1-2-3 Read With Me!
Here are 4 easy readers that are great activities for the first week of school.
My First Day Of School, is a quick and easy activity that will engage your students on that busy first day.
Take their photo and include it, to make this a real keepsake.
I've also included a page for preschool, Y5's, 1st grade + a blank page for you to fill in whatever other grade is appropriate for you.
How Do You Go To School, helps reinforce how children get to school. Students will enjoy reading this booklet and sharing how they arrive.
To make it more personal, have students put an X by the picture on the cover, of how they get to school, then have them write the name of their school on the last page.
Children read the sentence using pictures as clues. They trace and write the key word, then cut and glue another picture to the matching numbered boxes.
The easy reader School, reinforces the idea of students liking school!
Children use picture clues to read the sentence. Students trace it and then write the main-idea word. Children then cut and glue a picture to the matching numbered boxes.
The packet includes:
Finally, We Go To School works on days of the week.
Being able to read (sight words) word wall words is a Common Core State Standard. I listed the parts of a calendar as part of my word wall and thought an easy reader that addressed this concept, would be a fun way to learn them.
I included a quick and easy schoolhouse days of the week slider in this packet as well.
I hope you find these easy readers a nice addition to your classroom activities. They work well for Daily 5 or a Reading/Writing center too.
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“Whoever retains the natural curiosity of childhood is never bored or dull.” -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Make A Pattern With Me!
Learning how to make, identify and extend a pattern are report card standards for our Y5’s.
They had fun doing that with all sorts of colorful manipulatives. I also used a variety of food during snack time.
They also glued mini-die cuts to a 1/2 sheet of construction paper each month, making a line pattern in their pattern booklet.
When we were out and about during field trips or for a fall or spring walk, I’d have them try and find patterns in nature as well.
Because I needed a “hard copy” to prove my students passed that assessment, I also needed to have some paper examples of them making and extending patterns, so I designed patterning skill sheets in every unit.
I just completed some anchor charts for you to laminate. You can use these as ways to whole group explain the concept.
Have students come up to the board and complete and identify the pattern.
Make this part of your daily calendar time, or plug in before or after you read a story. It only takes a minute.
You can also run off copies for your students as a worksheet, or use as an assessment when you are ready to evaluate their progress.
Because I used all of the colors and shapes, you can also take a moment to review those as well.
Click on the link to view/download the Pattern Anchor Chart Posters.
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“If we did all of the things we are capable of doing, we would truly astound ourselves!” –Thomas Edison
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Look Who's In Our Classroom!
One of my favorite books that I read during the first week of school was Chicka Boom.
My hallway bulletin board had a floor to ceiling palm tree on the side with a monkey hanging by it that would ooh ahh if you pulled its tail.
It was a great way to help anxious students calm down. “Do you want to hear my monkey talk?”
On the bulletin board was a monkey with each child’s name. During our Open House treasure hunt, students had to find their name.
Being able to recognize their name was one of our report card standards, so I was always trying to think of fun ways for my students to do that.
The caption on this b. board was: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Welcome To Our Classroom!
Another year, I skipped the b. board and used a wall to make the display even bigger because I wanted to include alphabet letters.
To get the wiggles out after reading the book, I pass out monkey masks and my Y5's played "Monkey See Monkey Do" and we copied the "Monkey In The Middle."
I know many teachers all over the country also read this book, so I wanted to design lots of activities for a variety of standards to go with it.
The Picka Chicka File Folder reinforces colors, upper and lowercase letters (Common Core State Standard RF.K1d) and shapes; as well as reading and writing.
Click on the link to view/download the 67-page Picka Chicka-Chicka Boom File Folder Packet.
Chicka Boom Boom Look Who’s In Our Classroom is an easy reader class book, that helps students get to know their new friends, reinforces name recognition, as well as upper and lowercase letters. (Common Core State Standard RF.K1d)
The 35-page Chicka Boom Trunk Tricks packet includes a variety of adorable Chicka Boom tree projects that reinforce letters, shapes, patterns, and other report card standards in a unique and fun way.
The packet includes:
Click on the link to view/download Chicka Boom Trunk Tricks
Finish up your Chicka Boom studies with this fun hands-on Chicka Boom snack.
To compliment all of the Chicka Boom activities I have a variety of monkey-themed activities as well.
Click on the link to view/download a variety of easy readers etc. This link will take you to the Monkey section, where I hope you’ll have a barrel of fun!
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“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why and pursued the answer.” –Bernard Baruch
Grammar Can Be FUN When You Make It A GAME!
Since the Goin On A Bear Hunt Punctuation and Capitalization activities were such a huge hit, as promised, I made cat, dinosaur, frog and pig, cards too.
They follow the same format. The beauty of this is, that it empowers students and builds their self-esteem.
Repetition of some activities is important, especially with young children, because they can’t read directions.
Once the teacher has read, explained and modeled an activity and students have done it, they are good to go the next time around.
This independence makes them feel great and the teacher is freed up to work one-on-one with struggling students or ESL children.
A definite win-win all around, and the big reason I set up my tabletop lessons and easy readers the way I do.
By sprinkling the cards around the room and having children search for them, you help get the wiggles out, add some variety into your students’ grammar routine, and make correcting sentences a lot more fun, than simply handing out a worksheet. + it only takes a few more minutes and your students are now excited and ready to “get down to business!”
Because of this, these cards and recording sheets make great Daily 5 or writing center activities and help students nail the Common Core State Standard: RF.1.1
Each set also includes a certificate of praise.
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Do you have a back to school idea or teaching grammar tip you could share with us?
I'd enjoy hearing from you! email@example.com or post a comment here.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to do that.
If everyone took a moment to share, just think how full our bag of tricks would be, and how much easier our lives would become!
“It’s possible we could teach kids anything. I get them to live the concepts. My job is to push them. I want 30 Rocky Balboas, 30 students who are thirsting to learn.” -Joseph Vicari
A Fun Way To Get To Know Your Students
Stamp of Approval Stamps make a great icebreaker for the first week of school and a terrific way to get to know your students + they are an instant back to school bulletin board showcasing your new students!
Send a copy in your Welcome to School - Summer Letter, or tuck them in your Open House packet, so that they can be completed ahead of time, and then shared on the first day of school.
You can also show your example on the first day, so that your students can learn a little bit about you, and then send the stamps home as an assignment for that first day.
How to fill in a stamp:
Students can write, type (using a fun(ky) font), or cut out letters (like a ransom note), or use stickers to make their name.
This goes on the wavy line portion of the cancelled stamp, in the top left-hand corner.
The PLACE where they were born, goes around the top of the circle.
The YEAR they were born, goes on the bottom-middle of the circle.
The MONTH and DAY they were born, goes in the center of the circle.
Months should be abbreviated, unless they are 4 or less letters long.
Places and dates appear on real cancelled stamps; making it personal, makes this assignment more relevant and fun!
Students draw a self-portrait of themselves. (Just a headshot) This needs to be colored. Hair and eye color etc. need to be appropriate, so students can possibly guess whose picture belongs to whom, if the teacher wants to add that activity before the “real” student comes up to share.
Students need to think of their favorite things to do, their hobbies, or sports or “stuff” they are involved in, or possibly what they want to be when they grow up. Basically, anything that represents them or will help us get to know them.
After they have thought up their “list” they need to find pictures, clip art, or stickers of those things and glue them around their self-portrait.
Students write or cut out 3-5 words that describe them. These should be scattered around on their stamp.
Challenge older students to include a word that begins with the same letter as their name. i.e. I chose driven (Diane) for mine.
Students share their stamp with their classmates. I always had my students clap for each person when they were through.
Hang them in the hallway or on a b. board, along with the “Stamp of approval star student” poster.
To add some 3D effects, suspend some glittery stars of various sizes, from fish line, just above the board, at various lengths.
Click on the link to view/download Stamp of Approval Stamp activity
Do you have a “Getting To Know Your Students” activity you can share with us? I’d enjoy hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also post a comment here. Thanks in advance for taking the time to do that.
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“Teaching is a lighting of sparks and setting minds aflame;
it’s a creative mind that knows what kind of gasoline to throw on to get it glowing and burning even brighter the next day and the next…” -Diane Henderson
Teaching Beginning Word Capitalization and Ending Punctuation Common Core Standards, By Hunting For Sentences And Fixing Them!
I’ve been trying to think of some fun activities to go with Common Core State Standards and thought sprinkling sentence cards around the room for students to find would be something different.
My Y5’s LOVED Goin' on a bear hunt during our hibernation studies, so I dreamed up sentences that would go with the adorable clip art bears of Laura Strickland.
I made up 12 bear sentence cards, that are missing a capital letter and end punctuation, so you can work on the Common Core State Standard: RF.1.1
Here students need to demonstrate an understanding of the organization and basic features of print, by recognizing the distinguishing features of a sentence. i.e. first word capitalization, and ending punctuation.
Here’s how to Go On A Bear Hunt:
Print and Laminate the cards.
Decide which 10 you want to use for the bear hunt and number them with a dry erase marker.
If you use a permanent marker, a Mr. Clean Eraser will wipe off the numbers.
Put a magnet on the back, so students can put them on your white board, or use a pocket chart.
The one pictured I just bought at Target. They were in their Dollar Deal section. They also had red and green.
This pocket chart only has 8 pockets so you’ll need 2, or you can put a magnet strip on the pocket chart and a magnet on card number 1 and card number 10. Students place the cards in the pockets and put card #1 above the chart and card #10 under the chart.
Sprinkle the cards around the room. Students find them and put them on the white board or in your pocket chart in 1-10 order so that they can rewrite the sentences on their recording sheet,.
When students write their sentences they put a beginning capital letter, and the appropriate end punctuation on their sentences, circling both for easy identification.
Before students take their seats and work on their own papers, read the cards as a whole group, adding inflection so that students can determine where an exclamation mark goes,
You may want to give students an FYI that the Oh no! The bear sees me. and Help! I see a bear. cards are made up of two sentences.
Have students gather in front of the board and have them take turns filling in the correct answers with a red dry erase marker.
A nice "get the wiggles out" activity to do afterwards, is to play "Goin On A Bear Hunt." and have students go through the motions.
One of my favorite versions of this is from Greg and Steve's Kid's In Action CD. It's on YouTube. Click on the link to have a listen. My Y5's begged to do this all the time.
Later, you can use different sentences and use the recording sheets as an assessment.
This packet also includes a certificate of praise.
Click on the link to view/download Goin On A Bear Hunt Sentence Punctuation Packet
If you like this way of working on capitalization and punctuation, be sure to watch for my up coming Piggy Punctuation, Kitty Capitalization, Hop To It Frog Capitalization and Punctuation, and I’m Dino-mite At Doing Capitalization and Punctuation.
They all follow the same format as Goin’ On A Bear Hunt and will be completed this week. To find them click on the reading apple on my home page and then click on capitalization or punctuation in the list under grammar.
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“Everyone who remembers his own educational experience, remembers the teacher, not methods and techniques.” -Sidney Hook
Common Core State Standard Letter Perfect Activity Poster
Here is a simple, easy, and relatively quick activity that you can plug in, to nail quite a few Common Core State Standards with one fell swoop!
Laminate this poster and use it during your calendar or reading block time.
Take a letter each day and fill in the appropriate boxes.
Using a dry erase marker demonstrate to your students how you write an uppercase and lowercase letter.
Students can practice on a dry erase board, or you can make a copy of the Letter Perfect sheets for them.
You can keep these as individual sheets or run off a set of 26 and collate them into an alphabet booklet for each child that they will take out and use during Daily 5 for the writing portion or word work.
If you don’t do Daily 5 this can be an independent writing center, or as in the example above, you can do these as whole group skill sheets.
Have students listen to the sound the letter makes as you say it.
Have students repeat the sound.
Ask them if they can think of any words that make that sound.
By demonstrating basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondence by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant, they are working on Common Core State Standard: RF:K.3a
If the letter is a vowel, have students tell you what other letters are vowels.
I have my students sing the vowel song to the tune of B-I-N-G-O
There was a class who learned their vowels
And this is what they sang Oh
They were so very smart! Oh!
Differentiate between long and short vowels and fill in the appropriate boxes on the chart with words that they can think of.
By associating the long and short sounds with the common spellings for these 5 major vowel sounds, students are working on Common Core State Standard: RF: K. 3b.
By distinguishing long from short vowel sounds in any spoken single syllable words they come up with, they are working on Common Core State Standard: RF.1. 2a.
Have them become ABCDe-tectives and look around the room for words on their Word Wall or Read The Room signs that begin with that letter and then as they say them aloud, ask them to what box/category they should put the word in.
If the letter is a consonant decide if it is a hard or soft consonant and do the same thing as above.
Ask the children if there are any students who have a first or last name that begins with the letter of the day and have them come up and write it on the chart.
Finally, choose a quiet child to find and circle the letter of the day in the alphabet.
You can end by giving someone a pointer (I turned out the lights and used a laser light) to point to each letter of the alphabet on our border and we sang the ABC song.
By consistently reviewing all of the letters, you are helping students to recognize and name all of the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet which is Common Core State Standard: RF:K.1d and L.1.1a
If you are also going to do these as a skill sheet for your students, they can record at the same time as you do, or after the group modeling, can return to their seats and fill in their own paper.
In order to cover the Common Core State Standard RF: K. 1b make sure that you:
Explain to children each day that “Spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.”
As you can see, quite a few standards are covered in one simple and fun poster activity, which can also double as a skill sheet for your students!
Click on the link to view/download Common Core State Standard Letter Activity Poster
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“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” –Benjamin Franklin
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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"Stop trying to fit in, when you were born to stand out!" - Dr. Seuss
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
More Chicka Boom Stuff!
I LOVE using file folders with children because they are relatively inexpensive and I have 4 pages I can fill up with “cool stuff”.
Because they are made of heavy-duty cardstock, they can also handle the abuse of 4-year-olds or the soggy “oops” of too much glue as well.
My kiddo’s also enjoyed them because they were something different and something “older” people used, so they felt extra special.
After reading Chicka Boom have your students put together their “lap files”. Choose whatever things you are going to study with them.
This 67-page packet includes:
Chicka chicha boom boom, I hope you enjoy all of the new kids in your classroom!
Click on the link to view/download the Picka Chicka Chicka Boom Activity File Folder Packet
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"Losers are people who are afraid of losing.” –Robert Kiyosaki