Welcome back to school!
Going back to school, especially for kindergarten-age children can be very scary, and can cause separation anxiety. That's why I like to spend the first week of school on the Kissing Hand books, and talking about emotions.
In case you aren't familiar with the book, it's about a young raccoon who is anxious about going to school, until his mother shows him a secret. She opens his hand, gives him a kiss in his palm, and tells him, that whenever he's missing her, he can press it against his cheek, and he'll know that, "Mama loves you, mama loves you!"
It's the perfect way to introduce a child to a new, and seemingly scary situation.
We read the story, and then I asked each child how they felt today. Then, I had each of them draw a picture of how they felt, and helped them place it on a chart.
Their very first graph!
There are a couple other books in the series, none of them quite as good as the first, but still worth a read.
I found this great, FREE packet on teacherspayteachers. It has a couple math center activities, a few literacy center activities (upper/lower case matching, missing letter, letter sound bingo, etc.) - any of which can be modified for small group or large group activities. Yay!
I printed out the flashcards in color and laminated them for my center, and also printed them out in black and white to send home for at-home reinforcement.
It was wonderful to see the kids working together as a team, and having fun while learning.
Although it may seem simple, one of the best items in this packet is a "Color Book". Each page has a picture of Chester (the raccoon), and the name of a color below it. The kids then have to color the raccoon the correct color. This is wonderful for teaching them to follow directions! It's simple, but they have to be listening, and paying attention.
On the first day, we also made the parents a little something. I printed out this cute poem I found:
I traced each of their hands on brown paper, had them cut it out, and then had them glue a heart in the middle of it. It turned out very cute!
Finally, on the end of the last day, I also gave each child a Hershey kiss to take home. In retrospect, I should've just let them eat it in class, as we live in Florida, and chocolate melts. But regardless, it was a hit!
Yay for back-to-school!