The First Week of School: Free Lesson Plans

Last week was full of classroom prep and professional development (some good, some not so good). Now it’s time to get excited for a new school year! I finished my first week plans about a month ago…although some things have been tweaked and changed!

The Solar Eclipse on Monday has undoubtedly thrown me for a loop! We won’t be able to go outside after 1:15. Depending on my students’ ability to focus on anything BUT this significant event, I might be making the entire afternoon an indoor eclipse celebration.

First Week Plans

Anyway, I am popping in quickly to share my FIRST WEEK plans. My first week is all about, you guessed it, getting to know my students (and giving them plenty of opportunities to learn about each other) while reviewing and practicing routines and expectations.

***PLANS are DOWNLOADABLE and CLICKABLE so you can access where to buy the books or download resources**

Each day will follow a very similar schedule but with different activities. The first week has three main goals: get to know one another, get to know the classroom, and set the expectations for behavior, routines, and procedures. Let’s take a closer look!

Getting to Know You Activities

This year, one of our school-wide initiatives is Responsive Classroom practices. Every grade level has 15-20 minutes blocked out in the AM for morning meeting. After morning meeting and special (ugh–I do not love having special first thing in the morning!), we will spend some time getting to know one another.

  • Monday: Read “How to Get Your Teacher Ready” After we read, we will answer “How room 215 got ready for school” and I will record their responses on chart paper. I kept this short because we will also squeeze in some lunch/recess practice here. The entire 2nd grade walks their class to the cafeteria to walk through the lunch routine and then we head out to recess and go over rules + let them play for a few minutes.
  • Tuesday: All About Me flipbook This usually takes a couple of days so we start it on Tuesday and fill in any other time we have to work on finishing it throughout the week.
  • Wednesday: Name + Hobby Hand Gesture game This is one of the games included in my First Week Back to School Activities.
  • Thursday: Puzzle About Me (freebie!)
  • Friday: Back to School Scoot This is my FAVORITE way to gather a lot of information about my students. I keep these response papers and refer to them all year long!
This Back to School Scoot includes up to 32 questions you can use for getting to know your students

Teaching Expectations

In the next half of the morning, we will concentrate on classroom expectations. Each day, I have chosen a book to focus our discussion and an activity to help drive home the importance of each expectation. I will use some great books (links to purchase them on Amazon are in the downloadable plans) and a few resources to help me do this:

  • Monday: Read “Tony Baloney School Rules” and discuss why rules are important. Brainstorm a list of possible classroom rules
  • Tuesday: Read “Do Unto Otters” and focus on “Show Respect”
  • Wednesday: Read “What if Everybody Did That?” and focus on “Think Before You Act”
  • Thursday: Behavior Stories and focus on “Be a Problem Solver”
  • Friday: Read “The Most Magnificent Thing” and complete self-portraits while focusing on “Try Your Best”

Routines and Procedures

Phew! We made it to the afternoon. Just typing it all out is making me teacher tired. After recess and lunch, we will have some quiet time. I might play a little music or read a poem book to settle everyone and get focused on the important stuff- ROUTINES and PROCEDURES!

I like to focus on 2-3 routines and procedures each day instead of going over everything at once.

You can grab this free procedures list and edit it to create a plan that works for you!

Here is the routine I use for teaching routines and procedures:

  • Explain and model the routine
  • Discuss why it’s important
  • Answer any questions about the routine
  • Ask for volunteers to model the routine or practice as a class if it is a whole-class routine

I repeat this procedure for each routine–often more than once throughout the week. If I notice students are not following the routine, that indicates that we need to review it again as a whole class.

Math

  • Monday: Read Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden and complete growth mindset craft I don’t dive into math on Day 1. It’s just not realistic for the first day of school. But, we do talk about what it means to have a growth mindset and we share ideas for how we will grow throughout the school year.
  • Tuesday: Math Tool Expectation Craft Day 2 for math is all about math tools, how they can be used, and what the expectations are for using them. We use a few of the activities from this Math Toolbox resource to discuss math tools and rules.
  • Wednesday: Math tool explorations/finish craft: This is one of my favorite days! I pull out 5-6 different math tools (base-10 blocks, dominoes, geoboards, counting cubes etc) and we have some free exploration time.
  • Thursday: Play Trash Can Math This is my favorite first week of math game. You can read all about it here.
  • Friday: Numbers About Me

Getting to Know Your Classmates

One of my lofty goals for the week is for ALL of my students to learn one another’s names. In the past, I didn’t realize how important it was to provide AMPLE opportunities to practice.

  • Monday and Tuesday: We play the 4 corners game. I love getting them up and moving around the room after a long day!
  • Wednesday and Thursday: Back to School trivia game
  • Friday: Find someone who activity

With the first day of school just around the corner, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared so your students have a solid start. I hope that these ideas and activities for the first week of school will help get off to a great start and keep your students engaged and excited about learning! Don’t forget to download the first week plans here to learn more about any of the activities mentioned in the post.

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