Let’s see, we need to unpack our classrooms from summer storage and, you know, get ready for the first week of school. Yet we still need to attend the back to school PD and meetings. Plus you might be so overwhelmed when you enter the classroom, that you waste about an hour just staring at the walls. Or is that just me? For that reason, I wanted to give you a peek at my week for the first four days of school.
As you may know, overplanning for the first day and week is your best bet. Things usually take a lot longer than planned, so there’s probably items I won’t get to.
You’ll notice that as the day progresses, I will sneak in some procedures that we’ll practice.
To get a copy of these lesson plans, you can download them here.
We begin our day at 8:15. This is a time for introductions and getting familiar with the school. I begin the school tour because I know I’ll have kids asking to use the restroom, and they’ll need to know where to go. This also gives us the opportunity to practice lining up.
When we return to the classroom, I show the students our bathroom signal. Then I wait for someone to ask to go to the restroom. It’s inevitable.
Next, I have the kids sit on the carpet and read the book Butterflies on the First Day of School by Annie Silvestro as a segue to discuss feelings. This is also a great time to introduce the Mood Meter and practice raising a hand to share.
Being the first day of school, kids will need a lot of activities to keep them interested. So I introduce Quiet Activities. These are individual activities–Legos, blocks, puzzles, and Play Doh–that students use at their desks. This is also a great time to practice voice levels as these are quiet activities. While the students are doing the activities, I take first day of school pictures holding a first day of school sign.
Finally, before recess, I read The Buddy Bench by Patty Brozo. We discuss what the students can do if they need a friend or what a kid should do if they see someone who needs a friend.
As with anything new, it’s best to practice procedures so your students do it the way you’d like. We begin by discussing the playground rules, which will need to be repeated for the next few weeks. We practice lining up calmly, picking up our snacks and walking to the playground.
After recess is over, we walk back to the classroom and the students enter the classroom and sit on the carpet. We sit crisscross, lights out, and take some calming breaths. After the students have calmed their bodies, I read a chapter from The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne. Then the kids return to their desks and draw a picture about what they saw in their mind as I read.
Now it’s time for me to get to know my students a bit more. I have the students use a circle map to tell about themselves. They draw a picture of themselves in the middle circle and pictures of things they like inside the larger circle. I give students the opportunity to share if they feel comfortable doing so.
I like to give students breaks throughout the day, especially at the beginning of the year. The next activity is an early finisher activity. I give students a packet of fun activities that they store in a folder when it’s time to clean up. It will stay in their desks and can be used when they have finished classwork.
Each time I read a book, students come to the carpet. This is where I read Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton for enjoyment. Since I have the kids on the carpet, I talk about lunchtime and the expectations of them in the cafeteria.
The first day of school is a minimum day. When the students return from lunch and lunch recess, they sit on the carpet and take calming breaths once again. We discuss the purpose of the breaths–to calm our bodies and to focus for learning. Then I introduce the “calming Play Doh.” I give the students a small container of Play Doh to keep in their desks. When I think kids need some time to quiet down, I ask them to take out their Play Doh and take some calming breaths.
Much like week 1, during week 2, I use many of the resources found in Classroom Procedures.
- 34 procedure cards
- First Day of School activity book for practicing handwriting, number writing, and coloring.
- Bus Craft for practicing cutting and gluing skills.
- Class graphing activity about first day of school feelings.
- Partner talk question cards.
- Voice level poster
- 3 Star Coloring Rubric
- Hand Signals–bathroom, water, quiet sign, ask 3 then me
I hope this was helpful. The beginning of the year can be so busy and something’s bound to be forgotten.