Back-to-School Tips & Freebie

Hi y'all!  It's Amanda from Teaching Maddeness. Whew!  I just finished my first week back.  I'm not even really sure if it counts as that since it was only three days and there were no kiddos.  But, let me tell you, it kicked my rear!

How can I be so tired after only three workdays? 

Well, I have a feeling you are in the same boat - or will be soon!  So, I'm here to offer you a few little tips that help me at back-to-school time!

1)  Name Tags:  As soon as I get my roster, I create name tags for my students.  I use these from our local office supply store:

Of course, I make cute little MonSTAR-themed inserts to match our class theme.  These badges are a little pricey, but I've been using the same ones for YEARS so in the end it is worth it!  No more using stickers that fall off and that I have to hand-write the morning of field trips!

On the inserts, I include the student's name along with their lunch number.  At the beginning of the year, they wear these the first few days so if they don't know their lunch numbers, they already have them as a reference!  These are also all ready to go for field trips or for subs to use throughout the year, even for unexpected absences!

2) New Student Bags:  It is SO much easier to prep one or two "extras" at the beginning of the year when you are making everything for the new year, rather than making those items when a new student unexpectedly shows up at your classroom door the day after winter break! 

Every time I make something for my students - a name tag, a folder, a welcome letter, etc.  I make a couple of extras and drop them in large two-gallon ziplocs.  When a new student shows up throughout the year, I am much less stressed knowing that I'm prepared to welcome him/her to our class.
3) Color-Coding Games:  If you're anything like me, you're spending a LOT of time laminating new resources for the year right now.  Well, once you've go those games laminated, COLOR-CODE them!  If you don't have enough colors of cardstock to color-code them by paper colors, just put a little dot on the back of each piece with colored-sharpies.

It drives me CRAZY to find game pieces laying around the classroom and have no idea where they belong.  If you take a little time to color-code them as they're made, students can quickly return lost pieces to the correct game set.  No time?  This is a GREAT job for those parents who are so eager to volunteer at the beginning of the school year!

Now, for a little back-to-school FREEBIE for you!  At the beginning of the year, teachers always want to find out how students spent their summers and what they are eager to learn about this school year.  This little craftivity has students answer BOTH of those questions.  What a great way to get to know your students better on one of those first days - and an instant, cute wall display for that first week.

Hope you can use it!  Don't forget to stock your carts for the BIG TpT sale tomorrow!!


  1. Love the idea of using the badge nametags. I always use the sticky ones and like you mentioned they always fall off! Thanks for the suggestion!

    Team V's Second Grade Fun


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