First Day Jitters Are OK and the Book is Adorable!
As promised here is the Common Core packet for First Day Jitters. As with If You Take A Mouse To School, it was requested by a lot of teachers.
These packets truly are a very simple, quick, and easy way to cover the Common Core State Standards: RI.K5,RI.K6,RI.K9,RI.K10,RL.K2, RL.K3,RL.K6, L.K1d, RI.1.9, RL.1.2, RL.1.3 in a short amount of time.
Your students will enjoy them, as they are empowered by the consistency in format.
The packet includes:
- A beginning-middle-end story map that will help students retell First Day Jitters
- A "favorite part" retelling "writing prompt" bookmark
- A compare and contrast Venn diagram with The Kissing Hand book
- Character, Setting and Event cards. (Laminate, put magnets on the back and put them up on your white board. Write down students' answers under the cards.)
- Question Words activity sheet, reinforcing the who, what, why, when, where, how words.
- Cover of book to label book parts + review author and illustrator
- Feelings worksheet and writing prompt
- Feelings graphing extension
- "Jitters" synonym discussion and worksheet
The "Feelings" worksheet is great for a September writing prompt, and the one covering synonyms is great for Daily 5 "Word Work".
Click on the link to view/download First Day Jitters Common Core packet.
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"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." - Woodrow Wilson
123 Come Color With Me!
One of the ways I counted up to 100 Day was with a cute gumball poster by Really Good Stuff. Each day I’d choose a quiet child to X off a gumball.
Because of this poster, I designed the “Wel-gum To our really sweet class” find your name skill sheet.
Learning how to recognize their name was one of my Y5’s report card standards, so we worked on this every day.
I made this worksheet a bit more special by including my last year’s school picture inside one of the gumballs.
When they found their name, I had them color the gumball their favorite FLAVOR, and then we graphed the results.
We discussed the difference between favorite flavor and favorite color, for many, this was their first introduction to graphing.
Everyone enjoyed learning something about their new friends.
This packet also includes 2 class books. One the children trace and write the sentence about their favorite color.
To make the book more special, include their school photo as well.
I also made a class color book, by including pictures cut out from magazines of things of the various colors.
Each child brought a color picture in on that particular color day, as well as wore the appropriate color.
I took a class picture each Friday and also included that in our color book.
This packet includes the letter home, a calendar + a poster for your parent-teacher conferences.
Click on the link to view/download Wel-gum packet.
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“Never be too big to ask questions. Never know too much to learn something new.” – Og Mandino
An Apple (Activity) A Day Keeps Boredom Away!
One of my favorite units that I did with my Y5’s was APPLES.
I think they really enjoyed it too, as visiting an apple orchard and picking 3 different kinds of apples was our first fieldtrip.
I feel it’s important to have lots of hands-on centers for little ones, to help them increase fine motor skills through cutting and gluing.
Doing centers helps with a variety of life skills and forces them to listen in order to follow directions.
As they become independent, they are empowered and their self-esteem soars.
Seeing their creations hung on our “Wall of Fame” in the hallway, also helped give them a sense of pride.
Knowing I was going to display their work, was a good incentive, to give their best effort.
Through art, I could also incorporate reading, writing, math, and science; sometimes all of them in one quick project, which covered a variety of report card standards.
The 92 – page Apple Art Projects Book has a large variety of activities in it and includes directions, patterns and pictures.
These make terrific center activities, something for students to do when they have completed other work, a nice home-school connection project to be given as homework, or something to tuck in your substitute folder.
The results are wonderful back to school bulletin boards, or hallway and door displays. Some can be suspended from the ceiling.
The crayon-melt apple poem was one of my favorites.
The poem introduced my students to rhyme; the rhyme taught them the science fact they needed to learn about apples; twisting the 3 color crayons through a sharpener was a terrific fine motor skill, and the result after I put a sheet of wax paper over their shavings and applied a warm iron was awesome!
I also reinforced the 3 colors with this rip and tear apple, which strengthened finger muscles as well.
Students enjoyed making the Life Cycle of an Apple on a paper plate, which was a quick and easy way to get some science in.
Click on the link to view/download the Apple Art Projects Packet.
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“We should say to each [child]: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique -- you may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven.
You have the capacity for anything!” –Pablo Casals
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
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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
Time To Try A Little Tenderness
Teaching students to be kind is a nice activity for the beginning of the school year when you are explaining your rules and implementing student behavior programs and contracts.
The Kindness Packet includes:
- The Kindness booklet
- A bookmark
- A kindness reminder poster
- The kindness pledge
- A Sticks & Stones poster
- Tips and ideas for kindness, including activities that go along with reading the book Chrysanthemum
- Motivational “caring hearts” when students are caught being kind.
- Pictures of children crying to use as discussion and writing prompts.
- A “synonyms for sad” skill sheet, to build vocabulary, so students can express their feelings +
- 2 certificates of praise
Click on the link to view/download the kindness packet.
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"We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future." -Franklin D. Roosevelt
It's All In A Name...
Part of the excitement of the first day of school for teachers, as well as the children, is meeting all of the new students! I try to make learning everyone’s name fun. So I do several activities that involve names. There are several report card standards that the Y5’s have that revolve around their name: being able to recognize it as well as write it, so they’re not only learning each other’s names, they are practicing standards. Woo-hoo for a first day win-win!
- To help my little ones recognize & write their name, I have name cards on the tables for them to copy.
- I also have a “table top” skill sheet each day involving “finding” their name on something.
- I just designed this new balloon heart.
- Simply fill in your students’ names to make one.
- Click on the link to view/print a copy. Heart-Balloon Name Pattern page
Have students sit in a circle.
Decide on a fun “movement pattern” like clap twice, pat knees twice.
For older students you can add snap fingers twice too.
Say the following after the movement:
_______________(child's name) ______________ (child's name)
How do you do?
Who's that sitting next to you?
Child says name of person sitting beside them.
Count to 3 slowly and if they don’t know then that child says their name.
- Apples are a big theme for us in September, so I just designed “You’re a smartie!” WELCOME apples.
- Run off my master on red construction paper.
- Make a template for the leaves and stems.
- Run the worms off on green construction paper.
- Cut everything out.
- Glue a Popsicle stick to the back of the worm.
- Write your students’ names with a black marker.
- Using an Exacto-knife, cut a slit in the top of the apple.
- Tape a pack of Smartie candies around the stick worm.
- Insert the worm in the slit in such a way so that the candy slides over the top of the apple, while the stick goes behind.
- Sprinkle them on the floor around the room and have them find them.
- To make it harder for older students, make puzzles out of the apples.
- After you finish making them, cut them in zig zag diagonals so that part of their name is missing. They will have a top-left, and a bottom-right apple piece.
- As with any candy treat that I give my students, I preface it with: “This is for you to take home.”
- To ease the disappointment a bit, I’ll have one Smartie candy as a reward for everyone when they find their apple.
- Click on the link to view/print the patterns. Smartie Name Apple
- I make word finds all through the year of our word wall words and special vocab words each month.
- This increases all sorts of skills and helps reinforce recognition of whatever words we are working on.
- Making a word find of your students' names is especially fun for them, and is something that can keep them occupied while you do that endless list of administrative chores that has to get done on the first day.
This is also a fun and easy “busy activity” while you’re doing those crazy little “have-to-get-done’s”, or assessing to see where children are at.
- Children write the letters of their name in the boxes and color the vowels their favorite color and the rest their second favorite color.
- A pattern emerges.
- When they are done they pick a partner.
- (You can use one of my many fun partner ideas from 2 previous articles)
- Students compare their interesting art.
- Collect and put up on the wall for a quick and pretty first-day hallway display!
- Click on the link to view/print the name pattern page.
I hope you got some name ideas to use for back-to-school.
Do you have a name tip that you’d like to share?
Getting-To-Know-You Via A Glyph! A Fun Icebreaker For Back-To-School!
Since some schools start back-to-school in the beginning of August (The Charter School across the street from me goes back August 6th!) I wanted to post a few ideas you could do with your students the 1st week, that would be fun as a “get-to-know” your new friends idea.
This is also something fun to do with your own children as a summer activity or to plug in if you home school.
Bio-glyphs are simply glyphs about yourself. It's a great way to learn information about your new students and for them to make friends in a fun way.
Run off a copy of my masters and then read the bio-glyph to the kids.
Draw the “kinds” of hair, noses, eyebrows, mouths, ears, and cheeks on your white board as you read them one at a time, so that if they apply to the child they can copy them on their paper.
If you are doing this with older students who can read, simply run off a copy of my master glyph and pass it out to them.
Revamp my glyph to make this easier and simpler to fit the age of your students or the time you have allowed.
Make sure you do one for yourself so you have an example. The ones in the photograph are mine and my husband Daniel's. He's a wonderful guinnea pig and sport, who is great for bouncing ideas off of.
As a fun extension, you can number and post the completed bio-glyphs, along with the key, in the hallway so that they flip up.
Have students write their names on the BACK of their glyph in such a way so that when a person flips them up, they can read their name.
For added fun, put a real photograph (1st day of school picture) of the student on the wall, under the glyph.
You could also have them become detectives and make it a "solve the bio-glyph mystery game."
Set a timer. Give students a certain amount of time to ask questions of their new friends to help them try and figure out which bio-glyph belongs to whom.
Have them write down their answers on the sheet provided.
You can award a prize to the person who has the most correct. This is a fun way for students to learn about each other and a great ice breaker.
Or… you can simply have each child come up and share their bio-glyph with the class by explaining it.
Click on the link to view/download the Bio-Glyph Packet.
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Be sure and pop back tomorrow for a fun back-to-school Cookie Glyph
"The sure way to teach easily and successfully, is to awaken interest and kindle enthusiasm." -Tyron Edwards