My New Favorite Outfit: Back to School with Sharpies at Staples

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School with Sharpies at Staples

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #StaplesBTS

School is here, whether we are ready for not! This week marks our first full week back and we are in full swing! When getting ready for the school year I have a tendency scroll through Pinterest like crazy for activity inspiration, and then search out great deals on school supplies to help my classroom activity ideas become a reality.

A number of the activities I'd like to do involved Sharpies, and I was in luck because Staples has all Sharpie Fine and Ultra Fine assortment packs and Sharpie Neon Marker packs currently on sale through August 24th “while supplies last.”

Today I'm going to share a couple of classroom activities I've done with my students to start off the year using Sharpies from Staples.

If my kids even hear the word "Sharpie" they begin to act like little kids on Christmas, seriously. So I picked up some awesome fine point and neon Sharpies from Staples and got to work. I love Sharpies because the are great for just about everything: DIY projects, organization, classroom preparing, or gift giving during this back to school season.

The first activity I did with my kids was a beach ball get to know you activity.  I've done this in the past with terms to review, so I thought it would be fun to apply the same concept to getting to know my students.  I also love how inexpensive this activity is.  I found a beach ball for dollar and used the Sharpies I got from Staples on Sale.

I started out by Googling some questions and I found this site that had all kinds of great questions I adapted to fit my middle school crew.  Here are the ones I used:
  1. What is your favorite food? Why?
  2. What's the #1 most played song on your iPod?  Why do you like it?
  3. What's your favorite activity/sport/hobby? Why?
  4. What chore do you absolutely hate? Why?
  5. If you could learn anything new, what would you pick? Why?
  6. Wild Card, you pick!
Here's how the game works:
  • Get all the kids into a circle.
  • Explain to the kids that they'll throw the beach ball to another student in the circle and whichever question is closest to their left thumb is the question they'll answer.
  • I also ask that they kids answer the question in a complete sentence, and I give them an example of what that sounds like.  If their thumb lands on "wild card" they get to choose the question they'll answer, for a fun twist. 
  • Play until everyone goes at least one time.
The kids had a lot of fun and it was great getting to know the kids a bit more.  Other variations include writing key terms for review on the beach ball or prefixes/suffixes work great too.

The second activity I did with my kiddos was a goal setting poster utilizing metaphors.  One conversation we teachers seemed to have at lunch a lot last year was that some kids were just "doing school," they didn't really seem driven to succeed or see how school could empower them to be their very best.

I decided this year I wanted to focus on some goal setting with them in hopes of motivating them. I also want them to see that big dreams take hard work; they don't just happen. I also wanted the kids who don't see a future for themselves to try to see the possibilities.  If they didn't have a career in mind and wanted their goal to simply be "Graduate from high school," I was ok with that.  

I came up with the idea of creating a metaphor poster and Sharpies from  Staples were perfect for this project. 

I created an example of what a metaphor poster looked like with the steps it took for me to become a teacher. I added signs like, "Try my best," "Ask for help," "Get connected," and "Try a sport" as steps along the way that helped me cross the finish line and reach my goal of becoming a teacher.

After showing this example we brainstormed other metaphors as a class, then came up with a list of possible metaphors they could us for their own posters.  Here are some possible ideas:
  • Stairs
  • Mountain
  • Map of the U.S.
  • Recipe
  • Video Game
  • Board Game
  • Race
  • Soccer or Football field with "goal"
  • Golf course
  • Treasure Map
  • Jack's beanstalk
  •  Solar System
  • Plants in a garden
  • Maze
Next to this list on the board I wrote the poster expectations.  They needed to include:
  • at least three steps that help them reach their goal
  • at least two parts to each step that would help make them successful. Ex. Step- "Try my best." Two parts within step- "Study" and "Ask for help."
On the back of the poster we divided it into four parts, one for each quarter.  At the end of each quarter the kids will do a quick write stating their progress toward the goal.  What's going well? What's not? etc. 

It was really cool to see what my students goals are and for them to really think about what it'll take to reach them. They took the activity really seriously and I'm really am excited to see how this activity plays out this year and if this goal setting helps to keep my students motivated. 


  1. I've done a similar activity with the ball before. I love that you make them use a complete sentence! :)

  2. I LOVE the goal metaphor activity. I'm going to have to remember that! I've done a beach ball activity but I think it was for story elements. I like the getting to know you activity you've done with it.

  3. Such cute activities! Love that you make them use a complete sentence!

  4. Great activities, I loved the goal setting metaphor!

    Blush Confetti

  5. I love a sharpie
    Always have one in my purse and one in every room of the house

  6. Oh my goodness!! The beach ball idea is so fun!! You're kids are going to love this!! I want to play! :)