Friday, August 3, 2012

Hoppin Back to School

 How do I create a safe, caring, nurturing learning environment when I do not have my own class?  As a reading specialist, part of my day includes pulling kids out of their regular classroom for literacy intervention.  While my groups are small with eight students maximum, students sometimes come to me from various teachers and grade levels.  
From the start, I must foster a learning environment where my students feel safe to take risks, feel comfortable with me, and with each other.  I only have thirty minutes with my small groups and every second counts!  Many of my students come to me very insecure about their reading abilities and are often intimidated by me at first since I am not their regular teacher.  Therefore, creating a caring learning climate is critical during those first days of school.

Although I strive to accomplish a caring learning community in a variety of ways, this year I am trying something new.  I created a game called "Hoppin' Back to School" help us all learn about each other in a fun way!  Moreover, I can also observe how students interact with each other, their independence level, stamina, and attention to task.  Plus, I can also join in the fun and play along!

Hoppin’ Back To School is a fun “get-to-know you” board game for kids during the first week back to school.  Designed to help build a community of learners, to learn about one another, and to practice routines and procedures.

Ages:  Grades 1-3

Objective:  Answer ”ice breaker” type questions and hop along the game board.  First one to the finish line is the winner!  Watch out for the “lose a hop” cards!

I use this game in my small intervention groups, but it can also be used in a literacy center/station or in guided reading groups  Or, make multiple copies of the game board and cards.  Divide all students into small groups/table groups to all play at once.

This game includes 28 question cards for students to answer and share a little about themselves. Questions promote self-reflection and some acquaint students to the classroom layout ("Where is the pencil sharpener?") and class rules ("What should you do if you have a question and the teacher is busy?")

*Game board
*(28) question cards + (4) “Lose a hop” and “Take an extra hop” cards
*Recording sheet
*Venn Diagram
Includes a recording sheet where students record answers to any (10) of the cards so you can learn a little about them as well.  A Venn Diagram is included as an extension activity for students to compare themselves to another friend in the class.

Just add a die and game markers and you are all set!

I am so toadily hoppy happy to offer this game pack for you for FREE! Please click here to get your free copy of the Hoppin' Back to School game!

Please visit Laura Candler's Corkboard Connections Blog for even more fun and free resources to create a caring environment!


  1. Oh my heck, that is such a cute game! Thank you for offering it as a freebie!
    Where Seconds Count

  2. Thank you, Amy! I'm trying to offer more freebies as a way to "pay it forward" to all you wonderful bloggers that have shared so much and inspired me! Lauren

  3. I love the question card game. What a great way for you to get to know your students as well as make them feel part of the group! I pushed into classrooms for two years and provided reading support to k-2. I had an hour with each group - I can't imagine how I would have done it in 30 minutes!!

    Playful Learning Brooklyn

    1. An hour would be amazing! I'm the only specialist and coach for k-5, so I'm spread a little thin. But, aren't we all! Thanks for stopping by, Carla!

  4. I love this game! I bet the answers to question 14 will be interesting! :) So glad I found you through the Creating a Caring Classroom linky!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Teresa! I'm hoping that beautiful and smart are the preferred adjectives! Ha!

    2. Thank you, Teresa! I'm hoping that beautiful and smart are the preferred adjectives! Ha!


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