1-2-3 Come Make A Take Home Folder With Me!
My friend and I were sharing. She was excited about making snail mail - take home folders for her students.
Janet can't remember where she got this adorable idea (Pinterest? A teacher magazine?) but the word snail is an acronym for Student work, Notes, And Important Letters.
She wanted to know if I could whip something together to glue to the cover of her folders. I LOVED the idea & revamped the acronym to Schoolwork, Notes And Important Letters.
Since I sent a folder home every Friday with my students, which was filled with their work, my weekly newsletter and other correspondence from our school, I thought 'snail mail' was an adorable idea, so I got right to work.
Take home folders were my easy and very successful "life line" for parent-teacher communication, so I highly reccommend doing them.
Parent feedback was also extremely positive, as they weren't constantly hunting through a messy backpack for news. I kept the folders in a basket along with anything that needed to go in them, and had a room helper "stuff" the folders sometime on Friday.
Besides the child's name on the folder, I numbered them so they could be put back in order quickly. This expedited finding a specific child's folder to put their work in. School pictures as well as report cards were also sent home via this folder.
I explained to parents the importance of making it a habit to take out their folder every Friday and go through it, praising and commenting on their child's work and perhaps choosing a few to hang up on the fridge, a bulletin board or cupboard door.
Children also enjoy giving special papers to family members. All of this promotes self-esteem. By your interest, your child sees the importance of school and that you care about what they are learning there.
If parents tuck the folder right back into their child's pack, it will be ready for school on Monday. Click on the link to view/download the Snail Mail Take Home Folder Packet.
I've included black and white as well as colored snail labels, along with a reminder and note of explanation to parents.
This packet will be FREE for an entire year, then it will be revamped and included in "Diane's Dollar Deals" in my TpT shop.
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"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." -George Patton
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
If You Take A Mouse To School and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie: Fun Back To School Books
Whenever I can, I like to make up lessons that go with favorite books. It’s a plus to have an activity that reinforces standards, for students to transition to, after reading a story.
Students read the sentence, then trace and write the letters. When everyone is done, read the booklet as a whole group to review concepts of print as well as upper and lowercase letters.
Run off a set of the 52 upper and lowercase mouse letter cards, laminate and cut them apart. Pass them out to your students. As you read the story, whomever has those letter cards drops them into the mouse pail.
To make a mouse to "feed", run off my template, cut him out, glue him to brown construction paper and slit the line above the letter box. Staple a Quaker oat box or Baggie behind the slit.
Besides the easy reader, this 32-page packet includes:
The packet will help with Common Core State Standards: RF.K1d & L.1.1a. Click on the link to view/download If You Give A Mouse A Letter Packet
Shapes are another standard that my Y5's have to master, so I also did an If You Give A Mouse A Shape packet.
Here you'll find two easy readers, two graphing extensions + several worksheets.
One easy reader is entitled: If You Give A Mouse A Shape (These are 2D shapes.)
The other is: If You Give A Mouse a 3D Shape.
Along these same lines, is the If You Take A _________ To School class-made book, where students think up another animal they'd like to take to school and then write and illustrate their page.
I've also included the Mary Had A Little Lamb nursery rhyme in this packet.
Thanks for visiting today. I'm onto yet another project. So many fun things to do, so little time... I bet you can relate.
“Little by little does the trick!” –Abraham Lincoln
1-2-3 Come Make A Back-To-School Kitty Craft With Me
A kajillion years ago, just before I was student teaching, I had a professor ask us to bring 3 things in a lunch bag that represented us. We’d be sharing it as an icebreaker during our next class.
I really liked this idea and filed it away in my brain, thinking it would be fun to do with my “someday” students. Many “some days” have come and gone and I’ve since seen variations of the “me bags” all over the Internet and on Pinterest.
When I was an aide, only ½ a jillion years ago, I did a writing prompt with my 2nd graders entitled: “The Cat’s Out Of The Bag.” I had an “all about me” checklist, written on a cat’s belly, that they filled out and then read to their classmates.
Later, they colored, cut and glued the cat, to the outside of a brown lunch bag, and after sharing them with their classmates, they hung their cat on the front of their lockers, so passers by could also get to know them.
My kiddos really enjoyed doing them, and we got lots of compliments from hallway visitors. I thought this would be a nice creative twist to my icebreaker bag of long ago.
Here’s what you do:
Make up your own personal “Cat bag” and share it with your students so they get to know a little bit about you too. I included a family photo, (my students always thought it was cool that I have an identical twin), a small stuffed poodle to represent our pet Chloe, a tiny book because I love to read, a pen because I love to write, and paintbrush because I enjoy art.
No matter what grade I taught, I always made samples. My students really enjoyed getting to know me this way, as well as being able to “see” something and refer to it, as they worked on their own project.
Examples also made things easy to explain and acted as an attention grabber as well. Run off the note to the parents, along with the cute cat and “The cat’s out of the bag” sign. There are two on a page to save paper.
Attach them to a brown lunch bag and send them home with students on the first day of school, or during your Open House.
Not only is this an easy and fun way to get to know your students, it will afford an opportunity to give them some practice sharing in front of their new friends.
This is a wonderful alternative to Show and Tell. Plan to have 2-3 children (or as many as time will allow) share their bag each day during snack time, or at the end of the day before dismissal.
Click on the link to view/download The Cat’s Out Of The Bag packet. Thanks for visiting today. Do you have a getting-to-know-you project or icebreaker you’d be willing to share with us? I’d enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here.
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“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you can help them become what they are capable of becoming.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Be True To The Red White And Blue
A big part of going back to school is teaching a variety of routines.
One of the things that my Y5’s were learning for the first time was The Pledge Of Allegiance.
Like many schools through out the US, we started our day with announcements.
Our principal’s voice would boom over the PA system and lead us in the Pledge.
My Y5’s were doing a wonderful job with memorization, but when I asked my little ones what they were saying, they were clueless, or had a very different interpretation of what some of the words meant.
For example, many of them thought indivisible meant being invisible.
I told them that it was important to understand what they were pledging, and asked them if they wanted to know what the words really meant?
Their curiosity was peaked and most of them raised their hands in agreement.
I designed My Pledge Definition Dictionary with kid-friendly synonyms they could understand.
As long as teachers are required to increase students’ vocabularies, why not start with these very important words!
This packet also includes a certificate of praise as well as a copy of The Pledge of Allegiance for students to practice tracing, as a means of memorization, so that they become familiar with the words.
Click on the link to view/download My Pledge Of Allegiance Definition Dictionary Packet
I feel that knowing about our flag is very important.
The Easy Reader booklet My Flag is a wonderful way to learn important facts about the flag, as students trace and then write key words, cutting and gluing matching pictures to the appropriate sentences.
The booklet can be used as an introduction to The Pledge of Allegiance or a review and has 3 different endings, which makes it very versatile.
Click on the link to view/download My Flag.
The 49-page Flag Activities Packet, covers the history of our flag, information about the flag, and includes links, articles, art projects, skill sheets and writing activities.
It’s a wonderful resource for something patriotic to do with your students.
One of my students' favorite activities was making their own personal flag. These are a great way to learn about your new students and make a terrific back to school bulletin board too.
Click on the link to view download the Flag Activities Packet.
Finally, the I’m Proud To Be An American Writing Prompt fits well at the beginning of the year when you’re teaching the Pledge, or looking for an activity for Constitution Day.
Use students’ finished pages as an easy bulletin board, or collate them into a class book.
Click on the link to view/download Proud to be an American Writing Prompt
Thanks for visiting today. I hope you can also stop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
Do you have one to share? I’d enjoy hearing from you! email@example.com or take a moment and post a comment here.
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“I find that a great part of the information I have acquired was by looking up something and finding something else on the way.” –Franklin P. Adams
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.
Thanks for visiting today. I hope you can pop back tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
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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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I hope you can swing by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why and pursued the answer.” –Bernard Baruch
Use the large road signs as gentle reminder posters for a wall.
Print double ones and hang them back-to-back with a piece of fish line and suspend from the ceiling.
Several “My students are out of this world” signs, hung from the ceiling, dangling down at various lengths in front of your back to school bulletin board, with your students’ first day photographs, would add interest.
Use the smaller ones for a bulletin board boarder, or make bookmarks, a magnet, or cut slits and make pencil toppers for your students.
Hang the “Danger” sign on your door, and suspend the “Quiet Zone Testing” one, on your doorknob when you are assessing.
Use the “Think” sign as a cover for a writing prompt for a “What are your thoughts today?” journal.
Whatever you decide to use the signs for, I hope you find them helpful.
Click on the link to view/download Student Road Signs
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“ I touch the future; I teach.” Ms. McAuliffe