students at my school are allowed to visit a
few days before the school
starts. This "Sneak Preview" gives them a chance
to see where their room is located and take a peek through
the windows of the classroom door! I make sure to leave
a letter introducing myself outside of the classroom
as well as an introduction to our class website!
Sneak Preview Letter
Preview Sign - Website Address
the first day of school, I give each of my students
a "Welcome Bag".
Since my classroom theme is Hollywood, I use popcorn
bags to hold everything. I include the following items
in the bag:
On the outside of
the bag, I attach a poem that says:
to my third grade class!
am so glad you are here!
have made you a bag of goodies,
help describe our year.
eraser is to let you know
is okay to make mistakes.
will correct them and learn from them
matter what it takes!
The "Smarties" say
I know you are smart,
really special too.
The "Lifesaver" is
to remind you
I am here for you.
pencil represents the learning
we will do.
grade can be pretty tough,
it is a ton of fun too!
Taffy" says we will laugh a lot,
traveling through grade 3.
The "dollar" is
to let you know
valuable you are to me!
Here's a similar idea, using
On the first day of
school, I give my students their very first homework
assignment. I give them each a brown paper
bag and tell them that they must fill the bag with 5
items that will best describe themselves. When the students
bring in their bag, they share the significance of each
item with the rest of their classmates.
the first day of school, I have the students decorate
a blank t-shirt
to describe themselves. They can include pictures that
represent what they like to do after school, their favorite
foods, etc. Everyone gets a chance to explain why they
decorated their shirt the way that they did. After everyone
is done, I hang the t-shirts up on a clothesline in the
room. "Look Who's Hangin' Out in Room 28!"
Who's Hangin' Out in Room 28!" Banner
Another idea...design your
student creates a glyph during the
first week of school.
They draw the face by following the directions on the
Glyph Key. Then, they fill out the information on the
like "Favorite Food", "Favorite Subject",
etc. Finally, the students write about something that
they did over the
summer on an index card, which is attached to a pair
got this idea from Beth
Newingham's blog. The students each
receive a blank
clock. They have to find one partner for each of the times
on their clock. For example, if Jimmy and Billy wanted
to be partners, they would both agree on a time on their
clock and write each other's names on the line next to
that time. When everyone has filled out their clock, I
laminate them and tape them onto the top of their desks.
When the students need to work with a partner, I simply
to call out a time..."Find your three o'clock partner"
or "Find your ten o'clock partner"...and, voila!
The students get right to work without worrying about who
they are going
to be with.
students to articulate their hopes for the year is
way to build community, foster
set the stage for creating classroom rules.
are your hopes for this school year?"
Many teachers using the Responsive
ask students this question at the start of every school
While the question may seem simple, posing it to students
and asking them to share their responses can have a profound
effect on the classroom. Just think about the messages
inherent in the question: what you care about matters at
school; your hopes and goals are taken seriously; you have
a say in what we'll learn.
the time to help children articulate their hopes for
school—or their "hopes and dreams," as
they’re often called—sets a tone of collaboration
and mutual respect. It fosters reflection and self-knowledge
by prompting children to ask themselves questions such
as "What’s important to me at school? What do
I want to learn more about? What’s easy for me? What’s
hard for me? What do I want to get better at?"
hopes and dreams also creates a meaningful context
classroom rules. Once hopes
articulated, discussions can begin about what rules will
be needed to help everyone’s hopes and dreams come
older grades, the teacher might ask, "If these
are our hopes, what rules will we need in order to make
these hopes come true?" In younger grades, "How
can we take care of ourselves and each other so that we
can all do what we hope to do in school?" In this
way, rules become logical outgrowths of the students’ and
teachers’ goals rather than directives handed down
the first day of school, the students fill out a worksheet
that asks questions about themselves. They also write
a poem in cursive and I take a picture of them. All of
these things get put into our class time capsule, which
cannot be opened until the end of the school year! It
is so much fun to look at how the students change throughout
the year! At the end of the year, the students write
the same poem in cursive so that they can compare how
much their handwriting has improved throughout the year!
Time Capsule worksheet
See Anyone You Know?
Students will need a current
photo and baby photo of themselves for this interactive
bulletin board idea. Each student folds a piece of construction
paper in half and
to describe himself on the front. He mounts a current photo
inside to provide the answer. He mounts the folder and
a baby photo on a sheet of paper. Students try to guess
who each baby picture belongs to! This is a cute bulletin
board for Curriculum Night.
Sanitizer Bathroom Pass
got this idea from the Really Good Stuff catalog. Label
two bottles of hand sanitizer "Girls" and "Boys" and
then cover with contact paper. When a student needs to use
the bathroom, they take the bottle of hand sanitizer and put
it on top of their desk. You get a visual reminder of who is
in the bathroom, other students know when the bathroom is occupied,
and the student gets a reminder to get rid of those germs when
they get back to the classroom!
Our classroom's theme is Hollywood! Check it out!
School Supplies Request - Our school's supply list
for third grade doesn't include a few items that I use
in class, so I send this note home the first day of school. |
Checkout Letter - This letter explains my classroom
library book checkout procedure. I usually don't begin
letting the students checkout books until after a few
weeks. I want to make sure they understand the rules
and can take responsibility before opening the library
Box Portfolio - The students make two portfolios
to store their extra work packets. These portfolios are
kept on the windowsill of the classroom. Whenever the
students finish their work, they choose a packet from
their portfolio to work on during their free time.
- Letter Home - I send this letter home during the
first week of school to introduce my students and their
families to our class website. |
Response Letter - This letter gets sent home to
the parents to fill out. This is a good way to find
out about the parents' hopes for the year. It also
gives them a chance to share more information about
Signature on Test - Letter - When my students take
a test or are graded on an assignment, I cut the corner
off of the paper and send it home. This lets the students
and their parents know that this paper needs to be signed
by a parent and sent back to school the next day. I expect
that the students get all graded assignments signed and
bring them back to school. If the student does not bring
in the signed paper, they are not allowed to participate
in Homeworkopoly at the end of the week. |
Permission - Since I have a Hollywood theme in
my classroom, I take pictures of the students as "movie
stars" at the beginning of the year. This is the
form that I use to get permission to put a temporary
tattoo on the students. |
Release Form - Before placing any students' work
or pictures on the internet, I make sure to get permission
from the parents.
List Permission Form - I put together a class list
which includes the students' addresses and phone numbers.
Many parents use this list in case they are sending out
birthday party invitations or arranging playdates. I
make sure to ask for permission from each of the parents
before including their personal information. |
Policy - This letter explains the homework policy
that I have in my classroom. |
Portfolios - I use pizza boxes to store my students'
portfolios. That way, the students can keep things
that would not fit in a file folder. I get mine online and
they were only 20 cents for each one! You could also
try asking around at local pizza restaurants to see
donate some boxes for your classroom.
New and Improved "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" Lesson
*I especially like "The
Relatives Came: A Family Read-Along"!
Vicki Blackwell - Back to School
A to Z Teacher Stuff - Back to School
Gold - Back to School Ideas
Friendship Fruit Salad
Acrostic Poems -
Have students interview each other and write an acrostic poem
for their partner.
Brain Pop Movie - Back to
site created and maintained by Kirsten Van Dyke.
August 14, 2012