This is my favorite time of year- back-to-school time. And I have so many fabulous resources to share with you!
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!
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
- The PERFECT STEM Challenge
Now, how do these activities apply to you?
What is the #1 thing you want from lessons? Engagement!
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.
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 toolboxes 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’.
Yes! I have so many of these easy prep breakouts. All you have to do is make copies! No boxes, no locks. Students also rave about these! I have two that will get you back to school ready!
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!
How can you work with small groups? Independent Work
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, a 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!
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!
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!
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 above are some of my favorites! These make great bulletin boards or you can display one poster in a frame.
What about a STEM Challenge?
The PERFECT STEM Challenge
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 chooses 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 challenge 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.