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Solar Eclipse Day…What’s a Teacher To Do??

Hello there!!

Ok….

This post is going to start with confession time…..

I just need to get it out there to clear my guilt and I do hope I’m not the only one in kindergarten teacher land who did this! So here goes:

First of all- I didn’t even know there was going to be a Solar Eclipse until the middle of June.

I’m not a syfy kind of woman…

except I do enjoy watching Face Off on the Syfy Channel….but I don’t believe in Aliens…..

so space is not really my thing….

I personally enjoy keeping my feet planted on Earth…..except when I’m travelling in a jet.

Second of all- I had other things on my plate this summer where my mind did not even come back to Solar Eclipse Day! I mean…. I had Vacation Bible School, STEAM team meetings, workshop on learning about Monarch butterflies, a mission trip to Wales, TpT conference, the beach, and not to mention completing a remodeling project in my house. I enjoyed every second of these fun activities for the summer. ….

But THEN……

Preplanning began

and…………………..

I went to a meeting of all of the Science Curriculum Lead Teachers in our county and the words SOLAR ECLIPSE DAY came up in a discussion.

and…

It was a MAJOR discussion!!

like- What are we doing that day? Is there a plan for school to be cancelled? Is there any talk of our school day been extended? How much will our area be in the solar eclipse? Has anyone bought glasses for viewing the Solar Eclipse that day?

I’m telling you, It was stuff that I had not EVEN thought about!!

And I tell you I was slightly numb from it all……I thought…..

“YIKES!! This is a pretty important day!

But then to settle my whirling brain, I thought, ” However, it doesn’t actually happen until around 2:30pm in my neck of the woods and it will only be a partial eclipse for us, and my kinder cubs will be on a bus, or car going home. So I’ll just order some solar eclipse glasses for my class as a gift. I’ll attach a note about what they are for and I’ll be good.”

At that point my problem was solved, except I had not ordered glasses yet, but I least had a plan and I was good! I went on through the rest of my week with school meetings and preparing my class for Meet the Teacher Day and for the first day of school. And that is what I did…..

Until a week later!!

And Oh….but WOE was ME….and a few hundred or maybe thousands (I’m not really counting) more teachers in my county.

It became OFFICIAL!!

Our district was extending the school day on August 21st to keep the students safe while the Solar Eclipse was happening! And on a good note, the county school system was going to provide proper solar eclipse glasses for the event for every child and staff in our schools!!

WHAT?!?! An extended day?!?! Oh no?!?

School has JUST started and my brain can only handle the beginning of the year stuff for kindergarten!! I mean….

We’ve only been in school for 5 days!! FIVE days I tell you!!!!

Now I’ve got to add Solar Eclipse Day on top of  just getting my act together with a new set of super sweet kindergarteners?!?! Oh WOW!! What was I to do???????

After I slept on it and rested last weekend, I calmed down…..

I calmed WAYYYYYY down….

I knew I could make this work for me and my new set of kinder cubs. This WAS going to be a very important event for our country and I wanted my kinder cubs to understand and experience it. That is what my job is and I’m very passionate about engaging and helping my students understand the world around them.

so…..

Here is the last part of my confession….

I am sitting here on a Saturday morning.

I just wrote up my plan for Monday’s event. Yep…..I haven’t had time to fully think about it until I sat down early this morning and researched activities for the Solar Eclipse and what it was I am going to do!

Therefore, I thought, why not share it with you in case you are trying to figure out your day as well!!

So here you go!!

Songs and Videos

During snack on Monday, I plan on showing a short video about the solar eclipse. I found one through PBS Kids using one of their shows:

At first, I was questioning this 12 minute show’s relevance to the solar eclipse, but then about 1/3 of the way through you see the solar eclipse come into play. It even discusses why we should never view the solar eclipse with our naked eye and they create a pin hole box viewer when they get ready to observe the solar eclipse. The students are very familiar with this PBS show, so I know they will be engaged watching it. If you would like to view it too, just click the logo above to get to the video.

 

I love to incorporate songs in as many subjects as I can. As I was looking for a video to watch on Monday, I came across a cute song that has a catchy little chorus throughout just  using the words solar eclipse. It’s more like  a rap until you get to the chorus part, but I think it will still grab my students’ attention.  It also helps children not be so fearful of what the solar eclipse is.

Just click below to get to it.

Center Time!!

Within our county, we were sent many online resources to help with our instruction during Solar Ecplipse Day. I appreciate all that our county does to help us meet the needs of our students!!

However, being the blog, Facebook Teacher Group and TpT lover that I am, I found a resource that I decided would help me tremendously on Monday.

So here is a plug for one of my favorites…..

Simply Kinder, Jennifer Kadar!!

Thanks to awesome Simply Kinder for providing a super resource that is inexpensive with quick and easy resources for me to prepare and use on Monday!! There are several components to pick and choose from that will suit your instructional style and needs while your kiddos learn!

You can click any of the pics below to get straight to the resource!!

Since our day will be extended on Monday by 1 hour, I will have time to incorporate Science Small Group Stations that afternoon.

I have 16 students so I will have 4 groups of 4 students.

My center will be a reading lesson, using the Simply Kinder solar eclipse book that is included in her solar eclipse resource.

 

My paraprofessional will facilitate a math graphing center using Simply Kinder’s Solar Eclipse Count and Graph and Yes! It is a part of that resource!

Because these kinder cubs have only been in school for 10 days, there will be parameters on how they are going to complete this. My parapro will only give them 1 crayon at a time. She will have them color each group with only 1 color for each object. The colors will be green for earth, yellow for sun, and gray for moon.She will have them count each object in a group and then show them how to count that same number using the bars going from the bottom to the top of the bars. Then, she will draw a line across the top of the last bar in the number. That will give them a visual of where to color the bars. Then, they will color each set of bars to create the bar graph.

For an extension, I can have them write a sentence I see ________ moons, etc. or I think it would be great to have them count all of them and see what the total number is and compare it to the total number of bars that were colored.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my newbies will get this!! At least it will be great exposure to counting and comparing numbers.

 

Now….there will be two independent centers. At this stage of the game or year that is, it can be somewhat tricky when it comes to preparing an independent activity that won’t cause frustration or lots of “Teacher, teacher, I don’t know how to do this!” among my kinder cubs.

So one of the independent centers will be this Solar Eclipse Craft from Simply Kinder’s resource:

I didn’t really think of this as a craft. It is more of a model of  what will happen during the solar eclipse.

Now you may be looking at this and thinking, “How in the world are kindergarten students going to do this independently?”

Great question!!

And I am going to give you a crazy and obsessed kindergarten teacher answer.

My family and I are going to cut out the pieces and put the craft together. I know!! Crazy?!?! But I really think it will be worth doing!

All the students are going to do is color it. Perhaps they may get BORED with this!! But I think they will enjoy doing that and then they can manipulate the moving moon to mimic the solar eclipse. I will get out colored pencils along with the crayons for this. Again, because I want this to be realistic, I will only have out the colors of crayons and/or colored pencils that will make it more of a realistic model. I am going to glue the sun that is attached to the black paper on the back of the Earth. The moon will be the only movable piece.

Now for the other independent center…

I needed to have another math center because technically the time that I am doing these centers is during my math block.

So, I created a counting math activity with a solar eclipse theme. And I am offering it to you for FREE!! So please go to my TpT store and download it. Click the pic below to get to my store and download it for FREE!!

After the centers are complete, we will color and put together a special solar eclipse hat that is also in the Simply Kinder Resource. I keep debating about this, because we are making hats each day for our Alphabet Action Time….so we’ll see!!

Then, I will talk to the kids about safety outside. Around 2:25 we will begin to make our way outside to the front of our building. The front of building will not give direct access for our little ones to see directly into the sun. That is being done on purpose. We really don’t want any eye injuries that day.

While we are out there, I plan to get the kids to use their senses to find out about the Solor Eclipse. Then, when we come back in, I will have them draw a picture of what they noticed while they were out there watching.

Last but not least, I plan on sending home mini MOON Pies and Capri SUNS as a little gift for making through the day!

Whew!!

Now I feel so much better!! My day is planned and now it is time to get it all prepared. YAY!!

For the kindness you’ve shown by reading this post, I have a giveway for you. Please enter the giveaway below to try for a $10 TpT giftcard. There will be 1 fortunate winner. The deadline is 12 am Monday morning.
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I would love for you to tell me what your plans are for Monday, August 21st…..I mean…..

It IS a BIG deal….don’tcha know??

Enjoy it!

and

I hope God blesses you real good!!

It’s Five For Friday and a TIEKS Giveaway!

Goodness gracious!! What a week!!

 

These past two weeks, I’ve had to be out of the classroom for some pretty important professional events.

It will feel good to be back on a regular schedule next week!

When I’m out like that, I realize how important it is to keep my students on a regular routine, because that is what I like as well.

Being on regular schedule in my life is just….well….comforting….and we all like to be comforted….right?!?!

Now I’m here in Five For Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching to not only discuss 5 things but to also give you a chance to feel comforted with a pair of (DRUMROLL PLEASE)

TIEKS!! Yes !

Several of us have gotten together and are offering a giveaway for a free pair of TIEKS shoes!!

So…

stick with me here and then go to the  Rafflecopter to enter!!

You have 27 ….yes …..27 chances to enter!! So please enter!!

During the month of January, we did a lot of informational reading on Martin Luther King, Jr., penguins, and polar bears. Part of my writing activity for this is to write using a graphic organizer with Can, Have, Are. For Martin Luther King, I made up an organizer using Had, Was, Helped.

After we completed the chart, then the students wrote an informational piece in a mini book.

Here is a picture of the organizer I created for our kindergarten teachers to use with their kinder cubs.

If you click anywhere on the pic, it will take you straight to the freebie to download. Also, in that set is a Had, Was, Helped organizer.

This week, while I was gone, the kinder cubs worked on many things Valentine!! Our focus book was Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat using the Guiding Readers Series from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills (LOVE them!!) . In this unit, the kids learned about problem and solution in stories. In their writing they connected to the story by writing about a time they did something nice for someone. I love the sentence study in any of the Guiding Readers Series. We talk about the sentence: How many words?, What are the verbs?, What are the nouns?, What are the adjectives?. Then, we chat about the punctuation. Then, they take the mixed up sentence and put it in the right order and illustrate the main idea of it.

 

For Valentine craftivities they created a Valentine Selfie (from the Guiding Readers February Resource), a Valentine alliteration writing piece, and their Valentine Critter Carriers. When I came back on Friday, my classroom looked just LOVEly!!

I have made these Valentine Critter Carriers for years!

I put them outside the classroom and then on Valentine’s Day, the kids bring their cards and “feed” each child’s critter the card that is for that child.

Then, they take their critter home and open the bag and enjoy all of their cards and goodies they received!!

Click HERE to find my post about how to make these super cute bags!!

One of the math stations this week was to put shapes that were cut for them into a Valentine’s Day picture. I love doing these! However, for kindergarten, it is best if we cut out the shapes for each child and keep them in sets. It is difficult for them to cut out the shapes and take on the spatial relationship work it takes just to put it together! They all did a great job with it this week!!

This resource comes from, Christine Maxwell Hand to Heart! Click HERE to get to this awesome resource.

On Valentine’s Day, I plan on using conversation hearts or a graphing activity.

Even though you have probably seen a million jillion of examples of this graphing activity, I have one that is geared towards kindergarten that is FREE!! Click on the image below to download a free one for your file!!

And now to finish out my FIVE FOR FRIDAY, I want to offer you the opportunity to try for a FREE pair of TIEKS!!

Go to the Rafflecoptor below and enter!! This giveaway will run from February 11-16th!! So go for it!! A new pair of TIEKS would be an awesome gift for YOU or someone you love!!
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If you would like to link up with this fun linky, then please go to Doodle Bugs Teaching: Five For Friday !!

Please enjoy your weekend and I wish for much love to come your way on Valentine’s Day!! God bless you!!

New Blog Design! Time to Celebrate with Giveaways!!

I am super stoked today, to show off my NEW blog design!! Megan Favre from A Bird In Hand Designs set this up for me!! I love it!! She is a teacher herself and she does a terrific job in making the blog the way you want it. I use WordPress and I know that WordPress is more difficult to work with on blog designs than Blogspot. However, Megan keeps the pricing down low enough to make it affordable. Thanks, Megan for the great job!

If you stick with me through this post, I have a freebie AND some AWESOME giveaways!! I mean JELLY BEAN they are pretty AWESOME and you will definitely want to sign up to try to win one!!

To start off this blog post today, I have some pictures of some recent LOOT that I got from Target and from Kitchen Collections.

Target Swag

I was beginning to feel left out when I read other blog posts and I saw all of the great swag from Target! But, I would just stop by my local Target when I was out and about…

and then one day….

VOILA!!

There it was!! All of this cool stuff that I found to start my school year off right!

My coolest find here were the favor bags! Can you see them towards the bottom on the pic?

They are made with really thick material and have a drawstring. I bought 6. One way that I’m going to use them is to put letters in them and the students will draw out a letter and for the beginning of the year, they will say the letter name and the sound. Later on, I will have the focus letters in there for that week and they will pull the letter and match it to a word that begins with that letter. Or I have little objects that begin with a certain letter, so I’ll probably put some of those in there and the students will take out an object, name it and tell me the letter it begins with.

I’m also planning on putting numbers in the bag. The possibilities are endless with that one!! We can work on number recognition, number order, comparing, and counting. Later on in the year, I will play guessing games using them, Like: “What’s That Coin?”, or “What’s That Shape?”.

Now on to my next great finds!!……

Here’s the preface:

Last week I had to fly into Dallas TX to meet up with a group to talk about an upcoming mission trip.

I arrived pretty early and my meeting wasn’t until around 6:30pm

So, I decided to get some shopping in while I was there.

I found a really nice outlet mall in Grand Prairie, TX.It was as hot as blue blazes and I was working up a sweat, so I found a little snow cone kiosk and it was a great place to stop and get refreshed!!

sno cone time

Anyway……..

I love to cook and bake, so I decided to look around at a kitchen store there called Kitchen Collection. As I was looking around, I felt like I had struck gold!! Here are my finds from there:

Kitchen Collections

Don’t you just love those BUG SWATTERS!! They are shaped like a hand!! What fun can I come up with using those!?!

Lots!! I tell you!! Lots!!

I could have a High Five monitor who looks for kinders making good choices and he can give that child a high five.

I can play Swat that Letter, Word, Number, etc game!….

I can give High Fives using it…

I can raise it when I want the kinders to give me five….

Lots of uses!! These babies were just a dollar!

I really got excited when I saw the metal cookie shape cutters. They were $1 each and I even found a hexagon! They are a perfect size for little hands and they are very durable! These will work perfectly for my shapes unit. I love to use kinetic sand and these cookie cutters will definitely come in handy when I use my sand in a center!

Do you see the little dustpans and brooms. I am ALWAYS a sucker for little cute things and these caught my eye right when I was checking out! I just thought the dustpan and broom would be prefect to sweep up little things on the center tables. For $1 a piece….how could I go wrong!!

Now, do you see the red and pink items? Are you asking, “What the heck is that?!?”

Well let me tell you!!

They are silicone pot holders shaped like a chicken and a pig!! They are called, Kitchen Kritters.

Here is my idea for using these kritters!

I will be teaching using a farm theme during early October. I’m going to have a game set up called Farm Fetch. During Farm Fetch, there will be 10 table tennis balls with a letter written on each one. I’ll have the balls in a small container that will look farm like. Two students will have an oven mitt on and I’ll call out a word associated with the farm. Then, I’ll say, “1-2-3 FETCH!” The 2 students will reach in and try to fetch the correct ball by using the pot holder.

If you are interested in finding any of these items, here is the info about Kitchen Collection:

Kitchen Collection

 

If you’d like to try to play Farm Fetch with YOUR kinders, click the pic below to go straight to my TpT store and download it for FREE!!

Slide1Like I said earlier, I want to have a FANTASTIC giveaway Are you ready? Here is what I’m giving away:

Drumroll please…….

1- $25 Gift Card to Target

1- $25 Gift Card to Kitchen Collection

1- $25 Gift Card to Teachers Pay Teachers

2- boxes of kinetic sand

That is 5!! Count them 5 total giveaways from one post!!

 

 

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I hope that you will enter! I will choose the winners Saturday after 11:00am Eastern time. Thanks for stopping by and it will be a joy to have you stop by often!! I want to continue to offer many other giveaways and advice and open my classroom door to you through this blog. Enjoy the rest of your week! Bye, y’all!

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Worksheet Don’t Grow Dendrites: Strategy 4: Games

bookstudy1Strategy 4: GAMES!!

I love this quote that was in the first paragraph of this chapter: “You don’t stop playing because you get old. You get old because you stop playing. ” My husband and I are in no way spring chickens. We aren’t what I consider senior citizens either….yet…..but we are getting a little closer….so this quote really spoke to me.

We love games!!

We watch game type reality TV like Survivor and Amazing Race.

We used to be in charge of the games when we were a part of children assemblies at church.

Our favorite thing to do with our closest friends is to get together and play FUN games like Fish Bowl. If you don’t know what Fish Bowl is take a look at this post about how to play it. Click here to see it. At the end of the post is a little You Tube clip showing a little bit of the game is played.

So without elaborating any more about it, I LOVE games in the classroom!

Here is what I got from this chapter:

Slide1In the classroom, it is so easy to play math games using dice and cards. I don’t know about you, but this year I finally bought small FOAM dice to use. It makes for such “easier on my ears” playing time with my kinders. When I see any deck of cards in a dollar bin that is theme related, I buy a few decks. My kinders love to play math card games when the cards are shaped like hearts or bunnies….I mean….wouldn’t you like that better, too?!

Ok….now how long has Bingo been around. I’m really not sure, but kiddos really love playing it. Therefore, I try to find bingo games that fit my learning targets all the time! Last March, at the VERY LAST MINUTE, I made up a quick March bingo game for addition and subtraction facts within 5.

Bingo Game

Click the pic above to get to this freebie.

It’s not my best work because I did it so fast, but the kids loved it.

Notice in the pic that I used Rolos for the markers in the game. You can also use small themed erasers.

I have another freebie for a “I have, Who has” rhyming game that really fits well with the book HOP ON POP.

Grab this freebie by clicking the pic below:

Rhyme Time

I have another game that is a freebie on TpT called Fact Family Find.

It is easy and can be used as a whole group game.

Grab it by clicking the pic below:

Fact Family FindBe sure and hop over to Queen of the First Grade Jungle.

She has some great game ideas and you can see the other linkys to this book study.

Hope you have a happy week with more game time than ever!!

Looking Back At My Thanksgiving Break

Slide1Well I honestly thought that I would be done with Thanksgiving for this year in my class. I mean…HELLO!….the Monday we go back from our Thanksgiving holiday is going to be DECEMBER 1. So who wouldn’t want to start December fresh with festive Christmas activities. Well……I guess it’s not me!! Before I begin all of my December activities, I’m going to have my kinders think back to this past Thanksgiving day.  I thought about it on Thanksgiving, that it might be a good idea to come up with something that my kinder cubs could use to reflect and ponder over their Thanksgiving. I decided today, to create this FREEBIE so I can use it in my own classroom.

I’m really excited to get it ready tomorrow, and I’m going to get them to work on it first thing in the morning after my calendar time.

I’ll post some pics after tomorrow and see how it works out.

In the meantime, if you are up late like me and are trying to get your last minute plans done, download this Freebie from my TpT store and use it!! I would love to know how it work for you! Click HERE

for your FREEBIE! Now on to my December activities……

Have a great Monday tomorrow!!

Linda G.

Fiftieth Day School: Celebrating Nifty 50’s Style

Slide1There are many reasons why I enjoy being a kindergarten teacher! One of the best reasons is that I get to do fun and engaging activities and celebrations to keep the little kiddos motivated. Since to them 100 days seem so far in the future….I can’t even remember when I used to think that way……I think it is important to celebrate the 50th day of school. I did a little celebrating last year, but this year, I tried to make a much bigger deal out of it!! I did my research on it, and then realized I could make up some of my own activities and therefore I was able to create my newest TPT product, Nifty Fifties. Click my cover page to the product above to get straight to the product!

Now, I have to say that I did all of this extremely last minute, because I had our days in school mixed up. I originally thought we were going to the farm on the 50th day. Therefore, we wouldn’t even be there and why have a 50’s Day if we weren’t even going to be there. Right!? So, then about 1 week before, I realized my mistake and began frantically planning for the day!! I emailed all of my families and asked if they would please have their child wear jeans and a white shirt that day, and that I would provide a scarf for the girls and sunglasses for the boys. I looked all over town to find some 50’s style decorations, but I didn’t come up with much. So for next year, I’ll order from Oriental Trading.

IMG_4611

As you can see, my decorations were very limited, so next year, I’m going to get my husband to make me a cardboard juke box, or even a 1950’s cardboard Chevy for a photo prop.

IMG_0695

Here, they are writing to 50 for a math center. I also created a hidden 50’s page that was used in another center. When you scroll further down, you’ll also see one of my precious kids creating pictures using 50 pattern blocks.

IMG_0707

I found this idea in another person’s blog. Click the pic to get to that blog. I also have images of the 1950’s and their counterparts in my product. I also have pages with past and present typed in a cute font. Next year, my comparison chart will look a lot better!

 

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Here is the response sheet for our Nifty 50’s snack. The kids love any activity associated with food! Yum!

I began the morning by taking a picture of each kiddo. I’ll be able to use these for their memory books. This dude and dudette are so stinkin’ cute!: IMG_4625 IMG_4626 IMG_0703 IMG_0711 IMG_0706 IMG_4683 IMG_4684 IMG_4691 IMG_4692

IMG_4694 Making the Coke Floats was our ending activity to finish out our busy celebration! They really loved them and I was shocked! In my packet, I also have labels for Root Beer Floats. Oh and by the way…..I used caffeine free cola!

This post only shows a little of a very fun-filled day! Hope you can use some of these ideas to use for your 50’s day at school!

See you soon!

 

 

The Night Before Kindergarten

I’m going to sound like most teachers here, but……I can’t believe school year 2014-15 has begun!! I came into summer knowing that it would be a whirlwind because I was involved in so many things during that break, but my busyness really made the time go by so very quickly. Well….. now that I have 2 days of school under my belt, I can breathe a little and tell about something I did   during this year’s Meet the Teacher and I loved it!! Let me preface this  to tell you that our Meet the Teacher may be different than other districts. For kindergarten, we meet at a different time than the other grade levels. All the parents are supposed to come at the same time….for us it was 8:00am. The students stay in the room for 10 minutes and then they go with the paraprofessional and a school staff person and take a tour of the school and also get to eat a snack in the lunchroom. The parents stay with me and I get their undivided attention for 50 minutes to discuss procedures and curriculum with them. It is very beneficial!! This year, I decided to finished the Meet the Teacher parent session with a read aloud. This is the book I read:

I loved reading this book to my parents! I would stop at certain parts like where it says, ” all their clothes were laid out for the first day of kindergarten with care.” and I asked, “How many of you already have your child’s first day outfit ready?” They all got a kick out of seeing who really did have their children’s clothing ready for the first day of school. The story ends with the parents crying as they stood at the door of the classroom and the students saying goodbye to their parents with smiles on their faces. After I read the story, I looked at the parents and yes, there were parents crying all around me. I have to say, it was truly a precious, “it’s pulling my heartstrings” sight. It reminded me that I always need to keep my heart in this profession and always make sure that these parents know that I care about their child. Then, I gave the parents a little goody bag which included tissues for tears, Hershey Hugs to remind them I would give their child a hug everyday, and my school business card on a magnet that they could put on their fridge for reference. Click on pic below if you’d like to get business card magnets for your school business cards:

The parents seemed to be happy with everything that morning, but the true confirmation I received was the next day. One set of parents came by during my last preplanning day (our last preplanning day was Wednesday and the kids started school on Thursday!!)  to change their child’s transportation schedule (by the way….that is so important to us!!….knowing how our kiddos are going home everyday…..) and while we were talking, they said, “You sealed the deal for us when you read that story and gave us the goody bag!” That made my heart take a leap and inside I said, “YES!” That was just what I needed to know! If we continue to have the same type of Meet the Teacher next year, I will definitely do this again. Here is a freebie that I just created that might help you with your Meet the Teacher day. It includes a poem for the parent goody bag, a “Getting to Know You” form, a Transportation form, and a Change of Transportation from. Hope you find it helpful!!

Night Before Kindergarten: Freebie Parent Resources for MeLet me know some cool ideas you have for “Meet the Teacher”