I LOVE planning for the first week of school. It might be because I have an ample amount of activities and books to choose from. I have shared my first week plans in the past so some of these read alouds and activities are the same. But I have updated and added some new details (including a third page!) These plans have been in the works all summer so I am excited to finally share them.
I realize some people are already back to school so these might not be super helpful now. Here in PA, our first day is August 26th. Teachers go back the 21st which means just 10 more days of sweet summer left.
Students will walk in the classroom, find their seat and begin coloring morning work (check out my favorite first week morning work options in this post.) I have them take their book bag to their seat. We will hang them up after everyone has settled in.
After greeting each student at the door and walking them through our morning routines, we will begin each day with a read aloud. I have a new favorite first book for the first day! The Day You Begin is pretty much perfect. I cannot wait to share it with my students this year and retire First Day Jitters. We will take a morning break to walk through the lunchroom (even though this is their 3rd year eating lunch in the cafeteria, we still feel this is important for establishing expectations and for new students). Then, we go over recess rules and let them have AM recess.
When we get back in, students will draw about something they did over the summer on their summer adventure puzzle. We will eventually cut these out and share with a partner but not right now.
Mornings Tuesday-Friday are similar with routine practice, a read aloud and then a beginning of the year activity either about expectations, problem solving or all about me books. Here’s links to the resources you see above:
- The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
- Summer Adventure Puzzles
- Back to School Rules by Laurie Friedman
- Back to School Dos and Don’t poster
- Tony Baloney: School Rules by Pam Munoz Ryan
- Everyone makes mistakes/problem solving activities
- Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books by Diane deGroat
- All About Me flap book by Renee Dooly
- Paperless Morning Meeting by Erin Waters
- Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
- Directed Drawing Self-Portraits by Howywood Kindergarten
To wrap up our morning, we will have very short math lessons. Due to the back to school activities this week, we will only have about 20 minutes. Next week they will be normal length (about 45 minutes to an hour). We have lunch at 11:07. Read more about my first week of math lessons here.
When students return from lunch/recess, we will read another book to settle down. Then, students will grab a random book box (I don’t label them for a couple of days) and find a spot to read. The first day, I will just send them off and observe. Each day after, I will introduce the expectations for read to self time. If you want to learn more about my first three reading lessons, I go more in depth here.
Before special and recess, we will s l o w l y be introduced to literacy centers: word work, read to someone, and listen to reading. We will practice all of these things whole group. If all goes well, they will be able to pick 1 to do on Friday.
After special and recess, we will wrap up the day with one last read aloud and an activity that incorporates movement. I use School and the City’s 4 corners game every year. My Back to School Scoot helps me collect information about my students. I hold on to their recording sheets and refer back to them often. And I love to send them off Friday afternoon excited about coming back Monday so we will do our first STEM activity.
- What Should Danny Do? School Day by Adir and Ganit Levy
- How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander
- Math Tools Exploration and Expectations
- Behavior Stories
- Fast Fact Folders
- Book Recommendations
- Smart Spot cards
- Turn and Talk cards
- The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark
- What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick
- ABC order
- How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan
- All About Me Four Corners
- Be a Reading Expert
- The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
- Back to School Scoot
- Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
- This School Year Will Be the Best by Kay Winters
- The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
- STEM Paper Chain Challenge
Wow! There is just so much that goes into that first week of school. It’s exhausting and overwhelming. But the most important thing to remember is to make it memorable and have fun!
Download these plans here (all books and resources are linked within the plans)