It is SO important the first week of school include activities that build community, establish boundaries, and are engaging. That’s what this post is all about- necessary activities to do with your kids to set up for a successful year!
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First Day of School
When planning for the first day, you want to make sure you have some version of all of these items planned out. This will help you have a smooth first day with your new kiddos!
Write a DETAILED Plan
I can’t stress this enough. Incredibly detailed. Down to every five minutes if you have to. I like to create a “first day lesson plan” that is completely separate from my normal lesson plans. These first day plans are typed up by time and subject and include activity plans as well as materials needed for each activity.
I always include a scavenger hunt on the first day. This is how kids get familiar with the classroom routines and learn a lot of the expectations.
These are a MUST! The first day of school is so intimidating for little ones. Providing them opportunities to interact with their new peers is a perfect way to get them to open up.
I share a few of my favorite back to school team builders and class builders in my course Kickstart Your School Year.
I also like to use team builders from the Silly Sports and Goofy Games book. There are a ton of fun and non-academic activities in there that kids kinder-5th can do.
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First Week of School Activities
Just as I do for my first day plans, I write detailed first week plans. They aren’t as detailed as day one. But I write a lot of notes about what I want to do. I also plan for two to three team builders per day during the first week. (After the first week I do one a day.)
Reading and Writing Activities
During the first week I love to read books to my students. Read Alouds are one of my favorite parts of teaching. I also like to incorporate writing activities with the stories we read. This way kids are making connections, practicing their writing skills, and slowly easing back into the swing of school with lessons that are manageable. It is also a great opportunity to teach social skills and have conversations about expectations in your classroom.
Amy Lemons, from Step Into 2nd Grade, has a great “out of the box” activity for back to school. (I am guilty of reading First Day Jitters every first day for the last five years…..) You can pick up her packet here, full of fun ideas for the first week!
Yoko is the book I will read to my students and do our first official writing project on. It will allow us to set goals as well as have meaningful discussions on what it means to accept others even though they are different. <<<This came from Amy’s packet I linked above!>>>
Set Up Journals and Intro Stations
The first week is a great time to practice listening skills and following directions. Guide students as they set up their math, reading, and writing journals. I like to give them time to decorate the cover or inside page to their liking.
This is also a good time to start teaching your students station expectations. I go over these one by one and in a lot of detail. We practice our stamina and learn to read for long periods of time. After the reading stations are introduced and somewhat “under control,” we move on to writing and word work stations.
Team Builders, Team Builders, Team Builders
Oh, and class builders! All this week you need to be providing activities for students to do that build team work and friendship.
STEM activities with their team is a great way to incorporate higher level thinking, social skills, and team work all into one lesson! The first few weeks are crucial to creating a warm and welcoming environment and one that your students feel comfortable in.
I am of the mindset that the first week or two be very intentional with team building, class building, and cooperative learning structures. I will mix in some academics. However, I feel it is more important that students build a relationship with you and their classmates during this time.
Oh, and I forgot one more activity for the first week of school…
I’d love to help you plan for the new school year. Kickstart Your School Year is a course designed to help teachers organize and plan for the new school year. You can get all the deets about the course right here!
Until next time,
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