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Early Childhood Birth to 3rd Grade


Please share the creative ways you connect with parents and families before the school year begins


The class lists are being formed in schools across the US. Some schools have already started and welcomed the students back for another year. The home school connection is so important and making that initial contact before school begins can help! Please share the different ways that you contact the students/ families and any requests or activities you have them do for the first week of school. If you use technology please share as well! 

Amy Kappele 2014/08/05 19:32 0 0

Here is a personality survey that you can ask parents to complete before school begins or during the 1st week of school. This will help you get to know your students better and connect with parents as they share information about their child/children.

PersonalitySurvey copy.pdf

If you use a parent survey or questionnaire please share it with all of our members!

Thanks Amy!


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Amy Kappele 2014/07/31 17:35 0 4

I was searching the web for some creative ideas to connect with your new students before the school year begins and I found this great idea from a teacher in Iowa! Love it! 

Mystery Postcard

I welcome my 3rd-grade students back to school by sending them a postcard over the summer. On the postcard is a picture of me at some location in the United States, and their first homework assignment is to try to figure out where in the U.S. Miss Baumann was. The first year I did this, I was in Boston and had a picture taken at the Public Gardens by the Swan Boats. This summer I was in Seattle, Washington, and had a picture taken by the Space Needle. It's a great way to motivate the students for the first day of school, and they LOVE getting mail. 

Submitted by Leslie Baumann (Grade 3 teacher, Iowa)

  • Gabriela Gonzalez 2014/07/27 16:35

    I love this idea Amy! Thinking of using it. Maybe I will take a picture here in Chicago, since I am here for a few days. Thanks for sharing.

  • Amy Kappele 2014/07/28 20:07

    Great Gabriela! There are so may great landmarks in Chicago that the students could use to research and figure out where you are in the photograph. Please let  us know if you use the Mystery Postcard and how it goes. I love the personal touch and anticipation it will instill in your new students for the first day of class. It would be great if you share the image with us as well.

  • Ramona Brown 2014/07/29 14:15

    I found this website for mystery locations that was suggested to be used with classrooms around the country.  Thinking about the beginning of the year a video can be created using video using pictures for the first day of school to share places I've been this summer. The website is www.picovico.com.  You can add music, text and a theme.  I was thinking about giving clues and having them infer where I traveled.  Just a technology twist that also incorporates viewing, listening, reading and making inferences.

  • Amy Kappele 2014/07/31 17:35

    Love the idea Ramona! Thanks for sharing the idea and the website. I am really wishing that I had a classroom of my own right now. I would love to use the ideas that are being shared on this group discussion board and so many other GPS group discussion boards! 

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Kelly Bouteiller 2014/07/31 04:25 0 1

I always send my students a letter in August, letting them know how excited I am to start the school year. 

This year, I want to really make sure my blog is a "home base" for all of my students and families. I sent out an email with a "Summer Survey" using google forms for my students to fill out with their families. I am going to make some graphs with the "data" and share it on our class blog. I also used Tagxedo to make some fun word clouds with the students' names and posted those on the blog for the students to check out.

I love the mystery postcard idea! Since I loop with my students and we start 2nd grade with mapping and communities, I'll definitely do that one next summer!

  • Amy Kappele 2014/07/31 04:25

    Thanks for sharing Kelly! Would you be willing to post a sample of the name word cloud in the resources for our members to see? Also do you have the capability to share the family survey as well? It would be great for the members to have these resources to use or build from as they reach out to parents.  Are your families receptive to the use of technology?

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Sharon Davison 2014/07/27 18:34 0 2

1. I send out an email (in June) when are class lists are shared welcoming parents to my classroom.

2. I send a coloring sheet, Eric carle for my students to color and bring into kindergarten in August.  I use this because Eric Carle is our 1st author study.

3. I have a summer reading blog that I use also.  This is open for former and new students to post about books they are reading.  I get notified when people comment so I can post/respond.  Here is link.

  • Amy Kappele 2014/07/25 03:23

    Thanks for the great suggestions Sharon! I love the summer reading blog for both former and new students. What a great way to get connected and stay connected around literacy. It is also a great way to share book titles and suggestions if the students include it in their comments. 

    I am going to share your reading blog idea with my 6 kindergarten teachers today! Do you use a reading blog during the school year for at-home reading as well?

  • Sharon Davison 2014/07/27 18:34

    Hi Amy,

    I do not have a literacy blog for the school year.  I use my class blog and my students each have their own Kidblog where we blog about all content areas.  I am thinking of blogging more about the different authors we explore.

    Love the postcard idea!


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