Rainbow Names!

Do you know what kids are DYING to do on the first day of school?  They are dying to use their brand spankin' new school supplies that Mom & Dad just bought them, but it's so important for me to teach my students HOW to use their supplies before I let them loose.  "Rainbow Names" is a fun and easy way to teach your students your expectations for using their supplies, as well as letting them actually use them.  :)  
To prepare, cut strips of heavy duty white card stock, and write each child's name using a black Sharpie.  That's it!  It will take you less than five minutes to prepare.  Woohoo!  Kiddos simply use their markers (or crayons) and trace around their name.  Easy breezy.
On the first day of school, before letting kids use their supplies, I take the time to MODEL how I expect students to use their school supplies.  We discuss the importance of taking care of their markers/crayons/etc. because they need to last all year!  I talk about doing your best work and being proud of your work.  I encourage kiddos to take their time on the work and not rush.  Then, I show examples of finished products that look AWESOME and others that look messy/rushed/yucky.  The visuals really help the students make connections to what I'm talking about.  Then, I let the kids show me their very best work!  When kids are creating their Rainbow Name, I give them plenty of time!  In fact, I give them time to work on it all week.  I don't want them to rush, and I don't want them to finish fast.  The best part is while kiddos are working on this project, I can do whatever needs to be done in the classroom during that crazy first day/week!  
These rainbow names really turn out beautiful!  They look fabulous on a bulletin board, hallway display, or to label students' cubbies.  Definitely laminate them when the kiddos are done so they last longer.  
This has always been one of my favorite Back to School activities because it allows me to accomplish several things...
-Teach and model expectations for using supplies 
-Teach kiddos about taking pride in their work 
-Keep kiddos busy in a fun and easy way!  :)

Just finished this beauty!  It's a trifold brochure that I pass out to parents at Meet the Teacher Night.  It gives parents all the details they need on ONE piece of paper.  
 {Inside page, Back page, Front Cover}
 {Middle of the brochure}
{Looks so pretty when it's printed & folded!}

Copycat Center

One of my kiddos' favorite centers is the "Copycat" center.  It's perfect for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and even (beginning of the year) 1st grade classrooms.  With a few basic supplies, your students can work on several skills- letter/number recognition, shapes, colors, spatial awareness, and handwriting.  In most schools, kiddos are required to "copy" from the board or overhead...like copying down homework assignments, etc.  Some kiddos really struggle with that, and it's probably due to their visual-spatial processing.  Activities like "Copycat" will help promote visual-spatial awareness in a fun and easy way.  
I created various shapes and figures with popsicle and craft sticks.  At the "Copycat" center, the kiddos get a blank mat and recreate what they see using popsicle/craft sticks.  There are several extensions for this center.  Students can draw what they see on a Magna Doodle or piece of paper.  Students can create their own figures, and have a friend "copy" them.  You can start with basic letters or shapes, and simply mix up the colors.  My students LOVE trying to recreate the abstract shapes and figures.  
Here's how to set up this center in your classroom...
You can print out the "I Can" statements for FREE by visiting my TpT store.  
I love this center because the storage is simple...everything fits right inside of the poster board envelope!  You can store it on a bookshelf, and then kiddos can work on it ANYWHERE in the room, and clean it up easily!  Win Win!!
Have fun!  

Back to School Goodies!

Welcome your sweet new students to your class with one of these goodies!
These goodies will be great to pass out at Meet the Teacher Night! I found packs of Extra gum and Ring Pops at the Dollar Tree (4 for $1). Woohoo!  Can't beat that! 
POP the question to each one of your students...
Which one is your favorite?  I'm pretty sure your kiddos will think you are the coolest teacher ever!  :) Download these goodies for FREE by clicking on any of the images.  
For a non-candy option, I made these...
Leave a comment, and let me know what you think!  :)

Back to School Communication & Meet the Teacher

Building relationships and establishing an open line of communication with parents is essential to a great school year. All the teachers at my school are REQUIRED to make a phone call to each and every parent during the first week of school. It may be a requirement, but it's something that I actually love doing!  I enjoy touching basing with the parents and giving them a positive update before the year really gets going. On the flip side, as a parent, I love hearing from my child's teacher...and he's only attending Mother's Day Out!  :) I created this simple form to use at the start of the new school year.  Pass out the note at "Meet the Teacher" night or send it home in students' folders on the first day of school. The letter will give parents the opportunity to share vital information with you about their child.
Download it for FREE by visiting my TpT store.

Speaking of Meet the Teacher Night, there are some important forms I have parents fill out when they come to meet me before school starts.
This next form is probably the most important! It's vital to know how students are getting home on the FIRST day of school. Over the years I've found that parents tend to do things a little differently on the first day of school.  The child may normally be a bus rider but on the first day of school, Mom may want to pick her child up in the carpool line or maybe Dad is going to walk home with his child. Find out how the child is getting home on that very first day of school! 
The idea is for parents to stay in the classroom and fill out these forms immediately. That way I have them ready to go on the 1st Day of School. I have some simple, fun activities for the kids to do while their parents fill out these important forms. (Ex: Buckets of math manipulatives, Play-Doh, iPad games, coloring pages, etc...)
What do you think about my Newsletter Template?  I thought the brochure style would stand out from the rest of the paperwork that goes home with kiddos.  These would be great to send out monthly or at the beginning of each grading period.
I can't believe my little guy is 15 months old now!  My good friend, Samantha, took these beautiful pictures of Reed at the park last weekend.  

Back to School: Transportation Tags

 The first week of school is CRAZY, amiright?  Getting kiddos to the right place at dismissal during the first week of school is even crazier!  I may or may not have "lost" a Kindergartner during dismissal on the first day of school in my first year of teaching...Oops!  
I've created these handy dandy Transportation Tags to help you manage dismissal time during the first week of school.  There are two different sets...one with colored clip art and another black/white version that can be printed on colored card stock. 
I've also included a blank template.  
Kiddos can wear the tags around their neck, and you can tie one to their backpacks so they can be seen easily in line.  :)
I found this twine at Michael's.  So cute.  
For added durability, laminate the tags!  You can also write on them with a vis-a-vis pen.  You never know when you are going to need to make changes.  I also keep a set of these for when I have a substitute teacher.  It really helps out with dismissal.  Download them for FREE by clicking below!  
Hope these tags make your first week of school a little easier.  :)  
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Check out more Back to School Resources from TheHappyTeacher!

Kindergarten Memory Book

Kindergarten is such a special year for children and their parents.  It's the first "official" year of school, and it's a year of friendship, learning, fun, and memories.  As a Kindergarten teacher, I wanted to create a Memory Book for my students and their families to remember this beautiful time.  This is a TREASURE that I guarantee parents will keep FOREVER!  Take a look at a few of the pages included in the ultimate Kindergarten Memory Book...

I think you will love this Memory Book for a few simple reasons...
1.  Printer Friendly- Blackline masters won't eat up your colored ink!
2.  There is space for photographs and for students to write, color, and draw.
3.  No prep!  Just print, copy, and bind.  

Kindergarten parents love to volunteer, so grab a couple of parents to help out with this project.  
If you'd like to win a FREE copy of the ultimate Kindergarten Memory Book, please leave a comment below (include your e-mail) and I'll choose a couple winners by the end of the week!

Class Book: Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?

As a primary teacher, I've always loved creating class books with my students.  A class book is special to the students because they each contribute their own page to the book.  These books are undoubtedly the favorites in our classroom library.  Today, I'm going to share a book idea called "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?"  It's ideal for PreK, Kinder, and 1st grade students.

I was going through my box of goodies from my FIRST year of teaching, which was SEVEN whole years ago.  You are going to laugh when you see the pictures of this old book.  I mean...the fonts and graphics are so dated!  I've created a brand new template for the book, but for your entertainment, I'll show you the original version my teammates and I used "back in the day!"
Keep in mind, there was NOTHING wrong with this when we used it back in the day, but graphics have come a long way since 2007!  :)  Without further ado, here are some pictures of the newly redesigned "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?" class book!  
I've included three different templates so you can decide how much coloring you want your students to do (if any!).  Take a look...
I've also included suggestions for use and a note to send home with parents, asking for pictures in the TPT product.  To download "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?", head on over to my TPT store!  

I'd like to give away a few copies of this class book to a few loyal readers!  Leave a comment below (include your e-mail), and I'll pick some winners by the end of the week.  :)
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