Saturday, August 8, 2015

All About Me Necklaces

Happy Saturday, friends! It's Lisa from over at Second Grade Stories and I'm excited to share a fun activity with you that is great for getting to know each other at the beginning of the year. We as teachers know that building a strong classroom community is probably one of the - if not THE - most important thing we do all year.  I started a blog talk series over on my own blog about exactly that! (You can click {HERE} to check that out.) And with all those little faces coming into our room in the first few weeks, it's important to get to know each other.

I love to make "All About Me" necklaces sometime during the first couple weeks of school.  The necklace itself is like a glyph - each part tells something about the person who made it.
You can choose any kind of beads that work for you. I have done it in past years with just pony beads, while other years I added different kinds foam beads that I got from Oriental Trading Co. Beads that spell out their name are a definite must! Here's how we create our necklaces. (Confession: I do not start school until the end of August and I don't have any pictures of this from previous years... sooo... we'll have to make do with what I can put together from home!)

Since we usually do this project when we come back from lunch/recess, I greet them wearing my very own necklace.  It is sure to be noticed and it brings all sorts of questions! I explain that this necklace tells all about me and that each part of the necklace is special.  Now that everyone is excited - and I tell them they'll be making their very own necklace - we're ready to start!

Helpful Hint #1: I prep the beads to be ready before we actually start the project. I find the letters for everyone's names and put them in small containers or baggies so each kiddo has their name all ready to start. (I learned the hard way that having 20 or more kids digging through beads trying to find the letters in their names is CHAOS!) We work at tables, so each table has containers of all the beads we will need - and they are within easy reach of everyone to limit spilling!

I like to project the information for each part of the necklace on the SmartBoard. I have all the slides in a PowerPoint and it's easy to go from slide to slide, one at a time, while I walk around the room. Each bead has a special meaning. For example, the red beds might be for how many people in your family (take one red bead for each person). Green beads show if you take the bus to school or get dropped off - one green bead for the bus, two if you get dropped off.  I include ideas about families, likes and dislikes, school activities, etc.

The possibilities are endless and what's great about this activity is that you can customize it to fit your kiddos! Each time my kiddos take a bead, they put it in their bag/container until we have all the beads we need.  Then comes the fun part - putting it together!

Helpful Hint #2: I pre-cut lengths of a variety of string/cord that we'll be using. Students come up and choose a color. Then comes THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP: TAPE one end of the string to the table/desk. Students will slide the beads onto the other end, but they won't go any further than the tape, so no dropping beads all over the floor when their necklaces are half made! (I do guarantee, however, that at least one kiddo will get excited and pull the string to show their friend and the beads will drop...  but it's better than 10 droppers!)

Everyone gets to design their own necklace by putting the beads in any order they want (names, of course, are spelled correctly!) After the necklaces are created and tied around their necks, we spend a few minutes walking around and chatting with each other about our necklaces. That gets us ready for the second part of our activity - learning about each other!

Since each part of the necklace has meaning, we can find out about each other by looking at our necklaces. I have done this a few different ways: (1) I've created a "Find Someone Who" sheet for students to use to walk around the room and fill in each box with the name of their classmate (ex. Find someone who has 2 sisters; Find someone who takes the bus...); (2) I play music and students walk around. When the music stops, they find a partner and we use the PowerPoint slides to find out about each other. (ex. Does your partner prefer art or gym?) The music starts again, and students find a different partner when the music stops for our next question; and finally (3) I have partnered up students and had them fill out a quick 4-5 question sheet based on their partner's necklace. When we come back to the group, each person shares what they learned about their partner.

I like to end the time with some movement and a "Stand up if..." activity. We all come together and  ask students to "Stand up if..." (basing my questions on the information in the necklace.) This gives everyone a chance to be noticed and it's also a quick way for me to learn about my class.

That's it! This activity is definitely a favorite every year for my kiddos and even though it can get a little crazy trying to get everyone's necklaces done (get other people to help!), it is worth it! Have fun making your own necklaces and finding out about your new kiddos. Building that classroom community has just begun!


  1. I love this idea! I remember creating name beads years ago.. You've triggered a memory. Do you happen to have the ppt. available somewhere?

  2. I love, love, love this! Such a cute beginning of the year idea. I wanna be in your class!

  3. I love, love, love this! Such a cute beginning of the year idea. I wanna be in your class!