2023 - Miss Clark's Spoonful

3 Fun Name Activities to Build a Classroom Community

If it's back-to-school time for you, or if you're at least THINKING about being back to school, you're probably busy planning ways to build up your classroom community!

These fun interactive activities are perfect to practice names and integrate skills across the curriculum. 

Your students will have fun as they get to know one another, and you will begin creating a positive classroom environment from Day 1. It's a win-win!

Here are 3 of my favorite Name Activities to use with your class:


We love to sing "Everybody Has a Name!"

Adding this activity into your daily routine at the beginning of the school year will make all the difference when it comes to giving each one of your students a sense of belonging.


This fun Morning Meeting activity integrates SEL with Language Arts. Students will be having so much fun, that they won't even realize you snuck in a mini-lesson about verbs and alliteration!

As students are greeted around the circle (or with a partner - however you want to set it up!) they would say:

"A my name is _____. I like to _____."

Using the first letter of their names, students should name an activity they like to do that matches that letter. 

For example:

"B my name is Brooke and I like to bake."

"C my name is Charlie and I like to collect."

The best part is, that students will have follow-up questions that will further allow them to make connections. ("What do you like to bake?" Brownies! "What do you like to collect?" Seashells!).

There are many variations you can do with this activity.

For example, instead of using verbs, you can encourage students to think of an adjective that describes them! The possibilities are endless as students celebrate their names in a fun, interactive way.


This interactive activity is meant to be used with the mentor text Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

In this activity, students collect data and count the letters in each of their classmates' names! Then, students tally, graph, and interpret the data.

This activity is part of my complete Chrysanthemum Literacy & Math Activities collection. Fun!


What are some of your favorite ways to have fun with names as you build a classroom community? I'd love to know!

Happy teaching,


The 4 Best Ways to Make Introverted Students Feel Welcome

I'm an introvert, through and through.

As a kid, I was always the one who was more comfortable listening to my teacher during whole group instruction rather than breaking out into small group work.

I always dreaded the "share a fun fact about yourself!" on the first day of school.

This got me thinking:

First day of school icebreaker activities aren't fun for everybody.

So, how can you support your introverts during the first week of school & simultaneously help them build connections?

Here are my Top Four Tips!


An introvert can be emotionally fatigued after spending a lot of time with other people, and enjoys time alone. A shy person may avoid interacting with people altogether due to social anxiety.


In my high school English class, we used to have book discussions. We'd all sit in a circle, and talk about the latest chapter of the book we were reading. My teacher had a clipboard and literally "checked" our name off each time we participated in the discussion. What a nightmare!

Needless to say, I contributed pretty meaningless comments during these discussions, just because I wanted to make sure my name was "checked off" for speaking.

Value wait time when it comes to participation. After posing a question, don't necessarily call on the first student that raises their hand. In fact, give it a good ten seconds or so before you call on anyone.

This can feel like a LONG. TIME. So, why do it?

Not only will your students be able to put some thought into their answers, but introverted students will be given the much needed time to gather their thoughts, not feel pressured to just blurt out anything, and be proud of taking a risk to participate.


Classrooms are naturally busy spaces. Within the hustle and bustle, try incorporating some quieter spaces that can help minimize sensory overload. A calm down corner, or reading nook is a great idea to provide an alternative space for learning!

Along with alternate spaces, you can sneak mindfulness and calming breathing exercises into your day. Morning Meeting and Closing Circle are ideal times to do this! Try reading books with your students that encourage mindfulness. Quiet by Tomie DePaola is a beautiful story that reminds us that being quiet, still, and present with one another is a very special thing.

quiet by tomie depaola book cover


Going with the flow of whole group or small group discussions and seamlessly adding to conversations on a whim doesn't work for all students. Writing can be a creative and calming outlet for introverted students in the classroom. Giving time for introverts to write out a response before sharing can lessen anxiety, and boost confidence + engagement.

We have so many 21st century ways of teaching and learning right at our fingertips. Here is one of my favorite ways to incorporate "Getting to Know You" at the beginning of the school year that reaches all students!

getting to know you google slides activity

You can start the year off right by fostering a strong classroom community! Celebrate each student's unique identity, and honor both introverted and extroverted personalities.


Download your Getting to Know You Digital Activity HERE!

Happy community-building!


Fun Ways to Make Your Teacher Summer All About Self Care!

What does summer mean to you?

Time to relax, rejuvenate, and renew should be three things that immediately come to mind.

Sometimes, this is harder than it sounds!

If you're anything like me, I'm on a journey this summer to truly practice self-care. I'm not just talking about, "take one day at the spa!" Self-care is actually harder to practice than it sounds.

In case you were wondering, the definition of self-care is: "the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health." (Thank you, dictionary!)

Here's the tricky part. How can we as teachers do this?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to spend time this summer. On my list so far is:

☀️ Changing up habits for healthier choices

☀️ Adapting to a new routine

☀️ Taking time to be my best self


I'm listening to the audiobook Atomic Habits by James Clear, and it's fabulous! If you're looking for a way to ditch some bad habits, form good ones, and learn how to create tiny behaviors that create long-term results, this is for you!


Embracing the idea of not having a schedule can be tricky! Sometimes, it can be helpful to keep a sense of routine (eat breakfast at a consistent time, take an afternoon walk at the same time, etc).


To do this, I'm focusing on putting myself first! I know, I know. that can sound pretentious and potentially selfish. Before you jump to conclusions about doing this for yourself, think about that phrase "you can't pour from an empty cup." It's a cliche for a reason! The more you care for yourself, the more available you'll be (as the best version of yourself) to others.

So, how can you make this fun?

Make it a game that you can play all summer long!

Again, true self care doesn't look like doing one or two of these tasks and simply checking them off your list.

However, completing one or two of these tasks as part of the bigger picture of truly caring for yourself can do wonders!


Is Teacher Summer Self-Care Bingo something you'd like to play along with?

Download your free printable HERE!

If you're playing along, I'd love to see how it's going.

Feel free to share your summer self-care adventures by tagging me @missclarksspoonful on Instagram!

Seeing people do what brings them joy brings me a ton of joy too. ☀️

Happy Summer!


Rainbow Similes: The Best and Most Creative Poetry Lesson for Spring!

rainbow simile activity for the elementary classroom

What is my favorite month to teach writing? April wins!

It's National Poetry Month, and there are so many ways to incorporate some extra creativity.

One of my favorite poetry lessons is teaching about SIMILES.

We start out by talking about what a simile actually is, and look at examples of them. These mentor texts are wonderful for introducing similes, and seeing some in action!

mentor texts for teaching similes

In the spirit of April Showers and all things spring...

we incorporate rainbows and colors into simile writing!


All you'll need is: large pieces of white paper, sets of watercolor paints, and a planning sheet.

rainbow similes written down and a watercolor rainbow

First, students can plan out their color similes on paper. Then, they can get to work on their rainbows!

a child's watercolor painting of a rainbow

Once the watercolor paint is dry (it doesn't take very long), students can copy their similes from their planning sheets onto their rainbows.

It helps to use pencil first, and then go over the writing using a skinny permanent marker!

a child's watercolor painting of a rainbow

These projects make a beautiful display of student work all spring long.

a display of children's artwork, watercolor rainbows

a display of children's artwork, watercolor rainbows


Are Rainbow Similes something you'd like to incorporate in your classroom?

You can download these free printables HERE!

rainbow similes activity

rainbow similes activity

Happy Writing!