Name Cards As Inexpensive Teaching Tools!
I loved name cards when I taught Y5’s. They were perfect for a variety of things.
I laminated them so that they lasted longer, and because they were double, I had extra sets because I didn't stand them up as a tent card.
Being able to recognize their name was a report card standard and surprisingly many little ones came to me not knowing how to identify their name.
Besides placing them on the tables in the morning, so students knew where they sat for that day, and scattering them on the floor so they could “find themselves” as a fun identification game, I also rubber banded a set and put them in my library book crate.
When students brought their book back, they looked for their name card and stuck it in their book.
My 4-year-olds, often forgot which book they brought back by the time the end of the week rolled around and it was our turn to go to the library.
The long cards would stick out, so I simply flipped the book open to see who I needed to hand it to.
It was also another chance for them to reinforce identifying their name.
Because notebooks are offered as loss leaders in most major Office Supply Stores during the summer, I can pick up a “writing notebook” for my students to practice writing their name in for as little as 10 cents! I also tucked a name card in this notebook as well.
When The Dollar Store started carrying name cards, you can imagine my joy! I kept a pack by my rocking chair and used them as flashcards.
I'd flash a name for only a few seconds. If it was your name on the card you had so many seconds to raise your hand and claim it. I also used that pack as a fair way to choose students as my reading helpers. I'd fan them out face down and have students select cards and read who would get to do whatever.
I’ve seen the “informational” name cards that I revamped in the photo above, produced by a variety of companies, and thought I’d whip up my own version.
I made two lines so you can write your students’ names, but I also included another line, so you can use the cards for name writing practice.
That way, the cards will make a quick & easy way for you to whole-group assess writing standards (How students hold a writing utensil, if they make their letters top down, if students are right-handed etc.) without using paper. Simply have students use a dry erase marker, which my kiddo’s LOVED using!
I’ve also printed the cards, so that you can make copies, so you can fold them and use them as a tent with names on both sides, or with skip counting and 3-D shape information on the other side.
If you’re like me, and lay the cards flat, I’ve made an extra double-page set of the skip counting card, so you can use that as a practice tool if you want too.
You can also have students play “I Spy” the shape, letter or number and have students point to the various thing that you want to practice, as a quick and easy game or fill in, when you have a few minutes of time to kill.
I've also printed the vowels in green, so students can easily differentiate them from the consonants, for another teachable moment.
Click on the link to view/download Informational Name Cards
I hope you and yours, enjoy these as they brighten your day!
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“Success is the sum of small efforts-repeated day in and day out.” –Robert Collier
A popular saying with students is, “That rocks.” Not sure where it came from, but if you tell a child that they rock, it will definitely build their self-esteem, and letting them know that the new grade that they are now entering rocks too, will hopefully get them excited to be there.
I went a bit slap happy downloading a bunch of fonts one day, thinking of all the “way cool” things I could do with them. “JF Rock” was one of them I just “had to have!”
I designed a “rockin’’” trace and write alphabet as well as a counting numbers 0-10 booklet, with praise certificates, to reward your students with.
As a fun back to school treat, run off the “You Rock” bookmarks, include your students’ name at the end and lay them atop a package of Pop Rocks.
They sell them 3 packs for a buck at The Dollar Store, in 3 yummy flavors. You could also dump them in a basket and offer students a choice, as an incentive when they complete their first day of morning activities.
I’ve also made _________________ grade rocks, bookmarks as well. These can be colored with neon markers or crayons, for a quick and quiet activity, while you’re involved with whatever, on that busy first day.
Make these a bit more special and wrap them around a pencil with a fat eraser. All of the Office Supply Stores offer a kajillion super deals on packages of pencils and erasers in August.
Anyway….I hope your new bunch of kids really rocks your world, in a positive way, and that this is your best year yet!
Have fun with these things and thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN anything from my sight you feel others might find worthwhile.
Click on the link to view/download the School Rocks Packet
"Education sows not seeds in you, but makes your seeds grow!"- Kahlil Gibran
A Is For Acorns and Apples!
A fun way to have your students work on upper and lowercase letters is to make mini ABC booklets.
I designed these with some free fonts that I found on the Internet.
I liked ABC booklets that had a simple sentence to go along with the letter, so that I could start my students along the paths of reading.
The words is and for are part of the Dolch word list, so via repetition, students will soon easily recognize them.
The picture clue will help children figure out the last word, so their self esteem will skyrocket when they can take a completed booklet home to share with their family.
Students trace and write the upper and lowercase letters. I printed 4-pages on one page, to save on paper and to make just-my-size mini booklets for students to cut apart and sequence.
This will make a nice number sequencing skill for them. I’ve also included a cover and a complete upper and lowercase alphabet set of letters, that they trace for the last page.
Students who complete their booklets early, can go back and color their favorite pages.
When everyone is done, read the booklet as a whole group, to reinforce concepts of print. This way, students will enjoy sharing their ABC easy reader, with their family, reinforcing lessons learned at school.
Click on the link to view/download A is for Acorn Alphabet Easy Reader.
Click on this link to view/download A is for Apple Alphabet Easy Reader.
Watch for more Alphabet Easy Readers in the future too!
Do you have an alphabet tip you’d like to share? I’d enjoy hearing from you. email@example.com or leave a comment here. Sharing is a wonderful thing!
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“The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.” -Unknown
ABC Come Teach With Me! Featuring A Letter and Number A Day In A Filmstrip!
Filmstrip Fun is another way to review letters and numbers with your students. It's that "something different" you may be looking for.
Print off and laminate the “Today’s Featured Letter” and “Number” posters. If you do a letter a day, make this part of your calendar routine and put these posters close by.
You can also display the complete upper and lowercase alphabet under their header cards, as well as the numbers.
I’ve provided upper and lowercase letters + numbers 0-10 for you to run off and laminate. To make things quick and easy, use Velcro dots to attach them.
Run off extra sets so that your students can play Memory Match Concentration games as well as “I Have; Who Has?”
Make copies of the upper and lowercase bookmarks for each student.
Have children “spy” the various letters with a filmstrip “spy glass”.
To make them, cut out the center rectangles on the filmstrips with an Exacto knife and then run the sheet through the laminator.
Cut the “spy glasses” out in sections of 2 so that the filmstrip on the bottom can be trimmed and used as a gluing tab. (See photo.)
I used a large glue dot to adhere the “window” to a Popsicle stick. Write students’ names on with a black permanent marker.
When students pass the various report card standards for letters and numbers reward them with an “I’ve Been Framed!” certificate.
Make a copy of your class composite and glue each student’s photo to the filmstrip mini-frame.
Write their name under the congratulations word and then sign and date the certificate.
I hope you enjoy Filmstrip Fun and having one more way to review letters and numbers with your sweeties!
Click on the link to view/download the Filmstrip Fun packet.
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“To praise is an investment in happiness!” -George M. Adams
ABC: Come Teach With Me!
I’ve been taking one-on-one computer classes at the Apple store and loving it!
I’ve been focusing on learning lots of new things with Pages a software program for MAC’s, that my husband bought me to help make my documents “cooler” than what I can manage in Word.
Since a big part of learning to read and write revolves around the knowledge of the alphabet and since I themed everything I did in Young Five’s, I wanted to make alphabet cards for each month, that teachers can use in a variety of ways, to keep students interested in letter study.
This is especially important since all but a few states have now adopted Common Core Standards.
These cards will help you pass that all important English Language Arts Reading Standard: Concepts of Print: Foundational Skills: 1d: "Students will recognize all of the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet."
For some students that takes an entire year; you need to make that interesting, fun and different. These cards will help add the necessary variety.
Let’s face it, things can get rather boring if you haul out the same graphics each day, but switch the pictures to match the month or theme you’re studying and the children seem to perk right up, simply because it’s “different”.
I’ve also included a tip list of a variety of things you can do with the cards, including games you can play.
One of the things I did was have a seasonal bulletin board with two huge bears. One was a girl, the other a boy. I dressed them in appropriate clothing that I changed for the 4 seasons.
I sprinkled my alphabet cards around the bears in order at first, so it wasn’t that difficult to figure out what letter was missing. Later, when my kiddo’s knew the alphabet, I’d mix up the letters so the game was a bit more difficult.
It was their job each morning to figure out what letter the bears had hidden. They LOVED this game, it only took a few minutes, and it really got them to examine the letters. Afterwards, run through the alphabet, or sing the ABC song as a quick way to review.
I’ve included a blank set of cards in case you also want to make number cards or even program your spelling list or student names.
The other thing you can do in the hallway, is put up a large oak tree with just branches.
This is easy enough to paint on bulletin board paper with brown paint. I’ve also seen them made by twisting brown tissue paper, or brown bags from the grocery story.
You can also buy a big tree, as a large fold out poste at most teacher stores for around $10.
Hang the apples up for September and then decorate the tree with the other alphabet shapes for the other months.
While students are waiting in the hall to go out to recess, lunch, or standing in line for bathroom/drink breaks etc. you can use it for “teachable moments” for all sorts of letter-question games.
I’ve made 11 sets of alphabet letters. There is a set for each month (September through May, + a set of leaves and a set of dinosaurs.)
I've included separate sets for uppercase letters as well as lowercase letters, so you can make Memory Match Concentration games, play "I Have; Who Has?" with them, or have students put them in sequential order, spell their names, spell words and do all kinds of other activities that you'll find on a a list that I've included in the packets.
Click on the link to go to my ABC Section (page 2) of the shopping cart.
Scroll down ‘til you see the first set: Alphabet Acorns and then click on which ever set you’d like to download. You'll have to click on page 3 to get the last set for spring Tulips.
If there’s another themed set you’d like to have, simply shoot me an e-mail and I’ll see what I can do. firstname.lastname@example.org
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“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how.” -Anonymous
Anchor Charts That Help Teach!
I LOVE making and using anchor charts!
A collection of similar ones make an instant bulletin board, single ones help decorate your room, and all of them give valuable information in a nutshell or remind students at a glance what to do, or how to do something.
They are also a wonderful teaching tool, as you can refer to them as a “checklist” before students begin their work, or remind them to refer to the charts before they ask you a question.
For example, a popular set of anchor charts is the Six Traits of Writing. As students begin their work, review the steps.
When they have completed their work, go through the posters again, asking the students the various questions. If they haven't answered "YES!" to all of them, then they aren't ready to hand in their paper.
Click on the link to view/download the Six Traits of Writing anchor charts
This collection also makes a great writing bulletin board. Simply place the posters on 6 rainbow-colored sheets of construction paper, laminate them and then staple them kittywhompus on a black background. Edge the board with a pencil border.
You can suspend some cut outs of pencils, pens, erasers, and paper from fishline, just above the board. Wahla! Instant b. board, that students can refer to all year long. If you don't have a bulletin board, simply put the black paper on a bare wall and frame it with the boarder.
"Said is dead; use these words instead!" has also been a very popular anchor chart. This too, could be part of your writing wall.
click on the link to view/download Said is Dead anchor chart.
I’ve spent the last week creating a variety of anchor charts that I think you’ll find helpful.
The above are about writing, but I also have ones for math as well as other subjects. A popular math set of anchor charts has been the addition and subtraction set.Click on the link to view/download addition-subtraction anchor charts.
I’ve also gotten permission from several new clip artists to use their work, so I think you’ll be delighted with the graphics as well.
I will continue to make anchor charts through the summer. If there is a chart you’d like for your classroom, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll see what I can do. email@example.com
I find that if one teacher needs it, there are lots more who will be happy someone asked!
When you pop back to see what’s new, to view all of the anchor charts and posters, click on the classroom management apple on my home page and then click on anchor charts.
To view the charts for today, click on this quick anchor chart link. Scroll down and choose whatever charts and posters you like. Enjoy.
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Do you have an anchor chart that you can’t live without? Post a comment and link here! We’d enjoy hearing from you.
"A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles." -Washington Irving
Final Winner Of Our Back-To-School Button Bracelet Blog Contest
Drum Roll Please...
Congratulations to the winner of this week's Back-To-School-Bracelet BLOG contest: pre-school teacher Bridgett, from the state of Texas.
Thanks to everyone who subscribed, bought something, commented, registered, or told a friend.
For complete details about the CONTEST, click on the link.Our back-to-school contest has now ended!
Can you believe how fast August went?I hope everyone has their best year ever and that your students are terrific!
Fun First-Day-Of-School Treat Bags
If you have the time, and want to whip together something special, I designed a really easy, brown lunch bag-owl, which takes just a few minutes to put together.
If you own circle punches things will go even faster. Even if you don’t want to make these as a treat bag, they make a fun and easy art project for your students.
Have them stuff their lunch bag with tissue. Children could write: Whooo is wise? on the owl’s tummy. When they flip up the bag it can say: __________ (child’s name) that’s whoooo!
If you want to skip filling a bag with treats, but would still like to do something, you can buy some M&M’s, Reese's Pieces, or Skittles in bulk at Sam’s Club, fill the tiny Baggies they sell at Hobby Lobby etc. and staple the Baggie to my owl card.
I also found teachers that simply put an apple on their students' desks with an apple die-cut note attached that said: “WELCOME! You are the apple of my eye.” How about a golden delicious apple with a note that says: “Wishing you a golden year filled with delicious learning!”
OR… how about cutting out construction paper apples, punch a hole in the side, make a slit to the hole and slide a candy bracelet through so it looks a bit like a worm. Write your students’ names on the apples + “A sweet treat for a neat student!”
OR… how about an orange or a small snack Baggie with 3 candy orange slices, with a note that says: “Orange you glad you’re in _____________________ grade! Wishing you a sweet year!”
OR… a bag of peanuts (making sure no one has allergies) that says: “ I hope you’ll go simply nuts over all of the exciting lessons we’ll be studying this year!”
OR…a bag of microwave popcorn (They sell individual treat-bag size packages) attach a note that says: “Poppin’ by with a friendly first-day Hi, to wish you a terrific school year!” You could list that month’s popcorn words on the back.
One Florida teacher gives her students water bottles with flip up caps. They decorate their bottles with markers & stickers, and re-fill them for the entire month. They keep them in their desk so they stay hydrated all day.
Because my first science unit was dinosaurs, I had a basket filled with multi-colored dinosaurs sitting on the table.
My students got to choose one when they completed their tabletop lesson. That’s a big thrill for them, as well as an incentive to stay focused and finish their first day’s lesson.
Click on the link to view/download Owl Treat Bags
I also revamped a Lucky Charms note that was posted a zillion ways on the Internet. Simply buy a box of Lucky Charms for your kiddo's to munch & crunch and include this sweet note.
Click on the link to view/download Lucky Charm Treat Bag Note.
I also have a cute treat bag note that I made up for some easy and inexpensive treat bags.
Click on the link to view/download Treat Bag Note.
For other treat bag ideas, including bags for reading and writing, click on the link to download the Treat Bag Idea packet.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope your year is as sweet as the treats you give your students!
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Hope you can stop in tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
"Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand." -Chinese Proverb
It’s In The Bag!
There are pro’s and con’s about giving students a treat bag on the first day of school.
I LOVE making up little surprises for my students.
They are 4 or 5 and I think if I have a little something waiting for them on their desk it makes school especially fun for them.
When I taught other grades I did treat bags. My students could read the note, so they understood the symbolism behind some of the things I tucked in their bags.
The adorable treat bag pictured above was designed by Amanda. Her back-to-school snack consists of: Captain Crunch Treasures, Vanilla Yogurt Dipped Raisins and M&M's. Click on the link to visit her blog.
I used to make up a Reading Survival Kit as well as a Writing First Aid Kit and tucked the Baggies in my 1st , 2nd & 3rd grader’s desks at different times during the beginning of the year. They were thrilled. I ordered some of the things in the reading kit from Fun Express.
Click on the links to view/print them.
I also made a very simple treat bag, with just a few things in it and tucked a brief message in the Baggie for them to read on their first day of school.
Click on the link to view/print my first day of school treat bag.
I also found a cute Lucky Charms treat bag online that many teachers were doing. There were several different notes so I revamped one and made it my own.
For a sweet and easy treat, simply fill a small Baggie with the cereal, fold my note and attach it to the outside of the bag.
Click on the link to view/print the Lucky Charms treat bag.
When I started teaching Y5’s I opted to do a treasure box for open house instead, because the first day is rather hectic when I’m all by myself with as many as 19 four-year-olds, who may want to rip open a treat bag, even when I instruct them to take it to their locker to open at home.
I’ve had inquiries about treat bags, so I wanted to write a blog article and give you some ideas. I did a little research and found a plethora of Google listings for treat bags.
I compiled an alphabetical list of goodies teachers have tucked in their bags, as well as the symbolism behind them.
Click on the link to view/print the treat bag list and then pick and choose what you’d like to include and design your own treat bag.
Some teachers fill a large cup with goodies, some tuck their treats in Ziploc Baggies, and others use colored lunch bags.
Then there are those crafty teachers who design extra special bags.
One creative person made cute busses and hot-glued white buttons on the black wheels. (Adorable!)
So if you've got the time to be crafty... Click on the link to check out her bus treat bag YouTube video.
Because I like to tuck notes and special treats into several of my teacher friend's mailboxes, I made up a little treat bag for them as well.
Click on the link to view/print the teacher treat bag note.
Be sure and check back tomorrow for my quick and easy owl treat bags made from a lunch bag, as well as some other quick and easy ideas to make that first day special!
If you have one to share, I’d enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Blasting Off To The First Day Of School
As I stated in the last article, counting down the last 10 days 'til school starts is a wonderful way to get children excited about going to school.
It also provides an opportunity to talk about this special time in their lives and dispel any fears or anxieties first timers may have.
Being able to actually SEE time going by helps a child. Unlike adults, children don't really have a concept of time yet.
This is why the paper chain that I hung up in my classroom is such a successful learning tool for children, as well as a terrific patterned decoration.
You may want to make a two-color, 10-link paper chain and hang it up in your child's room.
When they go to bed at night, let them tear off a link. When the last link is gone, they will be going to school the next day.
You can write a little note on that link and tuck it in their pocket or lunch box. "I love U" using a drawn heart for the word love is a great note, or simply a smilie face will recall the paper chain memories and time with you.
From my 1st class of Y5's, I always included a countdown page in my summer welcome letter.
Counting from 10 - 0 is one of our report card standards so I thought this would be a fun way to introduce that concept and get my students excited for their first day.
I designed 8 additional ones, so that you would have a selection to choose from. I tried to think of the various themes teachers cover in August-September that are popular with children.
There's an apple, baseball/bat, butterfly, caterpillar, crayons, dinosaur, frog and ladybug.
Click on the link to view/download 20 pages of Fun Countdowns.
If you have others you would like to see, please drop me a line and I will add them to my design list. I really enjoy hearing from my readers. email@example.com
Thanks for visiting. I hope you can stop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
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"Keep your eyes open and your feet moving and ou'll find what you need." -Unknown