How to Have a Successful First Week of Kindergarten - Day 1

Hello!!! I hope everyone is soaking up the last of their summer vacation!!   Today I am starting a blog series on lesson planning for the first week of school!  Over the next two weeks, I will be going day by day, and giving you a glimpse of what we do in my classroom that first week, and I will be sharing a TON of freebies.

I've been wanting to do a series like this for many years.  Every time the beginning of the year comes around, I think about my first year teaching.  I got my position 2 weeks before school started, and to say that I was panicked and stressed is an understatement!  I scoured the Internet for advice and ideas. I gathered everything that I could, and really had no idea if any of it would work!
I work at a school where there's only one teacher per grade level, and the pre-k teacher, along with the first grade teacher were newbies right along with me that first year!  I desperately wanted someone to tell me exactly what to teach to get through that week.  After that week, our regular schedule would start, and I would begin on the curriculum that was given to me (which wasn't barely anything, but that's for another time : ) I felt that if I could make it through that first week, I just might be okay : )

I'm hoping that young teachers out there can find these resources, and that they will help to ease some of those first week nerves and frustrations.  Each day in this blog series, I am going to base the resources off of a common back to school book.  You can read the book to your students, and then do the FREE activities that I have provided.  Today we will be talking about The Kissing Hand.

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I have tried so many different activities in the last 8 years for the first week of school.  I have tried a center set-up, I have tried beautiful art projects that require a lot of work ahead of time on my part, and I have tried activities that require a lot of assistance the day of, as the students complete them.  While I do try to incorporate some of these elements into our day, I am also a lot more realistic now about what we can accomplish, and what will keep more gray hairs from sprouting on my head!

Let's be honest, as the students come in and work, you are working like a mad person to put all of the supplies away.  You are also juggling those last couple of parents who won't stop taking pictures from the doorway, kids that are crying and need reassurance from you, and kids that are suspiciously eyeing the door, ready to run the minute you have your back turned (it's happened before, I suggest wearing comfortable shoes for unexpected mad dashes!)

We run on a mini-day schedule for the first week, so here is what day 1 looks like.

A good mix of activities, assessment, and teaching procedures.  We come in and begin work on a simple coloring page.  Sometimes the ability to open up a brand new box of crayons is all that it takes to give a reluctant child some peace!

Next, we come to the rug, and start to go over our calendar routine, and I introduce our first classroom rule.  Here is a product of mine that you can get off of TPT that gives some visual back-up to the rules.

After that, we start on our routines, we walk around the school, practicing that ever elusive straight line.  We have our bumpers up in front of us, and travel around to the different spots on campus that are important for them to know.  At this time, I show them the bathroom and water fountain (we don't have any in our classroom), and we talk about the procedures for dismissal as well.  I created this free list of procedures to help you try and remember all of those little things that you need to go over with your students at the beginning of the school year.

The first week is a great time to get some assessments done, and begin to plan out some of our small group activities.  On the first day I do an upper case inventory to check out their fine motor skills and letter formation.

I cover some more routines concerning recess and the fire alarm, which just so happens to be conveniently located in our snack area.  After we finish with that, I read them The Kissing Hand, and I do a quick check of their color knowledge.

I teach some more routines, and then we move into math.  I want to get a quick sense for which students have the basics down when it comes to number recognition and counting.

Next up is a quick art project that aligns to The Kissing Hand. 

After the art project is all cleaned up, we talk about dismissal routines, and we pack-up and go!  Every year I plan more activities then I will get to.  Things never go according to plan, but if you have all of your materials organized ahead of time, and are over-prepared, it brings your stress level down, and you can enjoy your new little people, and really start getting to know them!

Here is a quick breakdown of all the resources you can find in this post:

Check out the other posts in this series for more first week freebies!


Teacher Emergency Kit

Hi guys!  Today I am blogging over on the Kinder Tribe website, and letting you all in on a little organizational secret that makes my teacher life so much easier!  Our classrooms are our homes away from home!  Often times, during the school year, we spend more time there, than we do at our actual houses!  Having all the things that we might need at school, just like we do in our homes helps to alleviate stress and keep us prepared, that is why I always restock my teacher emergency kit every summer!

Teacher Emergency Supply Kit: All of the things you’ll want to have on hand in your classroom when real life interrupts your day.

I got most of these things at the Target or Bed Bath and Beyond's travel section.  As I was in the check out line last week, the cashier asked me if  I was going on a trip!  I just said yes, because I didn't want to explain that I am a weirdo teacher who likes to be over-prepared for any possible situation that might arise!

So what all is in the box?

#1 - Things to help you stay pretty...

1. Lint roller - adios dog hair!
2. Hairspray - get back in the bun!
3. Wrinkle Release - if you guys have not tried this yet, it is amazing!  I use it almost everyday because I'm lazy and I hate ironing.
4. Lotion - who doesn't have at least 10 of these bottles lying around as gifts given to you at Christmas/Valentine's Day/Teacher's Appreciation Day/Your Birthday/etc.?
5. Tide pen - another one of those if you haven't tried it, you need to!!!
6. Nail file - I bite my nails, I don't need this, but I'm sure all the classy ladies out there do : )
7. Hair Ties - No more using a rubber band when your hair tie breaks!
8. Bobby Pins - get back in the bun #2!
9. Safety Pins - The one thing standing between you and indecent exposure on some days.

#2 - Things to protect yo' self with...

1. Sunblock - surprise assembly outside at 1pm? No problem!
2. Lip Balm - Mango and Acai are my favorite Burt's Bees.
3. Off! - Anyone else have a recent mosquito problem at their school?
4. Floss - Shouldn't have brought that spinach dip for lunch.
5. - Band-Aid Friction Block - AMAZING!  Starting to feel a blister coming on?  Rub this on the spot, and voila! No blisters!

#3 - If you only bring in 4 things...

2. Headache Medicine - Of course I'd love for you to sing me "Let it Go" again...
3. Ibuprofen - a.k.a - I'm getting too old to participate in field day.
4. Breath Mints (see above mentioned spinach dip)

#4 - The unmentionables...(The things other teachers whisper ask for)

1. Tampons - Bring on the khakis!
2. & 3. - Tums and Anti-diarrhea medicine - no explanation needed...
4. Deodorant - Field day/Observation/Field Trip/The month of August

That's it folks!  That's what I keep in my emergency supply kit.  I make sure to have plenty of everything, because all of the teachers in my school know that I have the goods, and I am constantly getting little student ambassadors sent to my room to ask for emergency items! : )  

What other things do you like to keep at school?  What do I need to add to my obsessive pile?