BEST First Week of School Ideas - ProTeacher Community





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BEST First Week of School Ideas
Old 07-21-2010, 05:24 AM
 
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I always like to collect new ideas to make the first week of school fun for my third graders.

Share your favorite activity, read aloud, or lesson for the first week of school!


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Old 07-21-2010, 05:37 AM
 
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Here's mine:

A few years ago I ran across Save Fred, a science activity used in middle/high schools to teach the scientific method.

The original is here: http://www.nclark.net/SaveFredLab.doc

Basically the kids have a gummy worm, a gummy life saver, a plastic cup, and a paper clip for each person in the group. They put the life saver on the table, the cup (upside down) on top of it, and the worm on top of the cup. Using only the paper clips they have to put the worm inside the life saver so he won't drown.

In class I introduce the problem, give them their materials, and have them work with their team to "SAVE FRED". I take a picture of each group after they are succeessful. When every group has finished we talk about what happened. I create a chart based on our conversation about team work and how it helps us to do things we couldn't do alone. Later I print the team pictures and post them with the chart. Then we talk about how other tools, like toothpicks, would make it more difficult or easier to save Fred.

For homework I give each student a baggie with a cup, a gummy worm, and a gummy life saver. They have to use a different tool from their house to recreate the activity and answer a few questions. This is their first homework assignment of the year.

For some reason this activity is a favorite of students. In fact, it usually comes up at the end of the year as one of their favorite activities for the whole year.
Attached Files
File Type: doc Save Fred for Homework.doc (54.0 KB, 2080 views)
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Love this!
Old 07-21-2010, 05:40 AM
 
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Thank you, this is a great lesson for teaching teamwork!
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favorite
Old 07-21-2010, 06:05 AM
 
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My favorite is still the Chrysanthemum activity, but it's not new. It just goes over so well with the kids - they talk about it all year (and I leave her taped to the side of the white board all year).

Here it is, for anyone unfamiliar with it:

Have an enlarged copy of Chrysanthemum the mouse (either glue the copy to construction paper or copy her to card stock), a pair of scissors, and tape handy. As you read the book Chrysanthemum, every time someone makes fun of her you use the scissors to make a cut in her. When someone says something kind to her (usually the parents), you use tape to fix one of the cuts. When the story is finished, you discuss how the ugly words "hurt" her, and how the kind words "helped fix the hurts". You also point out how there are "scars" (you can see the tape) from the hurtfulness. Then it leads into a discussion about the way we treat others.
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Can't wait to try this
Old 07-21-2010, 06:05 AM
 
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This sounds like so much fun and a neat way to engage learning. I can't wait to try it myself.


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Old 07-21-2010, 06:22 AM
 
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i cannot wait to have my kids save fred!!!
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Love It....
Old 07-21-2010, 06:42 AM
 
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What a great way to DEMONSTRATE Teamwork!
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Great way to establish teamwork idea early on
Old 07-21-2010, 07:11 AM
 
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Thanks so much, I haven't seen this before and it should be great fun for my kids.
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Thanks!
Old 07-21-2010, 07:24 AM
 
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for sharing - great new idea!!
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:08 AM
 
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Love both of these ideas! Thanks for sharing!
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fred
Old 07-21-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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I have never done this the first day. I will definitely use it this year when we set up our groups for the first time.
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More Ideas...
Old 07-21-2010, 12:18 PM
 
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I love the Saving Fred idea.

Ice Breaker Idea:
Pass around a roll of toilet paper. Have each child tear off as many squares as they need??? for the activity. Then, have every child tell facts about themselves depending on how many squares of tissue they have.
(I may use beads or fish cut outs instead of t. paper)

Me Bag:
I let my kids make a me bag for the first week of school to share with the class. Decorate a brown paper bag with words and pictures about you. Put pictures and artifacts that tell about you (favorite color, pets, family, hobbies, vacations, etc.)

I made an ocean glyph for my ocean classroom. Every child needs one sheet of white or light blue paper for the glyph.
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File Type: pdf ocean glyph.pdf (91.2 KB, 1374 views)
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:38 PM
 
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I love the ocean glyph! I am also doing an ocean theme, and this is great. I also like it because they have to create the entire thing, not just color in something. Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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I really like the ocean glyph because it is just drawing - no cutting, gluing, etc. I could see having several of these with different themes for kids to do when their work is finished. They love to draw but this at least gives a purpose! And they have to follow directions!
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I give a test!
Old 07-21-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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On the first day, near the end of the day, I tell the kids they are going to take their first test of the year. This always results in several worried looks, but I keep a straight face and tell them it's a true/false test, and that they need to do their best, b/c I'm taking it for a grade. By this time, some of them are freaking out, but I reassure them, and remind them that this is third grade, after all.

I give them 10 questions, all about my family and me, hobbies, notable accomplishments, etc. Some of the questions are of course totally outrageous, such as I won a silver medal for swimming in the 1988 Olympics or some such thing. (was 1988 even an Olympic year?!)

At the end of the test, I tell them that I won't really grade it, but I am curious to see how they did. I go through and answer all the questions, and they cheer when they get one correct! Plus, they learn a little about me, and we all have a good laugh. They always talk about "the test" for the rest of the year!
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I have used...
Old 07-21-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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this before and will do this again. It is so hard to keep a straight face while they are doing this activity.
Attached Files
File Type: doc Following Directions.doc (23.5 KB, 2077 views)
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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This activity sounds like a lot of fun. I think I will do it the first day of school! Great ice breaker and it also gets them thinking!!
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1st week activity
Old 07-21-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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I think I got this idea on PT, it is not my original idea. Thanks to the person who originally did it!

Bring in various kinds of fruit for Friendship fruit Salad. Each time you put a fruit in, label it things like learning, cooperation, fun, respect, responsibility, and friendship. Then, pull out a black, rotten banana. The kids won't want you to put it in. Then we talk about how one "rotten banana" can ruin a great day of learning. After we do this, the kids always tell each other, "don't be a rotten banana!"
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One activitiy...
Old 07-22-2010, 05:28 AM
 
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I have done is partner the kids up. And I give them a Venn Diagram. They make one together. They get to find out if they have anything in common. I model this first with two characters in a book I read aloud. It makes a great writing activity, too.
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Save Fred
Old 07-22-2010, 06:23 AM
 
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I love this idea!! We are combining two schools this year so we will need to do a lot of team/community building activities at the beginning of school. This will be perfect!

Of course, I will have extra gummies on hand for a treat when they have saved Fred! Maybe gummy lifesavers....they may not want to eat a gummy worm after working so hard to save one!!
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Wordsearch
Old 07-22-2010, 06:39 AM
 
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On the first morning while I am taking attendance, lunch count, and getting students settled (multi-tasking), I make sure my students have something on their desktop to stay busy. Over the years, I have tried many things, but the classmate wordsearch is always the best. Students use their brand new highlighter to complete it.
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File Type: doc Word Search Classmate Names.doc (58.0 KB, 956 views)
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So many great ideas
Old 07-22-2010, 06:45 AM
 
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Thank you Sasha B for asking everyone to share!
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Back to School Poem
Old 07-22-2010, 07:52 AM
 
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I'm not sure where I found this, but this is a poem they write the first week. We then type it during our computer lab time.

Each item goes on it's own line.

First Name
3 words to describe yourself
3 things you like
3 things you don't like
3 movies you've seen or books you've read
3 fears
3 things you like about school
2 goals for this year
a place you'd like to visit
Last Name
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ConnieWI
Old 07-22-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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I love your name word search activity. Is there a program you used to type in all your student's names or did you create this on word processing? I am trying to figure out the fastest way to type and mix up all the kid's names.
Thanks for your help!
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Great Ideas!
Old 07-22-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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I love all of these ideas! GirlyGrandma, if you want an easy way to make a wordsearch or crossword I recommend using puzzlemaker.com. It is super easy and takes only a few minutes.
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Hidden Names Wordsearch
Old 07-22-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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Every year I use the same form...the one I posted. I delete the names from the previous year, and type new names at the bottom. Then I just type the students names, overlapping them when I can. I fill in the other letters on the word search...all of this takes about fifteen minutes.

Last week, I went on-line and found my student list for the new year. I already have the bottom done along with the names on the grid. I won't put in the other letters until I am sure there will be no more changes...usually the night before school begins.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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my daughter (age 8) and i tried the Save Fred activity today. We had a blast and it was so much fun to watch how she figured out how to solve the problem.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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oh one more thing. I have already invited one of our Sped teachers to my room while i am having them save fred so we can do a quick assessment of language in my class.
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On the first day of school
Old 07-22-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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I always let the kids make a glyph necklace with beads. You put a different color and number of beads according to the answers of the questions. ex: put on an orange bead for every sister that you have and so forth. It is always a hightlight and sometimes the kids wear them towards the end of the year.
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first day of school fun
Old 07-22-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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There are two activities that I love doing;
I will have the class stand in a circle and I will tear off some sheets of toilet paper. Then I pass the roll and each child will tear off as many as they like ( u might need to set a max amount). Then after everyone has their tissue the teacher will explain that they must give as many facts about themselves asmuch toilet tissue sheets they have ( if that makes sense)

Secondly we play two lies and one truth. Each child must stand at the front of the room and give two lies and one truth about themselves and the class must pick out the truth!
Hope this is beneficial and it is def LOTS OF FUN !!!
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Follow up to Connie's Name Search
Old 07-22-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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There is a great website called PuzzleMaker (search it on Google) that will actually make the puzzle for you - all you have to do is supply the class list of names once you have the finalized list! I often use the puzzle the site generates and add a border graphic or decoration to go along with my back-to-school theme each year.
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My Teacher Wordsearch
Old 07-23-2010, 06:01 AM
 
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An alternative to the wordsearch with students' names is one called "Getting to Know Mrs. Jane Doe" (of course, add your name). I made one up several years ago using puzzlemaker online and have used it ever since. I added words that describe me like scuba, lasagna, my children's names, etc...The wordsearch is placed on each child's desk along with a sharpened pencil. A message on the board instructs all students to try to find all words by a certain time and LEAVE ALL SUPPLIES on the floor by their desks for later. This way, students are quietly working on something very easy (instead of asking where to put their supplies) while I take care of parents that pop in with questions and attendance that first day. Early finishers can draw a picture on the back. Afterwards, I usually let students guess what each word means (I think you like to go scuba diving!), which leads into a super short introduction powerpoint on their new teacher. We are then ready to sort through supplies...........This wordsearch works for me because it can be copied in the spring of the previous year (along with all first week copies), and I'm not bombarded with lots of copies that first week of school.

Last edited by LarkspurLady; 07-23-2010 at 06:04 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Following Directions w/a Straight Face
Old 07-23-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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Love it
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Old 07-24-2010, 02:13 AM
 
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We play Name Bingo the first day of school..it's a great way to learn kids names and match the faces..they wave when it's their name...they win a Cougar Paw(our reward system)

For introducing rules: I read Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse....then discuss class rules after that...

In the first week of school I like to read Thank You Mr Falker (patricia polacco)...they love that book and it makes them more sympathetic of others who have difficulty in school and I think it motivates the students (I am in a low income area)..they then make a "4 corner book"....and on each flap of paper you write characters, setting, problem, solution..they write a couple sentences description of the each or a list and add a picture underneath the flap......so they basically make their first story map of the year, but a more creative one....

**I like the Ocean Glyph because we open the year with a sea animals unit in my grade....
**I like the decorative Me Paper Bag as well......easy projects that are cute
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Chrysanthemum
Old 07-24-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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Sounds Cute
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Another word search idea...
Old 07-24-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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Love the idea for a "Teacher" wordsearch! I may add this to my list of first week activiites.
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Thanks!
Old 07-24-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Thanks you for all the wonderful ideas!
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Another teamwork activity: room number puzzle
Old 07-25-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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I've done this team-building activity every year with great success!
Prep:
Draw your room number onto poster board as BIG bubble numbers- one number per sheet and make them the same size. Divide each number up into puzzle pieces so you have enough pieces for each kid and yourself. Go over the pencil lines with a thick Sharpie. On the back, before you cut out the pieces, put a colored x or some mark on the back of each piece so you know which puzzle pieces make up each number. Cut out the pieces and put each puzzle in a separate bag. (Be careful not to make the puzzle cut outs too difficult.)

Activity:
I use this to kick off a bunch of teamwork activities. We get "mystery" packages and letters with directions, all of which I've written, but the kids eat it up. The directions tell us to read Swimmy, which is a great read aloud about being different and working together, and talk about teamwork. Then each kid gets a piece of the puzzle to decorate with his/her name and one way he/she can contribute to our class... a strength, favorite, imp. rule, whatever you want (I take some time to share these before they go on the puzzle pieces).

Then I divide the class into 3 teams (or however many groups you need to go with numbers in your room number)and reorganize the puzzle pieces so each team has one number. They get to work with their team to put the puzzle together.

It's fun, and they are thrilled to see the puzzle makes our room number. Then I tape the pieces together and it hangs outside of our room all year. We do this over the course of 2-3 days during the second week of school.

****
Also, for the me bags, there's a great poem, "What's in the Sack," by Shel Silverstein, that we do as a shared reading to kick off making the bags.
WHAT'S IN THE SACK?
by Shel Silverstein

What's in the sack? What's in the sack?
Is it some mushrooms or is it the moon?
Is it love letters or downy goosefeathers?
Or maybe the world's most enormous balloon?
What's in the sack? That's all they ask me.
Could it be popcorn or marbles or books?
Is it two years' worth of your dirty laundry,
Or the biggest ol' meatball that's ever been cooked?
Does anyone ask me, "Hey, when is your birthday?"
"Can you play Monopoly?" "Do you like beans?"
"What is the capital of Yugoslavia?"
Or "Who embroidered that rose on your jeans?"
No, what's in the sack? That's all they care about.
Is it a rock or a rolled-up giraffe?
Is it pickles or nickels or busted bicycles?
And if we guess it, will you give us half?
Do they ask where I've been, or how long I'll be stayin',
Where I'll be goin', or when I'll be back,
Or "How do?" or "What's new?" or "Hey, why are you blue?"
No, all they keep asking is, "What's in the sack?"
"What's in the sack?" I'm blowin' my stack
At the next one who asks me, "What's in the sack?"
What?
Oh no. Not you, too!
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Thanks...
Old 07-25-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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I do "Me Bags" every year and now I will read "What's n the Sack" to begin the activity.
Last year I had each student bring their favorite book from home. I had them tell the title, author, illustrator, and their favorite parts and why. I also had them read the book to the class. This was a great way to hear their reading (a quick reading assessment
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Re:Following Directions
Old 07-31-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Okay, I laughed when I opened the doc. on following the directions. You know every single student is going to do every step...then get on the last one and be like...WHAT? haha can't wait.
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Word search caution!
Old 07-31-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Try not to make your class wordsearch too much ahead of time. I don't know about your district, but there is usually those last minute parents who don't register their kids until the last minute.
Just think how the "new" kid would feel to be left out of the classroom name wordsearch To see everyone else's name except his
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Old 07-31-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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When I did the following directions worksheet for the first time I had one student who figured it out after the first couple of instructions. His face was like, there is no way that she can actually want us to do this. It was hilarious. He sat down and when the others asked why he wasn't do his work, he told them that it was stupid and he didn't want to. The others tattled on him, so I "talked" with him, he whispered what he was doing. He didn't want to give it away. When the kids were done we had the biggest laugh.
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Cute Idea
Old 08-19-2010, 07:36 AM
 
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Don't you just love teaching!
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Great Idea
Old 07-20-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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This seems like a great idea for science & the first day of school!
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Thank you for sharing...
Old 07-21-2011, 05:03 AM
 
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I love this idea...I will use it during my first science class and introduce the scientific method.

Thank you!
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Following Directions Activity....
Old 07-21-2011, 05:10 AM
 
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Too cute! A great lead into following directions and example of why you should follow directions...:-)
Thanks!
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first week activities
Old 07-21-2011, 05:18 AM
 
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Last year I had my students complete the save Fred activity- they loved it! I've also give them a baggie of legos and had a team build something, write the directions and switch with another group to see if they could follow the directions to build the creation. I like the word search ideas and love the back to school poem! I've also given interest inventories, brainstormed with the students what respect looks and sounds like, had them write a goal for themselves for the year- I also did mine and then posted them in the room.
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Awesome!
Old 08-21-2012, 03:23 PM
 
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I love this suggestion! I will be doing this tomorrow!!! Thanks!
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