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.
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:
I hope these resources help, and be on the look out for Kindergarten - day 2!