Category Archives: Back to School

“Get to Know You” Graphs

knowyougraphs

Students will have a ton of fun getting to know each other while working on a great math activity.

Goals:

  • To get to know other students in class
  • To have fun while learning math skills

Before You Start:
Prepare supplies needed for activity: assorted large stampers, jumbo washable classroom stamp pads, easel paper roll, yard sticks, black markers and masking tape. Cut the easel paper into strips about 3 feet long. Each sheet of paper will become a “Get to Know You” Graph. Turn paper horizontally, and using a yard stick and black marker, create tall columns for students to stamp. Give the graph a title, for example: “My Favorite Subject”. Label each column with different subtopics/subjects, e.g. math, science, spelling, reading, history and English. Make multiple graphs with different topics, such as “Favorite Foods,” “Favorite Types of Stories,” “Favorite Recess Activity,” Favorite Animal as a Pet,” “Number of Children in My Family,” and label its columns with related subtopics. Lastly, create a key on sheet of paper where each student will stamp their stamper and write their name next to it, so each classroom member will know who is what. Tape the key and the graphs on the blackboard or whiteboard.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Let each student choose a stamper to symbolize them. They will use the same stamper for each graph. Have the students stamp the key with their stamp and write their name next to it.

Step 2.
Have students take turns putting their stamper in the different stamp pads and marking their choices on the graphs.

Step 3.
When it is all complete, student will be able to see what each of their classmates enjoys. (This will be read in a fun pictograph format.) Take time to discuss with the class the “results” of each graph. Ask them questions, such as “What did you learn about your classmates?” or “Did you know that many of you like the same foods?”

Furthermore:
The teacher will be able to see what the classroom likes and dislikes are. For example, the teacher may find out that most of the class enjoys reading mysteries over biographies. This could be helpful for picking out the class a book to read or planning lessons in general.

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Back to School Silhouette

silhouette

Submitted by: Tracy Emond

This is an activity for the first day of school to break the ice with all of the new students.

Goals:

  • To encourage creative expression
  • To learn about other students in class
  • To develop fine motor skills

Before You Start:
Gather large sheets of black and white construction paper, tape, scissors, pencils, markers, glue sticks, and decorative items such as glitter, pom-poms and wiggly eyes. You will also need to have an overhead projector, sentence strips and a permanent marker.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Position an overhead projector towards one blank wall in the room. Place a chair between the projector and the wall, and then tape a large sheet of white construction paper on the wall.

Step 2.
Have a child sit in the chair. The teacher should shine the light from the overhead projector upon the child’s profile to create a silhouette on the paper.

Step 3.
Have another student trace the silhouette of the child in the chair onto the paper. When finished, let the children switch places and change the paper. The child that was sitting can now trace his or her partner’s silhouette onto the paper.

Step 4.
Allow children to cut out their silhouettes from the white paper and glue onto large sheets of black construction paper.

Step 5.
Have children decorate their silhouettes in ways that tell about themselves. For example, have them write words/characteristics that describe themselves in long lines where their hair should be, using a crayon/marker similar to their hair color, such as, ” likes animals, loves to read, likes to camp, etc.” Students can also use pictures to illustrate what they like. For example, they could draw an ice cream cone in their favorite flavor in place of where their nose should be.

Step 6.
Let children add finishing details with decorative items on their silhouettes and display in the classroom. The teacher can write the first names of each child on sentence strips with a large permanent marker to place under each silhouette.

Furthermore:
Make this a class game. Remove the names from each silhouette and let each student try to match the correct names to the silhouettes. The student who gets the most names correct wins. Or, have a child match a name with a silhouette and have the class vote or use true/false paddles to indicate if the name is correctly matched. Award points for correct votes.

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Personalized Pennants

Personalized Pennants

Create simple and unique miniature pennants to show team/class spirit or personal designs using colorful craft foam!

Goals:

  • To create simple pennants as a fun back-to-school project
  • To provide an open-ended activity to build fine motor skills
  • To encourage creative expression and enhance confidence through art

Before You Start:
Provide enough craft foam for each child to cut out a large triangle. If the children are not developmentally ready, the teacher may pre-cut the triangles of craft foam for children. Although the size of the triangle can vary, it is suggested that the bottom of the triangles should measure 8″ in length to match a large craft stick. Provide jumbo wooden craft sticks (usually 8″ x 1″) or thin wood strips of about the same size. Set out small bowls with glue, Colorations® Permanent Color Markers, glitter, foam shapes, felt letters, ribbon and other decorative materials.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Explain to the children different uses for pennants. The teacher may want to provide a few examples for children to see.

Step 2.
Have the children cut out a craft foam triangle (or give each child a precut triangle, if appropriate). Have them glue the craft stick along the 8″ straight side (or the longest side) of the back of their pennant. This will reinforce the structure of the pennant.

Step 3.
Once the glue has dried, have the children turn over their pennants and personalize any way they like. Encourage the children to experiment with different colors and decorative materials. This is also a good opportunity to discuss team and/or class spirit.

Step 4.
Gather students together and have them share their finished pennants. Everyone has a unique keepsake to display in the classroom for back to school night and throughout the year!

Furthermore:
Pennants can also be made into miniature flags! Simply adhere a 12″-14″ wooden dowel to the back of the craft foam in place of a craft stick.

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“Summer At the Beach” Collage

beachcollage

This simple beach-themed collage is a perfect way for children to display some of their favorite summer memories as back to school time rolls around!

Goals:

  • To develop fine motor skills and creativity in creating a one-of-a-kind keepsake
  • To create a memento of special summer activities
  • To kick off back to school with a fun group activity

Before You Start:
Collect pieces of heavy cardboard or poster board. (Recycled cereal boxes are a great eco-friendly alternative for this project also.) Cut the cardboard into large rectangles, one for each child, and prepare templates of starfish ahead of time to show children as examples or to trace if they wish. Encourage the children bring some recent photos of their summer vacation if available. Provide pieces of Colorations® construction paper, fine grain sandpaper, sea shells, Colorations® Markers and crayons, glue, scissors and other decorative materials.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Talk to the children about their summer vacations. Where did they go? What did they do? Did anyone go to the beach? Explain to the children that they will be creating a beach-themed collage with pictures of their summer vacation. (The teacher may also want to bring magazine pictures portraying beach activities to show the children.)

Step 2.
Have the children draw pictures of a few of their summer memories (anything from daily activities to special trips they may have taken) on the construction paper.

Step 3.
Help them cut the pictures they’ve drawn and photos they’ve brought into fun shapes before gluing onto the cardboard. There is no “correct” way to cut the pictures. Have children glue their pictures on the cardboard any way they like, encouraging them to put the pictures at different angles or draw “frames” around them.

Step 4.
Show the sandpaper starfish shapes you’ve created. Let the children make their own starfish on the pieces of sandpaper provided (tracing the templates if they wish). Help them cut the shapes and glue on the collages. The children can decorate the rest of the collage with the shells, beach-themed designs and decorative materials.

Step 5.
Once the glue has dried, everyone will each have their own unique collage to show off their summer memories!

Furthermore:
Use a one-hole punch to make a hole in the top of the collage and thread a piece of yarn or ribbon through for hanging. Teachers can also repurpose the remaining cardboard (or use other cardboard/cardstock materials) and have children create their own “book covers” about their summer! Have children give their “book” a title that relates to what they did, where they went or the people (or animals) they spent time with and then decorate. Gather everyone at circle time and take turns sharing the “books” and display around the classroom for Back to School night!

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Back-to-School Quilt

backtoschoolquilt

Submitted by: Virginia Di Pietro

A great back-to-school activity! A hands-on project that will help young ones learn the names of each of their classmates.

Goals:

  • To engage in collaborative work
  • To teach cooperation
  • To reinforce social-emotional skills
  • To reinforce shape and color recognition

Before You Start:
Send a note home to parents to have their child bring in a piece of fabric or material measuring 6″ x 6″. They can also use pre-cut fabric squares. Set out fabric paint, fabric markers and extra fabric squares. (You can easily turn any BioColor® paint into fabric paint with Bicolor® Fabric Medium.)

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Help each child paint one hand the color of his or her choice.

Step 2.
Help the young ones each make a handprint on their piece of material.

Step 3.
Have them write their names on their handprint using fabric paint or fabric markers.

Step 4.
After all the pieces are dry, have a parent volunteer sew the pieces together to make a quilt.

Furthermore:
For a more creative twist, set out fabric accessories like buttons, crafting jewels or ribbon that the children can use to decorate their squares. The finished product can be used as a wall hanging for the classroom. Another option to try is ready-made canvas squares that act as classroom quilt that young ones can decorate themselves.

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Pathway to Success

pathway

Submitted by: Rose Holzmann

This is an activity I will do with the preschool art class at the beginning of the year.

Goals:

  • To encourage children to be excited about starting a new school year
  • To teach that art is fun and can be messy

Before You Start:
Cut a piece of white rolled paper to the length desired (I’ll use about 6′). To create the path, either paint or draw a pathway lengthwise across the paper in preparation. Or have the children help color or paint a pathway previously outlined on the paper. Finally, in order for the creation to look like a path, I recommend painting grass allow the edges.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Have the children remove their shoes and socks and roll up their pants.

Step 2.
Paint the bottom of each child’s feet, one child at a time, and help them make footprints on the path.

Step 3.
Supply plenty of wet wipes or paper towels and soapy water for clean up.

Furthermore:
This makes a great banner to decorate a classroom or hallway for the beginning of the school year. Also, it’s a great icebreaker activity for a classroom of little strangers and helps to build a sense of belonging to each individual.

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School Bus Name Bookmarks

schoolbusmark

Submitted by: Jennifer Galvin

A fun activity that integrates art, letter recognition, and name writing practice. A great craft and activity to start off a new school year in the fall!

Goals:

  • To integrate art and curriculum
  • To practice writing names
  • To strengthen letter recognition
  • To create a fun back-to-school bookmark

Before You Start:
Cut a bus shape bookmark out of cardstock. The bus shape should be about 8” long and 3” tall. Draw a light pencil line on the bookmark. Provide markers and various art materials for every table, such as sequins, stampers, glitter, foam shapes, etc. Cut two black circles out of black construction paper for each child.

Let’s Get Started!
Step 1.
Give each child a piece of cardstock at least 8″ long and 3″ wide. Have them draw and cut out a school bus shape, and guide them in drawing light pencil lines on each of their bookmarks. You can show them your own school bus bookmark to give them an example.

Step 2.
Have each child practice writing his or her name on a piece of scratch paper.

Step 3.
Then, have the children write their name on their bookmarks in pencil on the line.

Step 4.
After you have checked their pencil copy, the child can write over the pencil in marker.

Step 5.
Then, the child can glue the wheels onto the bus and draw windows.

Step 6.
Next, let the children decorate their buses with markers and the assortment of craft materials. Be sure to encourage them to use their creativity!

Furthermore:
You may want to laminate the children’s bookmarks for them to preserve them throughout the year for them to use for reading time.

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