“I Feel . . .” Origami Boxes

What makes students feel brave, or curious, or wise? Give them prompts like “I feel curious when . . .” and prepare to be amazed at what they write—and later share with their classmates. To start, download our free templates. After kids have written on them, help put them together with just a few folds and some cellophane tape.

Use these templates in your classroom.

Chalkboard-Paint Figures

Transform old toys into whimsical nameplates using chalkboard paint for a conversation-starting back-to-school activity. First, put out a call to parents to send in old toys, or collect them yourself from yard sales or dollar stores. Spray-paint the toys (outside of class),
then bring them in for students to decorate with their names and other words or drawings. It’ll quickly personalize their spaces and, perhaps, get kids talking about their interests.

Colorful Compliment Jars  

Turn an ordinary jar into a great incentive for students to be good classroom citizens. Not familiar with the compliment jar concept? Here’s the idea: Whenever a child says or does something nice, place a token in the jar. To up the acts of kindness, use tissue paper–wrapped prizes as tokens. Once students have accumulated a given number—and gotten in plenty of counting practice—reward them with a class party.