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Getting to the Core

1-2-3 Come Do Some "First Day Jitters" Activities With Me

activities to go with first day jittersDo you read “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg?
It’s one of my all-time favorite back to school books. My students absolutely LOVE the surprise ending.

With that in mind, I decided to make 3 different "Jitter" crafts, to help students sequence and retell the story. They are a super-fun transitional activity after you're done reading.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsFirst up is the “First Day Jitters”   flip the flap, schoolhouse booklet.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/40-Off-First-Day-Jitters-Storytelling-Craft-3885395So that you can differentiate your lessons, I’ve included a simple flip booklet with just 4 pages for little ones, as well as pattern pages for a super-cool schoolhouse, where the pages are cut down the middle, so the "double-doors" of the school house flip open on both sides.

I purposely did not number the pages, so you can check comprehension.

This also allows you to choose less pages for preschool students, who can easily sort beginning-middle-& end, then retell the story with a limited number of “picture prompts”.

Simply run the schoolhouse pattern off on construction paper or card stock. Students color & trim.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsOpen the doors to the schoolhouse to retell the story.

Students color, cut & collate the pages into a little booklet, which is then glued to the base of the schoolhouse.

For writing practice, I’ve also included several prompt options that are written on the schoolhouse base patterns. Simply choose which is most appropriate for your kiddos, or you could give them a choice.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsNext up is a super-simple "First Day Jitters" storytelling wheel.

If your kiddos are like mine, they will really enjoy making a wheel of their own. It’s a wonderful activity to transition to after reading the story.

To once again grab my students’ attention, I share my sample as a story review, then ask, “Who’d like to make one?”  Woo Hoo for excited enthusiasm!

As a whole group, when everyone is done with their craftivity, practice retelling “First Day Jitters” using the wheel manipulative.

Everyone starts by turning their wheel to the “pie slice”, where Mr. Hartwell is calling to Sarah. Pick a child to explain what’s happening in that ”beginning of the story” graphic.

Continue to turn the wheel, calling on different students to tell you about that portion of the story.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsTo check comprehension, and reinforce the “sequencing a story” standard, I’ve also included a “color, cut & glue” sequencing worksheet.

Use the larger, colorful pattern for a whole group activity with younger kiddos. 

Print, laminate & trim the patterns.  Attach the grid to your white board, then pass the pieces out to your students.

"How does the story start?"  "Who has that story piece?"  That child comes up and places it on the grid. (I attach magnet dots to the backs, but you can also use Velcro or tape.)

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsThis activity is also included in the final "Jitters" craftivity,  a super-fun "First Day Jitters" storytelling slider.

Students color the story elements on the “slider strip” then cut and glue it together.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsWith just six, nice-sized graphics, this is easy peasy for even preschool children, making it perfect for explaining the beginning-middle & end of a story too.

As children pull on the end of the “slider-strip” the various pictures go through the “window” on the “door” of the schoolhouse, so that students can take turns retelling the story to a partner or reading buddy, then take their slider home to share with their family, once again practicing these standards.

All three packets include black & white patterns, as well as colorful ones, so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share.

As another way to assess comprehension, as well as include more writing practice, I’ve also included a “Here’s What Happened…” worksheet, which can be done independently, or as a whole group with younger children. This worksheet is included in all three packets as well.  

No matter if you're flippng & flapping, or turning & learning, or simply sliding along, I hope you have an absolute blast with your new students. 

back to school poster, Meet the teacher night noteToday's featured FREEBIE is also a little something for back to school. 

I found an "author unknown" quote in various place on the internet, and decided to revamp & expand it, making this "poster poem" appropriate for a teacher to share with their students. 

You can hang it up as a poster, or tuck it in your "Welcome Packet".  Just a little something fun for "Meet & Greet the Teacher" night too. 

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsWell that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

As we head into the weekend we will be topping 90 degrees. I'm so grateful that we have air conditioning in our home. 

Despite the heat, I may venture out to walk my poodle pup and water the flowers.  Wishing you a relaxing and super-fun summer & jitter-free school year. 

Oh and if you too love "First Day Jitters" be sure and check out Danneberg's "Last Day Blues" it too is a sweet story that proves teachers & students have a lot more in common that they think.

"Summer: Hair gets lighter; skin gets darker. Water gets warmer; drinks get colder. Music gets louder; nights get longer. Life gets better in the good ole' summertime. " -Unknown

1-2-3 Come Make a Sandcastle With Me

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Put some “Woo Hoo!” into studying place value, by creating a super-cute PVS (Place Value Sandcastle).

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, This is a wonderful craftivity for both the end of the year, as a fun way to reinforce lessons learned, and also works well for back to school when you want to refresh, review and assess where your students are concerning their knowledge of place value.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, The craft is a super-fun alternative to worksheets; however, I’ve also included some of those, for extra practice and as an assessment tool

One of the worksheet options, comes 2 on a one-page pattern for quick printing. 

Students fill in the blanks with the number, expanded form, word form and a breakdown of placement. 

Children also pick a partner and practice greater & less than, by comparing their sandcastle's value with their friend's.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Completed projects turn out really cute and make an outstanding bulletin board or hallway display.

I’ve included a variety of posters to help you decorate and add extra pizzazz, or use them as an interesting way to introduce the lesson and grab students' attention. 

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, I took a photograph of real sand, and made that my background paper, then placed transparent letters over the top, spelling "Sandcastles". 

Print, laminate & cut them out for a cool header for your bulletin board.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, You’re sure to get lots of compliments, as the castles definitely have that “Wow!” factor; especially if you do the “sand names”

I set this up as a center, and call students up while they are working on their sandcastle. 

Beforehand, I wrote their names on a variety of colored card stock; then assist them in "tracing" their name with Elmer's glue.

Afterwards, they sprinkle the wet letters with play sand. Set aside to dry. For your display, hang their name above or under their sandcastle for that finishing touch.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, The packet is very versatile with quite a few options for your students to choose from, which allows you to diversify your lesson.

Designing a sandcastle is appealing to a variety of ages and abilities.
The versatility allows younger kiddos, as well as older students, to create a sandcastle that will have a two, three or even 4-digit number value!

Beginners work on 1s & 10s, while older kiddos design with 1s, 10s & 100s. I’ve also included worksheets for 4-digit numbers, so that older students can work with 1,000s.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Keep things simple for little ones and limit the number of pieces and options, while challenging older students to create a bigger value for their sandcastle.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Once children have finished their PVS they figure out the value of their sandcastle.

I’ve provided several worksheet options for students to complete. 

Since some of my kiddos get carried away with decorating, they'll have to do some "conversions" when figuring out the value of their sandcastle. 

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, i.e. If they count up 17 ones, they'll have to make one ten, leaving just 7 ones. 

The worksheet helps them figure out the value by showing the math. 

I'm also able to easily asses that they "get it".

Besides the place value sandcastles, I’ve also included 2 options for a seashell, “counting castle” for younger students. 

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, There are 5 different seashells for students to color, cut and glue to the sandcastle of their choice. 

Little ones can practice counting to 10, while kinders can work on those toughie teen numbers

place value crafts, place balue sandcastles, place value games, place value worksheets, place value assessments, place value centers, sandcastles, math bulletin boardsI've also included a graphing extension so that you can practice that standard as well.

I've also included 3 seashells labeled 1s, 10s & 100s, if you'd like to make this simpler place value sandcastle, or use these as an independent math center. 

Limited time? This makes a super-fun homework assignment, or another idea is to have students work with a partner or create one PVS in a small group of three, which will divide up the work.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Here’s a fun challenge: Give the small group a total sandcastle value, and see how close they can get to hitting that number.

For a super-fun math center, print a variety of sandcastle pieces & flags on construction paper or card stock. Laminate and trim.

Students can design a sandcastle, then figure out the value, writing that number on the flag using a dry erase marker. When they’re done, take a photograph.

Put the pictures in an album along with their place value worksheet. The same can be done with the seashell sandcastles as well.
place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, I’ve included covers for your album(s). 

I know summer has just begun, but I also know there are teachers who are starting to collect things for back to school.

back to school treats, treat bags for back to school, lucky charms, lucky charms treat bagsSo today's featured FREEBIE is a "Lucky Charms" treat bag that you can make for your kiddos.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/40-Off-Place-Value-Sandcastles-3880151Well that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. 

Time to put on my Nana hat, as two of my nine grandchildren, are spending the day with me.

Hopefully the rain will hold off.  If not, it will be a puddle jumping day! Wishing you a fun-filled week.

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, a warm and gentle breeze is blowing, the birds are singing a sweet song and the lawnmower is broken." -Unknown

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!

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleWith that in mind, I designed this “Let’s Flamingle!” craftivity.

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleThere 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.

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleIntroduce 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.

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleBecause they are so colorful, completed “flamingo friends” make a terrific back to school bulletin board, or hallway border.

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleI’ve included 4 photo posters of real flamingos flocking together, as well as 3 other posters you can scatter throughout your display as well.

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleThe “We are all the same; we are all different” poster provides a great diversity discussion as well. 

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleIt's the body portion of the bird that becomes the "flip the flap" writing prompt booklet. 

Simply choose which pages are most appropriate for you students, or do all six.

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleThe 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.

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleThe 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.  

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleSince 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.

flamingo crafts, flamingo activities, icebreakers, back to school activities, back to school icebreakers, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, Let's Flamingle, flamingleWell 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 Do Some 2D Shape Activities With Me

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activities"Funny Flamingos”  are a quick, easy and super-fun “print & go” craftivity, that will help review 2D shapes in some interesting & engaging ways.

The 2D shapes included are: circle, oval, square, rectangle, triangle, hexagon, pentagon, octagon, trapezoid, rhombus, star & heart.

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesThe packet includes patterns for the above shapes, so that children can make a “Funny Flamingo Friend.”

They turn out absolutely adorable, so I think your kiddos will really enjoy making one. 

Templates come in a large, full-page size, as well as a smaller, two-on-a-page pattern.

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesDecide what’s most appropriate for your students.

You don’t have to, but accordion-folding the legs is a fun way to strengthen finger muscles. Your students will also enjoy the “boing-boing” effect.

Completed projects make a super-cute display. Dangle them from the ceiling as a border in your hallway. I’ve included a poster to add pizzazz.

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesThe packet also includes 3 sets of game cards, so that students can play “Memory Match”, “I Have; Who Has?” and sorting games with them.

The 3 sets of cards feature: flamingos with a shapely body, plain shapes, plus word cards, so that you can practice a variety of standards. 

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesI’ve also included a “Spin to Win” game, where students partner up and take turns spinning.  Whatever shape they land on, they color the matching shape on their game sheet that color.

Several other worksheets, help to further reinforce 2D shapes in other ways.

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesThe “Flamingo Slider” is another quick, easy & fun craft, that will help you whole group assess

My students absolutely LOVE playing this "I Spy" game. Simply call out a shape.  Students pull on their "slider" strip 'til it appears in the "window" then hold up their flamingo.  You can see at a glance who is having difficulty.

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesTwo graphing extensions add some additional math pratice to the packet as well.

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesUse the 3 photo posters of real flamingos to introduce your lesson, as well as the “What Shape is a Flamingo’s Body Most Like?” discussion poster.

Since I'm "warping" the true shape of a flamingo, as a fun way to review shapes, I thought it important to discuss this. The poster provides a nice visual.

I’ve also included a list of super-interesting links that I use as part of my introduction as well, which helps me add a bit of science in just a few minutes.

Students learn why a flamingo is pink and other interesting facts. The 2-minute clip showing 1,000s of flamingos all in one place in Africa, is quite amazing!

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesToday's featured FREEBIE is also a fun activity that involves 2D shapes.

It's a very versatile, "Letter H is for House" craft that you can do when you're working on a letter a day, shapes (12, 2D shapes are included.) or doing social studies & working on communities, families & neighborhoods.

Children can also practice their address by including that as well.
Add a school photo for that finishing touch. Completed projects make an adorable bulletin board too.

flamingo activities, flamingo crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape assessments, 2D shape activitiesWell that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. 

It's been unseasonably hot this week with scorchers in the 90s, so it's a good day to design some more activities in my air-conditioned office.  Wishing you a  super-de-duper summer.

"Woo Hoo! It's summer! If you're not barefoot, you're over dressed!" -Unknown

1-2-3 Come Do Some More Zoo Activities With Me!

Do you go on a field trip to the zoo with your students or take a “virtual” field trip online?

zoo activities, zoo field trip activities, animal activities, emergent reader booklet, If so, then I think you’ll enjoy this “What Did You See at the Zoo?” packet.

There are a variety of activities included, which are easy to diversify for different ages & skill levels.

The packet includes:

1. * “What animals did WE see?” colorful animal poster to use as a whole group activity, with a matching BW “What animals did YOU see?” worksheet.

zoo activities, zoo field trip activities, animal activities, emergent reader booklet, 2. * “Sizing Up the Animals!” worksheet, where students can practice their comparison & contrast measuring skills: “What animal was taller than you?” (shorter, heavier, longer…) “What animal would fit in your backpack?” A colorful option is also included so you can do this as a whole group.

3. * Two, “We Saw Animals!” worksheets in both color to use as a whole group discussion activity, as well as black & white versions, so you also have the option to do one or both as an independent activity.

4. * Fun Worksheet: “Oh My! An animal is escaping. It’s following you out of the zoo.” Complete the picture, by drawing your favorite animal, or one you’d like to take home.

This can simply be a “draw & color” activity for little ones, or a writing extension for older students, who will then explain their picture, or tell “how they escaped” or “what happens when they get home.”

zoo activities, zoo field trip activities, animal activities, emergent reader booklet, alphabet activities, alpha bird craft, bird craft, alphabet crafts, alphabet assessments5. * “What Did You See at the Zoo?” booklet, where students trace & write the animal word, then answer the question by marking an X in either the “Yes” or “No” box. They also color the picture of the animal.

zoo activities, zoo field trip activities, animal activities, emergent reader booklet, alphabet activities, alpha bird craft, bird craft, alphabet crafts, alphabet assessments6. * I’ve also included a colorful teacher’s edition, (“What Did WE See at the Zoo?” ) which you can do as a whole group activity with little ones.

Each full-size page, features 4 animal strips, so you can easily cut them apart to make a “Snip & Flip” Strip Booklet.

This allows you to make your booklet as long as you like; or limiting the number of pages for wee ones. There are 24 animal strip options, on 6, full-size pages.

zoo activities, zoo field trip activities, animal activities, emergent reader booklet, These activities pair nicely with my
"We're Going to the Zoo!” Field Trip Packet I blogged about last week. Click the link to take a peek.

zoo activities, zoo field trip activities, animal activities, emergent reader booklet, alphabet activities, alpha bird craft, bird craft, alphabet crafts, alphabet assessmentsToday's featured FREEBIE is also animal-themed. Alpha-bird, is a super-fun craft that your students can either make. OR...

You can make just one for your classroom to use as a unique asssessment tool!.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/40-off-Were-Going-to-the-Zoo-Field-Trip-Packet-3853859Well that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. 

We have relatives coming to stay with us this week from Washington, so my feet have hit the floor running. 

Wishing you a fun-filled and stress-free week.

"Always having somewhere to go is HOME. Always having someone to love is FAMILY. Having both is a beautiful BLESSING." -Unknown

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