Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to School Blog Hop

Today I'm linking up with some blogging buddies to do a Back to School Blog Hop.  We'll each be sharing some of our favorite back to school activities.  Make sure that when you're done reading here, you head on over to their pages and read some of their awesome tips!  

Thanks to Mackenzie at Brownbag Academics for hosting this event!

I always am really excited about the new school year.  As much as I love my summer break, I really do look forward to going back and meeting all my new students.  Despite my excitement, I am always very nervous.  That's why I LOVE reading the book First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.  
If you are not familiar with this story, RUN not walk to your nearest library and check it out!  This is the story of  Sarah Jane Hartwell not wanting to go to school.  She has many of the same fears that our students and ourselves have about starting a new year.  Eventually Mr. Hartwell makes her go.  The ending is a surprise, and I won't spoil it for you, but we can ALL probably relate to Sarah ;-)   I love to read this to students to show that they are not alone in being nervous.  

After reading the story, we get academic on the first day of school, and construct a picture graph of our emotions.  Students color a picture of themselves showing how they feel on the first day of school.  Then we construct a large picture graph as a class.  
We go over the parts of a graph, make the labels together, come up with a title, and then each student adds their symbol to the graph.  Then we analyze the data by using the picture graph.    

This activity also allows for me to check off a lot of procedures that need to be taught while still covering academic standards!  Students learn procedures for coming to the carpet to listen to a story, getting up to go back to their desks, using their supplies, working as a whole group, and more!  
On Monday of this week, I showed a picture of the "Meet Your Teacher" book that I mail out to students before school starts.  You can see it here.  I think in order to build a classroom community it is important that the students and I get to know each other as people.  That's why we spend time during the first week getting to know each other.  Just for stopping by today, I'm sharing two getting to know you activities :-)

1. Who doesn't love a good word search?
In this activity students hide information about themselves in a word find.  Then a partner interviews them to learn all about the person who made the word search.  The partner then looks for the information in the word find.  
You can pick this up for FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store here or by clicking the picture.  

2. Another fun getting to know you game is Classmate Bingo.  Students write three facts about themselves.  Then each student makes a bingo board by writing the name of a classmate in each square.  The caller collects the facts from each student and reads the three facts.  The class tries to figure out who is being described and then covers that name on the bingo board.  
Click here or on the picture to download this activity.  Even though it's a game, you can use this as yet another opportunity to teach rules and procedures.  

Finally I'm planning to introduce center work by using my Back to School Language Arts Task Cards.  There are several skills found in these cards.  By giving these to students at the beginning of year, I will be able to begin to assess what they know.  

These task cards are different from your ordinary task cards.  Each card has an answer choice on it.  Next to the answer choice is a letter.  The letters are written on the answer sheet.  When students have completed each task card, they will have the answer to a school related joke.  As someone else pointed out to me, youngsters sometimes have difficulty understanding jokes, so this will get those critical thinking skills in!  You can purchase this from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here or by clicking the picture!

Now for something REALLY exciting!  I'm going to attempt my first blog giveaway!!  I'm giving away one set of task cards from the bundle above.  You can enter to win the Back to School Parts of Speech Task Cards!  You can check them out here.  Enter Below and check back on Monday evening to see who the lucky winner is!  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  Thanks for stopping by on the Blog Hop.  Make sure you visit the other bloggers participating to grab awesome tips and even a few FREEBIES!!  Read the message below from Brownbag Academics and you'll see the list of bloggers participating!


  1. I love First Day Jitters! Last year, we did a personal showcase the first Friday of school. Each student brought a bag with 5 items, pictures, etc. It was a good way for the kids to learn about each other and their interests beyond academics.

  2. I really love that you have your students talk about their emotions! It's so important to tap into that to build community from the get go!

  3. I like your first day feelings graph. I'm glad to have found you through the blog hop. Happy back to school.
    Artistry of Education

  4. I like the way you have the kids engage in creating the information for the bingo and the word search. It will definitely make things more interesting and exciting for them. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I am glad I got a chance to be part of this hop and meet up with you.

    Charlene/Diamond Mom
    Diamond Mom's Treasury

  5. Good for you with your first giveaway! My blog is still in the baby stages, and I'm not quite ready for a giveaway at this point. Good job on taking the next step and good luck with the blog, the new name, and the new school year!!!

  6. I love your 'meet the teacher' idea - and the pages you created for it are beautifully laid out. The kids (and parents) must love receiving those. What a positive way to start the year!

  7. I read First Day Jitters to my first graders!! Love the universal appeal of that book! Nice activities!
    K-4 Teaching Resources

  8. You have convinced me to run to the bookstore to pick up a copy of First Day Jitters! Thanks for sharing your great ideas and resources! Really wonderful!

  9. Found your blog thru the TBTS blog hop. It's so cute and colorful! Appropriate with your blog name :)
    I love that book too. My favorite activity might just be reading those beginning of the year/ back to school books. Good luck with your giveaway!
    First Grade Found Me