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Beginning of School Year

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I use different shapes (circle, triange, square, rectangle) cut from the die machine and cut out a class set of 5 different ones. Then I program each set with a different skill. For example, I have a set with their first names in all capitals, a set with their name in upper and lowercase letters, a set with their address (street), a set with their last names and a set with phone numbers.(Address and phone number sets have their initials on them. We start with the set that contains name in uppercase because that is the way we write it to start. They have to find their name on the table when they come to check in in the morning and bring it to me . I start with us spelling it together and progress to covering it and having them spell it. When they can spell it to me three times in a row, they add it to a keychain type ring of skill they have to show what they have learned. Then when all have that, we go on to first name in upper and lowercase, last name, address and phone number. It allows me to reinforce the skills as I
introduce them and the ring serves as motivation and assessment of the skills as they learn them. I think this year I will use the basic shapes thatwe teach for this and reinforce that too. Then somedays, I go back and ask them to give me their address or phone number without the shape to make sure they haven't forgotten it. I have shapes
for learning uc/lc letters, sounds, numeral recognition, and other skills. They love seeing the tags on their skill rings grow and so do the parents.

With my back to school bear theme, we have a class bear that just "happened" to get lost the first week of school!!! We looked ALL over the school (our tour!!). Well, no one seemed to have seen our bear. When we got to the principal's office....guess what? There was our bear!! We then decided to start his (they named him Morgan) journal with the first entry being the events of the search. From that day on, the children took turns taking Morgan home and dictating to a family member to record his adventues. I have to add that over the year he got pretty worn. Once his eye fell off and we all decided that it didn't matter, we still loved him. The eye was lost for about a month when a child found it at home! We glued it, but it fell off and got lost again! Another mishap was when a child decided to dry with a hair melted his fur in one spot.....we bandaged him!!! It made
for a wonderful year of stories and experiences! I definitely plan to do it again!

To familiarize students with the location of important items in the classroom, make them explorers. Give each student a list of items to locate, such as the pencil sharpener, light switch, drawing paper, scissors, crayons, dictionaries, wastepaper basket, and so on. Students should also locate special signs and any other objects that will be important to them throughout the year. As children find objects, they should cross them off their lists.

To pair your students for interviews or other get-acquainted activities, try these match-up techniques:
1. Jigsaw puzzles. Cut half as may construction paper rectangles as you have students in your class. Then cut each rectangle in half in a different curving or zigzag pattern. Mix the pieces in a basket, and invite each student to choose one, then seek out its mate.
2. Cartoons. Cut comic strips in half and have your students match them up.

Click here to return to Tammy's Teaching Tips Themes Page