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Teacher Gift FREEBIE

Hey y'all! It's Michelle Hudgeons from Smitten With First! 

Incase you're anything like me and you're checking off last minute "to-dos" off your list, I have a cheap and cute teacher gift FREEBIE for you! This weekend while I was at Hobby Lobby, they had all their metal decor half off! Mmmhmmm, that's exactly what I said!!!  I came across these small metal letters that happened to be $5.00 on sale! I couldn't pass them up. I grabbed letters for each of my daughter's teachers, my teammates, and our office staff! I may or may not have bought them out! 

 (Hobby Lobby has both large and small tin letters. I believe the large are around $20 on sale.)

Next, I grabbed a few Scholastic books I had left over from previous book orders, some burlap twine, and these tags for a quick, cheap, simple and cute teacher gift. 

Another idea: Buy a book from Half Price Books along with a gift card and attach it to the tin letter! 

You can find the tags here for FREE! **The download includes both large and small tags depending on if you purchase the large or small tin letters from Hobby Lobby**

Dear Teacher, You're ready

Hello! It's Vera from The Tutu Teacher!

I wanted to share with you a post I wrote on my own blog.  As we get ready to go back to school, meet our new students, plan with our peers, come home exhausted, tired, and worn out....we sometimes need to remember to lift each other up.  Support each other.  Check in with the new teacher down the hall and be sure she's/he's ok.  Leave a nice note for a teacher on your team.  Get yourself some ice cream or a new pair of shoes!

Dear Teacher,
It's time to go back to school.
You're ready.
But if you're not, let me know how I can help.

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Instagram and I stopped on a post by thekindergals about not being able to pour from an empty cup. Basically, we can't give to others what we don't have within ourselves and how important it is for us to take time for ourselves and recharge.  

Well, I just LOVED that message...and then I started reading the comments.

I read a comment from one teacher who was experiencing an overwhelming school year.  She said that when she goes on social media she was bombarded with images and messages that told her she needed to be happy. Always happy. Everyday. And she just felt horrible.

And my heart hurt for her.

Do I believe in being positive?

I am a positive thinking person and I think that there is almost always a way to solve a problem.

But at the same time, I think it's ok for people to feel overwhelmed.
It's ok for us to feel like we have reached our limits and we need a break.
It's ok to love the heck out of your weekends.
Enjoy your time with your family and friends.
Enjoy time with yourself.

And then, go to school recharged and enjoy your time with your kids because sometimes...many times... we are all they have.

So I posted this question on Instagram and Facebook:

And the response was powerful. 

Teachers seemed to agree that yes, we can love our jobs, while loving our weekend and time away from the classroom.  Teachers encouraged each other to take a break, make time for themselves, and be positive.
They said, be human.

So what's the big deal?
What is this constant back and forth about?
Why are there, Pro Monday and Pro Sunday posts?
Why does it feel as if teachers who post about needing a break are shamed for their feelings?
Why does it feel like people who love Mondays are constantly defending themselves?
Why, at a time when teachers are overwhelmed by so many stressors (classroom, school, government), are we shaming each other?

Why isn't the message:

Why is the message of "Loving Monday" more powerful than "Enjoying Sunday"?
They are both important.
They both matter.

And here's my truth.

I enjoy every moment of my weekend.
I enjoy every moment of my time with my students.

I am a good teacher.

I am a great teacher.
And you are too.
And I hope you will remember that.
Remember it next Sunday when you're enjoying the remainders of the day with your family.
Remember it Monday morning when you greet your students.
You are amazing.

Ice Breakers for the Elementary Classroom

Hey Blog Hoppers! It's Christy and Tammy from Fluttering Through First Grade. The first days of school are chock full of everything from backpacks to bathroom breaks. But, somewhere in between the controlled classroom chaos, it is imperative we find ways to build a classroom community. We want all of our students to feel comfortable in their own time, but we find providing our class with activities that allow them to get to know one another in the beginning of the school year are a must!
Truth be told...
But when it comes to our students, ice breakers in the classroom are the COOLEST! 

Here are a few of our favorite easy Ice Breakers for the Elementary Classroom. 

Circle Up ~ Split your class into 2 equal groups. If you have an odd number of students, no worries. Either join the fun to even it up or put the extra student in one of the circles and have them make a group of 3 as they move around. One group forms an outer circle facing in and the other group forms and inner circle facing out, so the circles are face to face. Like this...
Stop and take some time to explain directions and take a few practice runs with the little ones on how to move around the circle before you actually play. The inner circle "cements their feet to the floor." The outer circle, "Moves one click of the clock", which means one person. With our first graders, it takes about 3 practice moves and then they've got it! Once they move one person, they stop and chat. We give them get to know you topics like, "Tell each other what you like about school?" or "What is your most favorite dessert?". We also created this Class Conversations poster to help us think of ideas fast! 
You can download it for free here. Keep having students move around the circle as time allows. To keep things fair, we switch movers and foot cementers part way through. :) It's a quick and easy way to get your class chatting, so Circle Up!

Name Swap ~ You'll need a class set of name cards for this one. We usually either write each student's name on a sentence strip or type them up. We keep the set handy all year. When the kids are at recess, drop another student's name on their desk, chair, floor spot or hand them out as they walk back in the door. They will giggle because, "THIS is not their name, Teacher!" Tell them you messed up and ask them to help you by finding the rightful owner. Once they do, have them stop and talk for a few using the class conversations poster above. 

Back to Back ~ Put students in pairs and have them stand with the front person's back to their partner's front who should be behind them (like they are standing in line). Give the class questions that can be answered with numbers only. 
How many people are in your family?
How many pets do you have?
What time do you go to bed?
What time do you get up in the morning?
How many sisters do you have?
How many brothers do you have?
How many times have you been to the Zoo?
The student standing behind writes their number on their partner's back with their finger. The partner turns around and tells them the number they think they wrote on their back. The writer confirms or clarifies and tells their partner a little more about their answer. 

Gummy Bear Share ~ Grab a big bag of gummy bears (We used Haribo brand.) and give 1-5 to each student, depending upon time allowed and the age of your class. Assign each colored bear they choose a certain conversation topic or use our cheat sheet free Gummy Bear Share download here. Either sit whole class, partner up, or make small groups to share your gummy bears. Then of course the best part, gobble up the gummies!
Meet Me ~ One of our favorite getting to know you activities are our Back to School Meet Me activities. They give our students more in depth opportunities to meet and greet their new class while practicing their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
Find a Friend is always a hit. For our first graders, we have to break it down row by row and spread it out over a week's time. We do one row a day for five days. It's a perfect daily activity that they get the hang of quickly.
Our first homework assignment helps us get to know our new class and allows our students to shine. They each take home a Meet Me Mystery Bag on the first day of school to fill with specific items for sharing. We spend 5 days sharing a few bags a day and allowing students to get to know their new classmates. Then as a culminating activity, we write about our mystery bag items and create a class Meet Me bulletin board. 
You can take a closer peek at this back to school resource by clicking the image below. 
Looking for a few more tips for back to school? Head on over to our blog for our 
How do you help your students break the ice? We'd love to know!

Snag a Scavenger Hunt Freebie for your Open House!

Hey guys!! It's Katie from Little Warriors. It'a about that time again!! Back to School!! I like to repost this little ditty each year in case you need a little something to spice up your Open House, Meet and greet or orientation night. So, here's a throw back post....

Everyone LOVES a good Freebie! :)

One of the most important parts of our Open House is to make our new students feel welcome and comfortable!!! This is my chance to make a good impression! You have to have a little fun!! You want your students’ first experience with you to be a positive one! Coming in and meeting you, seeing their new classroom and finding out where their backpacks will go and where they will sit will definitely put them a little more at ease on that first day! Open House makes things less strange and scary on that first day! This is just a little scavenger hunt that helps to ease the tension and it’s FUN!!! And, of course, they get to pick a treasure at the end!!! The first day in Kindergarten can get a little hairy…but, I rarely have criers anymore and I know that this is part of the reason why!!!
I posted these back in 2011. Hahahahaha! Wow, how clipart has changed since then! 😉 Read those OLD posts HERE and HERE! Then, I posted them again back in 2012 all through Google Docs. You can read those posts HERE.
Welp, I decided it was time for another update!! This time, they are posted in my TPT store and there are LOTS of choices!!
Click on the image below to see 11 different Kindergarten Scavenger Hunts!
open house scavenger hunt freebie for kindergarten
Click on the image below to see 8 different First Grade Options!
Open House Scavenger Hunt Freebie for First Grade
Click on the image below to see 11 different Preschool options!
Open House Scavenger Hunt Freebie for preschool
Good Luck!  Here’s to a GREAT YEAR!!!!!