Grab your Free Guide - 3 sTEps to stem success

Are You Back to School Ready?

Is back to school ready even a thing? Do you ever really feel prepared for those first weeks?

If you are like me you go into your classroom a couple of weeks before school begins and start opening cabinets. That is when we find all those things we should have put away but were too busy and tired back in May to worry about. And now we empty those cabinets and it pretty much looks like a cyclone came through our room! #right

Where do I come in at this point? I have ready-made resources that will get you started and take some of that beginning of the year anxiousness away! Let’s make you ‘back to school ready’!

Let's get you ready for those first days and weeks of school! This post has resources and tips for you- and even a freebie! Are you back to school ready?

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that Amazon will pass on small percentages to me with your purchase of items. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!

In a nutshell…

  • Escape Rooms
  • Reading Worksheets
  • BOOM Cards
  • Posters and Bulletin Boards
  • STEM Challenge Freebie!

Now, how do these activities apply to you?

What is the #1 thing you want from lessons? Engagement!

Escape Rooms

I have said this a million times, but it is worth repeating- my students LOVE LOVE LOVE Escape Rooms. Many students have told me that breakouts are their very favorite things we do in STEM class! You will find teamwork, problem-solving, perseverance, and triumph. Kids will groan and cheer and get frustrated. And they will love escape rooms.

An Escape Room experience for your elementary students is a perfect way to go back to school! An Escape room is a puzzle game in which students solve riddles and puzzles and find clues to finish tasks. In this Escape or Breakout, students solve puzzles to open locked boxes. This challenge was designed for third, fourth, and fifth graders.

The Back-to-School Escape Room with locks is a great introductory activity. It does involve preparation for you and you need to plan for it. I would allow two class sessions to complete the escape and the STEM Challenge.

The event includes three tasks. After completing a task students use the clues they found to determine a lock code to open a box. Inside the box is the next task or the directions for the STEM Challenge.

TIPS: Read through the teacher’s guide. I include a detailed guide with photos to help you and a photo that shares how to solve each task. If you use boxes and locks with this breakout go to the dollar store. I found plastic tool boxes that work perfectly. The number locks are more costly but you can reuse them! And, I do include directions for using a cardboard box and ‘paper locks’.

No-Locks Escapes

Yes! I have so many of this style breakout. All you have to is make copies! No boxes, no locks. Students also rave about these! I have two that will get you back to school ready!

An Escape Room event in the elementary classroom is a great way to practice so many skills. This one includes determining genre, identifying forms of figurative language, placing names in ABC order, and determining character, plot, or summary. Students don’t even realize they are practicing!
This event is called Escape the Principal's Office. Students will complete 4 tasks. Each task will lead to a word clue. When the answer is shown to you, students have unlocked that task and will be awarded a mark on their Pencil Scorecard. After getting through the last task the team has Escaped the Office.

Escape the Library

I love this one! The focus is on children’s literature. Students must complete tasks that use references to well-known children’s books and characters.

Each team has a Library Card that must be stamped (or punched) as they find the ‘lock code’ for each task. When they have 4 stamps on the Library card they have escaped! You have certificates to award each team as they finish.

Escape the Office

Each of my no-locks escapes has a scenario created that you can use. The scenario for Escape the Office is: The team is called to the principal’s office but they are quickly told there is no problem. The principal just wants to encourage them with some fun tasks. If they can complete the four puzzles they will escape the office.

Students will be solving math problems, using verbs and homophones, and using a map. After completing each task students receive a stamp or punch on a pencil card!

Students copies and certificates are also provided in black/white.

How can you work with small groups? Independent Work

Reading Worksheets

What a perfect way to get back into the routines of a new school year- with already prepared, highly engaging reading selections that your students will love. You are going to love the format using nonfiction text features and comprehension worksheets. Just print and read- ready to go! This is not a digital resource.

I call these sets “Print and Read”. Just choose the passage you like, print it, and get busy reading. Each set has 4 reading passages with questions on the page.

And then my favorite! I also love making “magazine” article pages. The Print and Read sets each have one magazine page with several short articles. There are three graphic organizers that match the magazine page.

The Back to School set includes passages about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, one-room schoolhouse, school supplies, and how pencils are made!

These sets are perfect for the beginning of the year when students need to stay busy as you establish classroom procedures and small groups! So fun!

BOOM Cards

This set of Boom Cards features 48 cards created for the beginning of the school year. Students will read passages and respond to basic comprehension questions, including vocabulary and text features. These digital self-checking Boom Cards are such a great way for keeping students engaged.

So, what if you prefer something digital? I have you covered. The Back to School Print and Read is also created as the Back to School Boom Card set.

It’s the same reading set with one question per slide.

Plus I added some bonus passages about reading Braille, fun facts about pencils and crayons, and graphs about the length of a school day in many countries.

Do you need help with bulletin boards? Of course!

Let’s Decorate

Let’s make your life a little easier! Bulletin board templates for your Science or STEM classroom are finally here! This set includes four templates to get your boards ready for those excited science students. You choose the colors for the letters and decor and make this idea fit your classroom! So fun:)

Of course, let’s not forget that decorating your classroom is part of being back to school ready! And we love setting up those bulletin boards and displays, don’t we?

I do! I have always loved creating bulletin boards. In fact, this is one of the reasons I started making my own poster set- to decorate my classroom in my colors.

The Bulletin Boards with a Science Theme is one of the four sets I have. You decide which board you want to display, print the letters, add your own embellishments, and easy-peasy you have a fabulous display!

This is a gorgeous set with 18 motivational posters- all with words of encouragement. These would be perfect as a bulletin board display in your classroom, an inspiring display in your faculty workroom, or framed and sitting on your own desk.
This is such a simple and extraordinary poster set! It’s perfect for your STEM and Science displays. This is a set of 24 posters featuring amazing brightly colored watercolor backgrounds and motivational quotes. Use these posters on your bulletin boards or in individual picture frames.

Speaking of posters! I have so many sets. I started by making Engineering Design Process posters and Scientific Method posters because I needed them. That soon branched out to more STEM or Science sets and then motivational quotes.

The two pictured are some of my favorites! These make great bulletin boards or you can display one poster in a frame.

Can you grab lessons for Free? You bet you can!

STEM Challenge Freebie

What a fabulous Back to School Activity this one turned out to be! To help students become familiar with our STEM classroom rules we designed a challenge using those rules! Students engineer a scene, using the materials, to show one of the rules and then the team "teaches" the rule to the whole class! So fun!

Are you ready for your freebie? It’s a STEM Challenge that works amazingly well in the first weeks of school.

After teaching my STEM lab rules to each class we complete this challenge. Each team choose one of the rules and they must build a model of that rule in action.

Then they share their model and “teach” the rule to the class! It’s so fun to listen to their explanations of the rules!

You can grab this freebie by clicking on the image!

I know you found some ideas and tips you can use to make yourself back to school ready! If you need more details click on any of the images.

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Let's get you ready for those first days and weeks of school! This post has resources and tips for you- and even a freebie! Are you back to school ready?