Enter to win back-to-school essentials for kids of all ages!

August 2017 GiveawayThe transition to a new school year can be stressful for students—a new bus to catch, new faces to learn, new hallways to navigate. From making friends to making the grade, our August giveaway prize bundle includes resources kids of all ages need to handle the ups, downs, ins, and outs of heading back to school. One reader will win a copy of each of these resources:

Enter: Leave a comment below telling us your best back-to-school tip for students or educators.

For additional entries, leave a separate comment below for each of the following tasks that you complete:

Each comment counts as a separate entry—that’s four chances to win! Entries must be received by midnight, August 18, 2017.

The winner will be contacted via email on or around August 21, 2017, and will need to respond within 72 hours to claim his or her prize or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Winner must be a U.S. resident, 18 years of age or older.


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2017 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved.

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129 Responses to Enter to win back-to-school essentials for kids of all ages!

  1. kwittopa says:

    I like using https://www.toodledo.com/ to keep track of my to do lists and what I need to accomplish. Prioritize what’s important first.

  2. Nicolle says:

    Educators begin the year by establishing rules of the classroom using a Character Development focus may help students be more aware of and accountable for their own actions. It may also build compassionate and empathetic classrooms, children so need help to build Social Emotional skills (competencies).

  3. Set clear expectations, be consistent with routine, have fun while learning!

  4. Followed on Pinterest

  5. Lisa Cappellucci says:

    Followed on Pinterest

  6. Lisa Cappellucci says:

    Liked on Facebook

  7. Lisa Cappellucci says:

    Take your child to visit their new classroom, school, and teacher before the start of the new year. Talk with your child about the upcoming transition and use a count down calendar to help them prepare.

  8. Cynthia Pollich says:

    Observe the children while listening to them.

  9. Cynthia Harriman (Child Care ) says:

    Get rest, Read ,practice school days ahead. be prepared

  10. Mattie says:

    Respect the children by acknowledging their feelings and encouraging them to express them using various techniques.

  11. Katharine Zink says:

    Liked on FB

  12. Katharine Zink says:

    Set goals for the year, both adults and kids, and find goal buddies who can help you throughout the year work to achieve them!

  13. maria elena gonzalez says:

    Create a sense of community. Get students involved. Set the good example. Model every rule, every procedure, every expectation, no matter how simple it might be, students have the right to know exactly what is expected from them.

  14. Catch the eclipse on August 21st, which is also the first day of school for some students. There are some great educational resources that can go along with this special event, such as from NASA.gov or Bill Nye.

  15. Following on Twitter (TippyTara33)

  16. Following on Facebook (Tara Smith-Bixler)

  17. Tara Bixler says:

    Following on Pinterest (Tara Smith-Bixler)

  18. Tara Bixler says:

    Get adequate rest.Set a reasonable goal for yourself and stay on task until you complete it.Once you’ve completed it,assign yourself a new goal to strive to reach.Make it fair and reasonable,so not to over stress yourself,but give you something to be proud of.The main goal is to follow your dreams,and never give up.They are in reach,if you dedicate yourself enough.

  19. Melissa says:

    Make time to acknowledge the gifts each students brings with them to school each day.

  20. Madelyn Speagle says:

    Be sure to get enough sleep! (Both students and teachers!!!)

  21. Kristin Kusmierek says:

    Build routines before the first day and then have “space” to focus on the fun. When my daughter was little, we practiced transitions into new classrooms: Scan the room, identify the teacher, find a person who might look like a new friend, and settle in. As she got older, we added tasks, addressing her biggest worries: For middle school, it was tour the building and find all the bathrooms! For high school, it was take every opportunity–before the big first day–to walk the halls, finding her classrooms and the places she could ask for help. Now she is a pro!

  22. For the little ones do a fun “practice run” of the morning routine at home the day before school starts, and then play school for a bit! This is a fun way to work out any jitters and acknowledge the excitement.

  23. Andrea Guthrie says:

    Enjoy your job. Treat each child like the gift they are, and make learning the best that it can be for ALL students.

  24. LuAnne Kesecker says:

    I like to do an “All About Me” project that is a send home parent envolvment project. They can do this as a family and have family pictures etc. I always hang these projects in the classroom for the children to look at when they miss their families.

  25. Hayley Maas says:

    Working for a public library in a small town I can honestly say my best piece of advice is to remember to breath, take it one step at a time and don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when you need it.

  26. CARRIE JOHNSON says:

    Not everything needs to be perfect for the first day. Leave some of the classroom bear or “undone” so your students can help contribute to its greatness. When they feel a sense of responsibility and belonging within their environment it leads to more co-ownership behavior. You don’t need to put all the stress on yourself if you include the community of students in the process.

  27. Anabell Garcia-Chak says:

    I am a Family Child Care Provider.
    I work with kids all ages(infant to school age)My tip is for the kids: Make one new friend a day (Introduce yourself to one kid and learn his/her name too) New school can be overwhelming for little ones.

  28. Mamie Eng says:

    For students – Ask questions and ask for help as soon as a problem arises. Don’t wait until you fall behind.

  29. Dava Kramer says:

    Do a getting to know you activity to start the year

  30. Get to know as many students as possible and maintain a positive relationship with them so that they feel comfortable in coming to you for help.

  31. Charlotte Sparks says:

    Just relax. Tomorrow is another day. Learn from mistakes. Enjoy today!

  32. Lucia Beckendorf says:

    like on PT

  33. Lucia Beckendorf says:

    liked on FB

  34. Lucia Beckendorf says:

    Set up and practice your school routine 1-2 weeks before to be ready for the year

  35. Gail Hall says:

    Greet your student at the door with back to school surprise ( pencil box, notebook, etc.). I sometimes sing the “Good Morning” song as well.

  36. Laura George says:

    Establish a relationship with each child, making sure they feel comfortable and safe in the environment and be sure to teach routines and expectations right from day 1

  37. Nancy HIsa says:

    HAVE FUN!!!!!!

  38. Teresa Riddle says:

    Set a bedtime routine. Have school clothes out the night before. Have plenty of time in the morning so that you and your child aren’t rushed out the door.

  39. Lauren H Boose says:

    To all the students and staff returning as well as the new students and staff….remember it is a fresh new year! The possibilities are endless! Try to carry the new year feeling throughout the year; as difficult as that can be at times! 🙂

  40. Lisa Ryan says:

    Liked on facebook

  41. Lisa Ryan says:

    Stick together and help each other out!!

  42. Holly says:

    My daughter has ADHD and anxiety these books seem like they could help her. Thank you for the chance to win good luck everyone

  43. Veronica E says:

    Always set expectations, and lead by example. Be positive, and remember…you may be the most positive person in this child’s life! Find one thing (no matter how hard that may be) to praise.

  44. Michele says:

    The social emotional curriculum is just as important as the academic. Teach social emotional skills and reteach as needed. Provide additional support with firmness and kindness. We never want to do anything that will break the children’s hearts.

  45. Sabra Johnson says:

    Show them you love them. Be firm with kindness! You may be the only sunshine in their day.

  46. Barbara Lawniczak says:

    Smile – Listen – Hugs

  47. Ana Lillard says:

    Give interest inventory to students. Match up like interests.

  48. Make learning fun and find that something special in everyone of your students!

  49. mberrocal says:

    I’m new at my school this year and so I’m Going to figure out which kids are new to the school and make sure they feel welcome!

  50. drjisin says:

    Teachers in primary grades, send a Welcome to my Class letter to each of your students a week before classes start. It is even better to do a home visit or have a class picnic before school starts.

  51. Ruth Anne Cook says:

    Families: Talk together about what to expect on the bus, at school, with friends, with new teacher.
    Teachers: Be prepared. No gray areas as far as classroom expectations. DO something exciting on first day…art, mixer game,

  52. Chris Hazure says:

    Resilient children are made not born. If a teacher becomes angry or frustrated, the children in her classroom may begin to misbehave, reflecting the powerful emotion being expressed by the teacher. To calm a child, you must first calm yourself.

  53. Dianne says:

    Be sure to teach routines and expectation.

  54. Paula Boucher says:

    Drink lots of H2O and get plenty of ZZZ’s

  55. Claudia says:

    Liked on FB.

  56. Claudia says:

    Followed on Pinterest.

  57. Claudia says:

    Remember that learning and teaching are FUN!

  58. Shelina Williams says:

    I would say that teachers need to approach every student from a trauma informed lens. Don’t say What is wrong with a student but say What has happened to this student when looking at their behaviors. Remember students sometimes speak with their actions because they are unable to tell us with their words. Look beyond the behaviors.

    • CARRIE JOHNSON says:

      Thank you. I agree wholeheartedly-and yet more training is needed on trauma informed care and trauma informed teaching….if this lens is to be used effectively.

  59. Darby Porter says:

    Don’t be afraid to show your excitement! It will keep the students excited instead of nervous.

  60. marytvirgi says:

    Reminding kids that their friends and teachers are excited to see them at school!

  61. Kathy Ray says:

    Take the time to build a classroom culture where everyone’s successes are celebrated by their fellow students. For elementary students, The Tale of the Warm Fuzzy is a great place to begin. I put a mailbox in the classroom and gave each student a small notepad to write “warm fuzzies” to fellow classmates each week (Each student has a classroom roster & has to send at least one WF to each person in the class as well as personal choices.)
    http://www.houstonisd.org/cms/lib2/TX01001591/Centricity/Domain/3465/Awesomeness%20-%20Warm%20Fuzzy%20Story.pdf
    Students rise to the challenge when the culture is supportive!

  62. Dawn Schechtman says:

    Be prepared but remember that students will remember the experiences, not the bulletin boards or color schemes. Give yourself a break.

  63. Dawn says:

    Follow on Twitter.

  64. Be prepared but remember that students will remember the experiences, not the bulletin boards or color schemes. Give yourself a break.

  65. Mimi says:

    Take a few minutes before class to meditate on your purpose in the lives of your students. Greet each child eye to eye as they enter the room with a warm smile…then lay out clear expectations!

  66. Yolanda says:

    Followed on pinterest

  67. Yolanda says:

    Followed on twitter

  68. Yolanda says:

    Educators: Every year is different. Leave the the past in the past. New year new experiences. Be over prepared.

    Students: Plan and set goals for yourself. You are a major part of your success.

  69. Kathy J Dorner says:

    Model, Model, Model! Make sure when classroom rules are introduced you show the incorrect way and then the correct way so students understand what your expectations are!

  70. Athena says:

    Ask students what’s one thing they would like to learn about for new school year. Instead of asking how their summer was. Smile and look forward to meeting new students.

  71. Teresa Bateman says:

    Don’t work so hard getting ready that you have no energy to teach and enjoy.

  72. Michael Bank says:

    Take the extra time to get prepared. When the students arrive you want to be able to focus all of your attention on them, as opposed to what you did not have time to prepare.

  73. Beth VanBuren says:

    Smile, smile, smile and say hello to at least five people on the first day.

  74. Barb Mackey says:

    Start the year by brainstorming ways to be kind to each other! Help students find ways to keep track of all the kind things people are doing! Celebrate when you hit milestones.

  75. Kristie Hawk says:

    I recently read an article which mentioned not to ask the students how their summer was because it alludes to everyone having a great summer which isn’t always the case for some of our youngsters; they go through so much! Instead, think of other, non-emotional questions you can ask and talk about with your students on their first days back to school.

  76. Christina Verdone says:

    Teachers, nourish yourself with healthy foods, play and rest! Start the first day with a positive and determined attitude; do not project negativity, no matter how challenging the group of kids you’ll be teaching, have been for other teachers. Give each student a fair chance, and get to know as much as you can about him or her. Focus on accountability and personal responsibility, and lay down the rules day one. Most of all, have FUN with your students!

  77. Christina Garcia says:

    I always think pictures of the family and pets are always a good idea for the kids to bring when transitioning to somewhere new:)

  78. Noris M Santana says:

    Thank you

  79. ALANA HENIFIN says:

    Following on Facebook. Left a comment there as well. 🙂

  80. Ariella L says:

    I followed you on twitter

  81. Ariella L says:

    Make a personal connection with each student, and if possible, each family.

  82. Tiffany Antonucci says:

    Start getting into the school time sleep schedule/routine at least one week before school starts. It’s helps everyone’s body adjust and kids are so tired.

  83. Jackie says:

    Partner with the caregivers for a holistic approach to benefit the student.

  84. Lynn Kitchings says:

    Make sure that their environment has a reflection of something from their home and culture. Be prepared and welcoming by having personal things labeled for them upon arrival.

  85. Monique Goeldjar-Huff says:

    1. Mommy will be back
    2.

    • Monique Goeldjar-Huff says:

      2. There’s two things kids say with their behavior: I want to give love OR I want to get love

  86. SW Smith says:

    Allow yourself to be human. Allow your students to be children. Include some sort of “play” in your lessons, regardless of the subject area

  87. Patti says:

    Following on facebook

  88. Terry Baker says:

    Relax and have fun!

  89. Cynthia Ladbasri says:

    Be prepared!

    Relax, enjoy the ride and look for the “ah-ha” moments!

    Teach with purpose and be intentional!

    Observe and observe…know how materials are being used and what skills are being learned!

  90. Ashley Dickinson says:

    Teachers: Do something fun the day before school starts. Ice Cream works wonders!

  91. Kathleen Cleary says:

    Make the first day a happy celebration. Cynthia had terrific ideas. And I agree LABEL EVERYTHING!

  92. Crystal Collins says:

    My tips are to pray, have fun, breathe, organize, schedule, smile, and get outside.

  93. Jan Gossan says:

    To help our preschool children become familiar with daily classroom routines I have my staff make a visual schedule placed at their eye level. We plan to make a giant bingo board for each class with the classroom rules and manners.

  94. Parents, hug your kids every morning, no matter what grade they’re starting. And lunchbox notes give little ones a boost mid-day.

  95. Carlos Aponte-Salcedo says:

    Best tip for students: “Get a good night sleep before the first day of school. Your brain needs to rest for all the new things you will learn. Your brain will be ready to grow.”

    Best tips for educators: Make a promise to yourself to learn one significant thing about each child in your classroom or each child you interact with on the first day.

  96. Carlos Aponte-Salcedo says:

    Followed on Facebook

  97. Carlos Aponte-Salcedo says:

    Followed on Twitter

  98. Cynthia Bracamonte says:

    Set those alarm clocks to give you enough time to get ready to go.

    Pack your lunchs and snacks on weekends to or in the evenings to ensure the kids grab and go in the mornings.

    Start the kids going to bed earlier 2 weeks before school starts.

    Preload their nutrition accounts to give them the a great and smooth start the 1st day of school.

  99. Carlos Aponte-Salcedo says:

    Followed on Pinterest

  100. Jo Vanblaricum says:

    For early childhood educators, label everything with pictures, have a routine, let children create 3 -5 rules for the classroom.

  101. Samantha Yaggy says:

    Followed on Pinterest

  102. Samantha Yaggy says:

    Followed on Twitter

  103. Samantha Yaggy says:

    Liked on facebook

  104. Sharon Demers says:

    I’m a kinder educator….
    For students/parents: Label everything, please!!! Many can have the same things (back packs, water bottles, etc…). If change of clothes get loose, educators know who to give it back to.
    For educators: We use colored pipe cleaners to place on children’s backpacks to indicate the color bus they’re on.

    • Sharon Demers says:

      Also the most important for educators (besides safety first), build connections with the children. Without connections there’s no trust, cooperation or deep learning.

  105. Samantha says:

    My tip for back to school: its not always the destination that matters, most times its the journey.

  106. Stephanie Simmons says:

    Start with a fun game or icebreaker; it’s all about establishing relationships and setting the tone on the first day!

  107. My comment or tip for back to school is……..take a deep breath!!!!!!

  108. ALANA HENIFIN says:

    My back to school tip, treat each day as and adventure and don’t forget to smile. If you don’t feel like smiling, fake it until you make it. You may be the only smile that child sees that day.

  109. Angela Lawson says:

    For educators: Genuinely care about your children and be patient as you are new to them. For students: Be willing to learn something new and have fun!

  110. Stephanie Seward says:

    Be patient, fair, and consistent! Teachers and students need these skills at all times,but especially at the beginning of the school year. Routines and expectations are needed to make a classroom thrive. The beginning of the year is an extensive transition for both teachers and students. Expect the unexpected the first weeks of school! Remember to begin the year the way you want the year to end. Set expectations in place, model them consistently, treat students fairly and be patient with them as they are learning. It may be rough in the beginning, but as students learn what is expected of you, the journey into the school year will become easier.

  111. Bryn says:

    Ask questions, do not be afraid to talk to adults in the building.

  112. Judith Seibel says:

    Start the year with a fresh perspective.

  113. Elizabeth Morse says:

    For teachers & families – building strong relationships with one another is key!! Take time to have a conversation and get to know one another. Everyone is working toward the same goal – a successful year for the student, so talk about how to make this happen.

  114. Jenna Becker says:

    Give yourself time to know your students! We worry about jumping in so quickly that we often forget our young students may have little experience and exposure to school.

  115. Tina Slavick says:

    We take pictures of their new school and post it in the classroom. We make a special book using contact paper and we find pictures of books, pencils, backpack, crayons and other school supplies and make a special “all my own” back to school book.

  116. Melanie says:

    A must read for handling transitions

  117. Deborah Weiner says:

    Gently re-establish school year routines by mid-August: work backwards to regular bedtime, etc.

  118. Tammy Kelley says:

    Utilize your public library to reinforce what kids are learning in the classroom.

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