Welcome to Our Room Book - Give each child a sheet of paper that says, "Hi! My name is________. I am ______years old. I have ____ brothers and ______ sisters. My favorite color is ______. My favorite food is _____. My favorite book is _______. I am special because _______." Have them write or dictate the completion for each sentence. Use photographs of the children or self-portraits to illustrate their page. Put their pages together, make a cover, and you'll have a wonderful book about your class they can take home and share with their families. Click here to get a sample page.
School Is Fun Book - Make a book about different learning centers and activities you do at school. Take photographs of the children playing in each center and write about the skills they are developing as they play. For example, "In the block center, I'm developing my small muscles and learning about shapes and space. I'm using my imagination and learning to share with my friends. I might use these same skills as an architect or builder when I grow up." Let one child take the book home each day to share with their families. What a powerful way to help parents understand "developmentally appropriate" and the value of play!
What Do You See Book? - Use the "Brown Bear" chant to introduce different school helpers to the children. Take photographs of the principal, secretary, dietician, custodian, bus drivers, librarian, special teachers, etc. Start with a picture of your school with the saying, "School, school, what do you see? I see principal's name looking at me." On each page introduce another school helper. End with your photograph saying, "I see all my new friends ready to learn with me!"
All About Me Block - Here is another parent-child activity that can be used in your classroom all year. Ask parents to get a small cardboard box and stuff it with newspaper and tape it shut. (Capri Sun or tissue boxes work well.) Cover the sides with colored paper, then let their child cut out family photographs, pictures of favorite foods, pets, hobbies, etc. and glue them on their box. They can also use crayons or markers and decorate their box. Have the parents cover the box with clear contact or wide packaging tape. Children can share how they made their boxes and what's special about them before placing them in the block center. The blocks can be used all year for building projects. They are also useful for graphing activities.
Friendship Chain - Give each child a strip of construction paper to decorate with their name, symbols of favorite things, or designs. Staple or tape the strips together to make a chain. Remind the children that your classroom is just like that chain. Everyone must work together to keep it connected and strong. Drape the chain over the doorway."

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