Back To School Ideas
Seeing little ones all dressed up in their brand new clothes, wearing their brand new backpacks, all excited and filled with the anticipation of the first day of school, don't ya just LOVE it? I do! I catch the bug about August 1st when the stores are decorated to the hilt with their displays of supplies. Some people are groaning.
I'm in the ready-get-set-GO! mode. I have to be. I teach Y5's and there's a zillion things I HAVE to do, and ya know what? If you do a few a day, it's FUN, at least it is for me.
In this blog article I'll give you a few tips that I hope will help you have some fun while you get ready to go back.. Next year I'll start earlier, for I know some of you have already started, and I wish you all the best!
Little Giraffes is another of my favorite teaching sites. She has an entire theme for back-to-school. I especially love her "Magic Playdough" idea and plan to do this activity with my Y5's. I also want to try melting a red Solo cup to make an adorable apple name tag! Check out these cute ideas by clicking on the link.
Teaching The 5 Senses Teddy Bear:
If you teach the 5 sesnses as we do at the kindergarten and Y5 level, you'll want to make this adorable tactile bear. Click on the teddy bear link to check him out. What a wonderful idea!
I plan to make him with these changes: Cut a pair of bib overhauls out of an old pair of blue jeans. and glue him to your sandpaper bear. Hot glue the pocket of the jeans to the middle of the bear. Hot glue two brightly colored big buttons to each strap.
Hobby Lobby and most craft stores sell those mini ziplock bags that are only 3 inches tall. You'll need 3.
Soak a cotton ball in tangerine oil, or another fragrance you think your students will like, and zip it up in the little baggie, put a medium size jingle bell with a yarn string on it, so that you can jingle it, in the 2nd baggie, put a gummi bear in the 3rd. Place them in the big pocket.
I'm also going to hot glue another pocket on the back of my bear where I'll keep a medium size baggie filled with enough gummi's for all of my students to have a taste.
I plan to read the story Will I Have A Friend? by Miriam Cohen and then introduce them to one of my stuffed bears and tell them: "Here is one of your very 1st kindergarten friends." Then I'll say: "Give Me 5!" and choose a child who is modeling that. (EYES looking at me, EARS listening, MOUTH shut, HANDS folded in lap, FEET on the floor, or criss-cross applesauce.) I'll hand them the bear and a gummi. I've just reviewed the 5 senses!
She'll say: "Hi I'm Kelli and I'm your new friend." She'll give the bear a hug and pass him to the child next to her, and I'll give them a gummi and away we go!
At the conclusion we can review where the bear's 5 senses are, and everyone can take a turn touching the sandpaper.
If this is one of your science units having each one of your students make their own bear would be an easy and inexpensive thing to do!
I'd pre-cut the bears for them using a Dollar Store scissors, because it will be dull by the time you get done cutting out 30 bears!
Want to make a few cute gifts for your teacher friends or the secretary? I could never do her job! I so appreciate our Sandy! Click here.
My favorite is the Orange. I say that to my students during October when we have that as the color of the month. I make it a knock-knock joke and then give them each an orange slice. "Knock-Knock...Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad you're in my class?"
Back-To School Check List:
Do you feel a bit frantic when August rolls around, and a little worried if you'll have enough time to get everything done? Or that nagging feeling of "I know I'm forgetting something!" I did after my first year and I said I HATE feeling like this! It robs me of the joy and excitement that I so enjoy.
So I decided to sit down and make a back-to-school check list of everything I needed to do. Click here for a copy of mine. Then cross off things and add some to make it your own, and you'll have one that's perfect for you to use year after year. It truly will bring you peace of mind. Then, stick it on a clipboard, do things a few at a time-daily and have FUN doing them.
I've learned the JOY should not come at getting the list DONE, but in DOING the list! Life is so much better that way! I try to finish EVERTHING at least 3 to 4 days before school starts so I don’t feel like I just ran a marathon.
It’s nice if you can treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure or simply a bubble bath and do those things for yourself. I also like to go through my wardrobe and figure out what I’m going to wear for the 1st week of school and put those outfits in one section of my closet.
I like to cut some flowers from my garden or pick up a few plants from the store and put them in my room. It just perks me up. Whatever your list, you need to enjoy the journey through it. The more time you allow yourself the more fun you’ll have.
Have last year's kids help you get ready for next year's students!
Try to accomplish a few things BEFORE you leave school and enlist the help of your students.
I let mine have one last fling with playing with shaving cream to get the “gunk” off the desks. If you haven't tried shaving cream for "instant writing boards" you need to hop aboard! Simply squirt a blob in front of a student on their desk/table. Let them flatten it out to make a "white board". They then write on it with their index finger making shapes, letters, numbers etc. The shaving cream softens their hands, makes the room smell great, and gets ink, crayon marks, and glue gunk off the surface. Plus kids LOVE it!
Anyway... Afterwards my kids wash down all of the tables and chairs. They enjoy splashing away with a rag. I don’t clean anything else, because over the summer it just gets dusty all over again and was a waste of time.
Instead the children help SORT all of the tubbies so that everything is neat and organized for the children in the fall. This would have been a huge job for me alone, and with a team of 20 kids it’s a breeze and reviews a report card standard for them.
They make my "Welcome Back To School" bulletin boards!
I also have them create the two in-class bulletin boards. I then have “Kid-Art” up and I didn’t have to do anything. My current Y5’s think it''s “way cool” that they were getting to make a b. board for the in-coming kids, and the new kids think it's exciting to look around the cafeteria to see if they can find a kindergarten friend! And…I didn’t have to dream up and make 2 in-class b. boards. What a wonderful win-win!
During the first week of school they get to make an apple that replaces this bulletin board. As soon as they finish their apple project they go pick an apple off the board and that is their new kindergarten friend that they look for in the cafeteria.
I have parent helpers help me with this activity and I make sure that these children are still here and that everyone will have a new buddy. This works out perfect because the K's and the Y5's have the same lunch and recess.
The K's feel proud because they "know the ropes" and can show them around and share their experiences with them that they had as a Y5.
My other bulletin board is"We Wish You A Dino-mite Year!" I have searched hi & lo for this pix and could only find my sample. They have to find the matching photo to their apple. They enjoy taking two friend "cards" home.
Should it ever happen that I don't have enough K's for my kids, I'd make some apples/dinosaurs and use pix from our year book from K's that I knew from last year, then call them and ask if they'd like to be a friend to a new Y5. I'm sure they'd be thrilled.
Great site for templates:
If you're looking for some templates to make everything from name tags and newsletters to assessments and certificates look no further. Click here for one of my favorite teacher sites.
Do you have an Info Sheet?
I have an Emergency Contact Information Sheet that I like to have my parents fill out for me. I explain to them that I know they've already filled out all sorts of forms for the office, but I like to have my own forms handy. They are kind enough to oblige. Click here for a copy.
If you'd like a copy of my "Getting to Know Your Child" handout click on the link. I like a "head's up" about my students. This sheet gives me valuable information so that I can engage my Y5's in conversation and show them that I'm interested in their world and care about them.
More Helpful Stuff:
To wish you a HAPPY back-to-school year, I designed a little door knobber that you can print off and laminate. Hang it on your doorknob. Take a minute to have your Helper of the Day move a large paperclip down the side to where you're going,. It's my way of saying "Thanks much for stopping! I appreciate you, and I wish you a WONDERFUL year!" Click on the link to print one. :
I run my Open House as a Treasure Hunt which I mentioned in the Welcome Blog, but if you need an invitation, I've made you one here. Just click on the link. Well that's it. I hope this helped.
I will see you in September with lots more EXCITING things for you to do with your students! It's going to be a supercalafragalisticexpialadocious year for all of us! Gotta run, I'm still not done with my list, but....
Let the adventure begin!
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I hope you're having a super summer! I know many of you will be getting your classrooms ready for school in the next few weeks. I have some terrific tips to share in my September Stuff II where you can look at my handbooks and handouts and see how I do things with my Y5's. Hopefully this will give you some great ideas to add to your own, or be especially helpful if you've just landed a job.
You can also check out my decorating tips and TWM 500 where a picture is worth a 1000 words. I like to keep things less cluttered by having my shelving units turned sideways and backwards. When someone enters the room things look nice and stream lined. They don't see lots of tubbies with "stuff" in them, but a slim side of a unit or the smooth back with a colorful poster on it! My tubbies are all the same size and only bright primary colors. This also makes things look neat and organized and less messy. Drawer units are nice to help little ones become perfect "picker-upper's"! Mine simply pull out a drawer or tub, dump it out, and when the timer rings, toss the things back inside.
Some of you may even have your Open House in August like we do. I made mine extra fun by turning it into a Treasure Hunt! I send an invitation to my students to get them excited. They receive a list of 10 things to find like their locker with their name tag on it, their monkey on our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Welcome To Our Classroom bulletin board, and even me! When they find me they need to introduce themselves and their family. They get a strip of stickers to paste to their treasure map and when they've completed the list they can crawl through our wiggle worm tunnel, throw a coconut bowling ball at the pineapple pins, and go for a ride around the block on the school bus.
I have the "how to" including my letter home to parents, a cool countdown to class and my summer welcome letter to my students included at TWM 432. I hope it gives you lots of great ideas to get you and your children excited for this fall too! I've been doing The Open House Treasure Hunt for 10 years now with rave reviews from kids, parents, and other teachers. Many of my fellow lower elementary teachers have also adopted it. It's an easy and fun way to generate excitement, dispel fears, and get children to find all the things they'd need to find on the hectic first day of school anyway.
After they've completed everything on their list they get their treasure, which is a treasure box filled with all kinds of goodies like school supplies, little McDonald toys that I've collected at garage sales all summer, stickers, candy, etc. including a crayon cake! What's a crayon cake? It's a great way to recycle broken crayons and makes a wonderful coloring or writing tool because when you use it, it makes things many colors! It's great for those fall leaf rubs!.Here's How:
If you read the alphabet book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to your class and want some adorable ideas, visit one of my favorite sites at: www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/ChickaChickaBoomBoomPrintables.htm. My favorites are Build a coconut tree shape, and Make a paint stick flet board. Too cute! She also has a printable for 3 coconuts in the coconut tree using bingo dot markers which I use every day in my classroom for one-to-one correspondence. My Y5's LOVE them.
For an easy Monkey Maze click here. I tell my students that I found 4 ways to get to the banana. They only have to find 2. I just LOVE this site because it's interactive.. It's one of the places I send my Y5's on their Web Quests! (Find out more in September.) This site is Colormountain.com where your students can connect the dots and color right online. Great fine motor and computer skill practice for young children.
What’s Happenin’ ? Summer is for vacations! I hope you had a chance to take at least one, even if it was the now popular “stay-cation!” My husband’s brother got married in
Last summer we had a chance to see the
I hope you can REST, RELAX, and REJUVENATE for what's left of the....
Wasn’t it great being healthy all summer? Ever wonder why that is? Well it’s time for back-to-school and I have some thoughts on STAYING HEALTHY, especially if you are a beginning teacher. Classrooms are breeding grounds for germs. Here are some tips for avoiding the dreaded “bug”.