Back to School

(Click on any image to see a larger version of that image.)

Reading great books to your class is a great way to start the school year. Below are some of my favorites, and they are the kid's favorites, too.

My favorite back to school book is Pete the Cat - Rocking In My School Shoes by Eric Litwin. I use this sheet on the first day of school as a way to wrap up the day.

Click Here for Pete the Cat PDF.

Welcome Back to School Card -

Send out this fun card to all of your students before school starts.

The outside says "I'm so hoppy." The inside says "that you are in my class this year."

You can also include important information about upcoming special events such as Open House on the inside of the card.

The frog on the front of the card pops up.

I used a packing peanut and tacky glue to attach it.

The special sized envelopes are available at office supply stores (Office Max).

Teacher Info Magnet -

Make these handy magnets to give to your parents at the beginning of the new school year.

Use any sticker name tag.

Type up all the school phone numbers you want your parents to have. Rubber cement the info on the sticker.

Laminate and put magnetic tape on the back. Parents love having the info right at their ingertips to call in those absences and ask you questions.

First Day of School Magnets -

Make these great magnets with your students on the first day of school. Type up this little poem and put it in a card to send home with the magnets.

I made this special magnet
On the very first day
So that my (grade level) work
Will always be on display!

Use any cut out to tape or glue to a wooden clothespin. The CTP boy and girl calendar cutouts work well. You can also use any die-cut shape. I used the Bitty Body die from Sizzex (the small personal die cut machine available at most craft stores.)

Have your students decorate the shape and the just tape (use double sided) or tacky glue the shape on a wooden clothespin. Put magnetic tape on the other side of the clothespin.

Bouncing Through the New Year -

Give your students this little prize during Open House or orientation. Place a super ball in a plastic baggie and tie it to a note saying "Looking forward to bouncing through the new year with you!!"

Name Matching Book -

Instead of just having names on one side and photos on the other, have the names in two stacks, boys and girls. Helps the kids with categorizing.

Gingerbread Man Hunt - Early in the school year, we tour the school by looking for the Gingerbread man. To slow the kids down, each school helper rubber stamps the child's "Passport" that list the locations we visited. The inside of the Passport says: "The principal of (school name) hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the student named herein to pass without delay or hindrance."

At the last location we visit, the Gingerbread Man leaves us some cookies to eat. We take 1 bite and then graph which body part we ate first.

We also made our September calendar a gingerbread man.

I send home 2 class books that go with the gingerbread theme. For both books I use photos I took of the the children holding the gingerbread man stuffed animal (double prints). For the first book the child just writes his/her name in the rhyme and draws a picture of himself/herself chasing the gingerbread man.

The other class book is teacher made. I use the Frank Schaffer Gingerbread Cutouts. The text is "I'm gingerbread (name). Catch me if you can." It is based on the book Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett.

I always like to read different versions of the story so we can compare and contrast. My favorites are: The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt,

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett

and for a city setting I love The Gingerbread Boy by Richard Egeilski.

Jack Hartmann has a great song called "The Gingerbread Man" on his Shake, Rattle and Read CD.

My new favorite book to read when we go on the gingerbread man hunt is Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray

In the book Gingerbread Man Loose in the School the kids put up posters to find the Gingerbread Man. We put up "Wanted" posters all around our school to find him. The kids love this!

Click Here For Wanted Poster PDF.

Friends on the Bus Book - This class book is also teacher made. I use the first day of school photo on a bus cutout. "This friend on the bus is ____, _____,______. This friend on the bus is _______, I like my new friend."

Mary Wore Her Red Dress - This class book goes along with the book Mary Wore Her Red Dress by Merle Peek. Like the book, the illustrations are black and white with a little color added. The child draws a self-portrait with only a black crayon. Then, he/she chooses one color and article of clothing to paint on the self-portrait.