Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to School Product Maddness

Holy Smokes, I can't believe that I've been on summer vacation for a month now!  I'll be teaching summer school next month, and before I know it school will be here.  My husband and I will be closing on our house right around school starting, so I've been trying to get most of my back to school products ready now, so I can be ready for the new year in the midst of the crazy sauce that will be back to school this year.  

One of my favorite writing assignments to do all year to have my kiddos research the story of their names.  They always get a kick out of learning how/why they were given their name.  In fact, I get a kick out of it too! I've had students named after actresses, after athletes,  after a family member, and after places.  They always love hearing what their name means too.  

While the book Chrysanthemum is great to introduce this project, my favorite book to read is actually When Jo Lewis Won the Title. It's a book that is less popular and therefore my kiddos pay a lot more attention while I read it, plus I use Chrysanthemum in another back to school activity that I'll be blogging about later this summer. :)
This is one of my all time favorite books.  It's a touching story of how a grandfather tells his granddaughter all about the story of her name.  It's not only a great story of self acceptance, but a beautiful piece of multicultural literature as well.  After reading the book, I have my students complete a homework assignment where they ask their parents some questions about their name.  Then we review the structure of an informational paragraph, and my kiddos write an informational paragraph all about their name.  Once finished, we make mini versions of ourselves and hang our completed writings up outside. It makes an adorable back to school bulletin board! :)  Here's a little sample picture.  :)  The one on the left is the actual true story of my name. :) The little guy on the right is the story of my dad's name.  My hubs was sleeping at the time that I made my sample. ;)

 I've uploaded all my Story of My Name resources to my stores. 

We have a half hour math tutorial block at my school, and I'd like to do more with small groups during that time rather than doing whole group lessons.  To do more with small groups, I need purposeful activities for the rest of my kiddos to do. I dabbled in centers/workstations last year, and love it, but I felt I was always grasping at straws trying to get activities ready.  So I decided to get a head start this summer by preparing my centers.  I started with this Back to School themed centers to refresh my fourth graders on some of the skills they learned in third grade. 
 To keep myself sane, I plan on using half of my back to school centers and half of Hope's monthly centers for two weeks and then introduce the other half of my centers and Hope's for the rest of the month.   

I also like to spend a little bit of time reviewing sentences, and the various types at the beginning of the year. Oh and reminding them over and over that sentences have capital letters and punctuation.   Texting certainly hasn't done my kiddos any favors.  I can't tell you how many papers I see without any capital letters or any type of punctuation.  I created a little activity pack to make what can be a dull subject, a little more exciting. 

Okay so the first person who comments gets all THREE of my new products for free.  Don't forget to leave your email address. :)

Place Value Block winners I will be sending you your files in the morning! :)  So sorry about the delay! 

This weekend has flown by! I had the best time with my hubs at a Greek festival today, and he's off again tomorrow! I'm a lucky, lucky girl! :)


  1. Wow! GReat packets!

  2. Replies
    1. Ok! So my phone wouldn't let me fully comment but I wanted to say that I've been on break for a month too!!! It doesn't feel like it though!
      My first day back is July 31st and the kiddos first day is on August 8th! All too soon!
      ❤ Sandra
      Sweet Times in First

  3. Aww man! I missed it :) But I will definitely have to check these out!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  4. I always do Chrysanthemum at the beginning of the year & this is a great project to go with that!! I'm going to take a look. :)

    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  5. These all look great, Lisa. Wow. I just found your blog and store. I love it.
    Eileen Griffin

  6. I missed it :(
    Chrysanthemum is such a great book for this kind of writing. Your units look fabulous!
    My Second Sense

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