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.
Thanks for visiting. Feel free to PIN away. My "Pin it" button is at the top on the menu bar.
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! Oh my... time for some major slurping out of a "big gulp".
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: email@example.com 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
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 Read With Me!
Here are 4 easy readers that are great activities for the first week of school.
My First Day Of School, is a quick and easy activity that will engage your students on that busy first day.
Take their photo and include it, to make this a real keepsake.
I've also included a page for preschool, Y5's, 1st grade + a blank page for you to fill in whatever other grade is appropriate for you.
How Do You Go To School, helps reinforce how children get to school. Students will enjoy reading this booklet and sharing how they arrive.
To make it more personal, have students put an X by the picture on the cover, of how they get to school, then have them write the name of their school on the last page.
Children read the sentence using pictures as clues. They trace and write the key word, then cut and glue another picture to the matching numbered boxes.
The easy reader School, reinforces the idea of students liking school!
Children use picture clues to read the sentence. Students trace it and then write the main-idea word. Children then cut and glue a picture to the matching numbered boxes.
The packet includes:
Finally, We Go To School works on days of the week.
Being able to read (sight words) word wall words is a Common Core State Standard. I listed the parts of a calendar as part of my word wall and thought an easy reader that addressed this concept, would be a fun way to learn them.
I included a quick and easy schoolhouse days of the week slider in this packet as well.
I hope you find these easy readers a nice addition to your classroom activities. They work well for Daily 5 or a Reading/Writing center too.
Thanks for visiting today. I hope you can pop back tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
Feel free to PIN anything you think might be helpful to others.
“Whoever retains the natural curiosity of childhood is never bored or dull.” -Unknown
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! firstname.lastname@example.org
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
A popular saying with students is, “That rocks.” Not sure where it came from, but if you tell a child that they rock, it will definitely build their self-esteem, and letting them know that the new grade that they are now entering rocks too, will hopefully get them excited to be there.
I went a bit slap happy downloading a bunch of fonts one day, thinking of all the “way cool” things I could do with them. “JF Rock” was one of them I just “had to have!”
I designed a “rockin’’” trace and write alphabet as well as a counting numbers 0-10 booklet, with praise certificates, to reward your students with.
As a fun back to school treat, run off the “You Rock” bookmarks, include your students’ name at the end and lay them atop a package of Pop Rocks.
They sell them 3 packs for a buck at The Dollar Store, in 3 yummy flavors. You could also dump them in a basket and offer students a choice, as an incentive when they complete their first day of morning activities.
I’ve also made _________________ grade rocks, bookmarks as well. These can be colored with neon markers or crayons, for a quick and quiet activity, while you’re involved with whatever, on that busy first day.
Make these a bit more special and wrap them around a pencil with a fat eraser. All of the Office Supply Stores offer a kajillion super deals on packages of pencils and erasers in August.
Anyway….I hope your new bunch of kids really rocks your world, in a positive way, and that this is your best year yet!
Have fun with these things and thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN anything from my sight you feel others might find worthwhile.
Click on the link to view/download the School Rocks Packet
"Education sows not seeds in you, but makes your seeds grow!"- Kahlil Gibran
Fun First-Day-Of-School Treat Bags
If you have the time, and want to whip together something special, I designed a really easy, brown lunch bag-owl, which takes just a few minutes to put together.
If you own circle punches things will go even faster. Even if you don’t want to make these as a treat bag, they make a fun and easy art project for your students.
Have them stuff their lunch bag with tissue. Children could write: Whooo is wise? on the owl’s tummy. When they flip up the bag it can say: __________ (child’s name) that’s whoooo!
If you want to skip filling a bag with treats, but would still like to do something, you can buy some M&M’s, Reese's Pieces, or Skittles in bulk at Sam’s Club, fill the tiny Baggies they sell at Hobby Lobby etc. and staple the Baggie to my owl card.
I also found teachers that simply put an apple on their students' desks with an apple die-cut note attached that said: “WELCOME! You are the apple of my eye.” How about a golden delicious apple with a note that says: “Wishing you a golden year filled with delicious learning!”
OR… how about cutting out construction paper apples, punch a hole in the side, make a slit to the hole and slide a candy bracelet through so it looks a bit like a worm. Write your students’ names on the apples + “A sweet treat for a neat student!”
OR… how about an orange or a small snack Baggie with 3 candy orange slices, with a note that says: “Orange you glad you’re in _____________________ grade! Wishing you a sweet year!”
OR… a bag of peanuts (making sure no one has allergies) that says: “ I hope you’ll go simply nuts over all of the exciting lessons we’ll be studying this year!”
OR…a bag of microwave popcorn (They sell individual treat-bag size packages) attach a note that says: “Poppin’ by with a friendly first-day Hi, to wish you a terrific school year!” You could list that month’s popcorn words on the back.
One Florida teacher gives her students water bottles with flip up caps. They decorate their bottles with markers & stickers, and re-fill them for the entire month. They keep them in their desk so they stay hydrated all day.
Because my first science unit was dinosaurs, I had a basket filled with multi-colored dinosaurs sitting on the table.
My students got to choose one when they completed their tabletop lesson. That’s a big thrill for them, as well as an incentive to stay focused and finish their first day’s lesson.
Click on the link to view/download Owl Treat Bags
I also revamped a Lucky Charms note that was posted a zillion ways on the Internet. Simply buy a box of Lucky Charms for your kiddo's to munch & crunch and include this sweet note.
Click on the link to view/download Lucky Charm Treat Bag Note.
I also have a cute treat bag note that I made up for some easy and inexpensive treat bags.
Click on the link to view/download Treat Bag Note.
For other treat bag ideas, including bags for reading and writing, click on the link to download the Treat Bag Idea packet.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope your year is as sweet as the treats you give your students!
Thanks for visiting. Feel free to PIN anything you think others might find useful.
Hope you can stop in tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
"Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand." -Chinese Proverb
It’s In The Bag!
There are pro’s and con’s about giving students a treat bag on the first day of school.
I LOVE making up little surprises for my students.
They are 4 or 5 and I think if I have a little something waiting for them on their desk it makes school especially fun for them.
When I taught other grades I did treat bags. My students could read the note, so they understood the symbolism behind some of the things I tucked in their bags.
The adorable treat bag pictured above was designed by Amanda. Her back-to-school snack consists of: Captain Crunch Treasures, Vanilla Yogurt Dipped Raisins and M&M's. Click on the link to visit her blog.
I used to make up a Reading Survival Kit as well as a Writing First Aid Kit and tucked the Baggies in my 1st , 2nd & 3rd grader’s desks at different times during the beginning of the year. They were thrilled. I ordered some of the things in the reading kit from Fun Express.
Click on the links to view/print them.
I also made a very simple treat bag, with just a few things in it and tucked a brief message in the Baggie for them to read on their first day of school.
Click on the link to view/print my first day of school treat bag.
I also found a cute Lucky Charms treat bag online that many teachers were doing. There were several different notes so I revamped one and made it my own.
For a sweet and easy treat, simply fill a small Baggie with the cereal, fold my note and attach it to the outside of the bag.
Click on the link to view/print the Lucky Charms treat bag.
When I started teaching Y5’s I opted to do a treasure box for open house instead, because the first day is rather hectic when I’m all by myself with as many as 19 four-year-olds, who may want to rip open a treat bag, even when I instruct them to take it to their locker to open at home.
I’ve had inquiries about treat bags, so I wanted to write a blog article and give you some ideas. I did a little research and found a plethora of Google listings for treat bags.
I compiled an alphabetical list of goodies teachers have tucked in their bags, as well as the symbolism behind them.
Click on the link to view/print the treat bag list and then pick and choose what you’d like to include and design your own treat bag.
Some teachers fill a large cup with goodies, some tuck their treats in Ziploc Baggies, and others use colored lunch bags.
Then there are those crafty teachers who design extra special bags.
One creative person made cute busses and hot-glued white buttons on the black wheels. (Adorable!)
So if you've got the time to be crafty... Click on the link to check out her bus treat bag YouTube video.
Because I like to tuck notes and special treats into several of my teacher friend's mailboxes, I made up a little treat bag for them as well.
Click on the link to view/print the teacher treat bag note.
Be sure and check back tomorrow for my quick and easy owl treat bags made from a lunch bag, as well as some other quick and easy ideas to make that first day special!
If you have one to share, I’d enjoy hearing from you. email@example.com
Blasting Off To The First Day Of School
As I stated in the last article, counting down the last 10 days 'til school starts is a wonderful way to get children excited about going to school.
It also provides an opportunity to talk about this special time in their lives and dispel any fears or anxieties first timers may have.
Being able to actually SEE time going by helps a child. Unlike adults, children don't really have a concept of time yet.
This is why the paper chain that I hung up in my classroom is such a successful learning tool for children, as well as a terrific patterned decoration.
You may want to make a two-color, 10-link paper chain and hang it up in your child's room.
When they go to bed at night, let them tear off a link. When the last link is gone, they will be going to school the next day.
You can write a little note on that link and tuck it in their pocket or lunch box. "I love U" using a drawn heart for the word love is a great note, or simply a smilie face will recall the paper chain memories and time with you.
From my 1st class of Y5's, I always included a countdown page in my summer welcome letter.
Counting from 10 - 0 is one of our report card standards so I thought this would be a fun way to introduce that concept and get my students excited for their first day.
I designed 8 additional ones, so that you would have a selection to choose from. I tried to think of the various themes teachers cover in August-September that are popular with children.
There's an apple, baseball/bat, butterfly, caterpillar, crayons, dinosaur, frog and ladybug.
Click on the link to view/download 20 pages of Fun Countdowns.
If you have others you would like to see, please drop me a line and I will add them to my design list. I really enjoy hearing from my readers. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for visiting. I hope you can stop by tomorrow for more back to school ideas.
Feel free to PIN anything you think others might find helpful.
"Keep your eyes open and your feet moving and ou'll find what you need." -Unknown
Last summer 123 Count With Me By The Sea launched with our website, to rave reviews.
Students enjoy counting the seashells and then X-ing off that many squares, putting in stickers, or dabbing the boxes with a bingo dot marker.
I have been using this bingo-dot concept with my Y5’s for over 10 years on skill sheets, as well as “find and circle the number in the sequence of numbers.” Both these techniques are fun ways for students to learn numbers.
As with the seashell booklet, many of my booklets also have a cut and glue the group/set of objects to the matching box in your booklet.
This helps reinforce counting, one-to-one correspondence, matching groups of objects and numbers, as well as having students refine their fine motor skills.
Several subscribers asked for more of these counting booklets as they cover a variety of standards, skills and subjects.
Students can do them independently in 5-8 minutes so they can be plugged in for Daily 5, centers, or something for students to work on, at their own pace, when they have completed other work.
They also make wonderful “Easy Readers” that help reinforce word wall words and build self-esteem.
You can also tuck them in a take home folder for “homework” or a home-school connection; or for parents to work on with a struggling child. They are perfect for a substitute as well.
I sat down to make a template and a list of all the themes for back-to-school and came up with apples, buses, crayons, and footballs.
I made 123 Count With Me booklets for each of them and plan to make at least 4 for every month.
October’s counting booklets will be leaves, pumpkins, bats, spiders and candy corn.
To celebrate the launch of the 123 Count With Me booklets I designed a special counting booklet that has a similar format.
It’s entitled: The Students On The Bus.
This one is more of a keepsake, because students glue their own photo on the first bus and then 14 of their friends’ school pictures on the next 4 buses.
Teachers simply print their class composite on the photo setting of their copier for each student.
The last page is made extra special as well, when the teacher glues their picture over the driver’s face before running it off.
Click on the link to view/print The Students On The Bus back-to-school booklet.
Why not become a subscriber and be able to download all of the 123 Count With Me booklets (There will be approximately 40!) Click on the link to see how.
Do you have a counting idea that works for you? I’d enjoy hearing from you. email@example.com
Remember…commenting or sharing an idea are 2 ways to enter our back-to-school-button bracelet CONTEST! Click on the link for all the details.
LIKE us on Facebook and link this article and then e-mail to let me know, and there you have another way! Thanks for participating.
This article will go towards next week's winner, which will be announced Monday August 8th instead of Friday the 5th.
Check out this week's winners in the article after this one.
Simple scroll down! (We had 3 winners!)
Be sure to pop in this week for back-to-school idea #28 and make an adorable Alligobbler to help your students understand the concepts of less than and greater than.