A favorite book that many teachers read the first few weeks of school is Chicka Boom Boom. I wanted to dream up some new ideas, as many teachers also make a Welcome bulletin board with that theme, and gear several days around letter activities as well.
The first FREEBIE is entitled Trunk Tricks and has a variety of activities based around the trunk of a coconut tree.
I've seen others make painted handprints for fronds, which is cute, but sometimes messy and difficult, as well as time-consuming to do, especially if you're teaching a bunch of little ones all by yourself.
I decided to trace my handprints to see how they would turn out and I really liked the effect.
Have a room volunteer do the tracing and cutting for you, or send the green paper home and have parents do this step.
With the handprint portion out of the way, this adorable keepsake artwork can be whipped together in about 10 minutes.
For extra pizzazz, I used brown textured wallpaper for the trunk of my tree.
Brightly-colored foam letters also add that bit of 3-D pop and the student photo on the coconut makes it all the more precious.
In Trunk Tricks you can also make a Name Tree, a Vowel Tree, a Color Tree and a count by 10's to 100 Tree.
Any of these would make quick and easy bulletin boards: "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Look What The K's Did In Mrs. Henderson's Room!"
Make A Chicka Boom Name Tag:
This comparison not only involves various math extensions, but you can toss in some science exploration as well, by having a discussion with your students about what they think is inside the coconut etc.
Chicka Boom Envelope Letter Game:
There's nothing like a game to help students learn lessons. Children can play with a partner or in a group of 3.
You can make a class set of Chicka Boom trees, or allow each student to make their own "Chicka Boom Name Tree". Play the game several times in class and then let children take them home to enjoy with family.
Children glue construction paper to a sealed envelope making a trunk so that they can insert letters into the back of their tree's "pocket". Students roll a dice to determine how many letters they put in their envelope.
If they roll a 1 they take 1 letter out; if they roll a 6 they lose their turn.
Chicka Boom Popsicle Stick Puzzle:
I love making Popsicle stick puzzles. They are easy and inexpensive and fun for students to put together.
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"80% of success is showing up!" -Woody Allen
1-2-3 Make a Denim Tote Bag With Me!
I don't know about you, but I tote all kinds of things back and forth from school and I can never find a bag big or strong enough.
When I want to take my bag to the park, so I can get some fresh air while working, my pens, pencils, scissors and other supplies get lost at the bottom of the bag and I'm forever wasting time rummaging around looking for them.
There have also been many times where I'm lugging books and the strap breaks because the bag's too heavy, or the bottom seam gives out.
My solution: a sturdy denim bag, and it only cost me a dollar (!) because I bought a pair of old blue jeans at a garage sale!
This is how you can quickly and easily make one for yourself:
Click on the link for a copy of the directions and the photo. Blue Jean Tote Bag
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"Don't let the noise of other people's opinions, drown out your inner voice." -Steve Jobs
1-2-3 Come Make Some Banners With Me
More and more schools are telling teachers that they only want them to put up student-made bulletin boards that showcase their work, so I thought I’d take it a step farther and have student-made banners too.
I LOVE how festive a classroom and hallway look, when they are decorated to the nines with children’s “mess-terpieces.” As I’ve shared before, I have spent a small fortune on decorations for all of the seasons, months, and themes that I taught, so I like to design lots of FREEBIES so that you don’t have to.
A “Welcome” banner suspended from the ceiling in your room or hallway, is a wonderful way to greet children on their first day of school. I thought it would be fun for them to help create that banner by coloring it. A "full shot" of the banner, isn't that good, so I decided to just show the 1st pennant and the first letter in welcome, so you can still get an idea of how they look. The 1st and last pennants also come in black and white if you want your students to color them as well.
The first few days are often very hectic with all sorts of rules and regulations to go through, along with a lot of forms to fill out for each student. It’s nice to have an independent quiet activity little ones can do, so you are freed up to get some of that one-on-one stuff done.
Even if you have already started school, your students will enjoy having a part in decorating their classroom, making it look comfy with their special creations.
I have designed a color as well as a black and white version, of the cute “saying” pennant that starts your banner. (There are 3 "saying" options for the cow.) Because I’m all about things looking symmetrical, I suggest putting a duplicate at the end of the banner as well.
Run off and pass out the pennant pieces to your students. They color and cut them out. When everyone is done, gather on the carpet circle and put your banner together, spelling out the word “Welcome.” To add a bit more pizzazz you could tie ribbon bows inbetween each triangle.
So that you have enough pieces for each child, and your banner looks great from both sides, put the other set back-to-back. This will give you 16 total pennants. If you have more than 16 students in your class (At this point with budget cuts I think we can only dream of small class sizes.) make another banner for a total of 32 pieces.
This can be hung as one long streamer down the hall above your door, or as 2 separate banners across your classroom ceiling. If you don’t have that many students in your class, allow early finishers to color the extra pennant pieces. You could also do one.
Why not change your banner every now and then, as you switch themes. If you’d like me to whip together another themed-banner, simply shoot me an e-mail and I’ll see what I can do.
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“Our success multiplies each time we lead someone else to success.” –Susan Collins
1-2-3 Come Stack Apples With Me!
I like to combine a variety of skills and standards into one lesson, that way I'm covering quite a bit in a short amount of time. The "Apples Up on Top" Name Activity involves math, reading, science and writing, plus completed projects make an adorable back-to-school bulletin board!
For example, if you run off the apple printable on yellow, red and green construction paper, students can learn the science fact, that apples can be 3 different colors. You can also teach students an ABCABC pattern. I've included a graphing extension to cover that concept as well.
Click on the link to view/download the Apples Up On Top Name Activity.
To further reinforce lessons, whenever I read a story, some sort of activity followed. Dr. Seuss' (Theo. LeSieg's) book, Apples Up On Top is a wonderful first week of school book, as we are in full swing studying apples. After reading the story, ask your students who the main animal characters are. Run off the template that is appropriate for you, and have students choose one to color.
Print off the apples of your choice (plain red, numbered red, plain black & white, numbered black & white) for your students to (color), copy and glue "up on top" of their animal. When everyone is done, count to 10 forwards as well as backwards. There's also a graphing extension to see how many students chose a specific animal.
The printable can also be used as a dice game for older students. They choose a partner and take turns rolling first one die, for numbers 1-6, and then add a second die, enabling them to roll numbers 7-10, when they add the 2 together. I've included numbered strips for this game. The numbered strips are also good for preschoolers who are not able to sequence yet. This is great 1-to-1 correspondence for them.
Click on the link to view/download the Apples Up On Top With Animals Activity.
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"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." -Kahlil Gibran
1-2-3 Come Make A Back To School Icebreaker With Me
Even if you've already started school, it's still fun to do activities that help your new students learn about each other. Completed projects also make a cute bulletin board. If your boards are already filled, put some boarder on a hallway wall for an eye-catching display.
I LOVE owls, and by the looks of items available in stores, and PINS on Pinterest, I guess I'm certainly not alone. The word "owl" can be used for a variety of word plays, such as this "Owl" (all) about me activity.
Run off the template on white construction paper. Have students answer the numbered questions, by putting their short answers in the matching numbered areas of the books. The questions appear on the template.
Students color and cut out their owl, and share it with their classmates. Collect them and scatter across a bulletin board. I've included a large owl, with the questions inside, for you to use as the center of your board.
I like to use bright-colored material, burlap, or pin-dot wrapping paper as alternatives to plain b. board paper. To add more pizzazz to your students' work, give them wiggle eyes and a photo to glue to their creation.
Click on the link to view/download the It's Owl About Me Icebreaker.
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"When a person points a finger at someone else. they should remember that 3 are pointing back at them." -Louis Nizer