1-2-3 Come Make Some 1st Day Of School Gifts With Me
Throughout my many years of teaching, I made all sorts of cute little gifts and treat bags for my students. I especially wanted to have a little surprise to delight them on that first day.
Because I had two classes of Young Fives, which usually added up to 40 students, I was always on the look out for something that was quick and easy, but also rather inexpensive.
One of the things I gave my kiddos every year, was a mini bottle of water. I made labels with their names on them and stuck them to the front, and to make sure they stayed intact, I put a clear piece of contact paper over them.
As a great fine motor skill, I let students decorate their bottle with stickers. Because I think keeping children hydrated is extremely important, I allowed them to keep their bottles on their desks for those often hot, first few weeks of school.
We'd rinse them out at the end of the day and then fill them up. I had a tiny refrigerator in my room and we'd set them inside. First thing in the morning, I put them back on the tables. This could be a room-helper job if you wanted, as it’s a great way to help children learn to read each other's names.
If you're wondering about spills, I only had one mishap in the 10 years I taught young fives. I paid a bit more, to have the caps that didn't have to be unscrewed.
They had the "pull up" things to sip out of, where you shoved the cap back down. No taking caps on and off, and if they forgot to push it back down, only a little water trickled out if they tipped over. At the beginning of the year I simply told my students not to remove the caps, and if they misused their water bottle, they would lose the privilege of having one. No one ever lost the privilege!
And even if I would have had some problems, the good of keeping students hydrated, far out weighs the worry about spilling (unless of course they're sitting at a computer.) If you teach little ones, you know what a time drain it is getting everyone lined up and down the hall to get drinks throughout the day.
The need for water can hardly be overstated. I did a few hours of research on the wonders of water. "You don't slosh when you walk, or gurgle when you talk, but most of you is water." (60-70% depending on the source you're reading.)
I read all sorts of studies, and articles about articles; the gist of it all, is that water has been proven to be extremely beneficial, "So don't say no to H2O!"
If you're interested in how beneficial, you can read the summary of my findings, which is included in the packet; like research showing that dehydration can affect mood and make people grumpy and confused. If drinking water helps my kiddos think more clearly and be less cranky, then bottoms up!
The bottom line here is that if we do something as simple as giving our students access to drinking water throughout the day, we help them avoid fatigue, headaches, irritability, confusion, dizziness, inability to concentrate and make decisions, and a myriad of other maladies that a simple sip helps deter.
When the body is functioning at its best, students will feel better, which translates into happy campers. Let’s face it, if our students are content and focused, things run smoothly and teachers are happier as well.
One study even showed that students who were offered water three to four times throughout the day had a boost in brain power. Another, saw a dramatic decrease in challenging classroom behavior! Woo hoo for water...
All that smiling has its own benefits: "When you smile, neuropeptides are released throughout the brain that send messages to your body. Some of these feel-good neuropeptides are dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. They help your body relax, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, plus give you an energized happy feeling!"
Enough said on the merits of giving your kiddos this beneficial gift. I’ve covered the “sense” of it, now here’s the dollar part. This is such an inexpensive gift!
You can get a case of forty 16.9 oz bottles of water (Members Mark) from Sam's Club, for only $3.98. That's less than 10 cents a bottle! What else can you get a child for only ten cents?
If you'd like to jazz up your bottles, take the labels off. They are not glued on, and fall off as soon as you cut them in half. Run off my "labels" on a variety of different colors of copy paper. The first line says: "I can't spell success without u."
Cut the "labels" out (but don't trim the left and right edges, as they fit around a water bottle perfectly.) A simple piece of tape keeps them snuggly in place.
Besides the generic one above, I have 3 others to choose from. If you visit often, you know I LOVE goofing around with word play. I substituted the word WATER for "What are" and came up with a few interesting questions.
Thus the water bottles are not only a refreshing gift, they are an icebreaker as well. Choose whichever question you like best, or give your students a choice, by the water bottle that they pick. Go around the room having everyone share their answer.
I personally like "'Water' you thinking you'd like to be when you grow up?" as it's super simple and students can answer with just a few words.
To incorporate some writing, you could have older students write "Water" their goals, or "Water" the things they want to learn, and use those labels on their water bottles. My husband gave me that "you've got to be kidding" look, when I excitedly shared my “water” word play with him. (Heavy) sigh...
I hope I'm not the only one who thinks this is sort of cute. Your students may roll their eyes as well, but it's all in the name of hydrating fun and getting to know one another. Click on the link to view/download the Water Bottle Packet.
If the "water" sharing and writing don't fit the bill, I also putzed with some picture poetry and came up with a water drop poem.
I made a large one to use as an example and anchor chart, as well as a small one (5 on a page) that you can run off on blue construction paper, trim and attach to older students' water bottles.
After reading mine, and/or a sample of your own, challenge students to write their own water drop poem.
Since using “describing words” is a standard, and helps improve student writing, I also made up an alphabetical list of 125 words that describe water.
As a whole-group activity, brainstorm a list of your own, and then have students alphabetize the list, or challenge them to come up with their own, awarding a prize of some sort to the one who thinks up the most appropriate answers.
Can you top my list of 125? Afterwards, you can share mine. If you think of more, I'd really enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below.
Click on the link to view/download the Water Bottle Gift packet.
Well that's it for today. I sure learned a few interesting tid-bits about water consumption and hope you did too.
All this thinking, typing, and looking at tantaliizing pictures of icy-cold water, has made me thirsty, which is a sign that I'm already dehydrated! So let's drink chug-a-lug!