Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Welcome Back to School!


Depending where you are Back to School time is already here or quickly approaching. 

Stop by TeacherspayTeachers site for the awesome Back to School Sale for up to 28% off on great Back to School Bundles and items to help kick off a great year! Tremendous Savings!
Use promo code BTS15

Here is a wonderful welcoming activity to use at the beginning of the school year for students to introduce and celebrate themselves! This is also a wonderful introduction to Common Core Writing Skills for an "ALL ABOUT" unit. If your All About writing unit comes later in the year, referring back to this project is a perfect way to open up your in-depth unit in a way that students can relate to.

There are templates and patterns for students to easily create their own ME BOOK filled with important facts about their lives and interests. The books create a student and they can add details and be creative. Have yarn or other craft items available for them to make their hair or specialized clothing.

Each page can be worked on one at a time as a whole group with brainstorming ideas. Another option is to set this up as a center or station. Brainstormed ideas can be written as an anchor chart for students to refer to for ideas and spelling. More advanced students may want to just put it together and write away.

Sharing their finished ME BOOKS is a wonderful way to address the Common Core Speaking and Listening Skills! Sharing can be done in partners, small groups or the whole class. This is a great way to begin establishing a Caring Classroom where students acknowledge and celebrate commonalities as well as differences!

ME BOOKS make a spectacular interactive BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHT Bulletin Board too!
You can have students illustrate with artwork and photographs as an option. Parents love to peruse through their own child's Me Book display, as well as get to know other students in their new class!

OK, so you get through your first day and first week, you even made a big splash with your awesome bulletin boards and presentation for your Back to School Night Open House!

Now, you are in the throws of lesson planning, scheduling, assessing, and don da don...

TEACHING!!!! YAY!!!! :)

Here is my by far top selling #1 Teaching Unit!

POINT OF VIEW is a DIFFERENTIATED & INTEGRATED Reader's and Writer's Unit of lessons to last days or weeks.

In order to teach POINT OF VIEW this unit uses the well known and easy to find story of the 3 Little Pigs. Adorable graphics are included.

Included in the pack are recommended children's books to read to students and focus on the differing POINTS OF VIEW of the different characters. There are differentiated templates provided to help students break down the story and analyze the events and feelings of the characters throughout the story.

After students have worked with the 3 Little Pigs Story and are comfortable with telling that story through the POINT OF VIEW of the piggies or the wolf, or even the mom, then they move on to personalizing these skills!

Now, you either read them the KISSING HAND by Audrey Penn. You have them think back to their first day of school and brainstorm a bit. Share some personal stories. Here is where you can Introduce them to a "BED-TO-BED" STORY in a Personal Narrative. Ask them to fill out a template that walks them through their first day of school from the time they wake up until the time they lay down to go back to sleep. Bed-to-Bed is a great strategy to get even the most reluctant writers believing that they can in fact..."DO IT"!
Then, using the template that includes details about emotions throughout the day, weather conditions, time order words (first, next,...), adjectives, etc. they start to write their own story about their FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

This template makes it so easy to break down their day and build a wonderful, exciting, emotionally charged, well written story just by taking it one tiny step at a time. I once had a first grader with advanced skills that thought it was impossible for him to ever write a WHOLE STORY. It was completely overwhelming for him and he was driven to tears and shut downs whenever writing was mentioned. With this template, he never had to "write a whole story on a blank page", he just had to fill in one space. That he could do! Well, after putting together his whole story, this same little guy would be the one not putting away his writing folder at the end of writing time. My helpers that were collecting materials would come over and tell me that he is not packing up. I would just tell them that sometimes authors just need that extra minute to get a final thought down on paper. That it would be ok and I would help him be ready on time. 

I promise you this is a true story!!

So at the end of this unit students have a BEAUTIFUL engaging story of their first day of school! Of course we hit those SPEAKING AND LISTENING Common Core Standard and we share those stories like crazy! 

BUT... we are not finished yet!! After sharing their PERSONAL NARRATIVE stories with a SMALL MOMENT included in the middle of the story when they no longer felt nervous on their first day, THEN...

They have to write their story one more time...

But this time they have to pick a character mentioned in their first story (mom, dad, teacher, baby brother or even puppy or kitten) and tell the story through THEIR EYES!!!!! 

So, they have to imagine how Mom, or Dad, whoever they choose, spent their day!! Were they nervous for their FIRST DAY OF SCHOOLER? How many times did they think of them and wonder what they were doing? How about the cat or dog or guinea pig at home, wondering where their little playmate is when they are used to them being home with them on summer vacation?

These stories come out AMAZING!!!!!

There are templates to create a Published Book about the Personal Narrative and Small Moment of their FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

Now, I am excited to get back to school! Hope you have an outstanding year and if you need some different ideas, motivators or time-savers, I would be honored to be able to help you with that. Come on by my TpT store at Silly Sam Productions. 

So, share a Small Moment of your first day below in the comments and email me at and I will send you a Back to School awards pack of your choice from my store for free!

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