Tips & Tools

Getting-to-Know-You Writing Project

On the first day of school, I list six statements about myself. Three of the statements are true and three are false, in no particular order.

Parents' Handbook

After spending years trying to give parents all the information they need via back to school night and periodic notes, one educator began to publish a handbook. She distributes the handbook to students for their parents on the first day.

Constructing a New School Year

How is the new school year like building a house?

Car Survival Kits

This activity helps to relate the events in the story to their own lives.

Ten Questions to Start the Year

During the first week of school, start each day with this activity. Call each student's name and ask a random question that will elicit something about his or her life. Have the student say his name, and answer a question. This activity is a big hit!

What to Say to an Angry Parent

Whenever I had an upset parent, I’d say: I wish I had more parents like you. That always elicited a ‘huh?’ type response. Then I’d elaborate: I wish more parents cared about their child as you do. It had the immediate effect of lowering their resistance, which let us continue without rancor.

'I lost the lid!'?

We save every lid from our used up or dried out dry erase markers and glue sticks. This way when caps go “mysteriously missing” we can quickly save them from drying out.

Read Across America

Read Across America Library Grants are back!

Beach Ball Toss

To give my third-grade students a sense of the earth’s land-to-water ratio, we toss a beach ball that’s decorated as the globe.

Mystery Skyping into History

Our class has created a twist on the Mystery Skype game where classes connect and ask each other questions to identify each other’s location.