September 9, 2012

Guess Who Portrait Envelopes

Happy Sunday folks!

Did anyone else feel like the 4 day week was LONGER than any other five day week EVER!

Oh. my. gosh. I was absolutely wiped on Friday night. I crashed.

Of course... I have been working 12 hour days pretty much everyday.  I know y'all understand.  It is the life of a teacher. I haven't even had time to blog or read blogs.  My Google Reader is in overflow mode and is, quite frankly, overwhelming me.

I was hoping to use this weekend to get caught up, but I have been whacked over the head with allergies.  I'm not sure what's dragging me down, but I've got all the symptoms: itchy watery eyes, scratchy throat, cough, etc.

Needless to say, my couch and I have become reacquainted and I've been catching up on Beverly Hills Nannies.  Does anyone else watch this show?  It's addicting. You are expecting to be appalled by the Beverly Hills families and you are, but honestly the nannies are just as bad.  Oh my...that's some good reality TV right there.  

Anyway, as one of my goals this year was not to neglect my blog and dope up on television, so I wanted to share with y'all a back to school project that my students and I just LOVE.  This is not my original idea, but an activity I learned when I joined my awesome 4th grade team. Thanks guys!

Introducing... Guess Who Portrait Envelopes.

Portrait Envelopes are very simple.

Materials Needed: white business envelopes, crayons or colored pencils, some type of get to know you survey

Step 1: Explain that everything is a secret. Shhh! Students should not share their portrait envelopes or answers to their survey with anyone because we are going to use the portrait and the clues about the person to try to guess their identify later in the year. 

Step 2: Students will draw a portrait of themselves on the envelope. Make sure they fill the whole envelope with color. No names anywhere.

Step 3: Students will fill out some kind of B2S Get to Know You survey. I usually choose one that only has no more than 8 questions.  Keep it simple. No name on the survey.

Step 4: Teach students how to fold the 8.5 x 11 piece of paper into an envelope properly. (This is apparently a lost art.)

Step 5: Have students seal the envelopes with the interest survey inside and then... hide them.  Stuff them in a file cabinet.  Wedge them between some books on your shelf. Drop them into the black hole that is your desk.  Put them where ever you want, just hide them.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Step 6: Many months down the road or towards the end of the year rediscover them. Pull them out and "ooohhh" and "aahhh" over them to the class.  Then when you have a few spare moments throughout the next couple of days go through the envelopes.  Show off the portrait and see if the class can guess who it is.  Next, open up and read the clues from the inventory.  After having all year together, the kids are sure to figure out the mystery person and have great fun doing it!

And, that's it. Simple.  The kids love it.  It is a great first week activity, but you can also do it anytime during the first nine weeks.  The time put in during the fall is worth it when you start opening envelopes in the spring.

If you try it out, I'd love to know how it goes.  Enjoy!!


  1. Great idea! We do a time capsule that is similar to this idea. Hope you feel better soon....

  2. This is a great idea! It would also look good at Open House...see if the parents can find their kids.

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  3. I am OBSESSED with all things Beverly Hills. I highly enjoy watching others live extremely lavish lifestyles while I'm chowing down on McDonalds on my couch. I'm SOO with you!

  4. I LOVE this idea. Thanks for sharing (and to your team for sharing). I also just wanted to say that I really love reading your blog. I finally have gone through all my emails and just read your First Week blog and loved it. I just laughed out loud! Thanks--it is nice to know that we are not alone! LOVE your writing style and honesty.

  5. Cute idea...and the size of the envelope makes it a project that won't take all morning! Thanks for sharing your idea.

  6. Love this idea! I will be tackling this with my 6th graders at some point in the coming weeks then sharing them before testing.


  7. This is an awesome idea! I'll have to try it! I'd like to invite you to link up with my Fun Friday linky. It is all about the fun things we do through the week in our classrooms.

    Teaching Fourth


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