Favorite Back-to-School Resources

Kindergarten Back-to-School Resources



Out of all of the resources that I have made for my classroom over the years, these resources are my absolute favorite for back-to-school.  They have all come out of years of classroom experience, routines, and student needs.  I hope you find them all useful as well!


Following the success and enthusiasm I received for my Kindergarten Readiness Handbook, I decided I needed to make a condensed version that focused only on essential literacy skills.  Ideally, I hand out my Kindergarten Readiness Handbook in the spring when I meet next year's crew.  This gives them between six and three months to work through the handbook and practice all of the skills to help ensure kindergarten success.  However, not all of my incoming students come to our Spring Visits, and I have a large number of students who move to the area during the summer.  So I created this book for those students and give it to them the first week of school.  If I feel necessary, I will also quickly conference with their parents to review the goals and standards. 

The Kindergarten Back-to-School Handbook focuses on essential beginning of kindergarten literacy skills: letter recognition, pencil grip, handwriting, name practice, concepts of print, letter sounds, beginning sounds, rhyming sounds, and syllable counting.

 

Since I began student teaching in kindergarten over a decade ago, I loved creating pages for our yearly memory book.  And for the better part of that decade, my pages were all mismatched and poorly put together.  So this summer a big goal of mine was to complete a uniform yearly memory book for the upcoming year. 

I could not be happier with the result: my Kindergarten Memory Book.  When I shared it with my partner teacher, her enthusiasm was all I needed to know it was exactly what we were looking for.  What makes this memory book different is that it spans the ENTIRE year.  All together, it has over 80 pages with specific pages for all 12 months.  For each month, we have one self-portrait and writing page.  Those end up being my favorite pages, as it so clearly showcases how much my students have grown over the year.


Over the years, I have gone through more number posters than I'd like to admit.  And last spring, I created two sets that my students use more than I've ever seen before.  They are large, stand out, and easily accessible to all students no matter where they are in the classroom.

My Number Poster Cut-Outs are a set of zero through 20 posters that have the number word and corresponding stars to count.

My Number Handwriting Posters are a set of zero through nine posters that have the number word, corresponding stars, and path-of-motion numbers and arrows for students just learning how to write their numbers.

Both sets are large and come in both English and Spanish.

 

Proper pencil and scissor grips are always at the top of mind when using these skills in the beginning of kindergarten.  And it never ceases to amaze me the horrible (or worse--nonexistent) habits kindergarteners can get before stepping foot into my classroom. 

My Pencil Grip resource was created last fall when I realized that parents could not help their student's grip at home if they didn't know how it was being taught in class.  And we all know how incapable a five-year-old is at clearly communicating what their teacher actually said in the classroom.

My Scissor Grip resource was created after some great parent feedback for my Pencil Grip resource.  And lets be honest--scissor grips are even harder than pencil grips.  And as of this summer, both resources come in both English and Spanish and also include tabloid-sized classroom posters!


It seems like every fall I end up creating different handwriting practice pages.  And this fall is no different.  But in my defense, I have a brand new phonics curriculum and wanted my handwriting pages to correspond.  So enter my Phonics Set Handwriting pages.  I love them because they are quick-and-easy with lots of tracing practice, the path of motion, and can be cut in half or we can get through two letters at once.

For math, a few years ago I created these Number Handwriting Pages that have numbers one through 20, are differentiated for different levels, and also come in Spanish.  I still use them throughout the year in kindergarten.


A pet peeve of mine was students off-task and disengaged during word work.  I attributed this to the inability to write, and the white boards that were so enticing to draw on.  So I created my Rainbow Word Work Mats to eliminate both problems.  With the magnetic letters, students do not need to have the fine motor handwriting skills necessary to write.  And without a white board and marker, students are unable to draw on the boards.  And as an added bonus, they can use them to create their own words, to spell sight words, to practice ABC order, and more!  I love using them during word work, small groups, and even during my English Language Development block.
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Organizing My Units of Study in Phonics Set

 

I love using the workshop model in my classroom, and I have been waiting years for Lucy Calkins to come out with Units of Study in Phonics.  Last school year, some amazing kindergarten and first grade teachers in my district took on the role of piloting.  And in May, I finally got my hands on the set.  I'm SO excited.

But while I'm the most organized person I know, the thought of organizing the set seemed incredibly daunting.  So I ignored it for over two months.  Business as usual.

As I'm now starting to feel the stress of back-to-school, and even more so, back-to-school with brand new curriculum--organizing the set has become a quick priority.

I've searched online and talked to friends who've already taken the task on, but I haven't necessarily been excited about what I've seen.  Everything shows five full-sized filing bins; one for each unit.  Makes sense, but selfishly I don't want to have to find space for five bins.  So I broke it down into two bins and a small tote for the small group resources.  The first bin has grade level resources, unit one and unit two.  The second bin has units three through five.

For the file folders, I went with my fave Pendaflex Glow Hanging File Folders (I needed four sets of 25 folders).  Of course any old file folders will work, and I probably could have found enough in my classroom to get the job done.  But I'm persnickety and {needed} neon.  Bonus--they match with all of my Astrobrights and neon sticky notes.  Winning.

For the bins, I ordered two generic black file crates and a mobile file box for the small group resources (to be portable around my classroom).  To enhance the portability for my small group resources, I found plastic file jackets in the same neon colors as the file folders.  Again...winning.

All in all I paid about $125 for the supplies I purchased.  Definitely not a cheap project, but most of these can probably be found around your classroom or school for free.

With the supplies I purchased, I used five different colors of Post-Its (pink, orange, yellow, green, and blue) and cardstock to print the sticky notes and bin labels.  I didn't use the file folder labels because it just takes too long to print and cut the labels to fit.  So I went with my File Folder Sticky Note Labels {you can find an editable version here}.  It's super easy--just print the template, cover with sticky notes, print the labels you need, and stick.  I also love how they are bigger and easier to find what I need.

To get my Phonics Set Sticky Note Labels for F R E E, click here!  

Once I received all of my supplies, it only took me about two hours to print and organize my entire Units of Study in Phonics curriculum.  So easy.  Happy organizing!
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