Friday, September 18, 2015

Back to School Activities

Whew!!  Teaching on a normal day is a roller coaster, but this past month has literally flown by!  I can't believe it is already nearing the end of September, and I am just now getting around to sharing our back to school plans.  I have been a bad blogger...I promise to do better.

One of my favorite things to do the first day of school for morning work is let the kids color their own name coloring page.  We use these all year to label our cubby spaces.  Plus these are free!  Just click the image to the left.
We also worked on a classroom scavenger hunt!  This allowed the kids to roam the room, get a closer look at the different areas, as well as find materials they will use all year.  This activity was great for the kids to get up when they usually spend so much time sitting and listening the first few days.  I also loved this activity because it opened up a lot of discussion about procedures, essential information, and any questions the kids still had about our classroom.

Every year I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read "Chrysanthemum!"  It is seriously one of my all time favorite read alouds.  This book is so great for kids of all ages because of the interesting vocabulary, plot, and the opportunities for connections.  After reading the book we did a super fun classmate connection venn diagram activity from Third Grade Thinkers.  We also started our first chapter book read aloud that tied in perfectly with this picture book, "Lone Bean."  This is an adorable book about a third grader, name Chrysanthemum, who is having trouble adjusting to her new life in third grade.

My kids are still a few years shy of being able to have an actual facebook account so I decided to give them a taste of what they are missing! Each kid was given a large piece of white construction paper and we measured a line at 2" and 8" to divide our sections.  First, they wrote a sentence or two about something they did over the summer and added an illustration.  Next, each child had 5 pictures of themselves.  They added one picture to their timeline post and then were able to walk around and comment on their friends' walls with the extra 4 pictures.  This activity was ADORABLE and it was so simple to ease into the new school year!  I got a chance to get to know the kids personally and sneak a peek at their writing abilities too.

We also took some time to talk about voice volumes.  Myself, by nature, am a Decibella.  My table talk voice is louder than most, so this is a skill that I can even work on.  This is such a fun read aloud and had the kids 100% attention the entire time!  If you are interested in some free class activities and the class voice volume chart click either of the pictures!

When I started pinteresting researching what back to school activities I would like to do, fact or fib was a quick and easy choice.  I hadn't really planned it all out and stumbled upon this book.  I was excited about how perfect the activity would correlate with this expectations were blown out of the water.  The kids were ECSTATIC about this book.  We could have sat there for days and drooled over each and every page.  Kids love fun facts!  There is a second book too that I am hoping to purchase in the near future. 
Finally, the last book/activity I wanted to share is probably the most important.
 "Mrs. Spitzer's Garden."  
This is a joyful, inspiring book that reminds teachers what is truly essential about our profession.  It is also an opportunity to build a relationship with the kids by letting them know their best interests are your number 1 priority!  We read the book multiple times and did a few writing and comprehension activities.