Back to School

Table Captains

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One of the ways I keep my classroom running smoothly is by the help of my “Table Captains.”  I have 4 tables in my classroom, and they are organized by color; red, green, blue, and yellow.  Each table has 4 or 5 students.  At the beginning of every week, one student is named the “Table Captain” for the entire week.  This picture shows how I organize the rotation of the students.  I turn the top of the star to the child who comes next.  I will describe below how I made the Star Spinners.  The Table Captain is the student at each table who is in charge of getting and putting away any materials or manipulatives that are needed for their table during a lesson.

Here is a close-up of the Star Spinner for the blue table.  I cut out a white circle and laminated it before writing on it.  I wrote Table Captain on the blue star before I laminated it.  I used a brad to attach the star to the white circle, and this allows the star to spin.  I wrote the names of the students who sit at the blue table.  Willie would be the Table Captain for this week, Ian would be the Table Captain the following week, and so on…

After I choose the student to be the Table Captain, he/she will put this Star Cone at his/her desk as a fun reminder that they are the Table Captain for the week.  This also helps to remind the other students that want to take over the job! I found these cute cones at Party City in the circus section.  The stars are out of a pack of cut-outs.  I hot-glued the stars to a popsicle stick, and I punched a hole in the top of the cone to poke the popsicle stick through.

Start Your Day the SMART Way!

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Last year I decided to try something a little different.  I wanted to make my calendar more interactive, but my bulletin board with my calendar just wasn’t cutting it!  What better way to make it more interactive than with the SMARTBoard.  I looked on SMART Exchange and found an adorable notebook that a teacher had created with a calendar and many other activities.  I downloaded it and edited the notebook by adding my own personal touches.  I added my own pages as well to incorporate things I was already doing during my Morning Meeting/ Calendar Math.

This 36 page SMART Notebook Activity will engage your students as you start your day with the following activities:  Attendance/Calendar/Days/Months/How Many Days in School-Place Value/Weather Tally/Lost Tooth Graph/Venn Diagrams/Survey Question/Counting Money and Coin Review/Addition and Subtraction/Number Line/Numbers and Number Words/Fact Families/Shapes

There are 12 calendars included with interactive number cards and holiday cards to label your calendar.  The kids love to manipulate the pictures on the calendar!  The other activities can be used on different days of the week to introduce, review, or reinforce the skills you are teaching in math. Throughout the notebook you will see empty boxes with a music note.  This is where I inserted my songs that I use during my calendar time.  The songs are not included due to copyright, but most of my music came from my trusty Dr. Jean and Mr. AL CDs.

I start off on the first day of school with this notebook by teaching the students how to move their name on the attendance chart and completing the calendar activities.  I always do the daily routines like calendar, weather, counting how many days in school, and tooth tally every day.  I don’t do all of the other activities every day.  I pick one or two extra each day and change it up throughout the week.  Directions are included in a pull-down tab on each page, but if you have any questions let me know.  The original version of this can be found on SMART Exchange under Calendar.

The Kissing Hand Back-to-School Activity Pack

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Are you ready for the First Day of School? You will be with this Kissing Hand Activity Pack to use with your students on the first day of school! You will find over 80 pages of presentation pages, worksheets, literacy and math center activities, parent notes, and writing activities!

Click here to get my latest PDF download for FREE

The Kissing Hand Title

This Back to School Pack is focused on the book, The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. It supports the Reading & Writing Common Core Standards for K-2.

Included in the Back to School Activity Pack are the following:
Essential Vocabulary Flashcards
Color Word Flashcards that can double as a Memory Match Game
I Read Closely Worksheet- Two Types
First Day Feelings Worksheet- Five types
Chester Character Web
Retelling and Sequencing- Beginning, Middle, End Worksheet
Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How Worksheet
Characters/Setting Worksheet
Character Comparison to Student
School Settings Comparison
Story Elements- Characters, Setting, Problem, and Solution
First Day of School Opinion Writing- Graphic Organizer
First Day of School Opinion Writing- Writing Format
Beginning Sounds Matching Game
Ten Frame Numbers Matching Game
Great Day Notes to Send Home
Kiss Goes On Poem
Little Raccoon Poem


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Back-to-School Hershey Wrapper

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 Are you looking for a little something to give to your students on Move-In Day or the First Day of School?  This Hershey Wrapper is an easy way to turn a simple treat into a personal gift!  Instead of the traditional sucker, I wanted to give my students something they could keep after the treat was gone. After attending a baby shower where I saw the He/She Hershey Wrappers, I decided to make one for my students.  I tried to find one that I liked, but couldn’t find one that used minimal ink in printing.  I made this one, and it was a hit with my students and their parents.

Kindergarten Hershey Wrapper Teacher Hershey Wrapper

There is a Hershey Wrapper for Preschool through Fifth grade. You will also find a back-to-school wrapper that can be used for a student to give to a teacher. Have fun making your students a fun back-to-school treat that they will remember!


Poetry Journal Labels

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My students love their poetry journals!  Each student in my class has a regular 3-prong folder in a designated color.  We don’t ask for these on our supply list, so I just watch the sales to see when I can get them cheap! I don’t like the 3-prong plastic folders because they are extremely hard for my first graders to open by themselves.  (I even have trouble.) I use these labels so when I tell my students to take out their poetry journal with the crayons, it helps them distinguish between all of the other folders. Every time I introduce a new poem, we add the poem to their poetry journal sometime during the week.  The copy of the poem that I give them has no pictures, so that my students can  illustrate the poem with their own meaning and creativity.  We use highlighters to find our word wall words.  Their poetry journal stays in their book browsing box to read when all of their other work is finished.  This also makes a great literacy center activity or independent learning activity!   Use Avery template 8163 or Office Max OM99062 White Shipping Labels.

 Labels- Poetry Journal


Label Mania!

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I LOVE LABELS!  Are you as crazy for them as I am?  Ok, I will admit that I am a little OCD when it comes to my students’ folders.  I like for all of their folders to be the same color with the same labels and their names all in the same place.  It just makes it easier for my first graders to transition from each activity, which in turn makes my job easier!  If you look under the Resources tab above, I have added a new page called Classroom Labels.  These are the labels that I use in my classrooom.  I would love to hear about what you label in your classroom, so please comment and share what works for you!  Check back often, as I will always find more things to label!  (I know, it is an addiction!)


Happy Birthday To You!

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This SMART Notebook activity is a great way to help your students learn their birthdays.  I use this notebook in my All About Me unit that I teach during the first couple of weeks of school.  This Notebook could be easily adapted for use in your early childhood classroom.  It includes a birthday chant, a birthday graph, making patterns with balloons, age graph, counting and matching numbers, and a writing prompt.


Classroom Rules and Procedures the SMART Way!

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Rules and Procedures Pic

Start your school year off right by having your rules and procedures ready on the first day of school!  Along with my rules and procedures that are posted on the wall, I use this notebook activity to help my first graders have fun and stay focused!  This Smart Notebook activity is easily adaptable for any classroom. Feel free to change anything to make it appropriate for your behavior theme! I use apples as the behavior theme for the display in my classroom.  In the Notebook activity I have included a picture of my display along with my classroom discipline plan, behavior calendar, and behavior report.  I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!