Instead Of An Apple For The Teacher, How About An Apple FROM the Teacher?
Yikes! It's July 19th; how'd that happen? Every year summer zooms by like no other season. I feel like I was just blogging about end-of-the year activities, and now my wheels are spinning dreaming up stuff for fall!
Seeing all of the adorable back-to-school displays, certainly puts one in the mood and generates excitement for the wonderful loss-leaders and discounts on school supplies. Nothing like the smell of a brand new box of crayons to get the energy and creative juices flowing.
One of my favorite summer projects, was putting together treat bags for my Y5's first day, or dreaming up some other little gift that would make them feel special and welcome. Since I often taught two alternating classes (40+ total kiddos), I looked for something quick and easy on the budget.
We have lots of apples here in Michigan, and all sorts of orchards surrounding my school, so I did all kinds of activities with an apple theme. One of my Y5's favorite snacks was dipping apple slices in caramel.
Since an apple is super-healthy, I thought it would be a wonderful alternative to the usual treat bags or candy for a first day gift. (Less time consuming too!)
Cyber space never lets me down. I found this cute poem on Pinterest. Amy, over at Positively Splendid came up with this sweet gift tag that she attached to the front of her apple. She made this as a gift for her son's teacher. Click on the link to grab her FREEBIE.
I revamped her poem and included a ladybug in mine. Simply run the leaves off on green construction paper, trim and tape a toothpick to the back, so you can simply poke it into the top of the apple. Wahla! Your gift is done.
Besides the poem leaves, I also have sets where I added: "Welcome to (preschool, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade)!" to the bottom of the leaves. To make things more personal, sign the back or bottom of the leaf.
For that finishing touch, add a ladybug sticker. If you don't have any on hand, I've included 8 different ladybugs that you can print, trim and glue onto your leaves.
There's a set of little ones for the smaller leaves, as well as a larger size, if you want to make the big over-sized leaves. Click on the link to view/download the 1st Day Apple Treat.
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Wishing you an "apple-icious" rest of the summer. I'm off to hit some garage sales with my daughter. Woo hoo!
"If an apple blossom or a ripe apple could tell its own story, it would be the story of the sunshine that smiled upon it, of the winds that whispered to it, of the birds that sang around it, of the storms that visited it, and of the motherly tree that held it and fed it until its petals were unfolded and its form developed." -Lucy Larcom
1-2-3 Come Make Open House Extra Special With Me
Each year for my Open House, as well as parent-teacher conferences, I put up a small table, covered it with a seasonal tablecloth and set a basket of mints on it, along with a sign that said: "Families Are Worth A Mint! Help yourself."
While doing research on the web, I came across a variety of similar ideas, including this adorable poem that was all over Pinterest in various forms.
There was no link to who the original writer was, so I decided to jazz this sweet sentiment up, with a bit of clip art and my original saying.
Add a bit more color by mounting the poster on construction paper, then laminate and file away in a folder to use each year. This is a really inexpensive way to express your appreciation, as The Dollar Store sells bags of mints year round and you can pick up all sorts of little baskets at garage sales.
For that finishing touch, and to draw attention to your basket, I've included some large mint patterns, so you can reproduce my entire display pictured in the photo.
Run the candy circles off on card stock and then tape them to long wooden skewers. I tacked on a red bow using glue dots and then stuck my "peppermint balloons" into the basket.
One of the nice things about using peppermint, is that it's definitely NOT a favorite of children, however, it is something that adults enjoy. (No worries about a few kids eating the entire basket.)
If you'd prefer a smaller "bite size" mint, Sam's Club and Cost-co sell the mini butter-mints (pink, yellow, white and green) in bulk. They have a long shelf life, so I always had plenty on hand.
Click on the link to view/download the Families Are Worth A Mint packet.
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I hope you are enjoying your summer and starting to get excited for back to school. Here's to an outstanding open house!
1-2-3 Come Do Some Viola Swamp and Miss Nelson Activities With Me!
“The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzed through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school.”
Thus begins the story of Miss Nelson is Missing, one of my all-time favorite back-to-school books. This cute classic was first published in 1977, but is still relevant today, as a lighthearted reminder of how important it is to show our appreciation of others.
When I read the story to my students, I wore a reversible "cape". (A lovely pastel floral print was on one side, when I became the sweet Miss Nelson. When I "transformed" into the terrible Miss Viola Swamp. ("...the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world!") I easily flipped it to the solid black, ugly side.
I've also donned a plastic witch nose, along with a few long black fingernails for my left hand, while pretending to be Viola. She is the crazy substitute teacher in three children's books by Harry Allard (illustrated by James Marshall). The books are entitled Miss Nelson is Missing!, Miss Nelson is Back, and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. The latter is by far my personal favorite.
At the start of the story, Miss Nelson’s students are very disrespectful and naughty. They constantly take advantage of her good- natured personality, and haven’t a clue of what a wonderful and sweet teacher they really have, ’til she doesn’t show up one day and is replaced by the horendous substitute, Miss Viola Swamp.
Days pass and FINALLY, to the utter joy of her students, Miss Nelson returns to class with a "little secret" as to her disappearence. By this time, the children have become wonderful and very appreciative students. I highly recommend this great read aloud, and always kept a copy in my sub folder.
Because the book is so popular, I thought teachers would enjoy some activities to go with it. You can do some of them with your students and/or tuck others into your sub folder, to be plugged in as emergency lessons. The Miss Nelson is Missing packet, includes a variety of writing, language arts and reading activites. Plus some adorable "craftivities" to review even more standards.
Here are a few of the FREEBIES.
There are 76 word cards, plus a blank set to program with your own. Great for vocabulary building. You can also use these as an opportunity to teach synonyms, antonyms, and adjectives, while reinforcing their importance in writing.
One way to use the cards is as an assessment game. Students make a Popsicle stick puppet with Miss Nelson on one side and Viola Swamp on the other. I enjoyed sketching these memorable characters, particularly Viola.
Hold up a word card and read it. Children decide which character they think that word describes and flip their Popsicle to the appropriate face.
For added pizzazz, I glued the facial circles to pink and green construction paper and then glued them back-to-back.
The teacher then shows the correct answer and asks students if they know what the word means. If not (s)he defines it.
Because Miss Nelson and Miss Swamp are certainly "opposites" you can have a teachable moment, and ask students if Viola's qualities are antonyms for Miss Nelson's.
I've also included several other adjective activities as well, including a sort of graphic organizer, where they jot down words that describe their teacher, Miss Nelson, and Viola Swamp.
The packet has 7 writing activities, including 2 class-made books. One book is entitled The Case Of The Missing Students.
Children write about what happened to their entire class when their teacher came to school one day, but no one else did!
The other is entitled Our Teacher Is Missing. As with the original story, students try and figure out what happened to their teacher, and write about one of their conclusions.
Other writing prompts have students explaining why they wouldn't want Miss Swamp to be their teacher, what qualities they feel a really good teacher pocesses, and 5 things they think their teacher might be doing if (s)he disappeared.
For good measure I threw in 2 "Is, Can, Was" worksheets for both Viola and Miss Nelson.
Students will undoubtedly compare Miss Nelson and Viola to their own teacher. To review this concept, have students choose one of 3 Venn diagrams. Students compare and contrast the characters to their own teacher, as well as the book to a similar story.
On the craftier side, there are 2 WANTED posters (for male as well as female teachers), for students to fill in, as well as 4 MISSING person posters. I'm sure what your students fill in about you, will be quite amusing.
My personal favorite activity in the packet is Swamp's Stocking Statements. It's a cute way to review concepts of print.
Completed projects make a wonderful back-to-school bulletin board or hallway display.
To round things out, I included a page of discussion questions, a synopsis of the story and 2 "retell the story" bookmarks.
Finally, after you read Miss Nelson is Missing to your students, you may want them to see an absolutely "awwww-dorable" 13-minute youtube video.
Mr. Arturo Avina's kindergarten class, from LAUSD's Olympic Primary Center, did a tremendous job acting out their adaptation of “Miss Nelson is Missing”. He’s done an outstanding job recording it, as well as incorporating music from some popular songs.
What a fabulous learning experience for these students. They are certainly fortunate to have such a creative teacher. I hope you and yours enjoy it as much as I did. My students, no matter what grade I taught, LOVED doing reader’s theater; I highly recommend trying it.
Click on the link to view/download the Miss Nelson Is Missing packet.
This packet will be FREE for an entire year. After which time it will be up-dated & included in my 203-page jumbo Miss Nelson is Missing Literacy & Math packet in my TpT shop. Click on the link to pop on over.
It is one of my most useful & all-time favorite packets. I'm confident that your kiddos will LOVE these activities!
Oh, and if you'd like a poster that's appropriate, click on the link. It's not in this packet, but would be a cute writing prompt or discussion: "What do you think this poster means?" and... "How does it fit in with the story Miss Nelson is Missing?"
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"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you." -Dr. Seuss
1-2-3 Come Make A Writing Prompt Craft With Me
Summer is an especially wonderful time to ride a bike, so I thought I'd make a "craftivity" using a bicycle. If you're a frequent visitor, you know that I enjoy designing things involving a "play on words".
As I putzed with a writing prompt I thought substituting the word "wheel" for real would be fun. Thus "I had a 'wheel' great summer!" was born.
There are two templates to choose from. One is for back to school, the other for the end of the year. Use as an interesting icebreaker for the first week of school, where students write about the places they went and the things they did over vacation.
This is a fun way to find out about your new students, as they complete the prompt inside the spokes of the wheel.
For added pizzazz, and to learn a bit more about your kiddos, have students write using their two favorite color markers.
Simply run the bike off on a variety of colors of construction paper.
Students trim and glue to the wheels. (I ran off on white card stock.) If you want them to spin, poke a hole in the center and attach with a brass brad.
For that finishing touch, have students attach a school photo. Children read one or two items from each wheel, as they share it with their classmates.
You can do these in class; as an activity for open house; or send home on the first day of school for children to complete with their family.
While I was at it, I thought this idea could also be used at the end of the year, where students wrote about their favorite things, activities, subjects, etc.
There are six wheels they can choose from, including a blank one to fill in whatever prompt you want.
Completed projects make a sweet bulletin board.
Click on the link to view/download the bicycle writing prompt craftivity.
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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -Nelson Mandela
1-2-3 Come Do An Icebreaker Craft With Me
What’s On Your Mind? Is an easy and interesting way to get to know your students. Use it as a fun icebreaker for the first day or first week of school.
You can do these in class, if you’re looking for a filler, or if you're pressed for time, send them home to be done as a home-school connection.
Older students can draw their own self-portrait (head) outline, or use one of mine. I've included two boy options, as well as two for girls to choose from.
I find young children do much better if they have some sort of pattern, as they tend to draw rather small circles that items would not be able to fit into.
If you’d like to have a ready-to share activity for the first day of school, include the directions and a template in your “Welcome to school” summer letter or tuck it in your Open House packet, if you have one before the start of school.
By doing this, you'll also have an instant bulletin board ready to go up, after students share their creations. Be sure and make one for yourself to use to explain things and then post as an example. This is my sample that took about 15-minutes, using clip art + adding a photo of my husband and poodle pup Chloe.
I think you’ll enjoy doing it as will your students. No matter what the age group, I've always found that everyone seems to like sharing a little bit about themselves. This is a creative and entertaining way to do that.
You could follow this up with some technology time, and have students type in words to their thoughts and make a word-art picture on the computer using the free tagxedo program as well! I did a sample for me and one for my husband, so you could see a male sample. I filled in the caricature templates (see pix) so they don't look as much like a silhouette as I would have liked.
If you want to use my boy and girl "head templates" click on the link. You'll need to change them to jpegs to use them in Tagxedo, otherwise find a sideview of some other clip art to import.
Click on the link to view/download the What’s On Your Mind activity packet.
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“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing so great as real strength.” –St. Francis De Sales