Taking pictures of my students on the first day of school is always something I do my best to fit into our schedule!  The first day is always so busy, but having that picture on the first day is such a great memory.  I typically use their first day of school picture for a lot of things in the classroom right away.  Some of the things I use their pictures for are lunch cards, a class book, class name cheer, and a pocket chart that has their picture and name next to it.  Having pictures posted in the classroom is a great way to build a community of learners and it really helps for students to get to know the names of their classmates.  
I wanted to share the First Day of School Signs that I used with my students last year with you.  I like to take their picture with the sign on their first day.  These signs can also be used with your own children on their first day of school!  It's always so neat to look back on the first day of school when the end of the year rolls around!
To grab these First Day of School Signs, just click the image below!  I have included pre-school, pre-kindergarten, transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, middle school, and high school within the download!
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School will be starting back before we know it!  If you are like me, you are always looking for classroom management ideas.  Classroom management is so important, but it is especially important to establish at the beginning of the year with your students.  Setting up rules, routines, and expectations will really help to make your school year run smoothly!
I have previously blogged about using a Mr. Potato Head for classroom management, but I thought I would share more about it in its own post!  I do want to say that using a Mr. Potato Head for classroom management is not my original idea, however I did create the printable to go along with it.  Using a Mr. Potato Head for classroom management is one of those ideas that I have seen on Pinterest and I'm actually not sure where the idea originated, but it is FANTASTIC!
I keep all of the Potato Head pieces in a basket from the Dollar Tree.

Some of the ways that my students can earn a Potato Head piece are the following:
*Receiving compliments from other teachers
*Working nicely in the classroom
*Following directions
*Doing a nice job in music, art, PE, and library
*And many other ways!
When the Mr. Potato Head earns every piece and is all filled up, we decide on a treat as a class.  Often times I will turn this into a math activity and they have no idea that we are even doing math!  I have my students suggest different treats and then we vote for the class treat.  
Some of our class treats have been the following:
*Pajama Day
*Class trip to the prize box (everyone gets a trip to the prize box)
*Extra recess
*And many others! 
Those are just some of the ideas my class has come up with, but there are many other class treats that you could use with your students!
My students always love this and it's really a fun way to encourage positive behaviors in the classroom.  
**I also have a Mrs. Potato Head so we switch back and forth between using a Mr. Potato Head and a Mrs. Potato Head!
To grab your free printable to use in your classroom, just click the image below!
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Letter recognition is so important for our youngest learners.  Since words are made up of letters, it is really important to make sure that our young learners are able to identify uppercase and lowercase letters. 
I love to use activities that I know are of interest to my students.  Since many young children love anything ocean related, I created some alphabet cards with an "Under the Sea" theme.
For this set of alphabet cards, the uppercase letters have a mermaid on them and the lowercase letters have a fish on them.  

It is important to give our students a lot of opportunities to practice with alphabet activities.  There are a lot of ways that these could be used in the classroom or at home with your own young children.

Ideas for using these alphabet cards:
*uppercase and lowercase letter match
*uppercase and lowercase letter sort 
*pick a card and identify the letter
*pick a card and identify the sound 
*making words 
*send home the cards for alphabet practice
*use the cards in an ocean themed sensory bin (grab some of the blue crinkle paper from your local craft store, add some shells, and these letter cards, and you have a fun way for students to learn letters)
These cards would also be fun to use in a small reading group of students that you are working with on alphabet recognition. 

To grab your FREE set of "Under the Sea" alphabet letters, just click the image below!  I have included the images in color and black and white for different printing options.  Enjoy!
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