1-2-3 Come Make Some Back To School Things With Me
While I was working on the coloring-autograph page: "I made a lot of friends today!" for a first day of school activity; I thought making some number puzzles that students could color, cut and glue, would also give teachers a little bit of "sanity" time, to get some of the zillions of trivial tasks done, that must be accomplished before dismissal, on that hectic first day.
The "friends" coloring worksheet was a very popular download. It's so simple, but such a great way to give your kiddos something they can do independently, which frees you up. When you're working with energized little ones, some of whom don't even know how to write their name, the word "independently" is imperative.
The number puzzles also double as a quick, easy and inexpensive little gift that you can have lying on your students' desks. Be sure and write their name on the puzzle (after the word Hi or Welcome! to make things extra special for them.
The puzzles can be pre-cut to expedite things for preschoolers. To give yourself even more time, have students cut their own puzzle pieces (after they have colored the picture) then tell them to mix up the pieces and put their puzzle together.
To make a cool looking mosaic, have children glue the pieces to a sheet of construction paper, leaving a little space in-between the pieces.
After they share their creation with the class, mount them on a bulletin board. Caption: Mrs. Henderson's kinders stick together, or fit in just fine, or whatever else you deem appropriate.
If you take a first day of school photo for a future memory book, make an extra copy and cut it into the shape of a puzzle piece, then put it along side that child's completed puzzle. Adding a puzzle border, or scattering some real puzzle pieces through out your bulletin board, adds the finishing touches. The Dollar Store sells a huge variety of puzzles that you can use to jazz things up.
The Back To School Puzzle packet, includes 30 puzzles. Some of them are vertical, others are horizontal. They come in black and white, so that students can color them, and others are in full color, so you can print; laminate and trim, then use in an independent center for early finishers.
Make a game of it by having children choose a partner to see who can complete their puzzle first. Some of the puzzles use numbers from 1-10 for little ones, others skip count by 10's to 100, for first graders.
I've also included little "Welcome" tags. (There are 16 on a page.) Write in your students' names and then paperclip one to their set of number strips and lay them on your kiddos' desks as a sweet surprise.
So that I had quiet time to check bus numbers and "going home" tags that needed to be changed, I always had some sort of independent activity towards the end of the day. My Y5's were exhausted, the room was usually hot and stuffy, so they were happy to simply veg-out a bit. This puzzle packet is perfect for that.
If you decide not to precut the strips, you may want to lay out a selection of black and white puzzles, and allow your students a choice of which one they want to color, cut and glue. Put a variety of colors of construction paper out as well. If you're all set for your first day, the puzzles also make a great Open House activity.
Click on the link to view/download the First Day Of School Puzzle Packet. For more number puzzle FREEBIES, click on the link.
Thanks for visiting today. As always, feel free to PIN away. Do you have a first day or back to school activity you could share with us? I'd enjoy hearing from you. email@example.com or leave a comment below.
Time to go water my flower garden. I hope you're enjoying summer and making time to rejuvenate. Blessings to you from my little corner of cyber space.
"Your life is your garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. If your life isn't awesome, you've been watering the weeds." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Make Some Voice Choice Things With Me
I think if you'd poll young children about voice volume they'd say loud or soft. Little ones are just learning that there are varying degrees to those, and that they will be required to adapt their volumes and voices when inside the classroom.
If you Google voice level posters, you'll get a huge assortment that are very similar and basically agree. I also designed one of my own, but wanted to go a bit farther to not only help explain things to your kiddos and remind them of voice levels, but offer up some real classroom management that made a world of difference with my Y5's.
There are several options in the Voice Choice packet. You can display the cards in a pocket chart and go through them with your students or hang them on your white board and put a magnet next to the level you want your students to be at. Simply gluing a smilie face to the back of a large, glass flat-backed "marble" and attaching a magnet, is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to make one.
If board space is limited, hang up the mini poster and then clip a colored clothespin to the appropriate voice level.
You can also explain things via the large posters. Show each one to your students and read the examples for when they should be using that voice.
You can begin by showing them the picture and reading the name of each voice level, in the appropriate volume.
i.e. If you are showing them the volume level 1 Whispering poster, whisper to your students: "When do you think you would use this kind of voice?"
After they have shared their thoughts, read the list and add anything else that's appropriate for your class. Finally, reinforce the sound of this level, by having students model the volume of that voice, as they too "whisper" the name and number of that level.
As a review, after you explain the voice choice concept, put the number cards in a container, and have students pick one. They share when they would use that number voice level.
Another way to play this game, is to have students say the words “Voice Choice” in whatever number level that's on their card and have the other children guess what number they are modeling.
You can also use these voice-level number cards to remind students what level they should be on, by quietly placing the appropriate number on their desk or group table.
Once they read it, hopefully they will make the appropriate volume adjustment and flip the card over, so you can pick it up and re-use it when necessary.
Another thing you can use the voice-level number cards for, is to make a class book. (Templates provided.) Whatever number a student picks, is the voice level that they write about and then draw a picture.
Collect and collate the pages and add the cover, then read as a whole group with the entire class. Each child comes up and shares their page using the #4 sharing voice level.
Besides the number cards, I also made several designs for "Quiet Cards." Print, laminate and trim the cards and keep them in a narrow basket on your chalk sill, under your voice choice poster.
As with the number cards, without a word, you place the appropriate card on a child's desk or group table. This is a great way to silently encourage students, as well as have children adjust their behavior or voice levels, without disturbing the class or bringing negative attention to someone.
Another quiet way to remind your students to adjust their voice level, is with the paper STOP sign. Simply run off the pattern on red construction paper; fill in the letters with white crayon or paint; laminate; trim and put on a craft stick.
Without a word, and with a grand flourish, (they'll spot the movement) hold up the sign when students are not at the appropriate voice level. With your other hand, hold up the appropriate number of fingers to show what voice-level number students should be using.
Keep holding up the sign and fingers ’til everyone has their hand up with the correct number of fingers showing. If they should be at zero, with their lips zipped, put your index finger on your lips as if saying Shhhh, and stare at specific noisy students with your best “teacher look.” I also made matching "quiet cards" that you can use as well.
I've included a "Please zip your lips" and a "Shhhhhh!" poster. These could also be mounted on a large Popsicle or paint stick. If students don't notice your "grand flourish" as you hold one of these up, and are not adjusting their volume, you can signal them with the tinkling sound of a bell, or flicking the lights off and then on.
These were a few more quiet ways I got my students' attention. I also hung a lovely sounding wind chime, next to my reading chair to signal story time. You could use one for your volume adjustment bag of tricks.
Clapping out a pattern and having students repeat it, was also a successful sound signal for me. Make sure you explain these sound signals to your students, so they know what you're expecting from them. Equally important, is having a consequence if they don't make changes.
If most of your students are doing a wonderful job with their voice choices, you can reinforce their great behavior by giving them a praise bookmark. They come in full color, as well as black line.
Unfortunately, there always seem to be a few stragglers, who need a bit more reminding. Self control was probably one of the top reasons I always had more boys than girls in my Y5's classes. With them in mind, I designed some positive reinforcement voice control activities for you and included them in this packet.
Z is for zipper and ZIPPING your lips. You can send one of the "I'm having trouble zipping my lips" poster-notes home to a child's parents, or have them color it while they sit in your Time Out or Think chair. This is an easy way to communicate with parents and enlist their help.
Every year I had at least one child with ADHD. An effective behavior modification technique with them, was to earn the right to connect a dot on their paper to make a mystery picture. Whenever they modeled the appropriate behavior that we were working on, they got to connect another dot.
This was super-simple, quick and easy for me. If they completed their picture that day, they received the agreed upon "prize." If not, they could continue the next day. Thus, I also made the "Z is for zipping" paper, into "color a star and connect it to the next one" -- voice control worksheet.
Besides encouraging them to adjust their volume, you can also work on interrupting, and not blurting inappropriate things out. I hope you find these techniques helpful, and that you are able to use a few of them to make life in your home-away-from home less hectic.
This packet will be FREE for an entire year, after which time it will be up-dated and put in the Classroom Management section of my TpT shop. Voice Choice Packet.
Well that's it for today. The sunshine is calling me! As always, thanks for visiting and feel free to PIN away.
Summer: "Hair gets lighter; skin gets darker; water gets warmer; drinks get colder; music gets louder; days get longer; life gets better!" -Unknown
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 Do Some Kissing Hand Activities With Me
Since the first Kissing Hand Activity Packet was such a huge success, I decided to make another packet designed specifically around Common Core State Standards.
This packet will reinforce: 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
It has a variety of fun reading and writing activities to go along with Audrey Penn's adorable story The Kissing Hand, about a little raccoon who doesn’t want to go to school. This is one of my all-time favorite back to school books.
This packet, is the first in a series of quick and easy common core packets, where I use kiddie lit to teach standards. I'll be posting and blogging about these FREEBIES for the next few days.
The Kissing Hand Packet includes:
Click on the link to view/download The Kissing Hand Packet 2 It will be FREE for an entire year. After that, it will become part of a big literacy packet in my TpT shope.
Stay tuned for a similar packet for First Day Jitters. For lots more activities forThe Kissing Hand click on the link to zip on over to that section ofTeachWithMe
I'm off for a swim to cool off! (90's today.) Hope you're enjoying a sunny summer day as well!
“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” –John Wayne
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
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.
Thanks for visiting today.
Feel free to PIN anything you think others might enjoy.
“Never be too big to ask questions. Never know too much to learn something new.” – Og Mandino
"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
If You Take A Mouse To School and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie: Fun Back To School Books
Whenever I can, I like to make up lessons that go with favorite books. It’s a plus to have an activity that reinforces standards, for students to transition to, after reading a story.
Students read the sentence, then trace and write the letters. When everyone is done, read the booklet as a whole group to review concepts of print as well as upper and lowercase letters.
Run off a set of the 52 upper and lowercase mouse letter cards, laminate and cut them apart. Pass them out to your students. As you read the story, whomever has those letter cards drops them into the mouse pail.
To make a mouse to "feed", run off my template, cut him out, glue him to brown construction paper and slit the line above the letter box. Staple a Quaker oat box or Baggie behind the slit.
Besides the easy reader, this 32-page packet includes:
The packet will help with Common Core State Standards: RF.K1d & L.1.1a. Click on the link to view/download If You Give A Mouse A Letter Packet
Shapes are another standard that my Y5's have to master, so I also did an If You Give A Mouse A Shape packet.
Here you'll find two easy readers, two graphing extensions + several worksheets.
One easy reader is entitled: If You Give A Mouse A Shape (These are 2D shapes.)
The other is: If You Give A Mouse a 3D Shape.
Along these same lines, is the If You Take A _________ To School class-made book, where students think up another animal they'd like to take to school and then write and illustrate their page.
I've also included the Mary Had A Little Lamb nursery rhyme in this packet.
Thanks for visiting today. I'm onto yet another project. So many fun things to do, so little time... I bet you can relate.
“Little by little does the trick!” –Abraham Lincoln
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.
Feel free to PIN anything you think others might find worthwhile.
“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