If You Take A Mouse To School You'll Have A Lot Of FUN!!!
The Common Core packets using kiddy lit continue to be one of our most popular downloads. I started with The Kissing Hand added Chrysanthemum, then If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, and today I bring you If You Take A Mouse To School, which was one of the most requested books that I do a packet for. I also just finished First Day Jitters.
Like all of the others, Taking A Mouse To School, follows the same format. it nails 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
I feel following a specific format when you do things, empowers students and builds their self-esteem.
They feel smarter, because they know right from the start, what is expected of them and they can get "down to business"right away.
Less time is wasted because you are not reinventing the wheel preparing, nor are you having to continuously explain the directions and then having to repeat them to children who aren't listening or still don't "get it."
The packet includes:
The mouse "craftivity" makes a cute back to school 3-D bulletin board as the doors are slit open to reveal what "thing" each student has brought to school.
Make the schoolhouse extra special by having students write the name of your school over the door and gluing their picture in one of the windows.
This is also great for a September writing prompt or Daily 5 activity. Click on the link to view/download If You Take A Mouse To School Common Core Packet.
This is truly a quick, easy and fun way to review a lot of common core state standards, so if there are other books that you’d like me to make packets for, just shoot me an e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below.
"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you can help them become what they are capable of becoming." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1-2-3 Come Make A Name Map With Me!
I teach “mapping” as a writing strategy to my college comp students. It’s a fun visual way for them to get their thoughts organized on paper, before they begin to write their essay.
A name map is a terrific way to introduce "mapping" to elementary students. This is also an interesting icebreaker for the first week of school and a great way to get to know your new students.
Children think of a symbol that represents them and draw that in the middle. I chose an apple as it’s sort of universal for school or teaching.
Branching out from the center symbol is a variety of things about the person such as hobbies, their favorite season, birthday, what they want to be when they grow up etc.
By having students use their two favorite colors to write their first and last names in the center of their object, everyone gets to know another “tidbit” about that person.
The completed activities make a wonderful back to school bulletin board too! Make sure you do a personal one of yourself, so that you have a sample to show your students as a way to explain things, as well as a means for them to get to know their new teacher. Includes an explanatory note home to families.
Sharing name maps is a nice activity to do after reading the story Chrysanthemum, a wonderful back to school tale, whose main character is a little mouse named Chrysanthemum. She loved her unusual name until she started school and everyone began making fun of her. It's one of my all-time favorite back-to-school books and especially great if you need some stories to go with "bucket-filling."
My inspiration to do name maps, came from an art teacher’s “heart maps” that he did with his 4th graders at Riverside Elementary. Click on the link to check out their awesome endeavors. I hope you and yours have as much fun making these as I did.
Click on the link to view/download Name Maps. This packet is a special FREEBIE in my TpT shop. Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away! For your convenience, my "Pin it" button is at the top on the menu bar.
“There’s few things as uncommon as common sense.” –Frank McKinney Hubbard
"They may not be easy to see, but these are 5 things I want you to know about me!"
That's what the sentence says at the top of the paper.
It's a quick and easy icebreaker for the first day or first week of school, that’s also a terrific writing prompt for September, and fun way to get to know your students.
When completed, they make a cute back to school bulletin board too! Make sure you do one yourself, so you have an example to share with your students, so they know how to do the assignment, as well as get to know their new teacher a little better too.
Older students can draw their own self-portraits in the blank oval. So that they don't feel overwhelmed drawing themselves, remind them that this is just a section of their face from the nose up, or even just their eyes. You can also give students a choice of the other 17 facial tops to fill in and color.
They should color their hair and eyes to represent themselves. I find that younger students are less overwhelmed if they have this sort of template to follow and have a bit more fun with the activity, if they don’t have to start from scratch. You also won’t have to listen to whining: “I can’t draw a face; or “I don’t know how to draw.”
Little ones also tend to draw a tiny circle instead of a big one, or they draw an entire stick body. You can include the template in your “Welcome to school summer letter” or Open House packet, and have students return them on the first day of school, so they can share with their new classmates right away.
Another plus of doing it this way, is that parents can help little ones write down the 5 things. Some teachers like to have an Open House activity that students can do with their families. This would be perfect.
Another option, if you don’t do a summer letter or Open House, is to hand them out the first day of class and have students put them in their backpack or "Take Home" folder, for a home-school connection, to be returned in the next few days.
Make sure you provide time to share their completed projects, so everyone gets to know each other. No matter what my students’ ages, I always had them applaud each child’s sharing. This is a big deal for many “shy” kiddos. Writing in different colored markers also jazzes things up.
If you have the time, turn this into even more of a keepsake, by having a room helper or students trace eachother's handprint on flesh-colored construction paper. Fold it over and cut once for 2 handprints.
Have students glue their paper hands “holding” their writing prompt, in such a way that they can fold the wrist portion over and have them "flop" open to reveal their writing.
You can punch a hole in the top and hang them back-to-back and suspend from the ceiling or line them up as a cute border, just below the ceiling in the hallway.
Click on the link to view/download 5 Things Icebreaker Portraits Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away!
"By learning, you will teach; by teaching, you will learn." -Latin Proverb
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.
Thanks for visiting today. I hope you can stop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
Do you have an apple activity that you could share with us? I’d enjoy hearing from you! email@example.com or take a moment and post a comment here.
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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
Thanks for visiting today. I hope you can also stop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
Do you have one to share? I’d enjoy hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org or take a moment and post a comment here.
Feel free to PIN anything that you think others might find helpful.
“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
Send Them Off With A Kiss!
I LOVE the book The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. The gist of it is that a baby raccoon wants nothing to do with going to night school. He’d just as soon stay home with his mom and continue to play in the forest.
Mama raccoon wisely explains that he’ll make all sorts of new friends, naming several other nocturnal animals and that he’ll really like his new teacher (an owl of course) and doing all sorts of fun school activities.
She places a kiss on his hand that travels up his arm and straight into his heart, warming him instantly. Something he can look at all evening long reminding him that “Mama loves you.”
As he excitedly scampers off to school, he pauses to kiss his mommy’s hand, letting her know that “Chester” loves her too.
My Y5’s really enjoyed this story, especially petting my soft pet raccoon puppet that would not come out of his garbage can at first because he was frightened. It’s a wonderful way to introduce feelings and graph how children felt on this first day.
I found if they got to put on a mask and pretend they were raccoons that even my shyest children could talk and tell me how they really felt. Anyone holding the raccoon was the one who got to speak and share.
Because this story is extremely popular I decided to dream up some activities your students would enjoy doing during the first week of school. Perhaps even on the first day, if it isn’t too hectic and packed with other “must get done” rules and regulations activities.
The 24-page Kissing Hand Packet includes two keepsake “craftivities” involving tracing students hands. These make wonderful and easy back to school bulletin boards.
To expedite this with little ones, have a room helper trace and cut them out in the morning, so they are ready in the afternoon.
If you don’t have anyone helping you, think about including a piece of flesh-toned construction paper in your summer note, or open house packet with an explanation to have parents trace and cut their child’s hand and return it for the first day of school.
You could also set this up as a quick “Please do!” station at your open house, if you have one before school starts.. Parents stop at the station, “get it done” and then leave it in the basket.
Click on the link to view/download The Kissing Hand Activities The Raccoon upper and lowercase letter activity packet helps with Common Core State Standard RF.K1d and RF.1.1a
Use them as flashcards, Memory Match Concentration games, or play ‘I Have, Who Has?” later in the year. I include a tip list of what else you can do with the cards.
If you want to use them on the first day, you can sprinkle them around the room, and have students find them. See how many students can identify any of the letters.
A really fun thing to do, would be to pass out the raccoon masks from the first packet. (Make ahead of time out of foam and hot glue to paint sticks.)
Tell your little ones that they are going to be Raccoon ABCDe-tectives and look for Chester's ABC card clues he’s hidden around the school. Tape them to places you want the children to learn about.
Put the Bb cards by the bathroom and then check it out. Find the Ll cards by the library, and then have the children meet the librarian.
Give the Pp and Ss cards to the principal and secretary and make a stop at the office.
Gg is for gym, Mm is for music, Cc is for computers or cafeteria. Your students will have fun spying the cards, while they tour the school and learn where things are.
Rr can land them back to your room where you can have a note from Chester and a Hershey kiss waiting on their desk.
Click on the link to view/download Raccoon Upper and Lowercase Letter Kissing Hand Activities
I hope you enjoy these activities and your first week of school is simply fantastic!
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“A good teacher is like a candle, which consumes itself to light the way for others.” -Unknown
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Look Who's In Our Classroom!
One of my favorite books that I read during the first week of school was Chicka Boom.
My hallway bulletin board had a floor to ceiling palm tree on the side with a monkey hanging by it that would ooh ahh if you pulled its tail.
It was a great way to help anxious students calm down. “Do you want to hear my monkey talk?”
On the bulletin board was a monkey with each child’s name. During our Open House treasure hunt, students had to find their name.
Being able to recognize their name was one of our report card standards, so I was always trying to think of fun ways for my students to do that.
The caption on this b. board was: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Welcome To Our Classroom!
Another year, I skipped the b. board and used a wall to make the display even bigger because I wanted to include alphabet letters.
To get the wiggles out after reading the book, I pass out monkey masks and my Y5's played "Monkey See Monkey Do" and we copied the "Monkey In The Middle."
I know many teachers all over the country also read this book, so I wanted to design lots of activities for a variety of standards to go with it.
The Picka Chicka File Folder reinforces colors, upper and lowercase letters (Common Core State Standard RF.K1d) and shapes; as well as reading and writing.
Click on the link to view/download the 67-page Picka Chicka-Chicka Boom File Folder Packet.
Chicka Boom Boom Look Who’s In Our Classroom is an easy reader class book, that helps students get to know their new friends, reinforces name recognition, as well as upper and lowercase letters. (Common Core State Standard RF.K1d)
The 35-page Chicka Boom Trunk Tricks packet includes a variety of adorable Chicka Boom tree projects that reinforce letters, shapes, patterns, and other report card standards in a unique and fun way.
The packet includes:
Click on the link to view/download Chicka Boom Trunk Tricks
Finish up your Chicka Boom studies with this fun hands-on Chicka Boom snack.
To compliment all of the Chicka Boom activities I have a variety of monkey-themed activities as well.
Click on the link to view/download a variety of easy readers etc. This link will take you to the Monkey section, where I hope you’ll have a barrel of fun!
Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN anything you think others may find helpful.
I hope you can swing by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why and pursued the answer.” –Bernard Baruch
A Fun Way To Get To Know Your Students
Stamp of Approval Stamps make a great icebreaker for the first week of school and a terrific way to get to know your students + they are an instant back to school bulletin board showcasing your new students!
Send a copy in your Welcome to School - Summer Letter, or tuck them in your Open House packet, so that they can be completed ahead of time, and then shared on the first day of school.
You can also show your example on the first day, so that your students can learn a little bit about you, and then send the stamps home as an assignment for that first day.
How to fill in a stamp:
Students can write, type (using a fun(ky) font), or cut out letters (like a ransom note), or use stickers to make their name.
This goes on the wavy line portion of the cancelled stamp, in the top left-hand corner.
The PLACE where they were born, goes around the top of the circle.
The YEAR they were born, goes on the bottom-middle of the circle.
The MONTH and DAY they were born, goes in the center of the circle.
Months should be abbreviated, unless they are 4 or less letters long.
Places and dates appear on real cancelled stamps; making it personal, makes this assignment more relevant and fun!
Students draw a self-portrait of themselves. (Just a headshot) This needs to be colored. Hair and eye color etc. need to be appropriate, so students can possibly guess whose picture belongs to whom, if the teacher wants to add that activity before the “real” student comes up to share.
Students need to think of their favorite things to do, their hobbies, or sports or “stuff” they are involved in, or possibly what they want to be when they grow up. Basically, anything that represents them or will help us get to know them.
After they have thought up their “list” they need to find pictures, clip art, or stickers of those things and glue them around their self-portrait.
Students write or cut out 3-5 words that describe them. These should be scattered around on their stamp.
Challenge older students to include a word that begins with the same letter as their name. i.e. I chose driven (Diane) for mine.
Students share their stamp with their classmates. I always had my students clap for each person when they were through.
Hang them in the hallway or on a b. board, along with the “Stamp of approval star student” poster.
To add some 3D effects, suspend some glittery stars of various sizes, from fish line, just above the board, at various lengths.
Click on the link to view/download Stamp of Approval Stamp activity
Do you have a “Getting To Know Your Students” activity you can share with us? I’d enjoy hearing from you! email@example.com
You can also post a comment here. Thanks in advance for taking the time to do that.
Thanks too for visiting. I hope you can drop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas and teaching tips.
Feel free to PIN anything you think others might find worthwhile.
“Teaching is a lighting of sparks and setting minds aflame;
it’s a creative mind that knows what kind of gasoline to throw on to get it glowing and burning even brighter the next day and the next…” -Diane Henderson
I’m A Te-rrific Student T-shirt Writing Prompt.
This is a really fun end-of-the-year activity, but could also be a wonderful way to get to know your students at the beginning of the year too! Use as an icebreaker for the first week.
The hands in the photo are neon orange. The feet are much larger, but I took the shot with Elliot upside down, so they look smaller, they are actually much bigger than the hands. Because this artwork is so big, when I took the photo feet fist, the head looked shrunken. Oh my!
Anyway, you get the idea. I know yours will turn out really cute and be a great keepsake that your students will enjoy making.
I've included 2 different headings on the shorts so you have that option to use at the end or beginning of the year.
The end of the year shorts say: My short shorts of what I want to do this summer, The one for the beginning of the school year says: My short shorts of what I did this summer.
Run off copies of the t-shirt and shorts on a variety of brightly colored construction paper. Students will fill in the writing prompts and cut the clothing shapes out. Buy a few pair of wacky sunglasses at The Dollar Store in bright colors. Have your students put a pair on and take a head shot of them.
Print the photo off in black and white and enlarge them on the copier. Students color the sunglasses in with a magic marker to compliment the color of their T-shirt or shorts. Students trace their hand and foot on a folded sheet of bright or neon-colored construction paper. By cutting on a folded piece of paper they will get a pair of hands and feet.
Children glue their hands to the cuffs of the T-shirt and their feet to the bottom of the shorts. These paper kids make an adorable wall display. Run them under the ceiling, as a border in your hallway.
For another writing extension, I’ve also included a T-shirt where students can list all the Te-riffic things they’ve learned during the year, jotting down the thing they feel they are the most terrific at.
Click on the link to view/download Te-riffic Student T-Shirt Writing Prompt
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Do you have something that you do as an icebreaker that you could share with us? I'd enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org You can also leave a comment here. If everyone adds to each other's bag of tricks how easy our lives become! Thanks in advance.