A great theme to start off the new school year is All About Me/Family/Feelings/Friends!
There are so many things you can do and talk about. All kids get excited talking about their families and want to tell you all the fun things that happen at their house. Use this time at the beginning of the year to really connect with your students and you can find out a lot of their strengths and weaknesses this way.
I Like Me - Nancy Carlson
When I Get Bigger - Mercer Mayer
What's Inside My Body - DK Publishing
I Like Myself - Karen Beaumont
All By Myself - Mercer Mayer
I Was So Mad - Mercer Mayer
The Feelings Book - Todd Parr
1. Clap out the syllables in each students names. Who has the most?
2. Ask each student to think of a word that rhymes with "ME".
Use all the words they come up with to create a silly class poem...
Example: This poem is about ME!
One day I climbed a TREE,
In the tree, I found a BEE
He stung me on my KNEE!
My sister wanted to SEE
But she is only THREE
She looked and said ,"Oh GEE!
That's the story of ME
and the BEE
that stung me on my KNEE!
3. Have children bring in a few pictures of their family to share with the class
4. Talk about the differences in people....such as hair color, eye color, boy/girl, etc
Graph those things with your class:
5. Talk about feelings and go around the circle and ask how each child feels that day.
We used Happy/Sad pictures on a chart that the kids would put under their picture each
day when they came to school, so we would know if they were having a good or bad day.
6. Talk about fun things to do inside and outside with your family.
Look in magazines or online for pictures of families doing different activities. I cut them out
and laminated them and added velcro to use at our circle time flannel board.
Give a picture to each child and make up a poem to go with the pictures you have.
As you read the poem and they hear the activity on their card they can bring it up and
place it on the flannel board. Here is my poem to go with my pictures:
All families like to have fun,
This one likes to swim in the sun.
Another one likes to camp outside,
And this one likes to take a bike ride.
Reading a book is a nice thing to do,
Grandpa blowing bubbles is a lot of fun too!
One family is really wishing
that they can do a lot of fishing!
Sweeping, washing, dusting and mopping
Cleaning sure keeps this family hopping!
Sisters fixing a tasty treat,
YUM, that sure looks good to eat!
These two brothers never get bored,
they have too much fun on their skateboard.
This last family is cooking some stew,
Do you think they'll make enough for YOU?!
1. The People in My House
Copy and cut out a bunch of clipart pictures of a woman, man, boy and girl (you can also do pet pics too if desired)
During center time, call a student over and have them pic out a picture for each person that lives in their house. They may have grandparents or other aunts and uncles living with them, so make sure they tell you the names of each person so you can write it on the picture.
You can either draw a big house on a pic of easel paper or let them draw their house. Make sure they add windows and a door.
people to their picture.
2. Life-size ME!
Use white bulletin board paper. Have each student lay down on the paper and trace their outline. Have them lay on the floor and color their clothes like they are wearing that day and add their hair and facial features. Cut out their bodies and put up in the hallway by your classroom.
3. X-Ray of My BONES!
Use a black piece of construction paper to trace an arm, foot, or chest of each child. Let them pick which
x-ray they would like to make. Once traced, let them glue bones (Q-tips...can cut some in half too for smaller bones) onto their x-ray.
Once they are all dry.....you can use them in an area of your room that can be a doctor's office. They can pretend to take different x-rays of each others bones and see if anything is broken.
4. My FINGERPRINTS!
At your art table, have an index card with each child's name on it. Have them find their name and then
use stamp pads to put their fingerprints under their name. After the cards are dried.... put a few magnifying glasses at the table and let children study the prints. Explain that no two prints or are same...that everyone is special and unique with their very own set!
5. I'm so SMART!
Ask each child to think of 4 things they can do really well. Write them down on a small paper like this:
If they can, have them write their name at the bottom (or you can).
Cut out some people shapes from manilla paper:
Use templates like these and have them decide if they are a boy or girl. Let them pick colors of construction paper to trace the template on and cut out their clothes.
list of 4 things they do best onto the front. Display these on a bulletin board or use for locker tags, etc.
6. We are Growing Flowers!
Trace child's feet onto green paper or we have painted them green before. Cut out.
Paint their forearm and press onto paper. When dry...cut out.
Put all the pieces together to create each child's flower. You can also glue their picture to the
middle of the hand too.
These make a great bulletin board!
7. Silly People
Cut out a supply of eyes, noses, and mouths from magazines. Let the kid's sort through and glue them
onto face shapes to create different people. Let them cut strips of paper for hair.
Let them use lots of different ones until they find the ones they like best.
The kids have a blast with this!
1. BIRTHDAYS! Talk about the birthdays in your classroom and how you celebrate your special day.
Find some pictures of birthday cakes online or in magazines. I laminated mine for longer use.
Place the pictures and a bowl of candles at a table. Have the child match the correct number of candles to
the corresponding birthday cake.
2. Expressions and Emotions
Find great pictures of people's expressions and reactions online or in magazines. Laminate. Add these
pictures and a mirror to a center. Have child pick a card and imitate the expression in the mirror. Let them make some of their own silly faces. Take pictures of some of their faces to use the next time.
3. Sponge People
Draw a body shape onto a sponge and cut out. (This can be a little harder than it looks). Use permanent marker to add a face. Place several of these in your water table for kids to pretend it is them and their family or friends swimming or them taking a bath. You can add styrofoam trays to use for diving boards, or boats. Add whatever you think the kids would enjoy.
Use different people stamps and ink pads to stamp patterns onto paper..
5. All About Me Books!
At the beginning of the year, start making their books. During the first week or so, during centers, call each student over and fill out a sheet with them: (These are some that I use)
Page 1 : Can they write their name at top?
(All these questions will need 2 boxes for their answers - beginning of year and to re-do at end of the year)
Where do you live? (address)
What's your telephone number?
What's your name (do they know first, middle, and last?)
How old are you?
Page 2 : Trace their hand under this poem:
This is my hand,
My hand will do,
A thousand loving,
things for you.
And you will remember
When I am tall
That once my hand
Was just this small!
Page 3: Have child draw a self portrait of their head (eye and hair color) above this poem:
There are millions of people
All over the place
But nobody else
with exactly my face!
Page 4 : Ask these questions: (You can add any you want)
What sports do you like? What fruits? What animals? Colors? Cartoons? Etc......
Page 5 : Skip around the letters and circle the ones they know (have another page like this for end of year)
Page 6: Skip around the numbers and circle ones they know. Also have them count as high as they can without help and post that number at the bottom. (2 copies of this also)
Extra pages you can add during the year:
When you do different themes, you can add a page such as
I went on a bear hunt and........ (let them tell you their story and then have them illustrate a pic for you.
I saw pirates and they.......
I'm proud to be an American because....
You can add all types of things to your books and then send home at the end of the year!
I am sure there are many, many more things to be done with this...but this blog is getting long!
I will leave you with a few little odds and ends ideas to throw into your theme!
Puppets, Make Play-doh people, Blocks/Legos (to build their houses)
Watercolor/paint pictures of family and friends
coloring pages of people
Colorforms or Magnetic Paper dolls
Have fun getting to know your new students!