## Friday, July 31, 2015

### OFF TO THE RACES!

I can teach a little boy anything with a toy car. Well, almost anything! You can still buy toy cars for \$1 or less at a dollar store. You can use these cars for centers, games, and other activities in your classroom. Shoot, I bet even little girls would enjoy playing and learning with the cars!

Sorting
Ask children to sort the cars. What was their sorting rule? Can they sort them another way?

Left to Right
Put a green dot on one side of a poster and a red dot at the opposite end. Children use the cars to drive from green to red on the curves, zigzags, and lines.

Letters
Write lower letters on sticky dots and put them on the cars. Make paper houses with uppercase letters. Can they match the cars with the houses?

Phonological Awareness
Make a parking lot with three spaces. As you say a word children park the car according to where they hear the sound (beginning, middle, end) of the word.

Numerical Order
Write numerals on sticky dots and place them on the cars. Can children arrange them in order?
Place Value
Use cars for tens and ones.

Sets and Numbers
Make a parking lot with different sets of dots in each space. Children match up numbers on the cars with the correct space.
Roll and Add
Write numerals 1-12 on a long strip of paper. Children roll two dice, add up the numbers, and then move their car to the correct space.

## Thursday, July 30, 2015

### HAPPY HAIRCUT

Morning meeting is a special time to celebrate little milestones in children's lives like losing a tooth or getting a new pair of shoes. Here are some songs that we always used to celebrate these events.

Happy Haircut (Tune: "Happy Birthday to You")
Only sing this song if the children like their haircut. We've all had haircuts where we wanted to hide in a sack!
Happy haircut to you.
Happy haircut to you.
You're sure lookin' good!
Happy haircut to you.

New Shoes (Tune: "This Old Man")
When children wear a new pair of shoes to school, let them stand in front
of the room and dance as you sing this song to them.

Here’s one foot. (Child sticks out one foot.)
Here are two. (Child sticks out other foot.)
Each is wearing a brand, new shoe,
So stand up, turn around, dance around the floor. (Child dances in a circle.)
That’s what these two feet are for. (Point to feet.)

Welcome Back
(Tune: "The Bear Went over the Mountain")
If a child has been absent, insert their name in this song when they return to school
to let them know you missed them.

Welcome back child’s name.
Welcome back child’s name.
Welcome back child’s name.
We’re glad you’re here today.

Loose Tooth (Tune: "Turkey in the Straw")
Celebrate when a child loses a tooth by using their name I this tune.
Oh, look in child’s name mouth
And what do you see?
A great, big hole where a tooth used to be.
Well, they wiggled it and jiggled it until it wiggled free.
Now, there’s a window when they smile at me.

This document has some posters of the songs. Someone sent me these several years ago, but I can't remember your name. Thank you whoever you are!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljTHRzQS1PV1pPeTg/view?usp=sharing

## Wednesday, July 29, 2015

### WELCOME TO OUR ROOM

Several years ago when I visited a classroom the children broke into this song to the tune of “Where Is Thumbkin?” It tickled me to death, and I know visitors to your classroom would feel the same way.
Welcome to our room. (Open arms.)Welcome to our room.
Welcome visitor’s name. (Wave hand.)
Welcome visitor’s name.
We’re so glad to see you. (Clap hands.)
We’re so glad to see you.
Welcome visitor’s name. (Open arms.)
Welcome visitor’s name.

After singing to your visitor give them an eye hug by smiling, closing your eyes, wrapping your arms around your body, and giving a shrug with your shoulders.

## Tuesday, July 28, 2015

### LUNCH BAG TREASURE BOX

If you’ve been to my workshops you might have made this treasure box with me. I know it’s hard to remember everything, so here’s a refresher course.
1.  Open the bag.
2.  Cut down on all four corners to the creased line. (If you ask children to do this make a small dot with a magic marker where they should stop cutting.)
3.  Fold in the two short sides to reinforce the bottom.
4.  Fold in the front section to reinforce the box.
5.  Fold the last section two times and insert it in the box to make a lid.

Now you’ve got your treasure box, here are a few things you can do with it.

*I made this box at the end of each day the first month of school. I asked the children to recall all the “fun things” we did at school to “save” in our treasure box, and then I’d give the box to a different child each day.

*Use the box for homework activities. Ask students to bring in something that starts with a particular sound, something that is a sphere, a set of 4, a word they can read, a picture of something they are thankful for, and so on.

*Store flashcards in the box. Children can practice them if they finish their work early or they can take them home.

*Use the boxes to store little books that they make.

*If you have a class party the children can decorate the boxes for their party favors.

*Turn treasure boxes into popcorn boxes or use for other treats.

*After reading a pirate book let children make treasure maps and store them in their boxes. They could also make a list of items they would take in their trunk if they were a pirate going on a long cruise.

*Take the treasure boxes on a nature walk and ask children to collect one item from the ground. They can write about what they found or make up clues for classmates to guess what is in their box.

*Make centers out of the boxes. If you write numbers on the boxes the children can make appropriate sets. If you write letters on the boxes children can sort pictures or words beginning with that sound.

*Use the treasure box as a “home” for lost crayons.

## Monday, July 27, 2015

### WILD AND WONDERFUL WEST VIRGINIA

Oh, those country roads were spectacular, and those teachers were just as outstanding last week when I was in Princeton, WV. And, I didn’t come home empty handed!

Cloud Writing (Tina Bryant)
On a “no rain” day take students outside with their paper, pencil, and clipboard. Have them lay or sit on the ground and look for images in the clouds. Talk about what they see and then write/draw about it. (Encourage capitalization, punctuation, etc.)

Blending Stick (Donna Carson)
Take a free paint stick and color 1/3 green, 1/3 yellow, and 1/3 red. The students can use their blending stick to sound out words.
/c/ (touch green) /a/ (touch yellow) /t/ (touch red) = cat
Note! I didn’t have a paint stick so I just used a jumbo craft stick.

Homemade Pocket Chart (Amber Calloway)
Seal letter size envelopes and cut them in half. Glue the halves to poster board to make a chart.

Counting by Two’s (Melanie Hope)
Have students identify body parts what come in sets of two. Stand and county by 2’s as you touch the following body parts:
2 – hands on eyes
4 – hands on ears
6 – hands on elbows
8 – knees
10 – feet
12 – eyes
14 – ears….
You’ll be able to count to 100 by 2’s before you know it!

Water Cycle Song (Amanda)
(Tune: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)
Evaporation (Start at floor and twinkle hands up to standing.)
Condensation (Hands above head like a moving cloud.)
Precipitation (Hands move down like rain.)
On my mind (Point to head.)
This is just the water cycle and it happens all the time.

Game Time (Sue Luterick)
The last 15-20 minutes of the day let the students play games at their table. Put different activities in baggies and let the tables rotate games each day. Children can learn to problem solve, communicate, and develop many other skills as they play. Here are some examples:
*sewing cards    *tic-tac-toe
*puzzles            *dots
*modeling clay   *dice roll
*math game       *reading game

Fraction Step Book (Angela Damon)
Use a step book to demonstrate fractions as shown.

Alphabet Center (Myra Wright)
Glue alphabet flash cards from the dollar store to a poster board and laminate. Let the children match alphabet beanbags to the letter on the poster board.
*Use the poster board for other letter recognition and sound games.

Sensory Bottle (Terri Sheppard)
Clean and remove the label from a water bottle. Pour in ½ bottle of Elmer’s glitter glue. (It will fill the bottle about 1/3 full). Fill the rest of the way with warm water. Glue the lid on and shake well to mix the glue and water.

Rick Ball invited me to Princeton and gave me a special farewell:
We love you a little.
We love you lots.
Our love for you would fill 10 pots, 14 kettles, 16 cans, 60 cups, and a big old dish pan!

I was also in Dyersburg, Tennessee, and what a DYNAMIC group of teachers!
How about this giant pencil with my name!  See why I LOVE what I do!!!!

## Sunday, July 26, 2015

### I DECLARE!!!!

I declare, some of the things teachers tell me blow my mind! How could an administrator or supervisor tell you NOT to use play dough in kindergarten? Let me just tell it like it is…that shows their stupidity and lack of knowledge about how young children learn!! Do they not know anything about brain research? Have they not read the studies of how children learn when activities are playful and challenging?

Play dough is multi-sensory, engaging, creative, and open-ended. Talk about PURPOSEFUL PLAY!  Play dough can be a tool just like a worksheet, video game, or PPT.  Play dough also develops small motor skills which help children write.  Here are just a few ways to integrate it into centers and independent learning in your classroom.

Comprehension
Let children make their favorite character and use it to retell a story.

Draw a scene from a story and add details with play dough.

Make something that you learned from the book.

Phonics
Rhymes – Make two objects that rhyme.

Sounds – Make objects that start with a consonant, blend, or diagraph you are working on.

Vowels- Make an object for a long vowel sound and short vowel sound.

Writing
Make something you like (or don’t like) and write about it.

Make something from a book you have read and write about it.

Make letter plates by writing letters with a permanent marker on plastic plates. Children roll play dough and make the letters on top.

Make letters (or words) using a bubble font. Children roll dough and fill in.

Make something that is a noun. How can you make it plural?

Math
Make objects that match numbers.

Make a set and then decompose it.

Demonstrate more, less, and equal.

Make lines, curves, and shapes.

Science and Social Studies
Reinforce information from a science or social studies unit with play dough. Children could make animals from a habitat, parts of a flower, tools of community helpers, healthy foods…endless possibilities!

Silly Putty
Here’s another idea a second grade teacher shared for keeping those fingers busy! She asks each parent to provide a container of silly putty that the children keep in their pencil box. If they finish their work early, they use the silly putty to create something that relates to a reading skill, math concept, science unit, etc.

P.S. If anybody tells you not to use play dough in your classroom, please tell them to give me a call and I’ll explain it to them!!!!

## Saturday, July 25, 2015

### WHERE'S LETTER BEAR?

Somebody once remarked at a workshop, “Dr. Jean, you take something simple and then milk something for all it’s worth.” I smiled and replied, “Yep! That’s what good teachers do!” You will be able to “milk” a lot out of these little bears.

Directions: Cut 26 bears out of construction paper. Write upper and lowercase letters on all the bears. Mix up the bears and then sing this song to the tune of “Twinkle Little Star” as the letters are revealed:
Dd bear, Dd bear, what do you see?
I see Kk bear looking at me.
Kk bear, Kk bear, what do you see…

*Focus children’s attention while they settle down for a story or lesson with the letter bears. You could also use the bears as a transition activity. Dismiss children to line up, wash their hands, etc. when the letter that their name starts with appears.

*For younger children, make the bears out of different colors.

*At the beginning of the school year make bears with the children's names.

*Use the bears to reinforce other skills, such as the numerals 10-20 or sight words.

*Hide the bears around the classroom or playground for the children to find and identify.

*Each month make a similar game using seasonal cutouts. Adapt to different skills you are working on each month.

Here's a link where you can download the bear pattern.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljUjloN1BNSUxlOUU/view?usp=sharing

## Friday, July 24, 2015

### MADE IN MICHIGAN

Here are a few more ideas “Made in Michigan.”

Name Plate Game (Kristen Nedroscik)
(Tune: “If You’re Happy”)
Write each child's name on a paper plate. Have students stand in a circle and place a few plates on the floor in the middle and sing:
If your name is on a plate pick it up. (clap, clap)
If your name is on a plate pick it up. (clap, clap)
If your name is on a plate then you're really, really great.
If your name is on a plate pick it up.

Dots (Lauren Cournoyer)
Fold paper in 6 sections and give children bingo dabbers. As you hold up dot cards children make that number in the boxes.

Dismissal Song
Sing the hokey pokey as you insert children's names to wash their hands.
For example:
You put Stacy in.
You take Stacy out.
Stacey goes to wash her hands…

To focus children’s attention have a bell that says “ring a smile.” When you ring it children stop talking and smile. (You can't smile and talk at the same time!)

Go to wildflowerramblings.com to download free Lego letter patterns.

Student Led Conferences (Kelly Tucker)
Keep notebooks with children's accomplishments.
Color code by semester or trimester. For example, letters I know in the fall are orange, winter blue, etc.
Keep these in their book boxes so they can practice shapes, sight words, letters -they love to demonstrate what they've learned!
Kids write invitations to parents inviting them to the conference.
Have a practice day.
Kids learn to introduce their parents to their teacher.
Do goal setting. The kids tell parents their goal and then ask how they can help them with their goal.
*Set an additional conference if there's something serious that needs more time.

Teddy Bear Hunt (Kyra Burns)
Write alphabet letters on a set of paper bears. Let upper grade helpers tape the bears at eye level on the playground. After the children find the bears they can put them in order from A to Z or Z to A.
*On a rainy day tape letter bears around the gym.

Come back tomorrow for the letter bear pattern!

## Thursday, July 23, 2015

### PURE MICHIGAN!

You know that advertisement called “Pure Michigan”? Lucky me to get to visit Detroit last week and experience their glorious summer weather and meet their amazing teachers! It was PURE Michigan joy! And, you’re going to love the ideas they shared!

Write the Playground
Tape sight words to trees, equipment, and all over the playground. Challenge children to find the words and then write them down.

Time Out Alternative (Carol Leake)
Instead of having a child sit for time out ask them to push the wall. “I think it’s falling down so push it hard!”

Storing Games (Carol Leake)
Use zip pencil pockets to store game pieces.
*Store these in a three ring binder by subject or color code.

Open House Scavenger Hunt (Danielle Nogle Hamtramck)
Make a scavenger hunt for children to do with their parents with items
like book boxes, calendar, writing folder, word wall, etc.
*You could also make a bingo sheet where they have to color in the squares as they find the items.

Chores
Get a list of age appropriate chores for children to do around the house
at thehappyhousewife.com. Give the list to parents and encourage them to give their children jobs. Doing tasks around the house is the perfect
way to develop the executive function.

I Can! (Janet Hillaker)
There are two things
Charming children do.
We smile instead of cry!
We never, never say, "I can't!”
We always say, "Ill try!”
We never, never say, “I can't!”
We always say, “I'll try!”

Remember!  CAN’T NEVER COULD!

Alphabet Doughnuts (Jan Hillaker)
Cut out paper doughnuts and write letters on them. Place them on the floor and then sing or say this rhyme:
Down around the corner at the bakery shop
26 doughnuts with sprinkles on top.
Along came (child’s name) with a nickel one day.
She bought the (name a letter) and she took it away.

*Let a child chose a doughnut, hold it up, and then the class says the letter.
Hint!  Start with 5 or 6 doughnuts and then add more as children become more competent.

Math Pockets (Kelly Paquette)
Use pockets cut from old jeans for estimation activities.
How many blocks do you think will fit in the pocket?
Put a few blocks in and then ask how many more?
Vary by using different size objects and different pockets.
Discuss why one holds more/less,

Campaign Signs (Kelly Paquette)
Save old campaign signs after elections. Use binder clips to attach tag board with skills (words, letters, shapes, numbers, etc.) to the signs.
For example: Put shapes on the signs and place around the playground. Tell the students to run/skip/ walk to the circle.

## Wednesday, July 22, 2015

### BRAIN TICKETS

One of the significant findings from the book THE SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD was the importance of parents talking to their children about school and showing interest in what they are learning. Often when parents say, "What did you learn at school today?" the child will respond with a blank look and a shrug of their shoulders.  Here’s a super simple idea that will promote communication and encourage children to recall something specific that they studied at school.

Run off copies of the brain tickets attached. (You could also buy a roll of raffle tickets at an office supply store.) Each day before children leave school ask them to think of something new they learned. Hand them a brain ticket as they recall the day’s events.

Explain to the parents that they should expect their child to bring home a “brain ticket” each day. The parent’s job is to ask their child what she learned to earn it.

*Hint! Make tickets a different color each month.

SUPER DUPER BRAIN TICKETS
My friend Janice Vinci gives giant brain tickets to the children when they master specific skills, such as counting to 100, knowing their sight words, etc.

REWARDS
Give out brain tickets when children answer questions.  Let them make a pocket to save their brain tickets in from an envelope.  (Cut the envelope in half and then cut down 3/4" on each side and fold down.)
Here's a link so you can download the pattern for brain tickets.

## Tuesday, July 21, 2015

### SITE FOR SIGHT WORDS

My granddaughter attended a pre-k that was totally play based. It was perfect for her, but I realized it would be good if she knew a few sight words before she started kindergarten. When she visited in March I wrote ten words on construction paper clothes, tied a piece of string to a door, and let her hang them up with clothespins. She LOVED the game and quickly mastered those words. My daughter went home and made a set of 50+ words on index cards. It was overwhelming and boring and Kalina quickly lost interest.

You and I know nothing succeeds like success, but not everyone realizes the importance of starting simple with a few words that children can master. There’s a great website called sightwords.com where you can get free materials and activities for helping children learn sight words in a meaningful way. I'll light Margo Edwards tell you a little more about it...

Sight words are the words that occur most frequently in written English (such as and, will, can), and many of them don’t follow the “rules” of phonics (such as once and could). Children need to learn sight words to build their fluency and speed in reading. They need to be able to recognize these words “by sight,” rather than de-coding them letter by letter. When a child struggles to read the individual words in a sentence, she isn’t able to pay attention to what the sentence is about.

At SightWords.com we will show you a variety of teaching techniques to introduce new sight words to your child and review old words. One day’s instruction can include just 10 minutes of lesson time followed by 20 minutes of a sight words game. Our sight words games reinforce the lessons through repetition, but wrapped up in fun variations of classic card and board games.

Our website is packed with free and printable resources, designed to promote learning in both formal and informal settings. The site’s resources include:

· Five different Teaching Techniques, complete with scripts and “how to” videos, show you exactly how to teach sight words to your child. Broken down into simple and straightforward exercises, these lessons require no teaching experience, just a desire to help children learn.

· Flashcards are available in three different sizes. We have the full range of flashcards for both the Dolch sight words and Fry sight words lists. They are also customizable—you can type in your own word list, or combine a few custom words with one of the Dolch or Fry word lists.

· With a dozen different Games from Go Fish to Snakes & Ladders, you are bound to find several that your child will love. These games reinforce the sight words lessons, providing a fun way to get lots of practice seeing, hearing, and reading sight words. Like the flashcards, all our Games are fully customizable.

SightWords.com aims to be a one-stop shop of free sight words resources for educators and parents of young children. We have pulled from decades of teaching experience and the latest research on child literacy and present our content in a format that is easy to understand, access and use. SightWords.com is for educators who know how to teach sight words but need free and easy classroom materials as well as parents or caregivers with no formal training who simply want to enhance their child’s education.

Just print out the free materials at SightWords.com and start teaching your child today!

Margo Edwards is the Director of Content Development at SightWords.com, a website dedicated to providing free resources that promote child literacy. SightWords.com is proud to be sponsored by the Georgia Preschool Association.

Snakes and Ladders is one of our most popular sight word games.

Words Fly Swat is a great educational game for active young children.

## Monday, July 20, 2015

### THE TWELFTH DAY OF BACK TO SCHOOL...

Welcome Kit
Add the following items to a zip bag along with the letter:
cotton ball, Hershey’s kiss, sticker, rubber band, penny, tissue, gold star, band aid, Life Saver,
gold thread eraser  (You can adapt these items any way you'd like.)

Welcome to your new classroom. Each item in this bag
has a special meaning for you!”
*The cotton ball is to remind you that this room is full of kind words and warm feelings.
*The chocolate kiss is to remind you that I care about you.
*The sticker is to remind you that we will all need to stick together and
help each other.
*The rubber band is to remind you to hug someone.
*The penny is to remind you that you are valuable and special.
*The tissue is to remind you to help dry someone’s tears.
*The star is to remind you to shine and always try your best.
*The bandage is to remind you to heal hurt feelings in your friends and yourself.
*The gold thread is to remind you that friendship ties our hearts together.
*The eraser is to remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and that is okay.
*The Life Saver is to remind you that you can always come to me if you need someone to help you.
With love, (Teacher’s Signature)

TLC for Parents
Put the note below in an envelope with a cotton ball and tea bag and send it home to the parents the first day of school.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for entrusting your child to me. I promise to do my best every day to be your
child’s companion in learning.  Sit down, relax, and have a cup of tea. Hold the cotton ball in your hand to remind you of the gentle spirit of your child. I know we will have a wonderful year as we learn and grow together!
Sincerely, (Teacher’s Name)

Say “Yes!”
I'll end my back to school activities with one more idea. Go to your principal before school starts and ask her to say, “Yes!” when you ask her a question. Then ask your principal to give you the best and brightest children in your room this year. (To which the principal will reply, “Yes!”) On the first day say, “I asked the principal to give me the best and brightest children this year. And here you are!” Throughout the school year remind them that they are the best and the brightest and they will live up to your expectations!

*One teacher told me that she tells, “You are lucky to be in my room because I’m the best teacher in the school. But don’t let the other kids know or they’ll be jealous!” LOL

## Sunday, July 19, 2015

### THE ELEVENTH DAY OF BACK TO SCHOOL...

Some of you might be stressing out about getting your room ready when school starts. Have I got a plan for you! Take yellow caution tape and wrap it around your door. Post a sign for parents and students that says:
“This room is under construction because it will be ‘home’ for all of us this school year. It is important that the children help me decorate it with their artwork and personalities.  Please come visit us in a week and see what we have created!”

Clare Ashford has a great idea to take “under construction” one step further.
“Before Meet the Teacher night (before school starts), I wrap all my bookcases, computers, etc. in butcher paper and then put an ‘under construction’ sign on them. It serves 2 purposes. 1- that way kids don't get into things while I'm busy talking to people! and 2- we ‘unwrap’ the items together as a class when we're ready to use whatever it is. It is very helpful and makes for an organized start to the year!”

How about some crafts your students can make to decorate the room?

Welcome to the Neighborhood
Make a house from construction paper for each child. Fold the paper in half vertically. Open. Fold in the top corners to the middle. Fold up the bottom. Let children write their name on the front of the house. They can open the house and draw their family. You could also ask child to bring in a photograph of their family. Add some trees and a school and you have a great bulletin board.Class Quilt

Class Quilt
Use group art to create a visual representation of the “community” in your classroom. Give each child a 9” square and have them decorate it with pictures of themselves, drawings of their families or favorite things, collage materials, etc. Punch holes in the corner of each square and tie together with yarn to make a quilt to display in the classroom or hallway.

Friendship Chain
Give each child a strip of construction paper to decorate with their name, symbols of favorite things, or designs. Staple the strips together to make a chain. Remind the children that your classroom is just like that chain. Everyone must work together to keep it connected and strong. Drape the chain over the doorway.

Fit Like a Puzzle
Take a large sheet of poster board and cut it into puzzle shapes. (You will need one puzzle piece for each child in the room. Mark the back of the piece with an “X” so they will know which side to decorate.) After the children have decorated their piece, challenge them to put their pieces together to make a puzzle. Glue pieces to another sheet of poster board to create a picture puzzle for your classroom.

Family Bottle
Collect clear, plastic bottles (from water or soda) and give one to each child when they come to register or on the first day of school. Ask them to fill the bottle with cut out photographs of family members and other small trinkets and mementos. Have children bring their bottles to school the first day and use them for “show and tell.” Store the bottles in a basket and when children are a little sad or homesick, tell them to get their family bottle and it will make them feel better.

What’s Your Bag?
Give each child a lunch sack at registration or the first day of school and ask them to put the wrapper from their favorite candy, something their favorite color, a picture of their family, the title of their favorite book, etc. in the bag. After sharing these objects with classmates, they can use them to decorate journals, make banners about themselves, etc.

## Saturday, July 18, 2015

### THE TENTH DAY OF BACK TO SCHOOL...

Go to my website (drjean.org), click on "free activities" and scroll down to parent partnerships to download monthly activity calendars and other ideas to engage your families. The amazing thing is that the more parents are involved, the better their children do and the more they value the school. There are many ways that parents can participate and contribute to their child’s education. A good place to start would be an interest inventory where parents have the opportunity to discuss their experiences, hobbies, and talents.

Here are other some suggestions for a check list where parents could check off how they will support your program:

Attend meetings and conferences.
Chaperone field trips.
Make phone calls or send emails.
Plan parties.
Collect free items for projects. Participate in recycling programs.
Make games and materials for the classroom.
Assist with technology for the classroom.
Plan service projects and fund raisers.
Share their culture, trips, career, or a hobby with the children.
Volunteer to tell stories, assist with learning centers, help with a project.
Tutor children.
Participate in clean-up days or repair broken equipment.
Compile a class scrapbook or video.
Advocacy for legislation that supports children and education.

Brown Bag Special
This is perfect for the working parent. Put materials for making games, art projects, etc. in a brown grocery sack. Children get to deliver the “brown bag special” to their parents to complete at home. They will be so proud to return the bag knowing that their parent is involved in their classroom!

Hint! For parents with computer access and financial resources, ask them to download books and free materials from the internet. For other parents, you could put in paper and a pattern for them to cut out for a class game. Everybody can do something and everybody needs to feel appreciated for their efforts!

Helping Hands
Cut out paper hands and write different items you would like for your classroom, such as paper lunch bags, tissues, plastic bags, etc. (You know all those things you have to buy with your own money! Materials could range from something inexpensive to a Dust Buster or old rocking chair.) Tape these to your door and “invite” parents who would like to
help to choose a hand and purchase those items.

Tear Tea
Sometimes it’s as difficult for the parents to say good-bye as it is for the children.  Planning a tea for parents in the library after they drop their children off will ease the separation.  It would also be a great time to recruit volunteers for the school!
Hint!  Give a pack of tissues as a party favor!

The Kissing Hand
What would we do without this wonderful book to help children (and parents) transition to school.  I know there are countless activities to do with this book, but one of the simplest is to have parents and children trace and cut out each other’s hands the first day of school.  After kissing the hands, pin the parent’s hand to the child and send the parent to the “tear tea” below with their child’s hand.