1-2-3 Come Do a Back to School Icebreaker With Me!
Nowadays, our classrooms are filled with lots of diversity, which sometimes makes starting a new school year a bit scary.
I truly believe that making the time to do some “get to know you” activities the first few days of school, is so very important in building community, camaraderie and a team spirit.
Once those things are established, children build friendships. That bond helps them enjoy school more, learn better and feel safer.
Discipline problems are lessened as well because of mutual feelings of genuine caring and respect.
With that in mind, I designed this super-fun icebreaker craftivity, I call it, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, which not only helps everyone get to know each other, but also practices writing skills in a fun way.
I find that students truly enjoy sharing things about themselves.
Use them as an attention grabbing way to introduce the lesson, or jump start a discussion of why it’s important not to prejudge others.
Later, sprinkle them throughout your display of children's book stacks.
As another discussion starter, I've also included a set of 4, interesting quote cards. These too, can become part of your display.
So that this idea works for a variety of grades, ages and skill levels, I’ve included patterns for lower elementary kiddos, as well as patterns for older students.
Patterns come in black & white so students can color them. I've also included several in color, so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share.
This "topper" sits on a stack of books.
Each book features a "favorite" writing prompt. Such as favorite food, animal, color etc.
Making this a quick, easy and a super-fun way to get to know your students.
Younger kiddos can dictate their answers to a parent, which makes this an interesting activity to do during your open house or "Meet the Teacher" night.
There are also 2 options for “teacher toppers” so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share. Students love learning things about their new teachers.
These come with "favorites" book headers, as well as a pattern where the books are numbered, so you can taylor your questions for your own class.
I've included a list of ideas you can choose from, to help design your own categories.
Simply peruse my list, circle your favorite 14, then number them.
After students have colored, cut and assembled ther book stack, read the first item you want them to write down on the first book: ie. "What is your favorite movie? "
Because "Don't judge a book by its cover" and "I can read them like a book" are idioms, be sure and take that teachable moment to explain what that term means.
I've included some definition posters to assist you.
Plus, kiddos have a nice little something to bring home to share with their families.
Well that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.
Our weather here in Michigan has been absolutely gorgeous! Feeling very blessed.
Wishing you a stress free and very relaxing day.
"Life seems to begin all over again during the summer." - Unknown
1-2-3 Come Do An Owl Craft With Me
Whether you do this activity at the beginning of the school year for a back to school icebreaker, or in the fall for October or November, this owl craftivity is a wonderful way to get to know your students, and for them to get to know their classmates better.
Completed projects make an adorable fall bulletin board. A caption could be: "Owl Stars!" as a play on the words all star.
For those finishing touches, have students cut out their owl, fold the wings inward, and add some highlights with crayons.
Adding a pair of wiggle eyes, stuck on with glue dots, is also cute. I've included owl templates with the pupils missing, so they can be creative.
Where they place the eyes really changes the personality of these cute little critters. They can even make them goofy, like I did in my sample.
There are two options to choose from: Students can make an owl for themselves: "Owl" About Me... or have children pick a partner and make one for that student: "Owl" Be Your Friend.
If you have chosen the personal owl for your kiddos to do, adding their school photo makes this a sweet keepsake.
If you're doing this in October, it's a fun activity for your Halloween party day.
Children can write "Happy 'Owl-oween!" on the back and present the card to their friend.
Click on the link to view/download the Owl Writing Prompt Craftivity.
Thanks for visiting. I'm off to do a zillion and one things that I never have enough time for. Wishing you an energizing day.
"If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear." -- Mark Twain
1-2-3 Come Make A Writing Prompt Craft With Me
Summer is an especially wonderful time to ride a bike, so I thought I'd make a "craftivity" using a bicycle. If you're a frequent visitor, you know that I enjoy designing things involving a "play on words".
As I putzed with a writing prompt I thought substituting the word "wheel" for real would be fun. Thus "I had a 'wheel' great summer!" was born.
There are two templates to choose from. One is for back to school, the other for the end of the year. Use as an interesting icebreaker for the first week of school, where students write about the places they went and the things they did over vacation.
This is a fun way to find out about your new students, as they complete the prompt inside the spokes of the wheel.
For added pizzazz, and to learn a bit more about your kiddos, have students write using their two favorite color markers.
Simply run the bike off on a variety of colors of construction paper.
Students trim and glue to the wheels. (I ran off on white card stock.) If you want them to spin, poke a hole in the center and attach with a brass brad.
For that finishing touch, have students attach a school photo. Children read one or two items from each wheel, as they share it with their classmates.
You can do these in class; as an activity for open house; or send home on the first day of school for children to complete with their family.
While I was at it, I thought this idea could also be used at the end of the year, where students wrote about their favorite things, activities, subjects, etc.
There are six wheels they can choose from, including a blank one to fill in whatever prompt you want.
Completed projects make a sweet bulletin board.
Click on the link to view/download the bicycle writing prompt craftivity.
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Do you have a back-to-school activity you could share with us? I'd love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -Nelson Mandela
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. email@example.com 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 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.
Thanks for visiting today. As always feel free to PIN anything you think others may find helpful. My "Pin it" button is at the top. If you'd like to see all of the other wonderful educational things that I PIN, simply click on the "Follow me" heart to the right.
"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 Do A Social Studies Icebreaker With Me!
"My Home" is a quick and easy "craftivity" perfect for those studying about neighborhoods or families, or use as a sweet icebreaker for the first week of school, as it's a wonderful way to get to know your new students.
You can also do this for an easy activity that parents can work on with their child during your Open House. Completed projects make a wonderful back to school bulletin board.
If you send a "welcome to school" summer letter out, you could also include the house pattern in that, or send it home the first day of school. Children take home, complete and bring back the next day to share with their new classmates.
What an interesting and fun way for them to learn about each other, which also gives them practice sharing in front of the class. So your kiddos get to know a bit about their teacher, make sure to do one for yourself to use as an example.
Here's What To Do: Students write their family's last name at the top, write the number of members in their family and then draw a picture of them.
Inform children to label their drawing to tell who is represented. Let them know that they can include pets as well.
Children glue a photgraph of themselves in the window. For the door, students complete the writing prompt "My favoirte room is..." and then explain why.
Some schools still have "knows their address" as a standard, so I've included a window for that as well.
Children color their house the appropriate color and cut it out. After students share their homes, make a classroom "neighborhood" as a bulletin board.
Click on the link to view/download the My Home back to school icebreaker activity. Thanks for visiting. Feel free to PIN away! My "Pin It" button is at the top. I hope you can stop by tomorrow for another home-sweet-home "craftvity" entitled H is for House.
"If you don't risk, you can't grow. If you don't grow, you can't become the best you, you can be!" -Unknown
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
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
Are you trying to think of something different to do as an icebreaker for a fun first day of school activity? How about a survey?
My Y5’s loved carrying around a clipboard and asking questions. It makes them feel “grown up” and important, or so they tell me when I ask them why everyone always wants to use my clipboards.
You can buy packs of 12 at Sam’s Club for a reasonable price. They came in handy for this purpose as well as having them write in the hallway when we went on measurement adventures, or outside when we went on scientific explorations to collect data.
They are great as lapboards for when I had students writing in a circle on the floor as well, so I certainly got my money’s worth!
This information can be found in my Back To School Packet. Click on the link to view/download it.
Until next time… have fun breaking that ice, making friends and melting hearts!
Thanks for visiting. I hope you can pop back tomorrow for more back to school tips.
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"No dreamer is ever too small; no dream is ever too big." -anonymous