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August 20, 2009 Welcome to Our Pack: A Get to Know You Activity By Megan Power
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    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" reply. 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 relationship building, and builds strong home-school connections.

    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’ writings, drawings, and photographs 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
    Create your own postcard - Powered by Smilebox
    Make a Smilebox postcard

    Here is how we did it:

    Materials:

    Photo 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

    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 each student's name and finding out their favorite color. (This will take more then one day)

    3. Each person colors in their own book the student's favorite color

    4. Continue until you have reached all students

    5. Read the book together as a class

    6. Send home for parents to enjoy!

    Extension Activity:

    No matter what time of year, when a new student joins the class:

    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.

     

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Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2