Sunday, August 5, 2012

"New Friends" Back to School Freebie

Do you work with your students to fill your classroom walls as they learn, rather than having your charts, posters, etc. already displayed when your class first arrives? Then this is a project you'll love!

 Today I'd like to share a project that has lots of learning opportunities for you and your students!

  • Build classroom community by helping your students get to know each other's names quickly AND match names to faces
  • Practice writing their own names and those of friends, and then read the names
  • Practice early reading strategies like one-to-one match, directionality, return sweep,  monitoring with known words, and fluency.
  • Practice reading early sight words
  • Fill an empty bulletin board easily in the first week of school.  Plus, when you take the display down, you'll have a ready-to-go class book.  We all know how many times class books are read and reread are when they're filled with students' pictures and names!

Lots of time is spent on student names in the first weeks of the primary grades, and we all know that there are so many clever, cute, and worthy name-related activities to do ... just look at Pinterest!
This activity/display is also centered on students' names, but it puts them in the context of simple, repetitive sentences to strengthen your students' control of early sight words.

There's a little bit of pre-organization involved, just to make sure that each child's name is feature on two different writing templates, and that the correct students are paired for your photos. The free download has suggestions to help you organize this.

Here are the writing templates you'll receive.

"New Friends" will be a classroom display that's a big hit on Back to School Night and also as a component of your Read the Room center activities.  Just offer a choice of cute pointers and they're off!!

Four different grade-specific display headers are included. When you take the display down, use the header as the cover for an instant class book!

The "New Friends" project is posted as a freebie at my TpT store. Click here or on the picture below to get it!

Happy Teaching!


  1. This book will go perfectly with my friendship unit that we do the first week of school! Thanks for sharing! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  2. Such a cute book! Thanks for the freebie!
    Conversations in Literacy

  3. Love this...very cute idea! Thanks for sharing in Manic Monday!
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

  4. Brilliant tip! Ideal for my friendship project!
    Thank you!

    1. I'm not sure how I missed replying to all of you... so sorry!!
      I'm glad you like the project. I used this with my first grade literacy intervention class, and it gave them lots and lots of practice with high-frequency words, which they really needed. I hope it's worked well for all of you!
      Thanks for your kind comments!


  5. So simple and so perfect! I cannot wait to use this in September.

  6. Enjoy it, Arielle! By the way, the parents totally love these as a display on Back to School Night!


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