1-2-3 Come Do Some Back To School Sidewalk Chalk Activities With Me
I LOVE sidewalk chalk and so did my young fives. You can buy 6 to a dozen sticks at The Dollar Store, so I always had a big bucket on hand, for those crazy days when everyone has had enough, and you just need to take a break and get outside.
Keeping in mind, that just about everything we do has to be "educational" and include the "standards", I'd have my kiddos practice writing their names, letters, numbers and drawing shapes. After we got that out of the way, they enjoyed creating "mess-terpieces" 'til it was time to go in.
For quick cleanup, make sure you bring some wet wipes with you, so students can wipe off their dusty hands.
If you give your students a first day gift or treat bag of some sort, and are looking for something easy and inexpensive, then I think you'll enjoy my "Welcome! ___________ is 'chalk' full of learning fun!" treat bag. I have templates for preschool, kindergarten and first grade, plus a blank one to fill in with whatever you teach.
And... no worries if you've already started school. There's a generic "Wishing you a day that's "chalk" full of fun!" black & white, plus colorful note too.
My inspiration for this packet, came from My Sweet Sanity's blog spot. She used the "chalk full" play on words, for an end-of-the-year summer gift. Click on the link to zip on over and see her rainbow version.
So that you have a time-filler if you need it, run off the header on white construction paper, so that students can pull it off, color and use as a bookmark.
You could also run them off on a variety of colors of construction paper, or print the ones that are in color.
Attach the card to the front of a Snack Baggie, with a glue dot. (I don't like using staples with little ones.) Put a piece of sidewalk chalk inside and you're done!
Because students will want to play with the chalk right away, I wouldn't put them on their desks. Instead, put the treats in a big basket in full view and wait for children to notice, or show them one and let them know that they will get their Baggie at the end of the day to take home, or...
Use them as a behavior modification technique. Tell students that they need to work as a team with their new friends.
Each time they complete a task, or show great group behavior, you'll color in a letter on the "chalk" poster. When all of the letters have been colored in, they get their chalk and are able to go outside for some special fun.
As long as you're outside, why not take some pictures. Pinterest has quite a few photo op examples that involve sidewalk chalk. If you take a first day of school picture, one of these ideas would be adorable. Children tend to be less camera shy while playing outside, so you should get some adorable shots like the ones pictured here.
I've linked back to give credit when I could, however some showed just a photo and went no where. (Hover over the photo to see if it's linked and then bop over to those sites for more details.)
The balloon and crown idea are also easy and cute. That little guy is so joy-filled!
Keeping with the sidewalk chalk theme, I designed some writing prompts that I call "Chalk Talk".
There's one for boys and one for girls. Children complete the prompt: "I had a nice day at school. These are a few of the things that I did."
I've also included two "chalk talk" posters to use for whatever you deem appropriate.
Click on the link to view/download the Chalk Talk packet.
For 30 fun games and activities with sidewalk chalk check out this creative birthday party idea website.
You can buy a bucket of sidewalk chalk at The Dollar Store, but if you’d like to make some, you can find a recipe on wikihow. For 7 fun ways to make ice chalk, click on the link. I like the idea of using Popsicle sticks, so children's hands don't get as messy.
Finally, click on the link for a recipe for scented sidewalk chalk paint, (She used Kool-Aid for non-toxic fragrance) and says: "This is a super-simple and inexpensive paint recipe that rinses off with a hose."
Well that's it for today. Feel free to PIN away.
I'm headed outside with my brand new tub of sidewalk chalk to create some awesome photographs with my little grandson Kaiden. Hope you have a day full of giggles too.
"A picture is a poem without words." - Horace
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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?
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.
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.
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.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below.
Click on the link to view/download the Water Bottle Gift packet.
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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 Make A Name Map With Me!
I teach “mapping” as a writing strategy to my college comp students. It’s a fun visual way for them to get their thoughts organized on paper, before they begin to write their essay.
A name map is a terrific way to introduce "mapping" to elementary students. This is also an interesting icebreaker for the first week of school and a great way to get to know your new students.
Children think of a symbol that represents them and draw that in the middle. I chose an apple as it’s sort of universal for school or teaching.
Branching out from the center symbol is a variety of things about the person such as hobbies, their favorite season, birthday, what they want to be when they grow up etc.
By having students use their two favorite colors to write their first and last names in the center of their object, everyone gets to know another “tidbit” about that person.
The completed activities make a wonderful back to school bulletin board too! Make sure you do a personal one of yourself, so that you have a sample to show your students as a way to explain things, as well as a means for them to get to know their new teacher. Includes an explanatory note home to families.
Sharing name maps is a nice activity to do after reading the story Chrysanthemum, a wonderful back to school tale, whose main character is a little mouse named Chrysanthemum. She loved her unusual name until she started school and everyone began making fun of her. It's one of my all-time favorite back-to-school books and especially great if you need some stories to go with "bucket-filling."
My inspiration to do name maps, came from an art teacher’s “heart maps” that he did with his 4th graders at Riverside Elementary. Click on the link to check out their awesome endeavors. I hope you and yours have as much fun making these as I did.
Click on the link to view/download Name Maps. This packet is a special FREEBIE in my TpT shop. Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away! For your convenience, my "Pin it" button is at the top on the menu bar.
“There’s few things as uncommon as common sense.” –Frank McKinney Hubbard
"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
The Very Hungry Student is a fun way for students to write down what they have learned each month.
Because it records their accomplishments, it’s a terrific way to build self-esteem.
Because students write in it each month, you will see improvement in their handwriting, as well as their writing abilities, so the booklet is a good addition to a portfolio, if you have them, or tuck into a student folder, to take out and share with parents during conferences.
Practice reading the simple rhyming sentences, after students complete their page, so that at the end of the year, children are able to read their booklet when they take it home to share with their families!
I have a cute caterpillar with a face for one cover, but you can make this even more special, by having students glue their photo over his face for a “student caterpillar” instead.
Because this is a quick and easy writing assignment, that students can do independently, it makes a nice Daily 5 activity too.
If you don't do Daily 5, keep the booklets for your writing center.
They make a great writing prompt for the first day of school, as there is a page specifically for that.
Because there is a page for each month, you could start out September and each month, with The Very Hungry Student's page as your writing prompt for the month.
For an activity that helps students with verbal acuity, gather children in a circle and have them share that day’s page by reading it to their classmates.
At the end of the year, you can discuss what everyone’s favorite thing was that they learned, or their favorite month of activities. If they overlap, graph them.
A little bit of science is covered, as the very hungry caterpillar is "bursting with knowledge" and turns into a butterfly, flying into the next grade.
In June, (s)he is once again a fat little caterpillar, promising to slim down over the summer, so they are ready to fatten up and gobble down more knowledge, in their new grade!
Click on the link to view/download The Very Hungry Student booklet.
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I hope you can pop in tomorrow for another back-to-school idea!
"Stop trying to fit in, when you were born to stand out!" - Dr. Seuss
Using Chicka Boom Boom To Help Teach A Common Core Standard
You might have noticed that any item in the shopping cart, that has to do with learning the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet, now has Common Core RF:K.1d in the description.
I ran off a copy of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Kindergarten and First Grade and am going through each standard and then finding all of the items on my shopping cart that will help teach that standard and labeling it with that standard.
Since I have so many items that help teach upper and lowercase letters, I thought I’d start there.
I hope teachers will find this helpful. I also want to make positive affirmation cards for you, as well as take a crack at assessments and certificates when students pass the standard.
I plan to work on this each day throughout the summer. I feel there is a real need out there for this information, as there are only a handful of states that haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and teachers don’t have enough time to prep all of this.
I hope to have the shopping cart cataloged by the end of summer. It would be so helpful, if you are downloading an item, because you find it will be helpful for a specific CCSS, and you see that I don’t have it marked, if you would please take a moment to shoot me an e-mail and tell me what standard you are using it for.
If everyone would do that, who is using items for CCSS, I could get this job done so much faster, and everyone would benefit! email@example.com
It’s a bit labor intensive for me, because there are no standards for Y5’s, so I never had to worry about them.
I’ve been spending lots of time doing research online learning about Common Core and picking my teacher friends’ brains. Anyway….thanks in advance.
One of my hottest downloads that teach CCSS RF:K.1d is my Chicka Boom Activities packet.
This packet is great for the first week of school and a fun way to help your students learn about their classmates, as you include their photo on the coconuts and write their names in alphabetical order in your first class book!
I LOVE the Chicka Boom books; they were certainly a favorite read aloud for my students, and are perfect for back to school.
Click on the link to view/download the Chicka Boom Activities packet.
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"Dear teacher. I like to talk to everyone, so moving my seat won't help."
It's All In A Name...
Part of the excitement of the first day of school for teachers, as well as the children, is meeting all of the new students! I try to make learning everyone’s name fun. So I do several activities that involve names. There are several report card standards that the Y5’s have that revolve around their name: being able to recognize it as well as write it, so they’re not only learning each other’s names, they are practicing standards. Woo-hoo for a first day win-win!
Have students sit in a circle.
Decide on a fun “movement pattern” like clap twice, pat knees twice.
For older students you can add snap fingers twice too.
Say the following after the movement:
_______________(child's name) ______________ (child's name)
How do you do?
Who's that sitting next to you?
Child says name of person sitting beside them.
Count to 3 slowly and if they don’t know then that child says their name.
This is also a fun and easy “busy activity” while you’re doing those crazy little “have-to-get-done’s”, or assessing to see where children are at.
I hope you got some name ideas to use for back-to-school.
Do you have a name tip that you’d like to share?
I’d enjoy hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly...) So everyone can keep smiling!
Our principal required that each teacher have a handbook for their classroom. I included mine in my Open House packet. Click on the link to view/print all of my handy handbooks.
When I first started teaching elementary, I was coming in as a high school teacher. It was difficult for me to “dream up" all of the handbooks and handouts that were required for the beginning of school.
That’s why I post them all on my website. I was grateful to Stephanie, a Y5 teacher, who lent me her handbook so I had a skeleton to start with!
Hopefully mine will jumpstart your brain and you can tweak them anyway you want; at least you're not reinventing the wheel and hopefully this will be a real time saver for you, especially if you are a beginning teacher.
I find all too often tho’ that parents are inundated with “paper mountain” from the school and have little time to read “everything”, so I made up this cute little ABC checklist to cover my main points and send it home with my students the first day of school. I feel that “short and sweet” is more apt to be read.
You can tweak mine to fit your needs. To help you do that, I’ve included one that has some of the information blank for you to type, cut and paste.
You can send this home the first day, tuck in your Welcome to school summer letter/packet, or your Open House packet.
Click on the link to view/print My ABC’s Of School Info Sheet
I hope this helps you get YOUR personal “paper mountain” of back-to-school “stuff” into a mole hill!
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"The really great man is the man who makes every man feel great." -G.K. Chesterton
"I am not a teacher, but an awakener." -Robert Frost