Since I did a back to school theme last year I was a bit stymied about what to do for the start of this school year- then it hit me! Many of the back to school activities are based around getting to know your students (as well as classroom set up and rules!) so an “All About Me” theme seemed to fit the bill perfectly! Cheers to the new school year everyone!
-All about me interviews: If you’ve never interviewed your little it’s a MUST do! Their answers are just so cute and funny! Even though this was for back to school, I used this birthday interview page because the questions matched most of the ones I do with my littles each year on their birthdays (and those are coming up so I figured I could get it done now!) I just asked my littles each question orally then wrote down their answers.
-“Would you rather” interview: I found these back to school “would you rather” questions on Teachers Pay Teachers and read them to my littles. Then we all answered them and used check marks to show our choices.
-All about you and a story: We read “The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule”, then I had my little answer some questions I wrote that would help him connect personally with the story.
-Name letter match: I wrote the letters in my littles’ names (my older one did our last name, my younger did his first name) on small post it notes, then had them spell their names with them. Then I gave them 2 more sets of letters and had them match them to the original. I got this idea from Teaching Mama (only she used dot stickers).
-Color the letters in your name: I printed this letters in your name printable and had my little color the letters in his first and last names.
-Name acrostic: I had my little write his name vertically down the side of a page, then had him think of a word to describe himself using each letter of his name. I wrote the words using dots for him, then had him trace and say each letter as he wrote the words too. (I did one using my own name for him first as an example).
-Trace and say name writing: I wrote my little’s first, middle and last names with dots, tucked the page in a page protector, then had him neatly trace each one with a dry erase marker while saying the letter. Since this is dry erase, it can be done each day all week with little prep. Even if your little can write their name, this is a great personal way to practice letter recognition and get them writing their full name too (or at least their first and last!)
-All about me book list:
-All about me in numbers: I printed this cute all about me in numbers page from Teachers Pay Teachers, then read each section to my little while pointing to the words. I had him figure out and write the answer for each section himself.
-All about me math race: This adorable and fun idea came from Still Playing School. You have your little put the numbers 1-10 in the correct order (I used our set of foam numbers, but flashcards would work too!) on one side of a room. Then ask them questions that have numerical answers that relate to them (ie. How many pets do you have? How many brothers do you have? What’s the first number in your phone number?) then race across the room to get the coordinating number. I had my little put the numbers in order again on the opposite side of the room from where the original numbers were located as he answered questions so we’d be sure to practice each number. I had to get a little creative with my questions at the end (ie. How many mammals live in our house? LoL) but we got them all!
-Number of letters in your name: I put various letter cards on the floor and had my littles each find the letters to spell their name. Then I had them count how many letters were in their names and compare them.
-How many do I have: I printed this body part counting page then had my littles count each body part. My preschooler wrote the answer on the worksheet when we were done.
-How many do we have: As a natural extension of the above activity, I made a body part counting and adding page where my little counted his arms/fingers/nose/etc., then mine, then added them.
-Body measuring page: I made and printed this body measurement page then helped my little measure each part of his body using a sewing tape measure (a regular one and a string would also work). He wrote the answers down on the page himself (I showed him the numbers on the tape measure that were double digits so he wrote them correctly).
-Fingerprint numbers: I had my little use his fingerprints to show the numbers 1-10 on a graph I printed from Pocket of Preschool. We did this on the same day as our “your fingerprints are unique” craft.
-Your voice level- anchor chart: This activity is great to go over how your little can control the volume of their voice and what settings are appropriate for each voice level (even my younger little was chattering away about using a level 1 voice at naptime! LoL) We completed the activity Monday, then reviewed the voice levels and sang the song the rest of the week. The voice level chart will be hung in our classroom the remainder of the year so we can refer to it as needed. I first showed my littles the chart with the left hand column filled in, gave my littles a demonstration of that voice level, had them practice talking in that level by saying their names at that volume, then had them tell me places where we would use that voice level. Then we sang a silly voice level song I made up on the spot to go with the chart. The lyrics are:
- I’m gonna use, use, use my (yelling/teacher/buddy/whisper) voice
- use, use, use my (yelling/teacher/buddy/whisper) voice
- use, use, use my (yelling/teacher/buddy/whisper) voice
- and talk, talk, talk all day!
-How can I be a good learner? anchor chart: Basically this is a class expectations chart. I had my littles come up with the ideas for how a good learner looks, sounds and what they do. Keep the list short- 5 is plenty or they get too hard for little minds to remember! I did go into detail when my little mentioned being a good listener so they’ll know what that means- but it’s basically still one rule! We made this chart Monday morning then reviewed it each day all week, and I also specifically reference it when correcting their behavior (ie. Rule 5 says “be kind”…was it kind to take that toy from your brother?) It will be hung up in my classroom all year for reference.
-How can I care for books?: I used this anchor chart to guide a discussion about why it’s important to care for books and how we can do that. I wrote my littles’ answers down and will keep this hanging in our class for future reference!
-What are my goals for the school year?- I printed this goal setting page from Teachers Pay Teachers then had my little tell me what he’d like to learn and his goals for how he’d like to show caring this school year. I’ll save it until the end of the year when we’ll review his goals and see if he met them!
-Growth mindset activity: The latest buzz word in teaching is “growth mindset” and boooooy does my little need to learn it! He gets very frustrated with himself when he makes mistakes and has a tendency to want to just shut down if he doesn’t do something correctly the first time (not always of course, but often enough I wanted to address it). This mindset is key to learning and doing all the hard things…after all, about a year ago I had no earthly idea how to design a webpage- and now here I am! If I didn’t have a growth mindset, I probably never would’ve even tried because it was super overwhelming and a LOT to learn! Anyway, for this activity, I asked him what he was good at doing, and what things were hard for him to do and then wrote them down on a T-chart. Then we discussed some things I thought were hard for me so he could see even grown ups don’t do things perfectly and don’t know everything. After I shared, we discussed what we should do if something is hard or we don’t get it right the first time. We used the key word “yet”…as in “I don’t know how to do this YET, but if I keep practicing and trying my best, I will get it in time!”
-Families: We talked about how everyone has a family at one time or another, and discussed all the different people that can be in a family, places they can live, and traits that they (ideally) should have. I wrote my little’s thinking on a chart.
-Show your feelings playdough activity: I printed a blank cartoon face for each of my littles, then had them use playdough to show happy, sad, angry, surprised, and worried faces. Then I had them make faces and I had to guess the emotion. I got this activity from Planning Playtime.
-Mini me craft: We made these mini me crafts by having the littles each choose a skin color, hair color, shirt and pants color. I cut out the hair for each little because it’s pretty meticulous (I just traced the person cut out’s head, then drew hair on the tracing and cut it out. Then my older little traced his person’s top for the shirt and bottom for the pants and cut the tracings out (I did the tracing and cutting for my 2 year old). He cut the head, hands and feet off so they would look like an actual shirt and pants. Then I had my littles glue their clothes and hair on their person cut outs and add faces!
-BIG me craft: I did this at the start of every school year with my 2nd and 3rd graders (along with the acrostic poem activity above in literacy…they would rewrite their poems neatly and glue them so it looked like their “me” was holding the poem) and they always came out SO cute! I would hang them above my ABCs in my classroom each year and they were so cheerful looking! To do this craft, first I cut out a head and arm tracing template from cardstock. I had my littles choose their skin color from a set of multicultural skin toned paper, then I had my older little trace and cut out his own head and arms…I did the tracing and cutting for my younger little because his fine motor skills aren’t there yet. Then they glued the head to the top of a construction paper color of their choice and glued the arms on the sides. They added faces (I helped with my younger little’s face even though he knows how to make circles…he was having a moment! LoL He did draw the mouth himself.) and yarn hair as a finishing touch!
-Your fingerprints are unique craft: First I had my littles examine their fingerprints and we talked about how every single person on Earth has different ones. Then I traced my littles’ hands then helped them make fingerprints at the tip of each traced finger (my older preschooler did his second hand by himself).
-Name decorating: I gave my littles their names drawn in bubble letters. We reviewed each letter together, then I had my littles color their names.
-All about me poster: I printed this All About Me poster from Teachers Pay Teachers (which was mostly drawing based and thus perfect for Prek!) then helped my little read it so he could fill it in.
-Beginning of the Year assessments: Don’t forget to do beginning of the year assessments with your littles! They only take a minute and it’s so much fun to see exactly how much they’ve learned from the beginning to the middle to the end of the school year! If you need a preschool assessment printable, check out my post on Assessment for Targeted Instruction.
-Bible verse: This month’s Bible verse is “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14 I write each word in the verse on a post-it, stick them to the wall then have my little point to each word and read it each day all month.
-Character trait of the month: Responsibility…this word is reviewed and posted at the start of the month then each time one of my littles freely demonstrates responsibility I use the word to specifically praise what they’re doing and encourage the trait in them. (ie. “Oh wow! You put your plate in the sink and all of your trash in the trash can without being asked! That is SO responsible!”)
- sewing tape measure or string
- tape measure
- anchor chart posters (optional)
- multicultural people cut outs
- foam numbers
- an ink pad