1 2 3 Come Do A "Getting to Know You" Craft With Me
I truly believe that when classmates get to know each other camaraderie and a classroom commUNITY is established, which helps squelch discipline problems.
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 us.
With that in mind, I do a variety of BTS “Getting to Know You” activities for an entire month, as well as several throughout the year.
Students seem to love sharing things about themselves, so they really enjoy these activities.
My newest creation, "Getting to the Point," is a pencil writing prompt craftivity. It's quick, easy & fun, with simple prep.
There are 6 pages to choose from, plus a blank page for more writing or something else you dream up.
This variety allows you to differentiate your lessons within your class, and still have everyone working on the same activity.
The activity also suits different grade levels too.
Younger students can simply do one page, while older children will enjoy making a complete, 6-page booklet.
After choosing the pages you want, students simply fill in the information, trim their "pencil page" then staple them to the top of the inside of their cover.
I purposely did not number the pages, not only so that you can pick which ones you want, but also so that you can choose the order you want them in.
For example, for one of my samples, I glued the "selfie page" to the inside of the cover.
Speaking of the cover, it's a double-patterned pencil, which students trim AROUND then fold over, creating the booklet.
For extra pizzazz & to make this a bit of a keepsake, have students glue their school photo to the eraser. If you do this, then have kiddos DRAW a selfie of themselves, or omit that page.
"Get to the Point" is great for your writing block or fun as a homework assignment too.
Completed projects make a sweet bulletin board.
I’ve included 4 pencil-themed posters to enhance your display.
I've also added a Which is a writing prompt poster: “Life without _____________ is pointless.” The other posters can also be used to kick start journal writing.
Today's FREEBIE is another super-fun BTS icebreaker. This one uses M & Ms or Skittles candy.
Icebreakers are a perfect way to help build that cameraderie & team spirit of working together.
They are especially important during the 1st month of school when students are a bit nervous and looking at a very diverse bunch of strangers, listening to rules-rules & more rules.
One of the icebreakers my kiddos really enjoy is the M & M or Skittle Game, which has been around awhile, going by as many names as there are colors, and can be played in a variety of ways as well.
These are my versions. I hope you find them useful.
Thanks for stopping by. I hoping you and your students really enjoy “Getting to the Point” and popping a sweet treat as they build team spirit.
Wishing you a wonderful school year.
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"Don't be afraid of pressure. Remember that pressure is what turns a lump of coal into a diamond." - Unknown
"They may not be easy to see, but these are 5 things I want you to know about me!"
That's what the sentence says at the top of the paper.
It's a quick and easy icebreaker for the first day or first week of school, that’s also a terrific writing prompt for September, and fun way to get to know your students.
When completed, they make a cute back to school bulletin board too! Make sure you do one yourself, so you have an example to share with your students, so they know how to do the assignment, as well as get to know their new teacher a little better too.
Older students can draw their own self-portraits in the blank oval. So that they don't feel overwhelmed drawing themselves, remind them that this is just a section of their face from the nose up, or even just their eyes. You can also give students a choice of the other 17 facial tops to fill in and color.
They should color their hair and eyes to represent themselves. I find that younger students are less overwhelmed if they have this sort of template to follow and have a bit more fun with the activity, if they don’t have to start from scratch. You also won’t have to listen to whining: “I can’t draw a face; or “I don’t know how to draw.”
Little ones also tend to draw a tiny circle instead of a big one, or they draw an entire stick body. You can include the template in your “Welcome to school summer letter” or Open House packet, and have students return them on the first day of school, so they can share with their new classmates right away.
Another plus of doing it this way, is that parents can help little ones write down the 5 things. Some teachers like to have an Open House activity that students can do with their families. This would be perfect.
Another option, if you don’t do a summer letter or Open House, is to hand them out the first day of class and have students put them in their backpack or "Take Home" folder, for a home-school connection, to be returned in the next few days.
Make sure you provide time to share their completed projects, so everyone gets to know each other. No matter what my students’ ages, I always had them applaud each child’s sharing. This is a big deal for many “shy” kiddos. Writing in different colored markers also jazzes things up.
If you have the time, turn this into even more of a keepsake, by having a room helper or students trace eachother's handprint on flesh-colored construction paper. Fold it over and cut once for 2 handprints.
Have students glue their paper hands “holding” their writing prompt, in such a way that they can fold the wrist portion over and have them "flop" open to reveal their writing.
You can punch a hole in the top and hang them back-to-back and suspend from the ceiling or line them up as a cute border, just below the ceiling in the hallway.
Click on the link to view/download 5 Things Icebreaker Portraits Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away!
"By learning, you will teach; by teaching, you will learn." -Latin Proverb
An Apple (Activity) A Day Keeps Boredom Away!
One of my favorite units that I did with my Y5’s was APPLES.
I think they really enjoyed it too, as visiting an apple orchard and picking 3 different kinds of apples was our first fieldtrip.
I feel it’s important to have lots of hands-on centers for little ones, to help them increase fine motor skills through cutting and gluing.
Doing centers helps with a variety of life skills and forces them to listen in order to follow directions.
As they become independent, they are empowered and their self-esteem soars.
Seeing their creations hung on our “Wall of Fame” in the hallway, also helped give them a sense of pride.
Knowing I was going to display their work, was a good incentive, to give their best effort.
Through art, I could also incorporate reading, writing, math, and science; sometimes all of them in one quick project, which covered a variety of report card standards.
The 92 – page Apple Art Projects Book has a large variety of activities in it and includes directions, patterns and pictures.
These make terrific center activities, something for students to do when they have completed other work, a nice home-school connection project to be given as homework, or something to tuck in your substitute folder.
The results are wonderful back to school bulletin boards, or hallway and door displays. Some can be suspended from the ceiling.
The crayon-melt apple poem was one of my favorites.
The poem introduced my students to rhyme; the rhyme taught them the science fact they needed to learn about apples; twisting the 3 color crayons through a sharpener was a terrific fine motor skill, and the result after I put a sheet of wax paper over their shavings and applied a warm iron was awesome!
I also reinforced the 3 colors with this rip and tear apple, which strengthened finger muscles as well.
Students enjoyed making the Life Cycle of an Apple on a paper plate, which was a quick and easy way to get some science in.
Click on the link to view/download the Apple Art Projects Packet.
Thanks for visiting today. I hope you can stop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
Do you have an apple activity that you could share with us? I’d enjoy hearing from you! email@example.com or take a moment and post a comment here.
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“We should say to each [child]: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique -- you may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven.
You have the capacity for anything!” –Pablo Casals
A Fun Way To Get To Know Your Students
Stamp of Approval Stamps make a great icebreaker for the first week of school and a terrific way to get to know your students + they are an instant back to school bulletin board showcasing your new students!
Send a copy in your Welcome to School - Summer Letter, or tuck them in your Open House packet, so that they can be completed ahead of time, and then shared on the first day of school.
You can also show your example on the first day, so that your students can learn a little bit about you, and then send the stamps home as an assignment for that first day.
How to fill in a stamp:
Students can write, type (using a fun(ky) font), or cut out letters (like a ransom note), or use stickers to make their name.
This goes on the wavy line portion of the cancelled stamp, in the top left-hand corner.
The PLACE where they were born, goes around the top of the circle.
The YEAR they were born, goes on the bottom-middle of the circle.
The MONTH and DAY they were born, goes in the center of the circle.
Months should be abbreviated, unless they are 4 or less letters long.
Places and dates appear on real cancelled stamps; making it personal, makes this assignment more relevant and fun!
Students draw a self-portrait of themselves. (Just a headshot) This needs to be colored. Hair and eye color etc. need to be appropriate, so students can possibly guess whose picture belongs to whom, if the teacher wants to add that activity before the “real” student comes up to share.
Students need to think of their favorite things to do, their hobbies, or sports or “stuff” they are involved in, or possibly what they want to be when they grow up. Basically, anything that represents them or will help us get to know them.
After they have thought up their “list” they need to find pictures, clip art, or stickers of those things and glue them around their self-portrait.
Students write or cut out 3-5 words that describe them. These should be scattered around on their stamp.
Challenge older students to include a word that begins with the same letter as their name. i.e. I chose driven (Diane) for mine.
Students share their stamp with their classmates. I always had my students clap for each person when they were through.
Hang them in the hallway or on a b. board, along with the “Stamp of approval star student” poster.
To add some 3D effects, suspend some glittery stars of various sizes, from fish line, just above the board, at various lengths.
Click on the link to view/download Stamp of Approval Stamp activity
Do you have a “Getting To Know Your Students” activity you can share with us? I’d enjoy hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also post a comment here. Thanks in advance for taking the time to do that.
Thanks too for visiting. I hope you can drop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas and teaching tips.
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“Teaching is a lighting of sparks and setting minds aflame;
it’s a creative mind that knows what kind of gasoline to throw on to get it glowing and burning even brighter the next day and the next…” -Diane Henderson
1-2-3 Come Do An Icebreaker Craft With Me
What’s On Your Mind? Is an easy and interesting way to get to know your students. Use it as a fun icebreaker for the first day or first week of school.
You can do these in class, if you’re looking for a filler, or if you're pressed for time, send them home to be done as a home-school connection.
Older students can draw their own self-portrait (head) outline, or use one of mine. I've included two boy options, as well as two for girls to choose from.
I find young children do much better if they have some sort of pattern, as they tend to draw rather small circles that items would not be able to fit into.
If you’d like to have a ready-to share activity for the first day of school, include the directions and a template in your “Welcome to school” summer letter or tuck it in your Open House packet, if you have one before the start of school.
By doing this, you'll also have an instant bulletin board ready to go up, after students share their creations. Be sure and make one for yourself to use to explain things and then post as an example. This is my sample that took about 15-minutes, using clip art + adding a photo of my husband and poodle pup Chloe.
I think you’ll enjoy doing it as will your students. No matter what the age group, I've always found that everyone seems to like sharing a little bit about themselves. This is a creative and entertaining way to do that.
You could follow this up with some technology time, and have students type in words to their thoughts and make a word-art picture on the computer using the free tagxedo program as well! I did a sample for me and one for my husband, so you could see a male sample. I filled in the caricature templates (see pix) so they don't look as much like a silhouette as I would have liked.
If you want to use my boy and girl "head templates" click on the link. You'll need to change them to jpegs to use them in Tagxedo, otherwise find a sideview of some other clip art to import.
Click on the link to view/download the What’s On Your Mind activity packet.
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“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing so great as real strength.” –St. Francis De Sales
Anchor Charts That Help Teach!
I LOVE making and using anchor charts!
A collection of similar ones make an instant bulletin board, single ones help decorate your room, and all of them give valuable information in a nutshell or remind students at a glance what to do, or how to do something.
They are also a wonderful teaching tool, as you can refer to them as a “checklist” before students begin their work, or remind them to refer to the charts before they ask you a question.
For example, a popular set of anchor charts is the Six Traits of Writing. As students begin their work, review the steps.
When they have completed their work, go through the posters again, asking the students the various questions. If they haven't answered "YES!" to all of them, then they aren't ready to hand in their paper.
Click on the link to view/download the Six Traits of Writing anchor charts
This collection also makes a great writing bulletin board. Simply place the posters on 6 rainbow-colored sheets of construction paper, laminate them and then staple them kittywhompus on a black background. Edge the board with a pencil border.
You can suspend some cut outs of pencils, pens, erasers, and paper from fishline, just above the board. Wahla! Instant b. board, that students can refer to all year long. If you don't have a bulletin board, simply put the black paper on a bare wall and frame it with the boarder.
"Said is dead; use these words instead!" has also been a very popular anchor chart. This too, could be part of your writing wall.
click on the link to view/download Said is Dead anchor chart.
I’ve spent the last week creating a variety of anchor charts that I think you’ll find helpful.
The above are about writing, but I also have ones for math as well as other subjects. A popular math set of anchor charts has been the addition and subtraction set.Click on the link to view/download addition-subtraction anchor charts.
I’ve also gotten permission from several new clip artists to use their work, so I think you’ll be delighted with the graphics as well.
I will continue to make anchor charts through the summer. If there is a chart you’d like for your classroom, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll see what I can do. email@example.com
I find that if one teacher needs it, there are lots more who will be happy someone asked!
When you pop back to see what’s new, to view all of the anchor charts and posters, click on the classroom management apple on my home page and then click on anchor charts.
To view the charts for today, click on this quick anchor chart link. Scroll down and choose whatever charts and posters you like. Enjoy.
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Do you have an anchor chart that you can’t live without? Post a comment and link here! We’d enjoy hearing from you.
"A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles." -Washington Irving
I’m A Te-rrific Student T-shirt Writing Prompt.
This is a really fun end-of-the-year activity, but could also be a wonderful way to get to know your students at the beginning of the year too! Use as an icebreaker for the first week.
The hands in the photo are neon orange. The feet are much larger, but I took the shot with Elliot upside down, so they look smaller, they are actually much bigger than the hands. Because this artwork is so big, when I took the photo feet fist, the head looked shrunken. Oh my!
Anyway, you get the idea. I know yours will turn out really cute and be a great keepsake that your students will enjoy making.
I've included 2 different headings on the shorts so you have that option to use at the end or beginning of the year.
The end of the year shorts say: My short shorts of what I want to do this summer, The one for the beginning of the school year says: My short shorts of what I did this summer.
Here’s how to make a “Creative Writing Craftivity Kid”:
Run off copies of the t-shirt and shorts on a variety of brightly colored construction paper. Students will fill in the writing prompts and cut the clothing shapes out. Buy a few pair of wacky sunglasses at The Dollar Store in bright colors. Have your students put a pair on and take a head shot of them.
Print the photo off in black and white and enlarge them on the copier. Students color the sunglasses in with a magic marker to compliment the color of their T-shirt or shorts. Students trace their hand and foot on a folded sheet of bright or neon-colored construction paper. By cutting on a folded piece of paper they will get a pair of hands and feet.
Children glue their hands to the cuffs of the T-shirt and their feet to the bottom of the shorts. These paper kids make an adorable wall display. Run them under the ceiling, as a border in your hallway.
For another writing extension, I’ve also included a T-shirt where students can list all the Te-riffic things they’ve learned during the year, jotting down the thing they feel they are the most terrific at.
Click on the link to view/download Te-riffic Student T-Shirt Writing Prompt
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Do you have something that you do as an icebreaker that you could share with us? I'd enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org You can also leave a comment here. If everyone adds to each other's bag of tricks how easy our lives become! Thanks in advance.
A Cookie Glyph As A Fun Way To Get To Know Your New Students!
I dreamed this up because I thought it would not only be a fun icebreaker, but it would make an instant and really cute bulletin board as well.
You can do these with your students the first week of school as a get-to-know-you activity, or you can tuck the directions and a tan construction paper cookie into your Open House Packet for parents to help their child with, and then they can bring their cookie on the first day of school for them to hold up and share with their new friends.
We have our Open House before school starts. If you don't, you can tuck it into your "Welcome to my class" letter / school packet that many teachers send out during the summer or simply send it home the first day of school.
Use my pattern, or revamp it to make it simpler or a bit more involved to fit the age of your students or the time frame you have allotted to complete it in class.
Take a photo of each student on their 1st day of school. I use this photo in all sorts of keepsake things during September until I get their school pix back.
I make black & white copies on the photo setting of our copier and keep them handy, along with other photos that I take in a file folder on my desk.
Click on the link to view/print everything you need to do this back-to-school cookie glyph.
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I hope you can pop in tomorrow for another back-to-school idea.
"Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some." -Charles Dickens