Back To School Ideas

1-2-3 Come Make Open House Extra Special With Me

Do you have an Open House before school starts, or a Meet & Greet the Teacher Night, and are looking for ideas?  Here's a super-simple & inexpensive one:

Each year for my Open House, as well as parent-teacher conferences, I put up a small table, covered it with a seasonal tablecloth and set a basket of mints on it, along with a sign that said: "Families Are Worth A Mint! Help yourself."

open house ideas, parent teacher conferences, ideas for parent teacher conferences, ideas for open house, back to school ideas, families are worth a mint, worth a mint sayings, worth a mint posterWhile doing research on the web, I came across a variety of similar ideas, including this adorable poem that was all over Pinterest in various forms.

There was no link to who the original writer was, so I decided to jazz this sweet sentiment up, with a bit of clip art and my original saying.

 Add a bit more color by mounting the poster on construction paper, then laminate and file away in a folder to use each year.  This is a really inexpensive way to express your appreciation, as The Dollar Store sells bags of mints year round and you can pick up all sorts of little baskets at garage sales. 

open house ideas, parent teacher conferences, ideas for parent teacher conferences, ideas for open house, back to school ideas, families are worth a mint, worth a mint sayings, worth a mint posterFor that finishing touch, and to draw attention to your basket, I've included some large mint patterns, so you can reproduce my entire display pictured in the photo.

Run the candy circles off on card stock and then tape them to long wooden skewers.  I tacked on a red bow using glue dots and then stuck my "peppermint balloons" into the basket.

One of the nice things about using peppermint, is that it's definitely NOT a favorite of children, however, it is something that adults enjoy.  (No worries about a few kids eating the entire basket.) 

If you'd prefer a smaller "bite size" mint, Sam's Club and Cost-co sell the mini butter-mints (pink, yellow, white and green) in bulk.  They have a long shelf life, so I always had plenty on hand.

open house ideas, parent teacher conferences, ideas for parent teacher conferences, ideas for open house, back to school ideas, families are worth a mint, worth a mint sayings, worth a mint posterClick on the link to view/download the Families Are Worth A Mint packet. 

Thanks for visiting today, feel free to PIN away. 

open house ideas, parent teacher conferences, ideas for parent teacher conferences, ideas for open house, back to school ideas, families are worth a mint, worth a mint sayings, worth a mint posterI hope you are enjoying your summer and starting to get excited for back to school.  Here's to the best year yet!

"Some beach somewhere, there's a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair.  Palm trees are growing, a warm breeze is blowing.  I picture myself there, on some beach somewhere." -Unknown

 1-2-3 Come Make A First Day Activity With Me

I know a lot of teachers have a Dr. Seuss theme for their classrooms, so I thought I'd make an activity you can do with your students on the first day of school. 

seuss hat pattern 1st daySimply run off the template.  On each stripe of the cat's hat, students write the things that they enjoyed doing the most and then color the stripes.  Add a first day photo for that finishing touch. 

seuss activities, dr seuss activities, ideas for dr seuss, writing prompts for seuss, first day of school writing prompts, first day of school activities, 1st day ideas, cat in the hat ideas, seuss hat pattern, seuss hat templateEncourage older students to use complete sentences.  Younger students can simply write a word or two. 

You may want to start by brainstorming with your kiddos.  To help them with spelling, jot their answers on the board.

There's a hat without the 1st day sentence as well, so you can also use this activity during March's celebration of Seuss or a Cat in the Hat Day.

seuss activities, dr seuss activities, ideas for dr seuss, writing prompts for seuss, first day of school writing prompts, first day of school activities, 1st day ideas, cat in the hat ideas, seuss hat pattern, seuss hat templateI've included a poster with another similar Seuss quote. Use it to introduce the above activity, or for a discussion at the end of the day of what your students enjoyed the most, and how everyone contributed to making that first day special.

seuss activities, dr seuss activities, ideas for dr seuss, writing prompts for seuss, first day of school writing prompts, first day of school activities, 1st day ideas, cat in the hat ideas, seuss hat pattern, seuss hat templateClick on the link to view/download the Seuss Hat First Day Writing Craftivity. 

seuss activities, dr seuss activities, ideas for dr seuss, writing prompts for seuss, first day of school writing prompts, first day of school activities, 1st day ideas, cat in the hat ideas, seuss hat pattern, seuss hat templateThanks for visiting today.  I hope your days are as filled with fun as mine are. 

I'm off to watch my grandson (22 months) play in his kiddie pool.  So loving summer...

 

 

1-2-3 Come Review A Great Back To School Book With Me

miss nelson is missing activities, miss nelson is missing lessons, back to school books, favorite back to school books, activities for favorite books, back to school ideas, punctuation activities, grammar activities for early elementary, capitalization activities, free pocket cards, miss nelson is missingSince the Miss Nelson Is Missing packet has been such a popular download, I decided to whip together a few more activities to accompany one of my favorite back to school books.

An interesting way to review the story, as well as reinforce rules for appropriate grammar, is with the Miss Nelson Is Missing punctuation cards.  Hang the cards on your board and read them together as a whole group. 

Choose a student to come up and circle letters that should be capitalized explaining why and then have another child add end punctuation

miss nelson is missing activities, miss nelson is missing lessons, back to school books, favorite back to school books, activities for favorite books, back to school ideas, punctuation activities, grammar activities for early elementary, capitalization activities, free pocket cards, miss nelson is missingYou can also do this with a pointer and pocket chart or pass one card out to each child to correct with a dry erase marker. 

After eveyone has shared their card, have students choose 3-6 cards and rewrite the sentences correctly.  This is a great Daily 5 word work activity too.

Another idea is to run off copies of all of the cards, have students trim and collate into a mini booklet, where they make corrections.

Encourage children to read their Miss Nelson booklet to their family, explaining what they did, as they retell the story.

Click on the link to view/download the Miss Nelson Is Missing Punctuation CardsThanks for visiting today. 

miss nelson is missing activities, miss nelson is missing lessons, back to school books, favorite back to school books, activities for favorite books, back to school ideas, punctuation activities, grammar activities for early elementary, capitalization activities, free pocket cards, miss nelson is missingI hope you are getting excited to start another school year, but still making time to relax and enjoy the rest of your summer too.  Wishing you all the best...

 

Instead Of An Apple For The Teacher, How About An Apple FROM the Teacher?

Yikes! It's July 19th; how'd that happen?  Every year summer zooms by like no other season.  I feel like I was just blogging about end-of-the year activities, and now my wheels are spinning dreaming up stuff for fall! 

apple snacks, first day of school gifts, first day of school treats, first day of school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, 1st day treats, treat bags, ladybug stickers, apple poemsSeeing all of the adorable back-to-school displays, certainly puts one in the mood and generates excitement for the wonderful loss-leaders and discounts on school supplies.  Nothing like the smell of a brand new box of crayons to get the energy and creative juices flowing.

One of my favorite summer projects, was putting together treat bags for my Y5's first day, or dreaming up some other little gift that would make them feel special and welcome.  Since I often taught two alternating classes (40+ total kiddos), I looked for something quick and easy on the budget.

apple eating kidWe have lots of apples here in Michigan, and all sorts of orchards surrounding my school, so I did all kinds of activities with an apple theme.  One of my Y5's favorite snacks was dipping apple slices in caramel.  

Since an apple is super-healthy, I thought it would be a wonderful alternative to the usual treat bags or candy for a first day gift. (Less time consuming too!)

apple labelsSo they looked more like a welcome gift, I felt the apples needed jazzing up in some way, and wanted a cute saying to put on my green construction paper leaf. 

Cyber space never lets me down.  I found this cute poem on Pinterest.  Amy, over at Positively Splendid came up with this sweet gift tag that she attached to the front of her apple.  She made this as a gift for her son's teacher.  Click on the link to grab her FREEBIE.

apple snacks, first day of school gifts, first day of school treats, first day of school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, 1st day treats, treat bags, ladybug stickers, apple poemsI revamped her poem and included a ladybug in mine.  Simply run the leaves off on green construction paper, trim and tape a toothpick to the back, so you can simply poke it into the top of the apple.  Wahla! Your gift is done.  

apple snacks, first day of school gifts, first day of school treats, first day of school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, 1st day treats, treat bags, ladybug stickers, apple poemsBesides the poem leaves,  I also have sets where I added:  "Welcome to (preschool, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade)!"  to the bottom of the leaves.  To make things more personal, sign the back or bottom of the leaf. 

ladybug sticker samplesFor that finishing touch, add a ladybug sticker.  If you don't have any on hand, I've included 8 different ladybugs that you can print, trim and glue onto your leaves. 

apple snacks, first day of school gifts, first day of school treats, first day of school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, 1st day treats, treat bags, ladybug stickers, apple poemsThere's a set of little ones for the smaller leaves, as well as a larger size, if you want to make the big over-sized leaves.  Click on the link to view/download the 1st Day Apple Treat

apple snacks, first day of school gifts, first day of school treats, first day of school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, 1st day treats, treat bags, ladybug stickers, apple poemsThanks for visiting today.  Feel free to PIN away. 

apple snacks, first day of school gifts, first day of school treats, first day of school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, 1st day treats, treat bags, ladybug stickers, apple poemsWishing you an "apple-icious" rest of the summer.   I'm off to hit some garage sales with my daughter.  Woo hoo!

"If an apple blossom or a ripe apple could tell its own story, it would be the story of the sunshine that smiled upon it, of the winds that whispered to it, of the birds that sang around it, of the storms that visited it, and of the motherly tree that held it and fed it until its petals were unfolded and its form developed." -Lucy Larcom

22 pages

You've heard of an apple for the teacher, well this is an apple from the teacher.  They are a quick, easy and healthy alternative to a back to school treat bag.  If you'll be studying apples in the fall, this snack fits right in.

1-2-3 Come Make Open House Extra Special With Me

Each year for my Open House, as well as parent-teacher conferences, I put up a small table, covered it with a seasonal tablecloth and set a basket of mints on it, along with a sign that said: "Families Are Worth A Mint! Help yourself."

open house ideas, parent teacher conferences, ideas for parent teacher conferences, ideas for open house, back to school ideas, families are worth a mint, worth a mint sayings, worth a mint posterWhile doing research on the web, I came across a variety of similar ideas, including this adorable poem that was all over Pinterest in various forms.

There was no link to who the original writer was, so I decided to jazz this sweet sentiment up, with a bit of clip art and my original saying.

 Add a bit more color by mounting the poster on construction paper, then laminate and file away in a folder to use each year.  This is a really inexpensive way to express your appreciation, as The Dollar Store sells bags of mints year round and you can pick up all sorts of little baskets at garage sales. 

open house ideas, parent teacher conferences, ideas for parent teacher conferences, ideas for open house, back to school ideas, families are worth a mint, worth a mint sayings, worth a mint posterFor that finishing touch, and to draw attention to your basket, I've included some large mint patterns, so you can reproduce my entire display pictured in the photo.

Run the candy circles off on card stock and then tape them to long wooden skewers.  I tacked on a red bow using glue dots and then stuck my "peppermint balloons" into the basket.

One of the nice things about using peppermint, is that it's definitely NOT a favorite of children, however, it is something that adults enjoy.  (No worries about a few kids eating the entire basket.) 

If you'd prefer a smaller "bite size" mint, Sam's Club and Cost-co sell the mini butter-mints (pink, yellow, white and green) in bulk.  They have a long shelf life, so I always had plenty on hand.

open house ideas, parent teacher conferences, ideas for parent teacher conferences, ideas for open house, back to school ideas, families are worth a mint, worth a mint sayings, worth a mint posterClick on the link to view/download the Families Are Worth A Mint packet. 

Thanks for visiting today, feel free to PIN away. 

open house ideas, parent teacher conferences, ideas for parent teacher conferences, ideas for open house, back to school ideas, families are worth a mint, worth a mint sayings, worth a mint posterI hope you are enjoying your summer and starting to get excited for back to school.  Here's to an outstanding open house!

 1-2-3 Come Do Some Viola Swamp and Miss Nelson Activities With Me!

“The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzed through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school.” 

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsThus begins the story of Miss Nelson is Missing, one of my all-time favorite back-to-school books.  This cute classic was first published in 1977, but is still relevant today, as a lighthearted reminder of how important it is to show our appreciation of others.

When I read the story to my students, I wore a reversible "cape".  (A lovely pastel floral print was on one side, when I became the sweet Miss Nelson.  When I "transformed" into the terrible Miss Viola Swamp.  ("...the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world!") I easily flipped it to the solid black, ugly side.  

I've also donned a plastic witch nose, along with a few long black fingernails for my left hand, while pretending to be Viola.  She is the crazy substitute teacher in three children's books by Harry Allard (illustrated by James Marshall). The books are entitled Miss Nelson is Missing!, Miss Nelson is Back, and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. The latter is by far my personal favorite.

At the start of the story, Miss Nelson’s students are very disrespectful and naughty. They constantly take advantage of her good- natured personality, and haven’t a clue of what a wonderful and sweet teacher they really have, ’til she doesn’t show up one day and is replaced by the horendous substitute, Miss Viola Swamp.

Days pass and FINALLY, to the utter joy of her students,  Miss Nelson returns to class with a "little secret" as to her disappearence.  By this time, the children have become wonderful and very appreciative students.  I highly recommend this great read aloud, and always kept a copy in my sub folder. 

Because the book is so popular, I thought teachers would enjoy some activities to go with it.  You can do some of them with your students and/or tuck others into your sub folder, to be plugged in as emergency lessons. The Miss Nelson is Missing packet, includes a variety of writing, language arts and reading activites.  Plus some adorable "craftivities" to review even more standards.

Here are a few of the FREEBIES.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsThere are 76 word cards, plus a blank set to program with your own.  Great for vocabulary building.  You can also use these as an opportunity to teach synonyms, antonyms, and adjectives, while reinforcing their importance in writing. 

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsOne way to use the cards is as an assessment game.  Students make a Popsicle stick puppet with Miss Nelson on one side and Viola Swamp on the other.  I enjoyed sketching these memorable characters, particularly Viola

Hold up a word card and read it. miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsChildren decide which character they think that word describes and flip their Popsicle to the appropriate face.

For added pizzazz, I glued the facial circles to pink and green construction paper and then glued them back-to-back.

The teacher then shows the correct answer and asks students if they know what the word means.  If not (s)he defines it.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsBecause Miss Nelson and Miss Swamp are certainly "opposites" you can have a teachable moment, and ask students if Viola's qualities are antonyms for Miss Nelson's. 

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsI've also included several other adjective activities as well, including a sort of graphic organizer, where they jot down words that describe their teacher, Miss Nelson, and Viola Swamp

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsThe packet has 7 writing activities, including 2 class-made books.  One book is entitled The Case Of The Missing Students

Children write about what happened to their entire class when their teacher came to school one day, but no one else did!

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsThe other is entitled Our Teacher Is Missing.  As with the original story, students try and figure out what happened to their teacher, and write about one of their conclusions. 

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsOther writing prompts have students explaining why they wouldn't want Miss Swamp to be their teacher, what qualities they feel a really good teacher pocesses, and 5 things they think their teacher might be doing if (s)he disappeared.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsFor good measure I threw in 2 "Is, Can, Was" worksheets for both Viola and Miss Nelson.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsStudents will undoubtedly compare Miss Nelson and Viola to their own teacher. To review this concept, have students choose one of 3 Venn diagrams.  Students compare and contrast the characters to their own teacher, as well as the book to a similar story. 

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsOn the craftier side, there are 2 WANTED posters (for male as well as female teachers), for students to fill in, as well as 4 MISSING person posters. I'm sure what your students fill in about you, will be quite miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsamusing.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsMy personal favorite activity in the packet is Swamp's Stocking Statements.  It's a cute way to review concepts of print.

Completed projects make a wonderful back-to-school bulletin board or hallway display.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsTo round things out, I included a page of discussion questions, a synopsis of the story and 2 "retell the story" bookmarks.

Finally, after you read Miss Nelson is Missing to your students, you may want them to see an absolutely "awwww-dorable" 13-minute youtube video.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, readers theater for miss nelson is missing, miss nelson is missing on youtube, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsMr. Arturo Avina's kindergarten class, from LAUSD's Olympic Primary Center, did a tremendous job acting out their adaptation of “Miss Nelson is Missing”.  He’s done an outstanding job recording it, as well as incorporating music from some popular songs.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, readers theater for miss nelson is missing, miss nelson is missing on youtube, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsWhat a fabulous learning experience for these students. They are certainly fortunate to have such a creative teacher. I hope you and yours enjoy it as much as I did.  My students, no matter what grade I taught, LOVED doing reader’s theater; I highly recommend trying it.

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsClick on the link to view/download the Miss Nelson Is Missing packet.

This packet will be FREE for an entire year.  After which time it will be up-dated & included in my 203-page jumbo Miss Nelson is Missing Literacy & Math packet in my TpT shop. Click on the link to pop on over. 

It is one of my most useful & all-time favorite packets.  I'm confident that your kiddos will LOVE these activities!

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsOh, and if you'd like a poster that's appropriate, click on the link.  It's not in this packet, but would be a cute writing prompt or discussion: "What do you think this poster means?" and... "How does it fit in with the story Miss Nelson is Missing?"

miss nelson, miss viola swamp, miss nelson is missing, activities for miss nelson is missing, venn diagrams, venn diagrams for miss nelson is missing, adjective activities, words to describe miss nelson, words to describe viola swamp, graphic organizers, bookmarks for miss nelson is missing, sub folders, sub folder ideas, emergency lesson plans, wanted posters, wanted poster activities, wanted poster template, wanted poster pattern, missing person poster, missing person poster template, class made books, writing activities for back to school, back to school writing activities, miss nelson is missing crafts, miss nelson is missing bulletin boardsThanks for visiting today.  By all means PIN away.  We've just added the automatic "PIN" feature to all of our pix.  Simply hover over them. 

"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you." -Dr. Seuss 

 1-2-3 Come Make Some 1st Day Of School Gifts With Me

Throughout my many years of teaching, I made all sorts of cute little gifts and treat bags for my students.  I especially wanted to have a little surprise to delight them on that first day.  

Because I had two classes of Young Fives, which usually added up to 40 students, I was always on the look out for something that was quick and easy, but also rather inexpensive.

ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water facts, water poster, One of the things I gave my kiddos every year, was a mini bottle of water.  I made labels with their names on them and stuck them to the front, and to make sure they stayed intact, I put a clear piece of contact paper over them. 

As a great fine motor skill, I let students decorate their bottle with stickers.  Because I think keeping children hydrated is extremely important, I allowed them to keep their bottles on their desks for those often hot, first few weeks of school. 

We'd rinse them out at the end of the day and then fill them up.  I had a tiny refrigerator in my room and we'd set them inside. First thing in the morning, I put them back on the tables.  This could be a room-helper job if you wanted, as it’s a great way to help children learn to read each other's names.

spilled water, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water facts, water poster, If you're wondering about spills, I only had one mishap in the 10 years I taught young fives.   I paid a bit more, to have the caps that didn't have to be unscrewed. 

They had the "pull up" things to sip out of, where you shoved the cap back down.  No taking caps on and off, and if they forgot to push it back down, only a little water trickled out if they tipped over.  At the beginning of the year I simply told my students not to remove the caps, and if they misused their water bottle, they would lose the privilege of having one.  No one ever lost the privilege! 

And even if I would have had some problems, the good of keeping students hydrated, far out weighs the worry about spilling (unless of course they're sitting at a computer.)  If you teach little ones, you know what a time drain it is getting everyone lined up and down the hall to get drinks throughout the day.

ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water facts, water poster, The need for water can hardly be overstated.  I did a few hours of research on the wonders of water.  "You don't slosh when you walk, or gurgle when you talk, but most of you is water." (60-70% depending on the source you're reading.) 

I read all sorts of studies, and articles about articles; the gist of it all, is that water has been proven to be extremely beneficial, "So don't say no to H2O!"

If you're interested in how beneficial, you can read the summary of my findings, which is included in the packet; like research showing that dehydration can affect mood and make people grumpy and confused.  If drinking water helps my kiddos think more clearly and be less cranky, then bottoms up! 

The bottom line here is that if we do something as simple as giving our students access to drinking water throughout the day, we help them avoid fatigue, headaches, irritability, confusion, dizziness, inability to concentrate and make decisions,  and a myriad of other maladies that a simple sip helps deter.

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water facts, water poster, When the body is functioning at its best, students will feel better, which translates into happy campers. Let’s face it, if our students are content and focused, things run smoothly and teachers are happier as well. 

One study even showed that students who were offered water three to four times throughout the day had a boost in brain power.  Another, saw a dramatic decrease in challenging classroom behavior!  Woo hoo for water... 

All that smiling has its own benefits: "When you smile, neuropeptides are released throughout the brain that send messages to your body. Some of these feel-good neuropeptides are dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. They help your body relax, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, plus give you an energized happy feeling!"

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water poems, 125 words that describe water, water facts, water poster, Enough said on the merits of giving your kiddos this beneficial gift. I’ve covered the “sense” of it, now here’s the dollar part.  This is such an inexpensive gift! 

You can get a case of forty 16.9 oz bottles of water (Members Mark) from Sam's Club, for only $3.98.  That's less than 10 cents a bottle!  What else can you get a child for only ten cents?

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, I cant spell success without u, water facts, water poster, If you'd like to jazz up your bottles, take the labels off.  They are not glued on, and fall off as soon as you cut them in half.   Run off my "labels" on a variety of different colors of copy paper. The first line says: "I can't spell success without u."

Cut the "labels" out (but don't trim the left and right edges, as they fit around a water bottle perfectly.) A simple piece of tape keeps them snuggly in place. 

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water poems, 125 words that describe water, water facts, water poster, Besides the generic one above, I have 3 others to choose from.  If you visit often, you know I LOVE goofing around with word play.  I substituted the word WATER for "What are" and came up with a few interesting questions. 

Thus the water bottles are not only a refreshing gift, they are an icebreaker as well.  Choose whichever question you like best, or give your students a choice, by the water bottle that they pick. Go around the room having everyone share their answer.

I personally like "'Water' you thinking you'd like to be when you grow up?" as it's super simple and students can answer with just a few words. 

To incorporate some writing, you could have older students write "Water" their goals, or "Water" the things they want to learn, and use those labels on their water bottles.  My husband gave me that "you've got to be kidding" look, when I excitedly shared my “water” word play with him.  (Heavy) sigh...

I hope I'm not the only one who thinks this is sort of cute.  Your students may roll their eyes as well, but it's all in the name of hydrating fun and getting to know one another.  Click on the link to view/download the Water Bottle Packet.

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water poems, 125 words that describe water, water facts, water poster, If the "water" sharing and writing don't fit the bill, I also putzed with some picture poetry and came up with a water drop poem. 

I made a large one to use as an example and anchor chart, as well as a small one (5 on a page) that you can run off on blue construction paper, trim and attach to older students' water bottles. 

After reading mine, and/or a sample of your own, challenge students to write their own water drop poem. 

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water poems, 125 words that describe water, water facts, water poster, Since using “describing words” is a standard, and helps improve student writing, I also made up an alphabetical list of 125 words that describe water. 

As a whole-group activity, brainstorm a list of your own, and then have students alphabetize the list, or challenge them to come up with their own, awarding a prize of some sort to the one who thinks up the most appropriate answers. 

Can you top my list of 125?  Afterwards, you can share mine.  If you think of more, I'd really enjoy hearing from you.  dianehen@teachwithme.com or post a comment below. 

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water poems, 125 words that describe water, water facts, water poster, Click on the link to view/download the Water Bottle Gift packet

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water poems, 125 words that describe water, water facts, water poster, Thanks for visiting.  Feel free to PIN away. My "Pin it" button is at the top on the menu bar. 

smiling kids, water bottle icebreakers, icebreakers for back to school, icebreaker ideas, first day icebreakers, ideas for the first day of school, gift ideas for students, back to school gift ideas, inexpensive back to school gifts, first day activities, back to school writing promtps, water facts, water bottle labels, the value of drinking water, the importance of hydrating kids, water poems, 125 words that describe water, water facts, water poster, Well that's it for today.  I sure learned a few interesting tid-bits about water consumption and hope you did too. 

All this thinking, typing, and looking at tantaliizing pictures of icy-cold water, has made me thirsty, which is a sign that I'm already dehydrated!  Oh my... time for some major slurping out of a "big gulp".

 1-2-3 Come Do Some Icebreaker First-Day Activities With Me

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, My favorite classes in school, even up through college, were those that we had a real community going.   These were usually conducted by my favorite teachers, who felt that a classroom was sort of like a family.  They made time to make us all feel welcome, safe, and important.  I truly felt cared about.  

One of the ways they promoted these feelings, was that they spent some time getting to know all of us.  This also helped build camaraderie, and developed our classroom “family” plus a positive-caring atmosphere.

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, Icebreakers are a perfect way to do this, and are especially important on the first day of school, when students are a bit nervous and looking at a bunch of strangers.   They are quick, easy and a lot of fun.  I've always found that no matter what the age, most students really enjoy sharing something about themselves. 

I not only did an icebreaker on the first day, but included a simple one in the morning or at the end of the day, for our entire first week of school.  I even do icebreakers with my college comp classes.  I truly believe that if students get to really know each other, the class is much more interesting and fun, which I feel is conducive to learning, as well as a great motivational factor. 

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, It's always worked for me.  Thus, I’m forever searching for something new to add to my icebreaker bag of tricks and came upon the M & M's or Skittles Game, which goes by as many names as there are colors, and can be played in a variety of ways as well, so I made up a few of my own versions.

You can have students choose 2 or 3 pieces of candy and then announce that they will be sharing something about themselves.  Whatever color of candy that they chose will match a question on the poster.   Go around the room and have students share that information one question at a time.   As they share, they get to eat that color candy.

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, Remember to let students know in advance not to eat their candy before it’s their turn to share.  Since this may be extremely difficult for a young child, to expedite things, you can put one of each color candy in a mini cup on their desks.  

Tell students that they’re going to share the red candy question and then have everyone eat the red one at the same time.  As soon as the first person shares then the next one goes, til everyone has answered that color question.  

Remind students that you have limited time and to keep their answers short.  Most of the questions that I’ve thought of can be answered with one or two words.  Teachers need to keep things moving.

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, If you have a large class, and don’t have enough time to share all of the questions, you can tell your students to pick out their favorite flavor or color and then answer that question.  

I’ve included 4, different question template options, for you to choose from, (using both an M & M's and Skittles template) as well as a blank color copy of the poster, to make up your own questions. 

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, Remember to keep questions simple, easy to answer, not embarrassing or intrusive, and something that would be easy and fun for children to share about themselves.  

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, As a writing option, I’ve included a blank black and white M & M's and Skittles copy.  You can run these off and have students color their candies, and then fill in the answers to the questions that you read. 

For sharing time, they can look at their papers and choose one or two that they want to read and share with their classmates. 

Click on the link to view/download the Candy Icebreaker Game packet.  Do you have an icebreaker you could share with us?  I would enjoy hearing from you: diane@teachwithme.com or leave a comment below.  

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, Thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to PIN away.   It poured today, so I'm off to empty my flower pots, and rescue some drowning plants. 

icebreaker games, games for the first day of school, first day of school activities, 1st day of school activities, getting to know you games, icebreakers for the 1st day of school, icebreakers for school, M & M game, Skittle Game, candy games, candy icebreakers, back to school ideas, back to school games, back to school icebreakers,color games, Wishing you a blessed day from over here in Michigan.

"Nature does not hurry; yet everything gets accomplished." -Unknown

 

1-2-3 Come Make Some Back To School Things With Me

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftWhile I was working on the coloring-autograph page: "I made a lot of friends today!"  for a first day of school activity; I thought making some number puzzles that students could color, cut and glue, would also give teachers a little bit of "sanity" time, to get some of the zillions of trivial tasks done, that must be accomplished before dismissal, on that hectic first day.

The "friends" coloring worksheet was a very popular download.  It's so simple, but such a great way to give your kiddos something they can do independently, which frees you up.  When you're working with energized little ones, some of whom don't even know how to write their name, the word "independently" is imperative.

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftThe number puzzles also double as a quick, easy and inexpensive little gift that you can have lying on your students' desks.  Be sure and write their name on the puzzle (after the word Hi or Welcome! to make things extra special for them. 

The puzzles can be pre-cut to expedite things for preschoolers.  To give yourself even more time, have students cut their own puzzle pieces (after they have colored the picture) then tell them to mix up the pieces and put their puzzle together.

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftTo make a cool looking mosaic, have children glue the pieces to a sheet of construction paper, leaving a little space in-between the pieces. 

After they share their creation with the class, mount them on a bulletin board.  Caption: Mrs. Henderson's kinders stick together, or fit in just fine, or whatever else you deem appropriate. 

If you take a first day of school photo for a future memory book, make an extra copy and cut it into the shape of a puzzle piece, then put it along side that child's completed puzzle.  Adding a puzzle border, or scattering some real puzzle pieces through out your bulletin board, adds the finishing touches.  The Dollar Store sells a huge variety of puzzles that you can use to jazz things up.

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftThe Back To School Puzzle packet, includes 30 puzzles.  Some of them are vertical, others are horizontal.  They come in black and white, so that students can color them, and others are in full color, so you can print; laminate and trim, then use in an independent center for early finishers. 

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftMake a game of it by having children choose a partner to see who can complete their puzzle first. Some of the puzzles use numbers from 1-10 for little ones, others skip count by 10's to 100, for first graders. 

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftI've also included little "Welcome" tags.  (There are 16 on a page.) Write in your students' names and then paperclip one to their set of number strips and lay them on your kiddos' desks as a sweet surprise. 

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftSo that I had quiet time to check bus numbers and "going home" tags that needed to be changed,  I always had some sort of independent activity towards the end of the day.  My Y5's were exhausted, the room was usually hot and stuffy, so they were happy to simply veg-out a bit.  This puzzle packet is perfect for that. 

If you decide not to precut the strips, you may want to lay out a selection of black and white puzzles, and allow your students a choice of which one they want to color, cut and glue.  Put a variety of colors of construction paper out as well.   If you're all set for your first day, the puzzles also make a great Open House activity

Click on the link to view/download the First Day Of School Puzzle Packet.  For more number puzzle FREEBIES, click on the link.

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftThanks for visiting today.  As always, feel free to PIN away.  Do you have a first day or back to school activity  you could share with us?  I'd enjoy hearing from you.  diane@teachwithme.com  or leave a comment below. 

1st day of school activities, first day of school ideas, ideas for the 1st day of school, first day of school lessons, first day of school icebreakers, first day of school games, back to school bulletin boards, number puzzles, free puzzles, back to school puzzles, skip counting by 10's activities, back to school coloring pages, back to school gifts, ideas for open house, first day of school giftTime to go water my flower garden.  I hope you're enjoying summer and making time to rejuvenate.  Blessings to you from my little corner of cyber space. 

"Your life is your garden.  Your thoughts are the seeds.  If your life isn't awesome, you've been watering the weeds." -Unknown

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