Welcome to Our Pack: A Get to Know You Activity

By Megan Power on August 20, 2009

How was your first day of school? Did you make any new friends today? These are just a few of the questions parents ask their young children after the first day of school. Typically they receive a "good" or "I don't remember their names." One of our first jobs as teachers is getting to know the students and building our community of learners. It is also important to start off with good parent communication. Check out this great classroom activity that kids and parents just love. It gets students communicating with each other, fosters creating connections and relationships, as well as having a strong home school connection.


A few years ago I started having my students make a class book to send home when we had a new student. The child loved taking this book home with the other students’ writing, drawings, and photograph in it to show their families. The parents really appreciated having a face to place with the names of kids in our classroom. After two years of doing this I thought, why not create a book like this for the whole class to take home during the first few days of school?

After my first year of putting this plan into action, I received amazing feedback from parents. The parents loved how it helped them talk about school with their child. What a great parent communication piece to have right in the first few days of school!

Directions for implementing this activity in your classroom are below the slide show.


Click to play this Smilebox postcard: Welcome to Our Pack
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Here is how we did it:


Materials:

Picture of each child (here are a few suggestions)

  • If you have a Meet and Greet with your students before school starts try to take the pictures then
  • Take a first day of school picture
  • Have PTA assist with first day pictures
  • Ask parents to bring in a current picture of their child

Crayons

A paper book for each child

  • Ours is a “Welcome to our Pack" crayon themed book with favorite color. Download Welcome to Our Pack
  • Copy the book with students’ photographs and names in them. You will need one book per child.


Classroom Activity:


  1. Have each child take out their favorite color crayon and put all the rest away.
  2. Give each child a Class Book.
  3. Model turning the page and finding their name and photograph.
  4. Have the students color in their crayon showing their favorite color.
  5. Practice by modeling. Olivia turns to Mrs. Power’s picture. Does she color in the crayon? No. She walks over to Mrs. Power and introduces herself. “Hi I am Olivia” Mrs. Power responds “Hello. I am Mrs. Power." Conversation continues as they switch books and color in the crayon by their picture.
  6. Students continue to walk around the room switching books and coloring their crayon picture.
  7. When you are finished read the book as a class to practice learning students' names
  8. Send this book home so the parents can learn about their child's new friends.


Sound a little too complicated for the beginning of school? Here is a simplified version of this project.


  1. Give each student their book.
  2. Go through each page together as a class reading the students name and finding out their favorite color. (This will take more then 1 day)
  3. Every person colors in the student's favorite color in their own book.
  4. Continue until you have reached all students
  5. Read the book together as a class
  6. Send home for parents to enjoy!


Extension later in the year:


A way to use this idea for new students later in the year:

  1. Print out a picture of each child.
  2. Then have each student glue their picture to a piece of paper.
  3. They can then write a sentence and draw pictures on the paper depending on their level.
  4. This book is sent home for the new family to feel welcomed and a part of your classroom.


Please comment and let us know how this activity works for you. We would also love to hear your “get to know you” activities.

Comments

I love this idea! I think it might be a little simple for my 2nd graders, so I am going to ask each student a couple of questions (favorite color, favorite food, etc) and then fill out the book. Then we could go through it every morning so that the students really know each other. I can't count the number of times I have asked a student to go get another student and they are like "Who is that?" (and it is December). Maybe I don't do a very good job teaching the kids names to the other students, so I love this idea. Then we can also learn a little more about each student right off the bat.
Thanks for the wonderful idea!!

Hi Megan, I am an aspiring pre-school/kindergarten teacher. I have been reading your blogs and have really enjoyed them! I am actually doing this for one of my education classes! I really enjoyed this idea. This is a very fun way to get the parents involved with things at school and also gets you more involved with your students!

Sydnee, Congrats on deciding teaching as your career. It is a very exciting and rewarding profession. I am so glad that my post will help you in your class. My students and parents loved this activity. It really helped to get to know each other and build a community. Let me know if I can help in any other way! I know you will be an amazing teacher and I love how you are starting to reseach and get ideas now! Keep it up! Smiles, Megan

I loved the smilebox idea! I am going to try my own. I'm already learning so much from your blog. Thanks!

Pamela, Smilebox is a neat way to create and share photos. It is very simple to use but comes out looking like you worked so hard on it. The magic of technology! Smiles, Megan Power

Thanks for the sweet comment, Megan. Just wondering who is the new Early Education Advisor this year? It seems like the site hasn't been updated for the new year? Any word? Thought you might be able to help! Thanks!

Jen

Jen, I just found out that Scholastic is not hosting a blogger for Early Education this year but they may in the future. Smiles, Megan

Hi Megan! I am really looking forward to your posts this school year! I featured you and your blog on my own at http://teachoften.blogspot.com/

Check it out! Thanks for the inspiration!

I am also found: http://createoften.blogspot.com/

Thanks for looking!

Jen

Jen, Thank you for following my blog and linking me to yours. I checked out your blog and it looks great. I am looking forward to hearing more from you this year! Sending smiles, Megan Power

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