The Best Back to School Activities for 2nd Grade

Back to School time is the most exciting!! I am thrilled to sorta-kinda know what I am doing this year and have a handful of lessons/activities to choose from!  I have already shared my first week plans.   I like to have a plethora of options to choose from since you never know what will happen that first week! I wanted to highlight my favorites that I’ve used year after year.
Summer Vacation puzzles
After listening to “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”, students illustrate something they did on puzzle paper. I encourage them fill the entire page! Then, they cut it out and swap with a friend.  Once they have put their partner’s puzzle together, they can share about their summer vacation.
This year, I bought actual real puzzles for them to use! They were $12.99 for 24 from Amazon. This eliminates the cutting part (which to be honest takes a long time but I break it into 2 days or have students help one another).
Inovart Puzzle-It Blank Puzzles 28 Piece 5-1/2" x 8" - 24 Per Package
Behavior Stories
We ALL know that expectations and routines are what makes the classroom go round.  A few years back I decided to create some stories about fictional students who make positive and negative choices.  We use these stories to jumpstart conversations about behavior, not just in the classroom but all over the school.  This packet includes recess, lunchroom, bathroom, hallway, groups, and homework! You could even have students act out their fictional character to model acceptable and unacceptable behavior!
Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden

This is a new one for this year.  I was recommended this book, Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden, as a great back to school read aloud.  I immediately bought it from Amazon (because that’s what I do when people suggest buying anything school-related).

It is the sweetest, most endearing book.  I may have teared up as I read it to my husband who proceeded to make fun of me.  So of course I had to whip up some activities to go with it.  You can find those here.

Math Tools Exploration Activities
I was inspired by Amy Lemons for this next activity.  Students just love math manipulatives but let’s be honest, some students see them as toys instead of tools.  So I use one of those first days to review how we use each math tool and allow for a few minutes of free exploration before we go over expectations.

Then, to be sure that we are all on the same page, they complete this sort of dos and don’ts.  It is something I like to hang onto for those inevitable slips where Johnny flings a rubber band across the room.  I can pull this out as sort of a contract, if you will, to remind him that I know that he knows he shouldn’t be doing that!
You can find these activities and more in my Math Manipulatives packet.
Numbers About Me

Trash Can Math
I think I mention this game in pretty much every blog post.  I won’t go into details but you need to know it is the best game ever and you should go read about it in the blog post where I do go into details —-here—-.
So there ya go, those are my go to activities.  And I am such an expert considering this is my 2nd year as a full time teacher *wink wink*

What are your favorite first week activities?

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