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Getting to the Core

1-2-3 Come Do a Back to School Icebreaker With Me!

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesNowadays, our classrooms are filled with lots of diversity, which sometimes makes starting a new school year a bit scary.

I truly believe that making the time to do some “get to know you” activities the first few days of school, is so very important in building community, camaraderie and a team spirit.

Once those things are established, children build friendships. That bond helps them enjoy school more, learn better and feel safer.

Discipline problems are lessened as well because of mutual feelings of genuine caring and respect.

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesWith that in mind, I designed this super-fun icebreaker craftivity, I call it, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, which not only helps everyone get to know each other, but also practices writing skills in a fun way.

I find that students truly enjoy sharing things about themselves.

A bonus is that completed projects also make an awesome back to school bulletin board as well.

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesI’ve included a variety of posters, for your display.  

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesThere's also a nice selection of "Don't judge a book by its cover", thought-provoking photo posters. 

Use them as an attention grabbing way to introduce the lesson, or jump start a discussion of why it’s important not to prejudge others.

Later, sprinkle them throughout your display of children's book stacks. 

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesAs another discussion starter, I've also included a set of 4, interesting quote cards. These too, can become part of your display.

So that this idea works for a variety of grades, ages and skill levels, I’ve included patterns for lower elementary kiddos, as well as patterns for older students

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesThere are 6 young boy "topper" options, along with 6 for girls.

Patterns come in black & white so students can color them. I've also included several in color, so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share.

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesThis "topper" sits on a stack of books.

Each book features a "favorite" writing prompt. Such as favorite food, animal, color etc. 

Making this a quick, easy and a super-fun way to get to know your students. 

Younger kiddos can dictate their answers to a parent, which makes this an interesting activity to do during your open house or "Meet the Teacher" night.

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesThere are also 2 options for “teacher toppers” so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share. Students love learning things about their new teachers. 

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesFor older students there's a taller stack of books, with a pattern for a boy as well as a girl. 

These come with "favorites" book headers, as well as a pattern where the books are numbered, so you can taylor your questions for your own class.  

I've included a list of ideas you can choose from, to help design your own categories.

Simply peruse my list, circle your favorite 14, then number them. 

After students have colored, cut and assembled ther book stack, read the first item you want them to write down on the first book: ie. "What is your favorite movie? " 

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesFor extra writing practice, I've also included several writing prompt worksheets.

Because "Don't judge a book by its cover" and "I can read them like a book" are idioms, be sure and take that teachable moment to explain what that term means. 

I've included some definition posters to assist you. 

Today's featured FREEBIE is a set of two coloring pages, inspired by two of my all-time favorite back to school books: "The Kissing Hand" and "Chrysanthemum"

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, Chrysanthemum activity, kissing hand activities, first day coloring pages, getting to know you activitiesUse them for a few minutes of sanity-saving time. While children are engaged and happily coloring, you 're freed up for a bit. 

Plus, kiddos have a nice little something to bring home to share with their families.

icebreakers for back to school, back to school activities, first day activities for school, back to school bulletin boards, idiom activities, no bullying activities, getting to know you activitiesWell that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. 

Our weather here in Michigan has been absolutely gorgeous! Feeling very blessed. 

Wishing you a stress free and very relaxing day.

"Life seems to begin all over again during the summer."  - Unknown

 

1-2-3 Come Do Some Name Writing Activities With Me

Put some fun into “name writing” practice.
This important skill can be daunting for little ones just learning how to hold a writing utensil.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsLikewise, “practice makes perfect” can become tedious and boring.
With these things in mind, I designed this “kid topper” name craftivity.

There are a variety of ways you can use this packet.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsThe first way is to use as a worksheet with a “child topper”.
Run off the boy & girl patterns on copy paper, or to make them sturdier, use white construction paper.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsThere are 18, BW girl options, as well as 18 boy options. Children color the child, then trim and glue to the top of one of the worksheets.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsThere are 4 “I can write my name" worksheets. Choose which is most appropriate for your students.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsTo add variety & make things more fun, students write their name with a crayon, pencil, marker, pen & piece of chalk.

If your kiddos are like mine, this is a “big deal” that meets with lots of enthusiasm.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsAnother option, is for students to simply write with one utensil. My kiddos’ favorite is markers.

They can do this all at once, writing their name six times, or do this once each day for the first week of school.

IDEA: Have students choose two different colored markers, then show an ABAB color pattern to cover yet another report card standard.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsCompleted projects make an adorable bulletin board. I’ve included 2 posters to add extra pizzazz.

IDEA: After you take your bulletin board down, save your students’ work, then have them repeat the assignment, the last week of school.

You should see wonderful improvement in coloring, as well as writing! What a great keepsake too. 

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsThe other option is to make a “strip booklet”.

To make one, staple X number of pages together, add the cover, then staple to the base of each students’ “kid topper”.

Children write their name on the first day, then again, once each month.

This is great to share during parent-teacher conferences, and also makes a wonderful keepsake at the end of the year.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsI've also included 3, "bookmarks of praise" for boys, and another 3 for girls, which you can hand out when they pass this report card standard.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. name map icebreaker activity, icebreakers, 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boards, nameToday's featured FREEBIE is a "Getting to know you!" name map.

name writing activities, back to school activiteis, activities for the first day of school. 1st day activities, back to school bulletin boardsWell that's it for today. Thanks for popping in. 

It's summer; it's Friday, and I'm feelin' oh so fine! 

Time to don my straw hat & flips flops. Hoffmaster Beach here we come.

"A little sand between your toes, is a simple way to take away your woes. " -Unknown.

 

1-2-3 Come Do A "Dog Gone Great" Writing Craftivity With Me

No matter what grade I taught, all I had to do to grab my students’ attention and get them excited about writing, was to add a bit of craftiness to an interesting and fun writing prompt.

back to school activities, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, dog activities, dog crafts, end of the year writing prompts, end of the year activities, end of the year bulletin boards, summer writing, summer bulletin boardWith that in mind, I designed this (flip the flap) “Dog Gone Great!” activity, which is another one of my “double duty” writing prompts.

I call them double duty because they have patterns that serve a dual purpose.

You can use them for either the beginning of the year, for a super-fun back to school activity, or plug them in at the end of the year, for pre-summer writing.

There are 5 different dog designs to choose from, as well as 3 writing prompts:

back to school activities, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, dog activities, dog crafts, end of the year writing prompts, end of the year activities, end of the year bulletin boards, summer writing, summer bulletin board“I had a dog gone great summer!”

“I had a dog gone great school year!” and...

"________________________ is dog gone great!” where students fill in the blank with something they think is awesome: a sport, activity, subject, book, person, vacation, etc.

There are also 3 writing page options as well: 2 with different sized lines, plus a blank pattern.

back to school activities, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, dog activities, dog crafts, end of the year writing prompts, end of the year activities, end of the year bulletin boards, summer writing, summer bulletin boardPick which is most appropriate for your students, or give them a choice.
There’s plenty of room to write, as the patterns take up almost a full page.

back to school activities, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, dog activities, dog crafts, end of the year writing prompts, end of the year activities, end of the year bulletin boards, summer writing, summer bulletin boardI’ve included black & white patterns for students, as well as 5 colorful patterns, so that you can quickly and easily make an example to share.

back to school activities, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, dog activities, dog crafts, end of the year writing prompts, end of the year activities, end of the year bulletin boards, summer writing, summer bulletin boardWhen everyone is done, have students pick a partner and take turns sharing, or make some time for children to share with the entire class.

Completed projects make an adorable bulletin board.

back to school activities, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, dog activities, dog crafts, end of the year writing prompts, end of the year activities, end of the year bulletin boards, summer writing, summer bulletin boardI’ve included 2, “Dog Gone Great Writing!” posters to add some extra pizzazz to your display.

shape games, shape activities, 2D shapes, shape centers, 2D shape activitiesToday's featured FREEBIE is a super-fun "Shape Matching Game For Fall"

Print, laminate and trim.  Students place the colored shape tile on to the matching shape on the leaf, spider, bat, owl, or turkey card.  

I've included a blank template for each theme, so you can program with more shapes or whatever. I hope you find it useful.

back to school activities, back to school bulletin boards, back to school writing prompts, dog activities, dog crafts, end of the year writing prompts, end of the year activities, end of the year bulletin boards, summer writing, summer bulletin boardWell that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. 

Since the heat index is 110 I'm going to continue to craft away in my blessedly cool office today. 

Wishing you a stress-free & happy-go-lucky day.

"It's summer! If you're not barefoot, you're overdressed." -Unknown

1-2-3 Come Do Some "First Day Jitters" Activities With Me

activities to go with first day jittersDo you read “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg?
It’s one of my all-time favorite back to school books. My students absolutely LOVE the surprise ending.

With that in mind, I decided to make 3 different "Jitter" crafts, to help students sequence and retell the story. They are a super-fun transitional activity after you're done reading.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsFirst up is the “First Day Jitters”   flip the flap, schoolhouse booklet.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/40-Off-First-Day-Jitters-Storytelling-Craft-3885395So that you can differentiate your lessons, I’ve included a simple flip booklet with just 4 pages for little ones, as well as pattern pages for a super-cool schoolhouse, where the pages are cut down the middle, so the "double-doors" of the school house flip open on both sides.

I purposely did not number the pages, so you can check comprehension.

This also allows you to choose less pages for preschool students, who can easily sort beginning-middle-& end, then retell the story with a limited number of “picture prompts”.

Simply run the schoolhouse pattern off on construction paper or card stock. Students color & trim.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsOpen the doors to the schoolhouse to retell the story.

Students color, cut & collate the pages into a little booklet, which is then glued to the base of the schoolhouse.

For writing practice, I’ve also included several prompt options that are written on the schoolhouse base patterns. Simply choose which is most appropriate for your kiddos, or you could give them a choice.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsNext up is a super-simple "First Day Jitters" storytelling wheel.

If your kiddos are like mine, they will really enjoy making a wheel of their own. It’s a wonderful activity to transition to after reading the story.

To once again grab my students’ attention, I share my sample as a story review, then ask, “Who’d like to make one?”  Woo Hoo for excited enthusiasm!

As a whole group, when everyone is done with their craftivity, practice retelling “First Day Jitters” using the wheel manipulative.

Everyone starts by turning their wheel to the “pie slice”, where Mr. Hartwell is calling to Sarah. Pick a child to explain what’s happening in that ”beginning of the story” graphic.

Continue to turn the wheel, calling on different students to tell you about that portion of the story.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsTo check comprehension, and reinforce the “sequencing a story” standard, I’ve also included a “color, cut & glue” sequencing worksheet.

Use the larger, colorful pattern for a whole group activity with younger kiddos. 

Print, laminate & trim the patterns.  Attach the grid to your white board, then pass the pieces out to your students.

"How does the story start?"  "Who has that story piece?"  That child comes up and places it on the grid. (I attach magnet dots to the backs, but you can also use Velcro or tape.)

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsThis activity is also included in the final "Jitters" craftivity,  a super-fun "First Day Jitters" storytelling slider.

Students color the story elements on the “slider strip” then cut and glue it together.

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsWith just six, nice-sized graphics, this is easy peasy for even preschool children, making it perfect for explaining the beginning-middle & end of a story too.

As children pull on the end of the “slider-strip” the various pictures go through the “window” on the “door” of the schoolhouse, so that students can take turns retelling the story to a partner or reading buddy, then take their slider home to share with their family, once again practicing these standards.

All three packets include black & white patterns, as well as colorful ones, so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share.

As another way to assess comprehension, as well as include more writing practice, I’ve also included a “Here’s What Happened…” worksheet, which can be done independently, or as a whole group with younger children. This worksheet is included in all three packets as well.  

No matter if you're flippng & flapping, or turning & learning, or simply sliding along, I hope you have an absolute blast with your new students. 

back to school poster, Meet the teacher night noteToday's featured FREEBIE is also a little something for back to school. 

I found an "author unknown" quote in various place on the internet, and decided to revamp & expand it, making this "poster poem" appropriate for a teacher to share with their students. 

You can hang it up as a poster, or tuck it in your "Welcome Packet".  Just a little something fun for "Meet & Greet the Teacher" night too. 

back to school activities, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities for the first week of school, back to school stories, back to school writing prompts, activities for First Day Jitters, back to school crafts, back to school writing promptsWell that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

As we head into the weekend we will be topping 90 degrees. I'm so grateful that we have air conditioning in our home. 

Despite the heat, I may venture out to walk my poodle pup and water the flowers.  Wishing you a relaxing and super-fun summer & jitter-free school year. 

Oh and if you too love "First Day Jitters" be sure and check out Danneberg's "Last Day Blues" it too is a sweet story that proves teachers & students have a lot more in common that they think.

"Summer: Hair gets lighter; skin gets darker. Water gets warmer; drinks get colder. Music gets louder; nights get longer. Life gets better in the good ole' summertime. " -Unknown

1-2-3 Come Make a Sandcastle With Me

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Put some “Woo Hoo!” into studying place value, by creating a super-cute PVS (Place Value Sandcastle).

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, This is a wonderful craftivity for both the end of the year, as a fun way to reinforce lessons learned, and also works well for back to school when you want to refresh, review and assess where your students are concerning their knowledge of place value.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, The craft is a super-fun alternative to worksheets; however, I’ve also included some of those, for extra practice and as an assessment tool

One of the worksheet options, comes 2 on a one-page pattern for quick printing. 

Students fill in the blanks with the number, expanded form, word form and a breakdown of placement. 

Children also pick a partner and practice greater & less than, by comparing their sandcastle's value with their friend's.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Completed projects turn out really cute and make an outstanding bulletin board or hallway display.

I’ve included a variety of posters to help you decorate and add extra pizzazz, or use them as an interesting way to introduce the lesson and grab students' attention. 

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, I took a photograph of real sand, and made that my background paper, then placed transparent letters over the top, spelling "Sandcastles". 

Print, laminate & cut them out for a cool header for your bulletin board.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, You’re sure to get lots of compliments, as the castles definitely have that “Wow!” factor; especially if you do the “sand names”

I set this up as a center, and call students up while they are working on their sandcastle. 

Beforehand, I wrote their names on a variety of colored card stock; then assist them in "tracing" their name with Elmer's glue.

Afterwards, they sprinkle the wet letters with play sand. Set aside to dry. For your display, hang their name above or under their sandcastle for that finishing touch.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, The packet is very versatile with quite a few options for your students to choose from, which allows you to diversify your lesson.

Designing a sandcastle is appealing to a variety of ages and abilities.
The versatility allows younger kiddos, as well as older students, to create a sandcastle that will have a two, three or even 4-digit number value!

Beginners work on 1s & 10s, while older kiddos design with 1s, 10s & 100s. I’ve also included worksheets for 4-digit numbers, so that older students can work with 1,000s.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Keep things simple for little ones and limit the number of pieces and options, while challenging older students to create a bigger value for their sandcastle.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Once children have finished their PVS they figure out the value of their sandcastle.

I’ve provided several worksheet options for students to complete. 

Since some of my kiddos get carried away with decorating, they'll have to do some "conversions" when figuring out the value of their sandcastle. 

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, i.e. If they count up 17 ones, they'll have to make one ten, leaving just 7 ones. 

The worksheet helps them figure out the value by showing the math. 

I'm also able to easily asses that they "get it".

Besides the place value sandcastles, I’ve also included 2 options for a seashell, “counting castle” for younger students. 

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, There are 5 different seashells for students to color, cut and glue to the sandcastle of their choice. 

Little ones can practice counting to 10, while kinders can work on those toughie teen numbers

place value crafts, place balue sandcastles, place value games, place value worksheets, place value assessments, place value centers, sandcastles, math bulletin boardsI've also included a graphing extension so that you can practice that standard as well.

I've also included 3 seashells labeled 1s, 10s & 100s, if you'd like to make this simpler place value sandcastle, or use these as an independent math center. 

Limited time? This makes a super-fun homework assignment, or another idea is to have students work with a partner or create one PVS in a small group of three, which will divide up the work.

place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, Here’s a fun challenge: Give the small group a total sandcastle value, and see how close they can get to hitting that number.

For a super-fun math center, print a variety of sandcastle pieces & flags on construction paper or card stock. Laminate and trim.

Students can design a sandcastle, then figure out the value, writing that number on the flag using a dry erase marker. When they’re done, take a photograph.

Put the pictures in an album along with their place value worksheet. The same can be done with the seashell sandcastles as well.
place value crafts, place value activities, place value centers, place value games, sandcastles, sandcastle crafts, summer activities, Lucky Charms treat bags, back to school treats, place value assessments, graphing activities, I’ve included covers for your album(s). 

I know summer has just begun, but I also know there are teachers who are starting to collect things for back to school.

back to school treats, treat bags for back to school, lucky charms, lucky charms treat bagsSo today's featured FREEBIE is a "Lucky Charms" treat bag that you can make for your kiddos.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/40-Off-Place-Value-Sandcastles-3880151Well that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. 

Time to put on my Nana hat, as two of my nine grandchildren, are spending the day with me.

Hopefully the rain will hold off.  If not, it will be a puddle jumping day! Wishing you a fun-filled week.

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, a warm and gentle breeze is blowing, the birds are singing a sweet song and the lawnmower is broken." -Unknown

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