Five for Friday on Saturday - First Friday of the 2014-2015 School Year

Ok, so it's Saturday and I'm a little late to the party, but hey, better late than never, right?  It's time to link up with:

for another fabulous: 

Lots of back to school goodness going on this week! I have officially begun my tenth year of teaching! 

Seriously, I think I was awake every hour on the hour! The night before the first day of school never gets any easier! So many unknowns, so many what-ifs, too many checklists running through my mind! By the time I "woke up", I was a nervous wreck! 

We started off the week with this awesome Getting to Know My Teacher Powerpoint Activity from The Techie Teacher where students predicted the answers to different questions about me. It was a great way to share a bit about myself. The students were engaged because they wanted to know if their predictions were right and I loved hearing their guesses for each one! This will now be a staple back to school activity for me!

Students participated in an activity called Toothpaste Words. In this activity, students work in groups and are first given a tube of toothpaste and told to squeeze out as much as they can. After about 5 minutes, they are given toothpicks and told that they need to put all of that toothpaste back in! After we clean up our mess, students return to their seats. We then have a very honest discussion about words that are hurtful and I put them all on the board (except the really bad ones). This year, my students shared more than 50 words that had hurt their feelings at one time or another. Once we had our list, I labeled them "Toothpaste Words" and asked students to consider if they had used one before. I asked what happened when we tried to put all of the toothpaste back in. Students quickly realized how this represents that once we have said something negative, it is hard to take it back, just as it was hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube. We talked about how our words can really make a difference and that we want to be remembered for positive actions. This has always been a powerful activity during the first week. It really gets students thinking about their words and actions.

This summer I stocked up on new books. By the time students are in fifth grade, they've already heard First Day Jitters and How I've Spent My Summer Vacation, so I wanted something else that would get us off to a good start. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes is perfect for a first read-aloud because it's about knowing that it's ok to make a mistake. I always tell students that they are human, they will make mistakes. I also tell them that I am human, and I make at least one mistake a day (I must get tongue-tied at least 5 times a day). Reading this aloud naturally led to a discussion about how our classroom needs to be a place where we feel like it's acceptable to make mistakes. We talked about how important it is to never make anyone feel uncomfortable because they've made a mistake. Another win! 

When students needed a break from my talking about rules, expectations, and all that jazz, I let them color. But I didn't let them color just anything. I found these wonderful Quotes Coloring Sheets at Doodle Art Alley. I love to display as much student-created work as possible because I want students to feel like it is their classroom, not MY classroom. This gave me an easy way to decorate my cupboards with positive messages that are personalized by each student! I could not be happier with the outcome!

I'm happy to report that it was a wonderful first week and that my group is AWESOME! I just know we're going to have a fantastic year!




  1. I use the Doodle Art quotes every year! My students love coloring and discussing them. We then hang them up in the front of the room, where they stay until the last day of school. They received major compliments from my principal this year!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

    1. Aren't they a simply fabulous idea? I wish there were just a few more! I'm already thinking of how I could use different ones with different lessons! Such powerful messages and so fun to let the students make these important words their own!

  2. I love your Toothpaste Activity! It seems so perfect for fifth grade. Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. You're welcome! It's one of my absolute favorites and definitely very meaningful for 5th grade!

  3. This post is full of wonderful and thoughtful ideas. I enjoyed reading it very much!

  4. Sounds like it was a great first week! I NEVER slept the night before school until I changed to reading specialist. Knowing I don't have kids that first day helps immensely!

    And I'm totally with you on having to look for unique books to read. I have a list that I kind of hoard, especially since I'm also "competing" with their classroom teachers for new books. Unfortunately that means a lot of the books I find aren't in our library...

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

  5. Love the toothpaste activity. I really like the doodle quotes. Such a great way to display "positive" thoughts for your students to see everyday and they participated in making them, so they will have more meaning for them. Congrats on starting your 10th year. I totally agree, it doesn't matter how long we've been teaching I still don't really sleep the night before school starts. Have a great year!

    Luv My Kinders

    1. Thank you, Laura! I hope that you have a wonderful year as well!


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