School is back in session! Well, at least for a lot of schools. And as a teacher, I’m sure you spent at least some of your summer break searching for new and fun Back to School activities for your kindergarten and first grade learners. BUT, I also know that you’ll continue that search, because teachers can never find exactly what they want (even if they know), or you always think there’s something out there better. THAT is just the teacher in us. We’re trained for improvement. Never to be satisfied. Sooo, with that in mind, let’s share some Back to School activities.
Back to School Activities
My students always loved doing glyphs. They thought of it more as fun rather than any kind of learning activitiy. They certainly didn’t realize that they were learning how to listen, focus, follow directions, use fine motor skills, comprehend, discuss, gather and analysis data. To them it was all just great fun!
That’s one of the reasons I like creating glyphs. You can pack a lot of punch with a glyphs activity if you do all the follow through. And if you make it a skills based glyph, you double the value!
I recently came up with the idea of meshing glyphs with color by code. Since kids also love doing color by code, what could be better? Now you can have a great learning activity with twice as much fun!
The one I just created was for Back to School. Back to School Color by Code Glyphs. This activity is not so much skills based as it is a welcome to school/getting to know you type of glyphs. Although they’re not skills based, the glyphs themselves still have great value. The value is to the teacher. It’s kind of like having your students do a self interest inventory. If the teacher analysizes the data, she may find some important nuggets of information about her new students … like who has no friends yet, who doesn’t like school, who’s nervous about school, etc.
As for the students, I developed a skills based activity for each grade level (K & 1st) that they’re designed for. Since some kindergarteners may have difficulty with the numbers 0-10 on the glyphs, I created 0-10 flashcards for the teacher to use for practicing before starting the glyphs. The number cards can also be held up while the teacher is reading the glyph as a visual aid for the students, so they’ll know which number they’re supposed to be coloring. This will make an excellent small group or Math Center activity (with an adult) for working on numbers 0-10.
After the glyphs are completed and hung for display, there are Data Discussion Questions. The students can then begin making the connection that pictures can represent data. There’s a student response page for use when appropriate. This is the part of the lesson that my students loved. I hung their pictures in the hallway and everyone got a clipboard for their response sheet. They loved sitting in the hallway having class while we discussed and analyzed together the glyph data and they recorded it on their response sheet. Having class in a totally different environment, writing on the clipboards, and the new and different glyph activity was the recipe for a stellar class lesson. Even if your students aren’t ready for the clipboard portion of this lesson, you should try it.
As an additional skill activity, I added a class pictograph How do you get to school? to show another way of data representation using pictures. Students choose a picture to represent how they get to school and color it. Then the class participates in completing the graph. Of course, discussion questions should follow … such as How do most get to school? How do the least get to school? Are any the same? How many ride the bus? How many walk? How many come in a car? How many in all?
If you want to try using Back to School Color by Code Glyphs in your classroom, click HERE.
More Back to School Activities and Ideas
Grab this Back to School Color by Code freebie. First graders can use this BTS Color by Code freebie to review their color words and kindergarteners can use it with assistance. You can provide Color Words charts and show them how to find the words. Or if that’s even too much, just help them color over the color words and let them practice matching number to number correspondence.
Here’s a list of Back to School books that you can use to choose some read alouds for your class. Another time for your students to practice stamina in focus, attention, and oral comprehension. And you can easily pick out who your stars are in these areas and who’s going to need some extra assistance. Don’t forget to plan ahead. I created cheat sheets and clipped them into the front of the books so I’d have my questions ready to go. I’ll see if I can find it and post it here somewhere.
Back to School Books
First Day Jitters – Julie Danneberg
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun – Maria Dismondy
The Berenstain Bears Go to School – Jan & Stan Berenstain
School Bus – Donald Crews
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten – Joseph Slate
The Kissing Hand – Audrey Penn
My Teacher’s My Friend – P.K. Hallinan
The First Day of School – P.K. Hallinan
Curious George Goes to school – Margaret Reys
Chrysanthemum – Keven Henkes
Froggy Goes to School – Jonathan London
Franklin Goes to School – Paulette Bourgeois
llama llama misses mama – Anna Dewdney
Share the Love
As I was gathering some books for the Back to School book list, I remembered something that you will LOVE! Just recently a kindergarten teacher friend posted a Facebook message and asked if any of her friends would like to participate in lifting up and encouraging one of her students throughout the school year by doing three things:
- Purchase a book for the student through Amazon from a list that she provided (she gave each student a number for confidentiality)
- Send a note with the book encouraging them (Amazon provides this with the book)
- Pray for the student everyday throughout the school year
Easy! If you purchase on Amazon, the books are delivered straight to the teacher.
Or harder, you could go out and purchase a book, write a note and get it to the teacher if you want. The end results are the same. Each student starts the school year with their very own book with a welcoming and encouraging note written just for them. More importantly, they know someone they don’t even know cared enough about them to do something special for them and will be praying for them every day. Now how awesome is that?!?
There was nothing specific, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we weren’t called on for a small gift at Christmas, too. Not a problem. Helping children is easy. And I pray for children every day. That’s why I sponsor 3 children through Compassion. (little plug here) If you can, please consider sponsoring a child.
When I began sponsoring Ritah, 2.5 years ago, she was barefoot, in a torn dress, no smile. Now look at my girl! I love her!! She lives in Uganda in one of the critical war torn areas, which is one of the reasons I chose her. Both of her parents are dead and she lives with her grandmother. She’ll be turning 13 soon. 🙂 Update: Now she is soon to be 16 years old and doing so well!! This was 3 years ago!
Allessandro is 8 and lives in Mexico. I’ve been sponsoring him a couple of years, but I haven’t bonded with him like I have with Ritah because the pandemic hit right when I started his sponsorship. Ritah was able to write back and forth where he was not. She writes to me and tells me how they spend the money that I send and the first thing after food/seeds that they purchased was supplies to build a latrine. They’ve since moved into a better house. So I know that what I send is helping to bless them and it blesses me as well.
And not too long ago I began sponsoring Valentina. She’s 11 and lives in Haiti. I wasn’t looking to sponsor another child, but something about her just touched my heart. (Sorry, that turned into a big plug!)
Back to School Bingo
Kids love playing bingo, so bingo games are an easy and fun way to practice lots of skills. And to get the kids more engaged, I added additional fun activity calling cards that the kids will love … like everyone yodel or move one seat to the right. The teacher decides how many and which cards to use. Then stand back and watch all the student engagement and fun! Instructions included.
Also look for
and Back to School Bingo Bundles
More resources you might be interested in for Back to School:
Share some of the new activities and treasures below that you dug up for your Back to School start. You know teachers always want to know!
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