Back to School Student Gift and Checklist

back to school, freebie, welcome, meet the teacher, back to school checklist

When it comes to the first day of school, there are so many different things to think about that our “to-do” lists seem endless! Many schools offer official "Meet the Teacher" days to welcome students back to school before the first day of school. I love the idea of Meet the Teacher days, and am so glad that my school offers these days, but it is another thing to prepare for! So how can we make the most of these days?

Our Meet the Teacher day always takes place the day right before school begins. It is a great opportunity for teachers to meet their new students and parents before school begins to start building those important relationships! I have found that this day always helps to ease the nerves of everyone involved: students, parents, and of course, teachers!

Our Meet the Teacher day is only about an hour long. Below is my checklist of what I have prepared for the big day!

Meet the Teacher Checklist

1. Provide one on one time with each student and their parent to personally welcome them, listen to any concerns, and answer quick questions.

2. Display books we will be reading and using during the first month of school to build excitement.

3. Have important documents copied for each family such as my teacher welcome letter, school supply list, class list of names, special class schedule, and any paperwork from the office.

4. Display of “Teacher Wish List” items for parents who ask what they can donate to our classroom.

5. Stack of sticky note pads and pens for parents to write additional questions that they have that may require me seeking out the answer or a more in depth answer. I ask parents to leave these sticky note questions on my desk for me to read after everyone has left for the afternoon. After I read the sticky notes, I can answer and respond to them individually in email form.

6. Have a sign up sheet for parent volunteers.

7. Welcome gift for students all ready for their arrival!

back to school freebie, free

The best part of Meet the Teacher day is seeing the smiles on each students' face as they walk into their new classroom, meet the teacher, and receive a small welcome gift. Since the school I work at has a strict no candy or food policy, I like to tie in my student welcome gifts with school supplies that I know the student will use during the year. Simple supplies like pencils, highlighters, rulers, and crayons have all worked well for me in the past. The tags below work perfect for highlighters!

Click on the picture to grab these free gift tags that you can attach to highlighters for a fun and useful welcome gift for your students. 

Back to school, free, freebie, gift tags

If you are looking for more traditional welcome certificates, you can scoop up this version for free on my Teachers Pay Teachers Shop by clicking the image below.

Remember to have fun and relax on Meet the Teacher day! It goes by so quickly! How do you welcome your students on your Meet the Teacher day or first day of school?



Active Reading in the Upper Elementary Classroom

There are so many tips and strategies that we want to teach our students as they become readers. Many of those, however, are just basic skills. The best thing that we can teach our students to do is to become active readers. Active readers are awake, or alert, while reading. Active readers catch themselves drifting off as they read, and get themselves back on track. Some students are just naturally focused while they read, while others will need several mini lessons to help them become awake, alert, and active as they read.
Reading strategies, nonfcition reading, freebie, fiction reading

One engaging way that we can help our students become more active as they read is to have students use different color codes to show what they are thinking as they read a variety of texts. When your students are reading fiction or nonfiction typed texts, articles, or even just worksheets, they can use these color coding reminders to keep them engaged and alert as readers. 

Reading strategies, nonfcition reading, freebie, fiction reading
Color Coding for Fiction Reading

Reading strategies, nonfcition reading, freebie, fiction reading
Color Coding for Nonfiction Reading

By doing this, students are not only engaged, but they are held accountable as
they read independently.  A great follow up activity is for students to meet up
with a reading partner and compare how each of them color coded what they
read. By analyzing color codes both you and your students and will have a deeper
understanding of what thinking goes on while they read. Scoop up these color
coding FREEBIES here.

Here are the color crayon stacks that we use in the classroom. Click the picture for direct link.
Color Coding Pencils
Looking for some informational texts to try out this strategy? You can grab some close reading activities here.

What effective ways do you engage your students to be active readers?


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