1 2 3 Come Do A "Getting to Know You" Craft With Me
I truly believe that when classmates get to know each other camaraderie and a classroom commUNITY is established, which helps squelch discipline problems.
My favorite classes in school even up through college, were those that we had a real community going.
These were usually conducted by my favorite teachers, who felt that a classroom was sort of like a family.
They made time to make us all feel welcome, safe, and important. I truly felt cared about.
One of the ways they promoted these feelings was that they spent some time getting to know us.
With that in mind, I do a variety of BTS “Getting to Know You” activities for an entire month, as well as several throughout the year.
Students seem to love sharing things about themselves, so they really enjoy these activities.
My newest creation, "Getting to the Point," is a pencil writing prompt craftivity. It's quick, easy & fun, with simple prep.
There are 6 pages to choose from, plus a blank page for more writing or something else you dream up.
This variety allows you to differentiate your lessons within your class, and still have everyone working on the same activity.
The activity also suits different grade levels too.
Younger students can simply do one page, while older children will enjoy making a complete, 6-page booklet.
After choosing the pages you want, students simply fill in the information, trim their "pencil page" then staple them to the top of the inside of their cover.
I purposely did not number the pages, not only so that you can pick which ones you want, but also so that you can choose the order you want them in.
For example, for one of my samples, I glued the "selfie page" to the inside of the cover.
Speaking of the cover, it's a double-patterned pencil, which students trim AROUND then fold over, creating the booklet.
For extra pizzazz & to make this a bit of a keepsake, have students glue their school photo to the eraser. If you do this, then have kiddos DRAW a selfie of themselves, or omit that page.
"Get to the Point" is great for your writing block or fun as a homework assignment too.
Completed projects make a sweet bulletin board.
I’ve included 4 pencil-themed posters to enhance your display.
I've also added a Which is a writing prompt poster: “Life without _____________ is pointless.” The other posters can also be used to kick start journal writing.
Today's FREEBIE is another super-fun BTS icebreaker. This one uses M & Ms or Skittles candy.
Icebreakers are a perfect way to help build that cameraderie & team spirit of working together.
They are especially important during the 1st month of school when students are a bit nervous and looking at a very diverse bunch of strangers, listening to rules-rules & more rules.
One of the icebreakers my kiddos really enjoy is the M & M or Skittle Game, which has been around awhile, going by as many names as there are colors, and can be played in a variety of ways as well.
These are my versions. I hope you find them useful.
Thanks for stopping by. I hoping you and your students really enjoy “Getting to the Point” and popping a sweet treat as they build team spirit.
Wishing you a wonderful school year.
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"Don't be afraid of pressure. Remember that pressure is what turns a lump of coal into a diamond." - Unknown
1-2-3 Come Do A Back To School Rainbow Craftivity With Me
Back to school can be a bit scary for students. "I don't know anyone!" is a common cry for many.
With that in mind, I like to build a classroom community, where my students feel safe and have an opportunity to get to know each other.
I truly believe you have less discipline problems, if children have made friends and feel cared about.
Thus, I do a "getting to know you activity" each day for the first week of school, and continue with at least one additional activity each week for the rest of the month. This is truly time well spent!
When students feel part of a team, they are happier and achieve more. There's also accountability, which goes hand-in-hand with behaving.
I'm a firm believer of the quote: "There's no "I" in TEAM!" So let's build that commUNITY! Your students will love you for it, and have a ton of fun getting to know eachother.
I just finished a quick, easy & super-fun “getting to know you” (print & go) craft for this very purpose. I call it "Color Me Happy!"
The craftivity has a variety of options, so you can easily diversify the activity for different abilities & grade levels.
There are two rainbow options, the one "spilling from a cloud" can be cut out or snipped into a rectangle, for easy cutting.
The 2nd one is a rainbow arc pattern. It comes in both a full-page size, as well as a smaller, two-on-a-page pattern.
There are also add-on patterns for clouds & a heart.
You can offer your students a choice, or simply pick which one you think is most appropriate for your students.
After coloring their rainbow, children think of something that they really like, that matches that colorful stripe on their rainbow, then they write that word down.
For example, a favorite red thing of mine is strawberries.
Older students can attach the larger rainbow to the top of a writing prompt worksheet, where they can write more than one example.
If your kiddos are like mine, they absolutely LOVE sharing things about themselves & will find it difficult to limit their "favorites" to just 3 per color.
I’ve also included a “directions poster” for this option. If you do this, be sure & include the poster on your bulletin board.
Completed projects make a wonderful BTS bulletin board or hallway display, and also look terrific suspended back-to-back, swirling & twirling from the ceiling.
As a fun way to get to know each other, before hanging, have everyone share one or two of their favorite colorful things.
I’ve included 6 posters to enhance your display & add extra pizzazz.
These can also be used for conversation starters, an interesting discussion or additional writing prompts.
For added fun while students are working, play “These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things” from the , followed up by (Judy Garland) "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" or... (IZ) “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.
Today's FREEBIE is also a really fun back to school activity. You can actually use it throughout the year too. I call it "Chalk Talk".
* A “Chalk” behavior modification, positive reinforcement activity, that will help promote working as a team to achieve a desired goal, building self-esteem at the same time.
* Black & White “color me” headers, for a sidewalk chalk treat Baggie, as well as patterns in full color for preschool, kindergarten, & first grade, with a blank template for you to fill in with any other grade.
* I’ve also included a generic one to give at anytime of the year.
* A “Chalk Talk” bear poster you can write a daily message on.
* A “Chalk Talk” kitten poster wishing children a “purrr-fect” day.
* 2 “Chalk Talk” (I had a nice time at school today. These are a few of the things that I did:) writing prompt worksheets.
Well that's it for today.
Blessings to you & yours for a stress-free & joy-filled time, as you get ready for back to school. May it be the best year yet!
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"Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms!" -Allyssa Knight
1-2-3 come Do Some Chrysanthemum Activities With Me
“Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes, is one of my all-time favorite back to school books.
It’s perfect for a variety of ages, and especially wonderful as an introduction to name activities, as well as discussions about teasing, bullying and “filling buckets”.
With that in mind, I enjoyed making a variety of Chrysanthemum-themed activities appropriate for PK-1st grade. I'll be sharing 3 of them in today's blog along with a sweet back to school FREEBIE.
Because I like to mix math with literacy, I designed the Chrysanthemum Name Comparison Math Craftivity, where students compare their name with Chrysanthemum’s.
I’ve included a simple PK version which can be done as a whole group, with an older elementary buddy, or done as homework with the assistance of a parent.
There’s also a template suitable for kindergarten, 1st and 2nd, which involves some easy math, where students can show how they figured out their answer.
Use the vowel, consonants and syllable posters to help explain things, then hang up for students to refer to.
These can also be used as part of your display, as completed projects make an adorable bulletin board, or hung as a border on a hallway wall.
I’ve included 2 “Mixing Math & Literacy” display posters for this as well.
For extra pizzazz, punch a hole at the bottom and tie on a yarn "tail", or curl a white pipe cleaner and attach.
There are 10 border options to choose from.
Give your students a choice, or run off 2-3 of each of the worksheets so you have a nice variety in your display.
Girls can add a bow to their mouse, and boys can opt to leave it off if they want.
For an added splash of color, mount the worksheet on a variety of colors of construction paper before students glue their mouse head to the top.
Next up, is another quick, easy and fun “print & go” name craftivity. I call them "sliders".
Simply choose which name slider you want your kiddos to make. There are 6 options.
I like my students to get some practice in making choices, so I run all of them off.
I’ve included black and white patterns for kiddos to color, as well as templates in color, so that you can quickly and easily make examples to share.
Mounting them on construction paper gives a splash of color and makes them sturdier.
Run off the boxed “slider strips”, as well as the blank strips and trim.
Children color Chrysanthemum, then write their name on the “slider” strip, by writing a letter in each box.
If you have PK kiddos who don’t know how to write their name, you can have slider strips already written for them, or provide a name card for them to copy.
I’ve included 6 matching name cards if you’d like to use these.
Finally, I designed a Chrysanthemum-Inspired Class Name Booklet.
At the beginning of the story, her parents explain why they named her Chrysanthemum, so I thought it would be fun to send a note home and ask parents why they chose their child’s name.
Parents fill out the worksheet and their child colors it. After everyone has shared their page, collate the contributions, add the cover and you have a very interesting class-made book.
Run off the "inside" pages and give children a choice. There are 7 girl-themed pages, plus 7 for boys.
I share Dr. Seuss’s story “Too Many Daves”, then include those pages, along with the rose-quote poster in our booklet as well.
We make several class books each month. They are always a favorite in our classroom "book" basket, and a big hit with parents at conferences.
Adding a school photo to each page makes things extra special.
Today's featured FREEBIE is also perfect for back to school. I not only give my students a little surprise treat on the 1st day of school, I do a little something extra special the entire week.
For a quick, easy and inexpensive treat bag, fill up a Snack Baggie with Lucky Charms cereal and include my little note. There's also 2 "header" options if you want to put 1 at the top of your bag.
Well that's it for today. My mom's visiting from Wisconsin, and I hear her stirring on this beautiful morning, so time to switch gears and go play outside.
"Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams." - Hosea Ballou
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.
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.
If you have the time, do these in class, or 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 the packets you give out during Open House or Meet & Greet the Teacher Night.
Explain to students to fill their "head" with "stuff" that's always on their mind.
Completed projects make an awesome back to school bulletin board too. In my directions, I let students know that they will be sharing their minds with their classmates, as an interesting way to get to know each other.
Be sure and make one for yourself to use to introduce the activity and explain what you want students to do. No matter what grade I taught, my students always liked learning a little something about their teacher.
I really enjoyed making my sample; it only took about 15-minutes. I used clip art , a photo of my husband and poodle pup Chloe, and added in a few words, plus my favorite quote.
Making a list of things they want to include in their mind, then looking for pictures to represent those things, provides an excellent pre-writing activity, and helps students organize their thoughts.
This fun getting to know you craftivity, is a special FREEBIE in my TpT shop. Click on the link to pop on over and grab your copy today, and let the thinking begin!
Thanks for stopping by. Time to take a break and unclutter this mind, which is a bit overwhelmed with all the back to school things I want to get done.
Wishing you a stress-free day and a mind filled with peace.
"A negative mind, will never give you a positive life." -Unknown
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. email@example.com 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!
1-2-3 Come Do An Apple-icious Writing Activity With Me
Because many teachers decorate with an apple theme, and a lot of children study about apples in the fall, I decided to design a back to school apple icebreaker.
It's a quick, easy and fun way to get to know your new students. Be sure and make a sample to help explain what you want them to do, as well as an interesting way, for them to get to know you too.
Students complete the writing prompts and then color their apples in an ABC pattern.
I chose this pattern, because apples come in 3 colors, and I wanted to toss in a bit of science as well as math, plus it helps younger students to use more than only one color, which they are notorious for.
By having them cut their apple out, you provide an opportunity for practice, and can see at a glance who is having difficulty with fine motor skills.
If you take a first day of school photo, make copies and trim, so that students can glue one to their leaf, for that finishing touch.
Completed projects make a sweet bulletin board. (A new crop of kids, Kindergarten is a bushel of fun, The apple of Mr(s). ______'s eye, apple-icious work are just a few captions.
I've included 3 samples to give you some ideas of what children can share. An example will help jumpstart their minds and set them in the right direction.
There's also a blank apple for you to fill in with whatever information you'd like to learn about your students.
Click on the link to view/download the Apple Icebreaker Packet.
Thanks for visiting today. It's Friday and that means garage sales! (Woo hoo.)
I'm off in search of more treasures to fill up my already too-full basement! As a teacher, you can probably relate to suffering from the Pack Rat Syndrome.
"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." -Anthony J. D'Angelo
1-2-3 Come Do Some First Day Of School Activities With Me
It's been a busy week, so I just have a quick activity for this article. I hope you can pop by tomorrow for a big classroom management packet that I've been working on, and finishing today.
I know there's a lot to do on that first day of school, but I liked to "over plan" as I never knew the abilities of my new bunch of kiddos.
Along with the zillions of other things a teacher has to get done, there's always a few things to do that we need some one-on-one time with each child, but what do you do with your other students?
It would also be great to simply have a few moments peace to sort through forms and notes, while students quietly work on something that they can accomplish independently; independently being the "must have" here.
With these things in mind, I designed two "sanity savers" entitled: "I made lots of new friends today!"
Use it as an autograph page for your really young students, or a writing prompt for older children.
Need more sanity? Extend the activity by telling students to draw a picture of themselves, with one of their new friends on the back of the paper.
Since my Y5's were learning how to write their name, an autograph page provided great practice. If you don't have enough time for everyone to sign everybody's paper, make one master that everyone signs, and then during recess or lunch break, run off copies.
At the end of the day, pass the papers out for children to color, while you get a few last-minute things done before dismissal. Yippee for a special keepsake that I'm sure parents will enjoy too.
If you teach older students, have them write about some of the new friends that they made. They can color the picture as well, and if time, they could also have their new friends sign the back of their paper.
To help practice making decisions, whenever possible, I liked to give my Y5's two choices of something, so I made two coloring pages your kiddos can choose from. (If you haven't learned yet, offering more than two choices to little ones, is time consuming and overwhelming for some. They simply can't decide, and you don't have the time to waste with Pokey Joes. ) Click on the link to view/download the I Made Friends Today activity.
Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away. If you have a first day of school idea that's worked for you, I'd love to hear about it. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here.
I'm off to go splash in the warm puddles with my grandbaby... Wishing you a happy day.
"A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning." -Brad Henry
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