1-2-3 Come Do a Back-to-School Icebreaker Craft With Me
I think it’s super-important to build a classroom community and team spirit right from the get go.
I find that when students really know each other, they bond and make wonderful friendships. Caring & kindness result & discipline problems are minimal, making teaching much easier & learning a lot more fun.
For these reasons, I do quick, easy & fun icebreaker activities for our 1st month of school. It is definitely time well spent!
With that in mind, I designed this “Let’s Flamingle!” craftivity.
There are 6, “getting to know you” writing prompt page options.
Do one each day, then break students into small groups and “flamingle”. Woo Hoo! A week’s worth of writing, with no additional prep.
I’ve found that students absolutely love sharing things about themselves, so this is an especially fun activity for them, and a simple way to get to know a lot about your students too.
Introduce the lesson by asking: “What do you think ‘flamingle’ means?”
After discussion, share my definition poster. (Flamingle: To socialize and become familiar with your new flock of friends.)
As a whole group discussion, fill in the “Why is it important to flamingle and get to know our classmates?” poster.
Because they are so colorful, completed “flamingo friends” make a terrific back to school bulletin board, or hallway border.
I’ve included 4 photo posters of real flamingos flocking together, as well as 3 other posters you can scatter throughout your display as well.
The “We are all the same; we are all different” poster provides a great diversity discussion as well.
Simply choose which pages are most appropriate for you students, or do all six.
The packet also includes a flamingle treat tag in both color as well as BW. There are 5 on a one-page pattern for quick printing.
Run them off, make two slits on the dashed lines, then insert a colorful marker. Place them on your students’ desks as an inexpensive surprise for them to use to fill in their “wing” pages.
The packet also allows you to grab those extra "teachable moments" to practice using descriptive adjectives as well as simile. Use the "simile definition poster" to introduce that page.
One of the prompt page options has students think "outside the box" and compare themselves: "I am most like this animal, color, insect & invention." i.e. I am like a bee because I am always busy flitting from this to that.
Since a lot of teachers like to start planning for back to school later in the summer, today's featured FREEBIE is another little "first day" or first week of school activity.
The packet is a set of 30 number puzzles, which come in color as well as black and white. Your students will enjoy coloring & putting their puzzle together, which will give you a few moments of peace.
Well that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.
The forecasted rain hasn't come, so I'm off to go water my very thirsty flower garden. Wishing you a relaxing & fun-filled day.
"One of the benefits of summer, was that we had more light to read by." -Jeannette Walls from "The Glass Castle"
1-2-3 Come Make A Back To School Icebreaker With Me
"It's 'owl' About Me" is an easy and fun activity that help your new students learn about each other. Completed projects also make a cute bulletin board. If your boards are already filled, use these as a boarder on a hallway wall for an eye-catching display.
I LOVE owls, and by the looks of items available in stores, and PINS on Pinterest, I guess I'm certainly not alone. The word "owl" can be used for a variety of word plays, such as this "Owl" (all) about me activity.
Run off the template on white construction paper. Have students answer the numbered questions, by putting their short answers in the matching numbered areas of the books. The questions appear on the template.
Students color and cut out their owl, and share it with their classmates. Collect them and scatter across a bulletin board. I've included a large owl, with the questions inside, for you to use as the center of your board.
I like to use bright-colored material, burlap, or pin-dot wrapping paper as alternatives to plain b. board paper.
To add more pizzazz to your students' work, give them wiggle eyes and a photo to glue to their creation. Click on the link to view/download the It's Owl About Me Icebreaker.
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"When a person points a finger at someone else. they should remember that 3 are pointing back at them." -Louis Nizer
1-2-3 Come Make A 1st Day Of School Treat With Me
I know some of you have already started back to school (The Charter across the street from me went back the 5th!!!) but here in Michigan and Wisconsin our public school kiddo's (gratefully!) don't start til the Tuesday after Labor Day! Wa Hoo for that decision.
So my brain is still "full-speed-ahead" designing some quick, easy and inexpensive treats for the 1st day of school. My Y5's LOVED glow bracelets. I gave them one during our Camp Read-Away activities, when they read in the dark with flashlights, while sitting comfy in tents. If their tent was quiet, they received a "glowing report" and bracelet. (Click on the link to read all about it.)
I've seen all sorts of wonderful "bright" ideas on Pinterest (My current drug of choice...who needs caffeine when you have Pinterest!) So I thought I'd throw in a few of my own, to add to the collection. The best place to go for glow bracelets is The Dollar Tree. They sell 15 in a pack, so for 2 bucks you're good to go, unless of course you have more than 30 punkins in your class, in which case, stop off and buy yourself a sympathy card from me, or better yet a bottle of wine!
Click on the link to view/download "Come Glow and Grow With Us!" freebie.
I have a Bright Ideas Behavior Modification packet using light bulbs.
I designed that because I wanted my students to have brilliant ideas, shine, as well as have all those light bulbs turning on, when they finally grasped a concept. I thought I'd continue that theme and made a BTS bulletin board, with a matching bookmark. Click on the "Wishing a bright student a glowing year" packet to view/download it.
Finally, to "Wel-gum" my Y5's to school, I gave all my kiddo's a piece of bubble gum after we went over our rules. "We CHEWS to follow the rules and regs of our room." They could chomp and chew 'til the flavor was gone, while they finished up work, and then I passed a brown bag around to deposit the gum, lest we lose it later.
When I went to check out gum at the grocery store, I came upon Extra. Of course that got my wheels turning to wish students an "Extra special school year." You don't need to give them an entire pack, just tape on a stick of gum. Click on the link for the "Wel-gum packet." Click on this link for the Extra gum tag freebie.
If you've missed the latest back to school goodies and want to see more, click on the link and pop on over to that section and scroll away. I'm wishing all of my visitors the best year yet.
Thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to PIN anything you think others might find helpful. My "Pin it" button is at the top. If you'd like to see all the awesome educational ideas I PIN away my day doing, (so you don't have to) simply click on the "Follow me" heart to the right.
"The next best thing to knowing something, is knowing where to find it." -Samuel Johnson (Hopefully you did, at TeachWithMe!!!!)
1-2-3 Come Make A Back To School Bulletin Board With Me!
I like using cute little fish to make a Welcome To Our School bulletin board, as the word "school" has that double meaning. I designed a back to school fish packet incorporating interesting "fish talk" that I think you'll enjoy, starting with this bulletin board idea:
Here's what to do: Run off the fish printable on a variety of colors of construction paper. You can pre-cut these and write your students’ names on them and have your b. board all done, so children can look for their name, as part of a classroom treasure hunt; or you can allow students to pick their fish, trim it and write their name on it. It would probably be fun for them to also choose a spot to place it on the bulletin board.
Use blue paper for the background. If you want to add a bit of dimension, lay blue plastic wrap over the top. You can buy a pack of small seashells at The Dollar store or Hobby Lobby. Hot glue a few, so they look scattered, on strips of sandpaper, then staple the “sand” to the bottom of your board.
Twist green crepe paper into “seaweed” and staple to the bottom. Sprinkle on the fish, add some aluminum foil- bubbles and you’re set. To make the board even more personal, take a group photo on the first day of school, print and cut faces into ovals and glue on top of their fish fin.
I can't take credit for the adorable play-on-words for "o-fish-ally" as I latched on to that, after viewing quite a few ideas on Pinterest. There's everything from o-fish-ally on summer vacation, o-fish-ally survived 1st, o-fish-ally in school, to an 0-fish-al graduate. I did come up with "fin-tastic" though, and decided to incorporate these sweet sayings with treat ideas, in a back to school fish packet.
So...if you want to carry the bulletin board theme a bit farther, with a little "welcome" surprise, print off the "Wishing you a cool school year" template on a variety of colors of construction paper. Using an Exacto knife, cut slits on the lines and insert a liquid Popsicle. I've also made a matching bookmark, as I tend to be a little "over the top" when it comes to the first day.
If you'd rather not mess with Popsicles, you can use the bookmark as a header for a Snack Baggie filled with Fishy Crackers. I've also made a fish template as well, that you can run off on construction paper.
Click on the link to view/download the Welcome to our School fish packet.
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"Some students drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle." -E.C. McKenzie
1-2-3 Come Make A Class Family Tree With Me!
Going to school can sometimes cause separation anxiety in young children; this doesn’t just happen to “first timers” who have never been to school. No matter what the grade, students often miss their families at some point during the day. Sometimes all it takes to comfort a lonely child, is to look at a photograph of their loved ones.
With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to decorate a class family tree, where children could go to catch a glimpse of mom, dad, siblings and even pets.
You can include the instructions and leaf in your summer letter, or open house packet, or you can wait, and allow students a color choice and then send the leaf and note home on their first day of school.
Run off the maple leaf template, on a large variety of colors of construction paper. Make only 2 of every color, to avoid a mostly pink and purple tree, due to the fact that little girls are very likely to choose only those 2 colors. By offering weird color choices for leaves, you will get a whimsical and very colorful tree, that won't look out of place when fall is over.
Run off copies of the instruction letter asking parents to please take a picture of their family, including pets. They will also glue the photo to their leaf and cut it out. Children fill in the blank with their name. i.e. Kelli's family.
Write in a due date for the leaves, as students will be showing and sharing them with their classmates, and then putting their leaf on your big family tree. A good place to put your tree is on a wall in the hallway.
Use brown bulletin board paper, or butcher block paper to make your tree. I liked to make my trees flat, but I've also seen teachers make trees by twisting paper, for a 3D effect. Cut out a large red paper heart and glue the "Our Class Family Tree" sign on it. You could also diecut letters to spell: "Come and see, our class family tree!"
I hope you and your students enjoy this back to school activity and that it helps alleviate those first-day blues. Click on the link to view/download the Class Family Tree packet.
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Sign on a high school bulletin board in Dallas: "FREE knowlege every Monday through Friday; bring your own container."
1-2-3 Come Learn Some Hand Signals With Me and Take Control of Interruptions!
Ask any teacher what their students' most frequently asked question is and "Can I go to the bathroom?" will be in the top 3. "Can I get a drink?" and "Can I sharpen my pencil?" Will be right up there as well.
If their question was grammatically incorrect, as with the above use of "can", to help teach appropriate grammar, I'd often reply: "Yes you CAN, but NO, you MAY not." I'd explain this from the beginning and pretty soon all of my students were learning the proper use of the word "may".
Young children, simply being kids, are often interrupting. An obvious remedy to this problem is enforcing the raising of hands. Because this is easily understood, I thought I'd take it a step farther.
If you want to go to the bathroom you make a fist and stick out your thumb. Displaying a specific number of fingers, to signal a need, has been around since I was a child, however, instead of putting up 1 finger, I found it especially helpful, to do the "fist and thumb" for a bathroom request, simply because my Y5's were often raising and waving their hands, but never with a fist. I could then see at a glance, who needed immediate attention.
This technique is so simple, yet really works. Start out by teaching the concept on the 1st day of school. Choose one of the posters, print several copies, laminate, and hang up in several "sure to be seen" places in your room, and then practice a bit.
The hand signals are especially helpful when you are explaining something. No need for a child to raise their hand and state their need out loud. They just put up a hand signal; you make eye contact with that student and nod yes or no. This also avoids children getting out of their seats to ask you, and lessens "copy cats." Have you ever noticed how many kiddo's all of a sudden need to do something, just because one child got the ball rolling?
Some teachers add "Get a tissue" as another signal, but I feel if you need a Kleenex, because you just sneezed and snot is running down your face, no need to hesitate, just go get one and take care of business. I let students know from day one, that they could get a tissue whenever the need arose, and then follow up with a squirt of hand sanitizer shortly after. In all of my years of teaching, no one ever abused the privilege.
Click on the link to view/download the Signal Me anchor chart-poster, and let the training begin! I've also designed a few more classroom posters for back-to-school week. To view the 2nd article I wrote for today, simply scroll down.
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"In the garden of my loneliness, trespassers will never be prosecuted." -Ashleigh Brilliant
1-2-3 Come Make Some Back To School Things With Me
As I stated before, I know we all just got out of school, and the summer has barely begun, but somehow, June as usual, has simply flown by. For a lack of anything better to write about throughout the summer, I decided to design some more back to school items.
Hopefully when you've recovered from the past year, and are starting to get excited about school stuff, you'll find this blog article featuring a few goodies to make for your new students.
If you're looking for something easy and inexpensive and an alternative to candy, I think you'll enjoy the Pencil Packet.
Since large office supply stores and retailers will be decorated to the hilt in the middle of July, with back to school stuff; offering wonderful loss leaders, you can usually find a pack of 20 to 40 pencils for only a dollar.
Choose either a pencil tag in color or the black and white tag and run off on yellow construction paper. Punch a hole in the top and tie to a pencil and you're done!
If you want a bit more, inlclude a few goofy erasers that you can buy packages of at The Dollar Store, or attach to a notebook that Target and others sell for just 15 cents at this time.
You can also print off the cute bookmarks and place both on your students' desks for a special "Welcome to school" surprise.
To keep the theme going, print the large pencil on card stock and hang on your doorknob. I've included two on a page so you can hang them on the front and back of your door, or put one up above your pencil sharpener.
For a sweet back to school bulletin board, print off the pencil template, make an extra copy of your students' 1st day of school photos; trim and glue to the center of the pencil and write their name on the top.
Scatter them on your b. board with a school-themed boarder. Using a piece of cloth or burlap as your background, adds a nice touch. Your caption: Mr(s). _______________'s sharp new bunch of students.
Finally, there are 2 student roster posters. You can fill in your students' names, or pass the other one around, for everyone to sign.
Click on the link to view/download the Back To School Pencil Packet.
Thanks for visiting today. Here's hoping this coming year is filled with your sharpest students ever!
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"An education is not received, it is achieved." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Make A Shape House With Me!
Since the last "my home" craftivity was so popular, I decided to whip together another social studies lesson you can use when you're studying family and neighborhoods. It's also a fun way to get to know your new students.
Completed projects make an adorable back-to-school bulletin board, and are a nice "icebreaker" for the first week of school, when students are getting to know about their new classmates.
So that math is also covered, I've included all of the 2D standard shapes that children can use to decorate and "build" their home with. Common Core State Standards: K.G.1, K.G.2, K.G.3, 1.G.1, 1.G.2, 1.G.3 can all be covered.
Remind students that 2D shapes are flat shapes. (Lying on a plane.) You can make templates of the shapes using an old file folder.
Have a room helper trace once and then cut out 5-6 at a time, or you can print off the masters, rough cut, and have students trim up their own pieces.
Provide lots of colors, so you can review those as well. You'll also have a nice variety of different looking houses.
I've designed the square windows in such a way, that you can review small, medium and large, as well as fractions: a whole is "cut" in 1/2 and then into 1/4ths to make the windowpanes.
To cover this standard, encourage students to draw windowpane lines on the shapes that they are using for windows.
Be sure to make a sample for yourself to help explain what you want students to do. Have children share their homes, pointing out which shapes they used.
To reinforce more of the shape standard, encourage them to use spatial direction words as well. i.e. "My rectangle door is beside the window. The square window is under the triangle roof." etc.
If you are working on CCSS fractions, students should also use the vocabulary whole, half and fourth when explaining their window shapes. If "Knows their address." is a standard in your school, you can have students write theirs in the middle of the H.
Cutting their school photo into an oval and having them "peek" out a window, adds pizzazz. Click on the link to view/download H Is For House shape craftivity.
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"They can, because they think they can." -Virgil