Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to School Fun and Best Things About Summer FREEBIE!

I feel like I have blogged about it a bunch of times, but the feelings of back to school time are so tough to pinpoint.  There is the eagerness to learn all about that next class and the kind of crew it will be, the anticipation of meeting any new team or staff members, the thrill of finding the best deals on new school supplies, the dread nervousness with beginning of the year meetings, the getting back into any routine with our own kiddos, and the sleeplessness of the night before that very first day!  Yikes! How teachers keep all of this in check ALWAYS impresses me!

I can't control the majority of those emotions, but I can make the first day a little easier on you.  While running this morning sans my littlest, I had all of these ideas running through my brain.  I LOVE when that happens.  My focus was not on finding as many trucks during our 4-miler at 6:15AM, instead I could just get lost in my music and thoughts.  I don't have these runs often because my littlest is often ready to hit the ground running at 5:30AM.  Sweet babe...most days!

My littlest running buddy!

So today I was thinking about that first day and how CRAZY OVERWHELMING energizing it is to be a teacher.  All of these new students are arriving into your classroom for the first time ever, and you need to teach them every rule, procedure, and expectation.  To those kiddos it is daunting!  In addition, you need to have your classroom and hallway decorated because parents and administrators will be heading in your direction very soon!  Yikes, again!

So...I came up with this FREEBIE...

I am always looking for the perfect activity to welcome my students back to school on that very first day.   Due to the need to share rules and procedures, I want to allow them some time to have FUN! I need something engaging, but something that can be on display is always in my mind as well. I usually put up a fabric bulletin board with the title ‘Welcome Back to School, 6th Graders!” On the first day, I take each student’s picture and then display it on the bulletin board. It isn’t especially exciting, but it gets student faces displayed.  Most 6th graders LOVE to see their picture shared. After some brainstorming, I think this interactive “The Top 10 Best Things About My Summer” is even better! I came up with this interactive Back to School resource to:

• get my students reflecting on their summer
• engage them in a fun “Who’s Who?” activity
• utilize as a hallway display for students have fun with and for visitors to enjoy

Directions for use:
1. Copy The Top 10 Best Things About My Summer interactive page and I am page.
2. As a whole class, brainstorm different activities that people may have enjoyed in the summer.
3. Allow students time to create, reflect, color, and record what they did on their interactive page.
4. I have them glue the interactive page to a sheet of yellow legal pad paper because of the color and cheap cost.
5. As students are working, snap a picture of each student individually.
6. Using glue sticks, model for students how to put their display together.
7. Before displaying, share each student’s “Top 10” and allow students to infer which student the list belongs to.
8. Display on a bulletin board in the classroom or jazz up your hallway.
9. Don’t forget to do one for yourself. Students LOVE learning about their teacher and it is the perfect model.

1. Copies of interactive pages, legal pad/notebook paper, and photograph
2. Glue stick
3. Colored pencils
4. Pencil/pen

Volia!  Decor' and the perfect ice breaker activity to help students get to know one another.

One last learning tool that will make your first week very easy is this...

This 19-page CCSS Fun Pack includes:
-an 8-page, 13-character script
-reader response questions
-context clue word work
-compare and contrast interactive notebook page
-a journal prompt for post-reading reflection
-a summary strategy interactive notebook page

Utilize this one day or over a period of a week as you enhance essential reading literature skills. Also, this is perfect to utilize with a substitute teacher as clear directions are provided for immediate implementation.

Summary of realistic fiction story:
The students at Sharpland Intermediate School are greeted by a police car on their first day of school. It turns out that a thief made off with a number of learning resources after Meet the Teacher Night. The students are frustrated about missing out on learning, so they come up with a plan to re-purchase the stolen goods.
I would love to hear what you think and I'd love for you to share any pics of your ice breakers or yor students performing.  Best of luck this year!

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