Friday, August 29, 2014

Back To School Ideas

So... school is here!  Now, what to do with those 25 smiling faces staring back at you on day one?

I created a WELCOME banner to welcome the kids back to school or to use for back to school night.  It's super easy to put up.  I created a mini version for you to see it below.  Grab it at my store for free!  Woo Hoo! 

Here's the 'real' version:

The first week is more about establishing routines, getting the lay of the land and learning everyone's name and a little more about each student.
When I taught K, one of my favorite activities to teach children about kindness was the Wrinkled Heart Activity. It can be applied to all ages and it's a fabulous visual reminder! 

Read all about it and print off the poster for free HERE.

I usually have my kids work on an All About Me Book.  It helps me learn about their family, interests, friends and more.  Usually, when they are complete, I have the children pair-share  so they can get to know each other.  I glue the front page on a piece of folded construction paper and staple it to make it look like a 'real' book. The finished project is very sweet =) and I put it out for Parents' Night.

Recently, I updated this book to include some more pages and gave it a little facelift. Here's the new version:

A great book to read is
Wilfred Gordan McDonald Partridge. It's about a small boy with  a big name who befriends Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper since she has a big name too! Miss Nancy has lost her memory and Wilfred discovers what memories are so he can find it for her.  Click on the link to go to Storyline Online .
This site is amazing-you'll want to bookmark it for sure! It's great to have fabulous books read to the kids by famous people- LOVE IT! Bonus- IT"S FREE! Who doesn't like FREE?

We also do a fun scavenger hunt  and some other back to school activities.  I ask kids to bring in 2 items to share on the first day of school that represent something they did over the summer.

I created a Licensed to Learn bulletin board.  I keep the license plates up all year as a border around my bulletin board.  It's  represents the authors of the work  presented all year.

Here are some other great get to know you activities from other classes:

FREE Get-to-Know-You Jenga - Great for scout groups, summer camps and back to school!
With so many books in the classroom, it's hard for the kids to keep track of which ones they are reading.  I have the children make 2 bookmarks at the beginning of the year (one on white, one on a bright color). I use cardstock for durability and laminate them. I cut  them to 10 1/2 x 3 1/2 so 2 of them fit in a laminate sleeve quite easily. I stick on a label with their name on top in a large sized font. When they are reading a book and it's time to start something new, they put the bookmark in the book and it goes back into the class library. It allows other students know that someone is reading it at the moment.  It prevents a lot of shoving the books in the desk and getting ruined.  Another idea people use is putting the books in Ziplocs and keeping them  in their desks.  That's  how my kids keep their DEAR books.

Here are some great K-2 books from Read Write Think  for BACK TO SCHOOL.

Check out Always a Teacher Forever a Mom Linky for her Fabulous Freebie Friday!


For some fabulous back to school freebies and products, check out Primary Inspirations Back to School Linky Party:

Please  feel free to share any great ideas or links for back to school ideas, games, or get to know you activities.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back To School

Back to School

It seems like just yesterday, we were waving goodbye to the kids and yet, here it is the last week of August! School is around the corner and for some of you, you're all ready back- best of luck!!  Please enjoy some Back to School Coloring Freebies to reinforce number recognition and color word recognition for those of you who teach younger kids. Included in each download is a color recognition sheet which is great to use as a resource throughout the year. CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY STORE FOR THESE FREEBIES OR ON EACH PICTURE.  Enjoy!

This comes free with each color sheet. Enjoy!

The beginning of school is always the trickiest time of year.  When I taught kindergarten, the MOST important lessons I could teach in the beginning of the year were routines, routines, routines.  Did I mention how important routines were? Our district had half-day kindergarten at that time, and by the end of the day, I was tired of hearing my own voice, but I found out that the more effort I put in towards the beginning of the year, the easier it was all year long. Everyone knew where the glue and supplies were, everyone knew the bathroom routines, and the morning routines, the bus routine, the snack routines, the 'when you come in' routines and the homework routine.  Everything was a routine =)  Second grade was not much different. Except now I can write the daily routine on the board and they could read it!  No more picture clues,... although I do miss those funny pictures. For the little guys, I created this FREEBIE to help with directions:

 Feel free to grab a free copy of my schedule cards for throughout the day. It's a great way to keep everyone focused on what's ahead.

Schedule Cards for throughout the day  Freebie! Schedule Cards for throughout the day  Freebie!Schedule Cards for throughout the day  Freebie!

The second most important part is organization.  I am definitely not the organization guru but I aim to be 'that person', but I'm more like 'organized chaos'.  I can find everything in the room in my own little organizational system- much to the surprise of everyone, but I need help.  I LABEL everything at home at at school (even my linen closet is labeled!). Literally, everything... including the kids when they come in to learn all their names (even their parents get a name tag on parent night!) I'll share that closer to parents night.
When I got into school this week, I thought I would reorganize my math area and give it a little bit of a face lift, so I created these labels for my math manipulatives.  They are available at my TPT store and editable for all of your manipulative needs =)

Here's how it turned out:

From this:

to this:

It can be a bit addictive, so I made even more labels for books and practically everything in the room!
If you like the labels, I created 3 different varieties which are all editable- my Regular Set, Mega Pack and Ultimate Set which includes both of them!  If you're not a polka dot/chevron/stripe fan... below is my solid color option.

Things look a bit more organized:

I finally got my classroom job posters up... just waiting for my list to fill in the names.
I've got a lot of kids this year, which means a lot of jobs!

I came across this amazing list of procedures to teach from Erika at Teach Train & Triumph.
Perfect for going back to school! Check out her site !
Do you have any great advice, procedures or tricks that you love for going back to school? Please share...

Friday, August 15, 2014


Hi All,

So I finally took everyone's advice and jumped head first into the blogger world. My feet are officially wet.  First, I'd like to say thanks for visiting!   So for stopping by, I'd like to offer you a FREEBIE! (It also gives me some great practice on how to do links!)

Please enjoy the following freebies from my TPT Store :
I've been teaching second grade for the past few years,  but I spent over 14 years teaching kindergarten and loved every moment.  Hence the title of my blog, Hopping from K to 2. I hope to use this blog to share my ideas for grades K-2, so if you'd like to follow along on my blogging journey, it would be great. Any advice on blogging is also appreciated.