It is that time of year again!  Time to reflect upon what we loved about past school years and things that…we didn’t love so much.  I am joining over 40 other bloggers to share some awesome tips that you can use in your classroom. Each blog post shares two ideas that worked very well- our “star ideas,” and well, one area we want to improve upon.  We are all learners, right?
It took me years to figure this out. The first day should be as simple as possible.  Parents always want to talk and kids are always skeered.  Sometimes I am too. 🙂 Why make it any harder than it has to be?
Supplies are always overwhelming.  Before Sneak-a-Peek/ Meet the Teacher I run to my local grocery store and beg for some large, paper bags. I ask for about 25- or one for each student in the class.   I have found Publix to be especially generous.
I write each student’s name on the bag in large black marker on the bag and then place the bag in the chair.  If students bring supplies to Sneak-a-Peek/Meet the Teacher I ask student sot put all the supplies in the paper bag.  I usually collect the tissues and copy paper, since they are so big.
For the first day of school, I ask students to put all their supplies in the paper bag and again, collect the copy paper and tissues.
Organizing supplies can be a HUGE task and I HATE to waste that valuable first day, when I really need to establish procedures and get the students moving with labeling stuff.  I try to do that the second day of school.  I know, I am a rebel.
Since my student’s supplies are neatly packed away in a grocery bag under  their seats I make sure to have one sharp pencil on every desk the first day.  For morning work, I usually have a coloring sheet on one side and a word search on the other.  I use the program PuzzleMaker by Discovery Education to create a word search with students’s names. I like to do this so students can start to become familiar with reading (or trying to) classmate’s names.
 I like to use a coloring sheet, because really, what kid doesn’t want to break in those new crayons?  I do let them get the crayons out of their bag, but I don’t let them sharpen the million and one pencils in the box.  No sir, that one will do ya’ just fine for today!
Okay, full disclosure here. I am not in the classroom this year, BUT if I were in the classroom I would really want to focus on interactive notebooks.  I always pictured this:
But, beyond the whole explosions of glue sticks and landfill-like floor, I really struggled with the idea of meeting my student’s needs. With my experience co-teaching, I really learned that not every kid gets it at the same time, the same way. I knew it, but boy did it bring it home for me.
I tried to differentiate as many as the tasks as possible and also include some that are simple enough for the very first days of school to teach students the procedures for interactive notebooks.  
Want to take a peek?  Here are a few pages:

Want to snag a copy? It is 10% off for today only!  Yahoo!  This will be a monthly series so check back soon for the other months!
If If you
enjoyed this bright idea, please consider
joining me on Facebook for more great ideas!
more star ideas more than 40 different bloggers,
please browse through the link-up below
and choose a topic that interests
you. Thanks for visiting!

2017-07-05T22:38:08-04:00Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |


  1. Katie July 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    My goal is to use interactive notebooks this year, as well. I tried last year, but it all kind of fell apart mid year. They definitely take some getting used to, both on students and teachers end. What will you be doing since you're not in the classroom?

    Dirty Hands & Lesson Plans

  2. Jessica July 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I love your interactive notebook . . . I'm going to have to check that out. And, thanks for the tip on the paper bags. We do community supplies and they're usually just piled at the back table on Day 1. I might have to try the paper bag idea, too!

    What I Have Learned

  3. Sally July 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Love the paper bag trick! I also plan to do more with the interactive notebooks, and yours looks fabulous! (Love the fact family houses!)

    Sally from Elementary Matters

  4. Theresa Copeland July 27, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I use a word search with my students' names too!!! It usually takes a few names before they realize that it's all about the students in their class! Always a big hit!!

    Theresa @ True Life I'm a Teacher!

  5. Greg Coleman July 27, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Star Tip #2 is a great back to school activity and a cool way to learn your classmates names. Thanks so much for organizing the 2 Star and a Wish blog hop. I was fun looking at all of the great ideas from other bloggers.

    Mr Elementary Math Blog

  6. Krista Mehrtens July 27, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I LOVE the paper bag tip. Great idea! Your interactive notebook pack looks fabulous! I began using them with reading last year, and LOVED them. They are also a great way to display what the students have been learning during parent teacher conference times. Thanks so much for organizing this blog hop.
    Stellar Students

  7. Chandra Dills July 28, 2014 at 1:28 am

    I absolutely LOVE your tips! I've been using large tubs for students to sort their supplies on the first day, but the idea of paper bags is just so smart! Thank you so much for hosting the blog hop!!!

  8. Wise Guys July 28, 2014 at 2:57 am

    I love the idea of the paper bag for supplies with student names! That is such a fantastic idea.Thank you so much for sharing some valuable back to school tips!

  9. Gina Marie July 28, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I love these ideas!! Is the group of bloggers closed, or are you accepting others? I would love to join this for next month if that's possible!

    Miss Peluso's Kindergarten

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