A Simple Trick To Get Kids Excited For The First Day Of School
I think that if students count down the days til school starts, they have an opportunity to get excited.
It's also a "teachable moment" for parents to work on numbers, counting, and introducing a calendar or how to keep track of time.
A fun and inexpensive gift that helps you do that, that you can quickly make and pass out at your Open House is something that I just dreamed up.
Our Open House is the week before school starts, which is wonderful, because it gave me a chance to meet my students and help dispel any fears they might have.
Whip these kits together and toss the Baggies in a basket.
Set them on a table with A Special Gift For My Students Take One sign.
Click on the link to view/print one.
Making these "count down necklaces" help students count, use their fine motor skills, review all of the basic colors, follow a color pattern, + get excited about coming to school as they count down the days!
My Y5’s also had to learn to count backwards from 10-0 as a report card standard. (I call this blasting off.) This is simply another fun way of doing that.
What a nice keepsake for them to have of this special time in their life!
Here's how to make the necklace kits:
Click on the link to print the back-to-school necklace poem.
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Be sure and check back tomorrow for another easy countdown idea that not only nails report card standards, but helps get your students excited about school, as it chases away any anxiety first-timers may be feeling!
Do you have a back-to-school tip that you'd be willing to share with us? I'd enjoy hearing from you: email@example.com
"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn, is hammering on a cold iron." -Horace Mann
Last summer 123 Count With Me By The Sea launched with our website, to rave reviews.
Students enjoy counting the seashells and then X-ing off that many squares, putting in stickers, or dabbing the boxes with a bingo dot marker.
I have been using this bingo-dot concept with my Y5’s for over 10 years on skill sheets, as well as “find and circle the number in the sequence of numbers.” Both these techniques are fun ways for students to learn numbers.
As with the seashell booklet, many of my booklets also have a cut and glue the group/set of objects to the matching box in your booklet.
This helps reinforce counting, one-to-one correspondence, matching groups of objects and numbers, as well as having students refine their fine motor skills.
Several subscribers asked for more of these counting booklets as they cover a variety of standards, skills and subjects.
Students can do them independently in 5-8 minutes so they can be plugged in for Daily 5, centers, or something for students to work on, at their own pace, when they have completed other work.
They also make wonderful “Easy Readers” that help reinforce word wall words and build self-esteem.
You can also tuck them in a take home folder for “homework” or a home-school connection; or for parents to work on with a struggling child. They are perfect for a substitute as well.
I made 123 Count With Me booklets for each of them and plan to make at least 4 for every month.
October’s counting booklets will be leaves, pumpkins, bats, spiders and candy corn.
To celebrate the launch of the 123 Count With Me booklets I designed a special counting booklet that has a similar format.
It’s entitled: The Students On The Bus.
This one is more of a keepsake, because students glue their own photo on the first bus and then 14 of their friends’ school pictures on the next 4 buses.
Teachers simply print their class composite on the photo setting of their copier for each student.
The last page is made extra special as well, when the teacher glues their picture over the driver’s face before running it off.
Click on the link to view/print The Students On The Bus back-to-school booklet.
Why not become a subscriber and be able to download all of the 123 Count With Me booklets (There will be approximately 40!) Click on the link to see how.
Do you have a counting idea that works for you? I’d enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember…commenting or sharing an idea are 2 ways to enter our back-to-school-button bracelet CONTEST! Click on the link for all the details.
LIKE us on Facebook and link this article and then e-mail to let me know, and there you have another way! Thanks for participating.
This article will go towards next week's winner, which will be announced Monday August 8th instead of Friday the 5th.
Check out this week's winners in the article after this one.
Simple scroll down! (We had 3 winners!)
Be sure to pop in this week for back-to-school idea #28 and make an adorable Alligobbler to help your students understand the concepts of less than and greater than.
1-2-3 Count Up To 100-Day With Me!
I always like to repost the Zero The Hero packet (a super popular download) at the end of July, as teachers are thinking about back to school. It's a whopping 171 pages (!) and an oldie but goodie for "Throw Back Thursday".
I start keeping track of how many days we'd been in school that very first day. A counting up to 100-Day idea, that is a “must have” for me, is Zero The Hero. He is a fun vehicle for incorporating all sorts of math skills.
I designed an entire packet around Zero, including a friend named Zippy, who would allow teachers to toss in a little geography.
There just never seems to be enough time in the day for everything, and geography is one of those “things” that my students needed a bit more of.
Zippy is a quick, fun and easy solution, as he travels to places around the world that begin with the letters O and Z.
Celebrate every 10th day by making a page in your Zero the Hero book.
What a great keepsake to take home on 100 Day, and interesting way to learn how to count by 10's.
Students put 10 reinforcement holes on their number. (I use these instead of stickers because they are really inexpensive, but you could switch things up if you wanted to. )
This is a nice fine-motor and counting skill + each child will then have 100 “zero-stickers” in their booklet on the 100th Day of school when they complete their last page!
Students will also enjoy zipping around the world to interesting O and Z places with Zippy.
The passport is sure to be a huge hit, complete with travel and award stickers.
Included are: clue sheets, notes, and an
“I Wonder Where Zippy Is?” Guessing-Poster.
Students will have fun learning about the various places as they work with parents to find and bring in an interesting fact in their "home-school" connection assignment.
Follow up their adventures, by locating places on your classroom map.
Make a Zero the Hero count by 5’s slider and a Zippy count by 10’s slider to review skip counting and identify numbers.
Various activities reinforce a variety of report card standards and are sequential and repetitious, so that students know what to do.
Because of this, kids are empowered and are able to do these as independent center activities, which are great for Daily Five or other “no hassle” centers.
For example, on the 30th day of school, students bingo dot their skill sheet and then graph their cup of 30 Froot Loops. Afterwards, they can make a necklace out of the brightly colored cereal or eat it.
Students keep everything in a folder and have a wonderful keepsake to take home on the 100th day of school.
Click on the link to see sample pages from this 171-page unit and then download it.
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Thanks for visiting. Feel free to PIN anything you think others might find helpful.
Do you have an activity that you do for Open House? I'd enjoy hearing from you. email@example.com or leave a comment here. Thanks in advance!
I hope you can stop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
"Use what talent you possess: The world would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." -Henry Van Dyke
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly...) So everyone can keep smiling!
Our principal required that each teacher have a handbook for their classroom. I included mine in my Open House packet. Click on the link to view/print all of my handy handbooks.
When I first started teaching elementary, I was coming in as a high school teacher. It was difficult for me to “dream up" all of the handbooks and handouts that were required for the beginning of school.
That’s why I post them all on my website. I was grateful to Stephanie, a Y5 teacher, who lent me her handbook so I had a skeleton to start with!
Hopefully mine will jumpstart your brain and you can tweak them anyway you want; at least you're not reinventing the wheel and hopefully this will be a real time saver for you, especially if you are a beginning teacher.
I find all too often tho’ that parents are inundated with “paper mountain” from the school and have little time to read “everything”, so I made up this cute little ABC checklist to cover my main points and send it home with my students the first day of school. I feel that “short and sweet” is more apt to be read.
You can tweak mine to fit your needs. To help you do that, I’ve included one that has some of the information blank for you to type, cut and paste.
You can send this home the first day, tuck in your Welcome to school summer letter/packet, or your Open House packet.
Click on the link to view/print My ABC’s Of School Info Sheet
I hope this helps you get YOUR personal “paper mountain” of back-to-school “stuff” into a mole hill!
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"The really great man is the man who makes every man feel great." -G.K. Chesterton
Do Yourself and Your Students A Favor and Give Them A Notebook!
This is tip #17 & my 100th blog article! We will be celebrating our 1st-year anniversary at the end of next month!
You can click on the writing notebook ideas separately or click on the entire packet at the end. Enjoy!
My young Fives will see a writing notebook all too soon as they progress through the elementary grades, but to get one at this age is really a big deal.
Since most of the chain supply stores and even Target, have them as huge loss leaders in August for their back-to-school sales, I can pick them up for as little as .10 cents, so for the small investment of $2.00, I can light up the faces of 20 children in a few seconds!
For a few dollars you can use a notebook for a variety of writing skills for your students.
Mine is at the introductory level of simply practicing how to write their name.
Get parents on board and work as a team and you will definitely see improvement.
I buy an assortment of colors and give them a choice. It doesn’t matter that they don’t stay on the lines. What I want them to do is just practice holding a pencil, crayon or whatever they can take delight in holding, and practice writing their name once each night. I want it to be fun, not a hassle.
You can see the “My Writing Notebook” sticker in the photo. I print these off on large Avery labels on my printer to add a bit of pizzazz.
Each time they bring their notebook in to be checked they get to pick out several stickers to decorate the front of their notebook as an incentive to bring them back.
Since writing their name on everything we do in class can be labor intensive, I need parental help in getting these little ones over the hump ASAP and the notebook has been key in accomplishing that.
Their hands “poop out” or “run out of gas” as one of my students so adorably put it!
The notebook is a great At-Home connection and is easy, quick and fun, especially if parents buy some glitter or gel pens or some goofy or wiggly fun pen to make writing time more exciting.
I include due dates in my newsletters as well as post them on my monthly calendar.
Students get an award certificate for a great-completed notebook and a trip to the treasure box.
To practice verbally expressing themselves, I have them share their favorite page of their notebook with their classmates.
Parents often ask me: “How can I help my child learn how to write?” So I typed up a list of fun things they can do to help strengthen their muscles. I tuck this list in the notebook. Click on the link to view/print hand-muscle building tip list. I also include a diagram of how to hold a pencil correctly.
The other thing I tuck in the notebook is a tracing guide of the alphabet. Click on the link to view/print the alphabet-writing guide.
I include a letter explaining the notebook to parents and asking for their help. If you’d like to see mine, to use it as a guide to tweak and develop your own, click on the link.
Since I started using the notebooks I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in my students’ penmanship, muscle coordination, and self-esteem.
What used to take me ‘til the middle of November with some of my little ones is now accomplished by the beginning or middle of October. Some really diligent students (and parents) who had no preschool, are set by the end of September.
If you have older students, decide what you want the notebooks to be used for, and make it a daily or weekly writing assignment that is simple, short and fun, so they will WANT to write. I give my college students ideas for them to journal about in their notebooks each week.
The notebooks can be kept in their desks to work on during free time, or kept at home like a “secret diary”.
I hope this idea is one that you can use and gets you excited to plan for your new class.
A quick and easy handwriting activity for you to do the first day of school is simply a Welcome To School "Trace & Write" Click on the link to view/print several different kinds.
If you want the entire writing notebook packet click on the link to view/print it.
Staples started their back-to-school penny sales this week. Click on the link to check out the deals! Every week they offer new things so start watching for the notebooks to go on sale! Staples allow teachers to buy 25 of their penny items here in MI. I imagine that would be a National thing.
Calendar Paper Chain
Young children have a difficult time grasping calendar concepts especially the concept of time.
My students were forever asking: "When is the party, fieldtrip, or other special day?”
To help them actually VISUALIZE this, I designed a calendar extension called our Monthly Paper Chain.
Here’s how to make one:
Until next time…
Themed Ideas Continues With Trains & Apples
We’re On Track & Chugging Our Way To 100-Day!
Do you have a back-to-school activity you’d like to share?
I’d enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Using A Theme To Count Up To 100-Day
Having a theme in place is a fun way to manage what you’ll do on 100-Day. I have several suggestions in this two-part article to help get you thinking.
We're Wiggling Our Way To 100 Day!