives us our first assignment. We have to read a story and answer questions. Oh no. I start getting really nervous because it is hard for me to read and remember parts of the story to answer the questions. As I am I reading, I start to panic a little bit, it all just looks like words on a paper. I m not sure what the story is actually about. I start looking around the room nervously. Ellie gives me a thumbs up. I keep reading and try my hardest to understand the story. 8

9 I finally finished the story and it was time to answer questions. Mrs. Tigress said we are going to answer them as a class. This makes me feel a lot better because I do not have to answer all by myself. She even wrote the questions from the story on the chalkboard so I could see which answer was right. She starts off by asking a question and then asks us all to respond. I am not really sure what she is asking. She reads the question and the whole class answers, A! at the same time. I thought the answer was A too but I wasn t really sure. 9

10 For the next question, I say the answer I think it is quietly, C! the whole class plus me answers. I stuttered a little bit but I got it right!! Even if I got it wrong no one would know because it was so loud in here! I really like answering as a class because I feel more comfortable and like I m really helping. When we answered the last question, Mrs. Tigress said we could all have a piece of candy because we did so well. 10

11 Everyone started high fiving each other; kids who I had never talked to before were high fiving me even though I stuttered a little bit. I thought this was so cool. Before we left to music class, Mrs. Tigress came up to me and said, Chip, you did an amazing job at responding with the class. Keep up the good work! This made me feel really special and like she cared about me. I knew she was going to help me during the year. Mom was so right. 11

12 Next we had music class. I couldn t get there fast enough! Mrs. Lion started out by teaching us some dance moves to a song. Everyone was singing and dancing. This was so fun because we had to make up our own move and teach it to the whole class. Everyone was laughing and talking to each other. I was so happy because not only was I in my favorite class, I was having a great time with all my classmates. At the end of class, Mrs. Lion said to the whole class Okay class, Chip is going to play a special solo on the bongo drums. I was really surprised. Why didn t she tell me! Um o-o-kay I stuttered a little bit. I saw a few classmates give each other looks. I walked over to the drums, took a few breaths, and started playing. 12

13 I got so into the drums, next thing I knew, I was singing! In front of the whole class! Once I was done, I looked up and all my classmates were cheering and clapping for me. They were asking me Chip how do you do that!? and Chip can you teach me that!? Can you to sing at my birthday party? I was so excited! I was making so many new friends. When it came time for class to end, we had to put away our instruments and write down on a piece of paper one thing we learned for the day, and one thing we wanted to learn for next week. This can sometimes be a little hard for me to do. I don t know why but I just don t understand. 13

14 Just then, Mrs. Lion comes up to me and gives me 4 little sticky notes. Each one says what I am supposed to do before I leave class. The first one says, put drum back in cubby. This was really helpful because she gave me different sticky notes I could look at if I needed help. Thanks Mrs. Lion, I smiled as I walked out of the room. 14

15 Hey Chip sweetie! I heard my mom s familiar voice as I walked out of the school building. Hey mom! I said back. How was your day? she asked. It was so great, I can t wait to come back tomorrow! Well that s something I never thought you would say! I never thought so either. But today was one of the best school days I ve ever had. My teachers helped me out in just the littlest ways that made a big difference for me. 15

16 Music was the best it had ever been! She let me do a drum solo! It was so cool! I told Mom. That s amazing, I told you your teachers would help you out and give you little ways to help you learn she beamed with pride and winked. I also made so many new friends. They were all saying things like Bye Chip! See you tomorrow! as they started walking home. I grabbed Mom s hand as we started walking. I couldn t wait to get back to school; I know this is going to be the best year ever. 16

17 Annika Cartwright is currently a junior at Texas State University pursing a bachelor s degree in Special Education. She plans on graduating in May of 2018 and moving back to Katy, TX where her family lives to teach. She has lived in many different places around the world including Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Australia, plus Texas and Illinois. She can t wait to get out there and teach. I hope this book inspires everyone, teachers, parents and students! Get out there and use your big voice! 17

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