Back to School
Poems & Activities

I Can Read Colors

I have this poem on the Calendar wall, and we read it together.  After we've read it several times, I give each student a copy and we read it again, slowly, letting their "fingers do the reading," touching beneath each word as they say it.  Even my kinderkids can do this by the end of the first day.  By the end of the week, we have made two copies of this poem into Big Books, illustrated by the kids.

As we read through the poem, we use crayons to underline the color words.  I have a little drawing at the end of each line to help them remember the words.  Every child leaves my classroom on the first day of school as a successful reader, and they take this poem home to read to their family.  They get an extra copy for their poetry journals.

Orange is an orange.
Yellow is the sun.
Brown is the bear and
Purple is the plum.
Red is an apple.
Green is a tree.
Black is  witch's hat.
I can read!
Listen to me.

Mary Wore Her Red Dress

This is another very successful First Day of School reading experience.  I have a set of the old Houghton Mifflin reading series, with the A, B, and C pre-primer books.  Each child has the A book (green) in their desk when school begins.  We read the first story -- Mary Wore Her Red Dress -- together several times, and then they practice reading it to each other and by themselves.  The illustrations make it easy for them to memorize the colors and the words.  We also sing this story to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Mary Wore Her Red Dress
and Henry Wore His Green Sneakers
This is the version of the story that I use in my listening center.
Under $5
Also available as a book-and-tape set

In Our Pocket Charts

I have two monthly pocket charts up on the first day of school.  One holds our monthly Good Morning song, and the other holds our monthly "Happy" poem.

September Good Morning Song

Good morning to the bus.
Good morning to the school.
Good morning to the pencils and the pens.
Good morning to the teacher.
Good morning to the kids.
Good morning to learning with my friends.

Apple Happy

This is apple happy.
This is apple sad.
Now you see him sleepy.
Now you see him mad.
This is apple in pieces small.
But in a pie he's best of all.


This simple story is also in a pocket chart, with simple illustrations.  This is a perfect piece for modeling how to use the pointers when doing Read the Room, and it's great for teaching one-to-one correspondance.  Later in the week, the children will get books with this story in them, to illustrate and put in their individual book boxes.

I also have the words  written on large computer paper, ready to be folded into a Big Book after the children have made illustrations on 8" squares of construction paper.  I hang the computer paper story from a clothesline that runs beneath my chalkboard.  We leave it there for several days as a Wall Story, before stapling it shut.  I make many books of this type, and always make two or three copies, so that all the children can illustrate a page.  These become a part of our class Big Book library, used during Literacy Centers, and are models for the smaller books the children will be making all year during Writers Workshop.  At the end of the year, there are many books for the children to take home as keepsakes of a wonderful year.

By Mrs. Smith's Class

A bus.
A flag.
A book.
A pencil.
A crayon.
A child.
A teacher.

This Pocket Chart tip came from the mailing list:

On the first day of school, I hang a pocket chart on a stand outside the classroom door.  The name of each student is written on a sentence strip (I cut them in half and then decorate one corner with a sticker or stencil) and placed in the pocket chart under the heading "Bienvenidos al Salon 35" ... Welcome to Room 35.  The names are reusable throughout the week as well as the year for other activities.  Make a few extra for the kids who "show up" at the last minute who may not be on the original list.

A Book for Teaching Safety

Officer Buckle and Gloria
1996 Caldecott Medal Winner
This book was recommended by a KinderKorner subscriber,
and I've already ordered mine.  The customer reviews at Amazon
are filled with praise for this story.

School Themed Poems

Someone shared this poem with me during the summer,
and I plan to send it home with my students the first day of school:

There's Nothing in My Bag Today

Today I did my math and science,
I toasted bread.
I halved and quartered.
I counted, measured, used my eyes,
and ears and head.
I added and subtracted on the way,
I used a magnet, blocks, and memory tray.
I learnt about a rainbow and how to weigh.
So please don't say, anything in your bag today?

You see I'm sharing as I play.
I learned to listen and
speak clearly when I talk,
to wait my turn, and when inside to walk.
To put my thoughts into a phrase,
to guide a crayon through a maze.
To find my name and write it down,
to do it with a smile and not a frown.
To put my pasting brush away,
So please don't say, what, nothing in your bag today?

I've learnt about a snail and a worm,
remembering how to take my turn.
Helped a friend when he was stuck,
learnt that water runs off a duck.
I looked at words from left to right,
agreed to differ, not to fight.
So please don't say, did you only play today?

Play Today
by Leila P. Fagg

      You say you love your children and are concerned they learn today?
      So am I -- that's why I'm providing a variety of kinds of play.

      You're asking me the value of blocks and other such play?
      Your children are solving problems;
     they will use that skill every day.

You're asking what's the value of having your children play?
      Your daughter's creating a tower;
     she may be a builder someday.

      You're saying you don't want yout son to play in that sissy way?
      He's learning to cuddle a doll.
      He may be a father some day.

      You're questioning the interest centers; they look like just listless play?
Your children are making choices;
they'll be on their own some day.

      You're worried your children aren't learning and later they'll have to pay?
      They're learning a pattern for learning;
for they'll be learners always.

My Promise

Each day I'll do my best,
And I won't do any less.

My work will always please me,
And I won't accept a mess.

I'll color very carefully,
My writing will be neat.

And  I simply won't be happy
"Til  my papers are complete.

I'll always do my homework,
And  I'll try on every test.

And  I won't forget my promise--
To do my very best!

I Like To Go To School
(tune: Farmer in the Dell)

I like to go to school.
I like to go to school.
I like to go to school.

I like to sing new songs.
I like to sing new songs.
I like to sing new songs.

I like to play with friends.
I like to play with friends.
I like to play with friends.

ABC School Chant
(tune: sounds like the Marines marching cadence)

School is where I want to be.
Learning to read and write each day.
Boys and girls I want to know.
Sharing books with you and me.
Now it's time to say goodbye.
School is where I want to be.

Read To Me
By Jane Yolen

Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes,
Read to me stories of magical times.
Read to me tales about castles and kings.
Read to me stories of fabulous things.
Read to me pirates and read to me knights,
Read to me dragons and dragon-book fights.
Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then,
When you are finished -- please read them again.

Books to Help You Start Your Year

101 Surefire Ways to Start the School Year

Classroom Brighteners, Perfect First Week Picture Books,
Unity Builders, Ice Breakers, Getting to Know You activities
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The First Days of School
How to be an Effective Teacher
Author Harry Wong spoke at a conference I attended several years ago,
and I left completely re-energized.  This is an awesome book for setting up your room,
your expectations, your procedures and rules, and just about anything else you can think of to get off to a great start.  Highly recommended.  Save 20% ($5.99) by buying it here.

A First Year Teacher's

Includes preparations for the first day, month,
and year.
Over 100 illustrations, 40
  Teacher Tips and 250 Tiny Gems of Wisdom.

Kindergarten Teacher's
Survival Guide

501 Tips for

And With a Light Touch
has an entire chapter on
the first day of school

The Courage to Teach
Inspirational reading for all teachers ... a great book!
30% off publisher's price

Inside the Classroom:
Teaching Kindergarten and
First Grade

Superb information on setting up your room and routines

Classroom Teacher's Survival Guide: Practical Strategies, Management Techniques, and Reproducibles for New and Experienced Teachers

Now That I Can Read

I used to need somebody
To sit and read to me.
I'd look at every page they read
And listen carefully.

But now that I am in first grade,
I'm filling up a shelf
With stories, poems, and other books
That I can read myself.


A story is a special thing.
The ones that I have read,
They do not stay inside the books,
They stay inside my head.

Look in a Book
by Ivy O. Eastwick

in a book
and you will see
and magic
and mystery.

in a book
and you will find
and nonsense
of every kind.

in a book
and you will know
the things
that can help you grow.

Scroll down for more school poems

Poetry Books for Your Classroom

Daily Poetry

6 themes, including My World, Animals, Mother Nature, Seasons & Holidays, Fantasy, and Colors & Numbers.  Includes Poems of the Week, complete lesson plans, extensions into writing and phonics, blackline masters, and much more. 

A Poem a Day:
180 Thematic Poems and Activities That Teach and Delight All Year Long

Poetry for each and every day of the school year, with corresponding activities.  Filled with great, easy-to-use today  ideas!

Month by Month Poetry
September, October, November

Month by Month Poetry
December, January, February

Month by Month Poetry
March, April, May, June

Poems Just for Us!
50 Read-Aloud Poems With Cross Curricular Activities

20% off Scholastic's price

Hello Song
(Tune: Three Blind Mice)

Hello, _____, Hello, _____
How are you? How are you?
We're glad you're here to learn and play,
We know we'll have some fun today,
We love school everyday,
And so will you!

Who is Here Today?
(Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)

Let's see who is here today,
Who has come to join our play?
Everyone sit close at hand,
Say your name, then you can stand,
Let's see who is here today,
Who has come to join our play?

We Like to Come to School
(Tune: Farmer in the Dell)

We like to come to school,
We like to come to school.
Our school is such a happy place,
We like to come to school !

Good Morning Song
(Tune:  Twinkle, Twinkle)

Good morning.  Good morning
It's a good, good, good, good morning.
We say hello and how do you do,
To all our friends and teacher, too.
Good morning.  Good morning.
It's a good, good, good, good morning.

The Walking Song
(make up a tune ~ I wish I knew who sent me this one, it's great!)

Oh I'm five blocks from school.
I'm five blocks from school.
I walk awhile and rest awhile.
I'm five blocks from school.

(Next verses go down from four, three, two, one.  Then sing ...)

Oh I'm almost at school.
I'm almost at school.
I walk awhile and rest awhile.
I'm almost at school.

Oh I'm here at my school.
I'm here at my school.
I open the door and step on the floor.
I'm here at my school.

For More Back to School Ideas
Go To

[ Back to School ]  [ The First Day of School ]  [ First Day of School Stories ]
[ More Favorite School Stories ]  [ Back to School Poems & Activities ]
[ My Daily Schedule ]  [ My Themes, Month by Month ]
[ Beginning of Year Assessment ]
[ Setting Up Your Room ]  [ First Day Checklist ]
[ Author Study - P.K. Hallinan ]

Looking for more ideas?

My bookstore pages have lots of information on how I use various materials in my classroom, and on activities you can do with your students.  The thematic pages are complete unit resources, with lots of poems, songs, and links on each page.  Make yourself comfortable and take a look around!

Choose from the categories below.
Underlined subjects are links, the other ones are coming soon!

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Must Have
Phonemic Awareness
Integrated Curriculum
Balanced Literacy
Mini Books
for Emergent
Pat Cunningham Books &
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Writer's Workshop
Guided Reading
How to
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and others
Pocket Chart Resources
 Songs and
About Me
Back to School
Marvelous Math Books
Read It!
Draw It!
Solve It!
What's In A
Literature for Math
I Love
Monthly Themes
Their Way
Bears Everywhere
Down on the Farm
Rain Forest
Going Buggy!
Spring Has Sprung!
Come Into
A Camping We Will Go!
Under the Sea
A Rainbow of Colors
I Lost
Me & My
 Special Books for Special People
reading for pleasure
Coming Soon!

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so please come back soon to see what's new at KinderKorner!

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This page went online July 16, 1999.

Kinder Korner and all non-credited text materials on this page
are copyright by Victoria Smith, 1998 & 1999.
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