Saturday, August 24, 2013

My First Week of School

Cartoon School Bus
I survived the first week of school!  I have a great group of students in my class this year.  I loved the first week of school but I am glad it is over.  This weekend will be a nice chance for me relax and try to get a jump start on my planning for next week.

One of my favorite activities for the first day of school is reading the book First Day Jitters to my class.  The girls in my class loved reading the book this year and they were so surprised by the ending.

After we read the book we talked about the things that we had "jitters" about on the first day of school.  We wrote all of our ideas on the board. Then each student completed a worksheet completing the sentence "On the first day of school I had jitters about:__________."

You can download the worksheet to use with your class here.

What is your favorite activity to do during the first week of school?  Let us know if the comments below.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Editable Binder Freebie+ Back to School Sale

Whew!  It has been a busy few weeks for me.  I just wrapped up two weeks of professional development including Spalding Reading Training (which is a 3 credit masters course) and back to school night.  Needless to say I am very tired.  I figured many of my fellow teachers are also getting pretty tired prepping for the new school year so I decided that now would be a great time to post a new freebie!   Feel free to use these Editable Binder Covers to spruce up your classroom for the new school year.  There are three different designs included in this pack.

I also wanted to announce that the TPT Back to School sale will be running from 8/18-8/19.  TPT will be offering 20% off all products with the code  BTS13.  Many sellers will also be running their own 20% off sales.  For a total of up to 28% off.  This is a great time to buy all the items on your wish lists!  I will be running a 20% off sale in addition to the TPT sale on Monday 8/19.

Comment below to let us know how your back to school preparations are going.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

3 Ice Breaker Games for the Beginning of the Year

Photo courtesy of stevendepolo at

I love playing Ice Breaker Games at the beginning of the year. It is so fun to see my students starting to get to know each other and develop relationships that are going to last the rest of the year.   However, when I was looking for Ice Breaker Games to play with my firsties many of the games were too complicated or involved too much writing.  So, I developed a list of three Ice Breaker Games that are easy and fun for young students.  As an added bonus they require very few materials!

1. Who is it?

Supplies: a rag rolled up with a rubber band, chairs placed in a circle

Have the students place their chairs in a circle.  Have the students go around the circle and state their names for the class. Choose one student to be "it" and have that student stand in the center of the circle.  Call out the name of a student in the class.  The student who is "it" must try and tag the student whose name was called with the rag.  The student who was called must call out the name of someone else in the class before they are tagged.   If a student is tagged they become "it."

Question mark in Esbjerg 

Photo courtesy of alexanderdrachmann at

2. Wall to Wall

This game is great for helping students to recognize the similarities they have with their classmates and to appreciate the differences that exist in their class.

To play this game the teacher reads questions that have two possible answers.  The teacher designates two different walls in the room to represent the answers.  For example the right wall could be yes and the left wall could be no.  The students move to stand by the wall that represents their answer to the question.  Optional: after the students have moved to the wall that designates their answer have the students discuss their answer with a classmate who had the same answer.

Before playing be sure to specify that students must not run while playing this game.

Example questions:

Do you like pizza? (yes or no)
Do you ride the bus to school? (yes or no)
Do you have siblings? (yes or no)

3. Bean Bag Toss

Have the students sit in a circle.  Start the game by tossing a bean bag or soft ball to one of the students.  Ask the student a question about themselves (i.e. What is your favorite color?). After the student answers the question have them toss the bean bag to another student and ask a question of their own.  Encourage the students to make sure that the bean bag is tossed to everyone in the circle before anyone gets a second turn.  Praise students for thinking of original questions rather than just repeating one another student asked.

Tell me about your favorite ice breaker games in the comments below!