Back 2 School - Getting to Know You Activities

Time to start planning those back to school activities! This week Notes from the Portable and I are sharing some of our favorite getting to know you activities and games.

Getting to know your students is important. Knowing their likes and hobbies will allow you to engage them throughout the year.... if Little Johnny loves baseball he will enjoy solving baseball themed word problems in math.

One 'get to know you' activity that I love is NAME ART. It is a minimum prep activity (love that too!). All I do it type my students name in bubble letters using Power Point.

Print their names out and have them decorate the letters with things the love. While they are working on this you will have a few minutes to do those tedious first week tasks (you know- organizing 20 packs of paper so they fit in your cabinet). Then, when everyone is done have the students share their name art. I like to hang their name art somewhere in the room.

Another good and time consuming activity I have my students do is an All About Me banner. Each kid decorates a pennant, then they share it with the class. I take there picture with this frame and they put it on the pennant. Then, I string the pennants into a banner and hang it in the hallway.  You can download these banners HERE!


Lastly, now that you have gotten to know you students, now it is time for them to get to know you! I like to play a little game... 25 Facts About Your Teacher! I tell the students 25 facts about me, and when I am done I try to see if they can remember them all. I have played the 'game' several ways...

 *Students can call out facts until you get to 25

*Students can work in pairs/groups to list as many as they can

*Students can list as many as they can on their own - see who can list the most.

I created a Power Point that I use to share my facts. This ensures I won't forget a fact as I am introducing myself and allows me to quickly check off the facts that they can remember.
You can download this editable template HERE for FREE!!
Of course, we have another great prize this week... a $25 Michael's gift card! Enter below!

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And the Winner Is....

Thanks to all of the people that entered our $25 Target Gift Card Giveaway! Notes from the Portable and I have randomly selected a winner....

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We hope you will join us again this Thursday for another Back to School Link Up and of course, another fun give away!!

Monday Made It {July 27th}

Wait! Summer where did you go?
That’s right people, I go back for preplanning next week. AH! In honor of my last few days of summer I have a completely non-school related Monday Made It for you. So here we go for another link up with 4th Grade Frolics!
Who else loves Etsy? Last week I shared wine labels I purchased and used for hostess gifts. This week I have two more Etsy related items.
I had this monogram S custom made for Savannah’s nursery earlier this summer. It is beautiful. If you are looking for a wooden monogram check out MonogramDecorNest on Etsy. It came unfinished as you can see below.

I waited till her room came together a bit more before committing to a color to paint it. My husband and I finally decided on a color and I think we made a great choice. It will hang above her crib. Now, all we need is for her chair to arrive!

My next made-it is one that I had made. Last summer I introduced you to a very talented friend and sorority sister that makes the most precious baby clothes. I have placed many, many orders from AnnaMorganDesigns on Etsy, but this by far is my FAVORITE (probably because it was for my baby). 

She designed a mint coming home gown with Savannah’s initials and a matching bow, an adorable Auburn themed game day outfit, and a precious burp cloth. Please check out AnnaMorganDesigns this fall when her Etsy store fully reopens, but for now she is taking custom orders. You can get something sweet like I did someone a special baby in your life.

For my last made-it I tried to get ready for baby! I wanted to make a few freezer meals to have ready for those stressful nights where making dinner is not an option. I found several recipes I wanted to try from Pinterest, so I decided to start with two yesterday.
I made Chicken Parmesan Sliders in the crockpot. SO easy!! Of course I made the chicken and froze that, without the bread for the sliders. The second recipe I made was Spinach Lasagana Roll-Ups. This recipe was pretty simple and looks delicious.

I’ll let you know how they taste in the coming months. Do you have an easy freezer recipe to share? I’d love some ideas.
Before I go and enjoy my last few days of summer, I must remind you to enter the giveaway Notes from the Portable and I are having. Today is the last day to enter to win a $25 Target gift card! You can enter HERE!

Back2School Link Up: Procedures & Policies

What procedures and policies do you teach at the beginning of the year? I am excited to read about what you all do as I link up with Notes from the Portable for another week of our Back 2 School Link Up!


The first procedure I have to share is one that makes my skin crawl. Yes, the dreaded pencil sharpener!  I HATE it, absolutely HATE the sound of the pencil sharpener! My students are not allowed to use it during the day.

How do I enforce this? By always having sharpened pencils ready! I bought these cups last summer and use two for pencils… one for SHARP and one for DULL.

So, when your pencil is dull you exchange it for a sharp one. This procedure takes A LOT of practice. Many kids want to just put the dull one in their desk and get a new pencil. Well, that causes a problem. At the end of the day, when my trustworthy students go to sharpen the pencils, there won’t be many in the dull cup. There is no trick to perfecting this procedure, just lots of practice and reminders.


The next procedure I start teaching early on the first day of school. Lining up is a very important procedure. I am not talking about lining up in a certain order, I am talking about lining up in a proper line.

I refuse to be that teacher who can’t control her line. I want my students to be able to walk nicely down the hallway without me and especially when I am absent.

We start by lining up in the classroom and reviewing expectation for a line. I like a 4S line. Straight, Still, Silent, and Smiling!

I hang this cute poster by our door. I say “Show me a 4S line” and the students hold up 4 fingers. As I say each S, if they are doing that thing then they put their finger down.  You can get this cute poster HERE in our Teaching Tips: Everything You Need for Back to School Pack.

When we are ready to venture into the hallway the 4S line should continue. I teach my students the first week where to stop in the hallway, that way they are never too far from me. Practice makes better, so we practice our 4S line a lot the first week by touring the school.
Another procedure I am pretty strict with is our bathroom sign out.
Let me start by saying that my students can use the bathroom whenever they want unless I am teaching or they are in a small group with me. I teach them to hold up a 1 with their finger to signal they need to use the restroom. No interruptions, which is especially important when I have a small group with me.
 Our school has a policy that students must sign out before going to the bathroom, but this is something I have always done.
Why? Because I can quickly check to see where a child is in case of a fire drill or emergency. But won’t you remember you gave them permission? No! I’ll give them permission and go back to who I was working with.  I print this simple sign out sheet and stick in on a clipboard.  This sign out sheet is also available I our Teaching Tips: Everything You Need for Back to School Pack.
Want to know more about the procedures and policies Notes from the Portable and I teach at the beginning of the year? Check out our Teaching Tips: Everything You Need for Back to School pack in m TPT store {HERE}.
Now, for some real fun! This week you have a chance to win a $25 Target eGift Card! Enter below!
Giveaway will close Monday evening.


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Getting to Know Me!

You want to get to know me a bit better? Well… let’s see.
I am an Auburn graduate and this will be my 8th year teaching. Have taught in three different schools, and I actually moved my first four years. This year my school is moving into a temporary location for the year while they tear down and rebuild our school. So, basically I am no stranger to packing up a classroom.
My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years. We are serious homebodies and couldn’t be happier with takeout and a movie at home.

I am slightly obsessed with our goldendoodle, Rosie. She is two and a half and full of energy. This is her hanging out in a pot on our back patio.

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in 8 short weeks! Savannah Faith Shurbutt is due to arrive September 17th.

Other fun things about me…
I have an older, yet shorter sister.
I love purple and navy!
I was in special ed in elementary school, because I had a hard time reading. My struggle encouraged me to become a teacher.
I LOVE cheese dip and ice cream… but not at the same time.
I must always have chap stick on me. I am an addict.
I love watching Big Brother!

Monday Made It {July 20th}

It has been a busy morning... I walked the dog, went to the gym, returned some duplicate baby shower gifts at Target, showered, and now I am finally getting to sit down and link up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!
My first made it was a simple hostess gift for my baby shower this past weekend. I ordered this cute wine label from VintageLeeCrafted on Etsy.  (I had her customize them with my name, the baby's name, and made it all black.)
Shower Hostess Gift, Baby Shower Thank You, Gift for Hosting Baby Shower, Wine Label, Wine Gift for Shower, Thank You Wine Label
I got each hostess their favorite wine and put the stickers over the labels. To make the presentation a bit prettier I bought kitchen towels at HomeGoods and wrapped them around the wine. Then, I simply tied them with twine and attached cute flower wine stopper. TA DA! So easy, yet fun!

My next made it is one I was not happy about having to do. It dawned on my last week that all of the supplies we had to box up to move schools was sitting in trailers outside a nearby elementary....
I live in Georgia, and it has been in the mid-nineties for weeks now. So, what state do you think my crayons are in??
At the end of the year I had my kids sort all my extra crayons into my cute crayon drawers. Now, I bet they are melted!
To avoid a breakdown during preplanning I decided to remake my crayon drawers. If the crayons did melt, there will be no saving the drawers. Better to just start over while I can.
Previously, I had bought white drawers and painted them blue, but Target had some that required no paint at all. Less work? Score!!
My last made it took me pretty much all week long. I found these wooden crates at Home Depot and thought they would make a really cute bookshelf for the nursery.
After some staining I think they look fabulous! I absolutely love the way they turned out.
I am looking forward to another Back to School Link Up this week! Head over to Notes from the Portable on Thursday and link up with us!