Back to School

Happy August Y'all!

I’m not sure about you, but my summer has flown by!  Summer break is on the last leg.  I officially go back to work this week.  Where has time gone?  Does the end of summer ever sneak up on you?  It seems that I blinked and summer ended. 

Last week I spent time in my new classroom (as in unboxing 30 plus boxes, organizing, putting up bulletin boards, you name it).  I took my not so little kiddos with me.  My youngest said, “This looks like a case of Minecraft gone wrong”.  Why yes it does my dear!  haha! Here is a small snippet of what my room looked like before I began the tall task at hand.

Thankfully it did not take long for my classroom to begin looking a little better.  Now, I do not want to run the opposite direction when I walk in the room.

I will post an "after" picture when my classroom decorating is complete. I am excited about the changes I have planned for my new room and can’t wait to share with you how I am moving to a flexible seating classroom.  EEK!! It is going to be a new and exciting adventure.

Back to School Freebie

Well, enough about my classroom.  I am excited to share with you one of my favorite back to school activities.  It is,  "All About MeBags".  They are fun and simple to throw together before the first day of school.  My local grocery store is great about donating the bags I need for this activity.  On each bag, I staple a letter for the parents/guardians explaining what goes in the bag.  Below is an example of what the bag looks like with the note attached.

Students fill the bag with 3-5 items that they would like for their classmates to know about them.  After each child shares, the students are given an opportunity to ask questions.  This activity takes 3-5 days to complete, depending on class size.  I like to share my bag on the first day of school.  They LOVE this activity.   It is a fun way to begin building a close-knit classroom community. 

Here are a few Q/A’s how I use this activity in my classroom. 

Q. Do you set any guidelines for students before sending the bags home?
A. I tell my students their items have to fit in the sack.  This helps not getting stuffed animals that are bigger than the kids or in my case the teacher.

Q. What do you do when a student brings a special toy that they sleep with at night?
A.  This happens every year.  Here are a few ideas on how I hand that situation.  First: I allow students to take their bag home and bring it back the next day.  Second:  Before we begin sharing I ask the class if they have a stuffed animal they sleep with in their bag.  This allows me to gauge how many I might need to finish by the end of the day (time permitting).

Q. Have you ever had a year where a child does not bring anything to share?
A.  No, so far I have not a year where a child did not bring something to share.  

Q. How many questions do you allow the students to ask?
A. I allow my students to ask 3-5 questions. 

Q. What size of bag do you use?
A.  I use the brown grocery bags from the grocery store. You can also use lunch sacks if you would like students to bring smaller items.  

Q. Do you set a time limit on how long you allow a student to share?
A. I do not set a specific time limit.  There have been times that a student has brought a large photo album.  If this happens, I do limit the number of pictures that they share.

Now here is the best part!  You can grab your own copy for free by clicking on the picture below.

I hope you and your students enjoy this activity as much as mine.  If you have any questions please let me know.  Good luck this school year.  It is going to be the “Best Year Ever”!