It's that time of year! Back-to-school is in FULL SWING and I thought it would be a great time to share some of my FAVORITE activities for the first week of school! These activities are geared toward first grade but can absolutely be applied to K or 2nd!!
During the first week of school, my number one priority is building relationships! It's easy to jump straight into routines and content right away, but if we don't take the opportunity to facilitate a relationship with our students FIRST it's going to be really difficult to teach ANYTHING. I find that students who are excited to come to school are more willing to listen and learn from me and from each other. I want every student to feel comfortable and safe. I want students TO WANT to come to school.
I also like taking the time to learn about my students because it helps me figure out how I can reach them. If my students are really into a particular game or show or character, you know I'm going to pull that in to every content area I possibly can! Below are some really easy activities and ideas I use to help facilitate a relationship with my students during the first week of school.
1. Scavenger Hunt
I love to help my students get acquainted with the school and my classroom using a scavenger hunt! You could also have your students complete this activity as part of your Meet the Teacher night! The student pennant banner pictured below is something I stick in my welcome folders to parents/families. They complete the banner and return it to school with a picture attached. If you print the banner on colored Astrobrights paper it makes for a colorful hallway display! These printables are editable and can be found in my Back to School Teacher Kit (more about that here).
2. Class Books
One of the best ways to build classroom community during the first week of school, in my opinion, is through specially selected, shared read aloud’s. I like taking that to the next level by making these class books!
Class books are the perfect addition to your classroom library and they are so easy to make!! I read a story with my class and then have students respond to the story on a response page. Everyone has the same page! We take the responses from the whole class and glue/tape them into these Target blank books. Then we add them to the classroom library and students can read them all year long.
Here's an example using one of my favorite BTS books, Chrysanthemum. We read the story together and then discuss what we learned about this sweet little mouse. At the end of our discussion each student fills out the response page, writing about the importance of their name. These pages are then collected and placed in the class book. The final piece is then placed in our class library so students can read it and learn more about their classmates!! (Check out an example of the response page with my cutie pie 2 year old below)
My BTS Class Books set includes 8 templates and coordinating response pages for the following titles:
*First Day Jitters
*No, David! or David Goes to School
*A Bad Case of Stripes
*Do Unto Otters
This set also includes two Class Book templates that don't require a read aloud: Summer Fun (students write about their summer break) and Class Numbers Book (students write important numbers about themselves). Each template included is unique and comes in different leveled writing lines. You can find more info about this set HERE or by clicking the pic below!
3. Go Fish!
I love to use this Go Fish! activity during morning meeting the first few weeks of school! I have a bucket filled with fish that have prompts typed on them to help us learn about each other. I choose a student to go fishing and we turn and talk about the prompt. I choose a few students to share what they learned about their classmate/partner. I really love how this activity has students focus their attention on what they learn from each other! It's also a great way to practice the procedures for "turn & talk."
4. Wemberly Worried Writing Craft
It's always nice to send students home the first week of school with something they made to show mom, dad, grandma, auntie, etc. It's even more wonderful when that special something came from a meaningful activity!! If you're planning to read Wemberly Worried to your students for back to school check out this adorable Wemberly craft featured in this Book Social.
5. Back to School Math Riddles
These BTS Math Riddles are SO MUCH FUN! They're also a great way for me to see what my students can do! The following math skills are included: Mixed Addition to 10 (with a number line included), Counting objects to 10, Counting objects to 20, Counting to 100 (1-25, 26-50, 51-75, 76-100). There are 10 riddles in all. You can also find these riddles in my Math Riddles BUNDLE!
If you're looking for more read alouds & activities to help build your classroom community by focusing on topics such as manners, bullying, growth mindset, and friendship then don't miss my previous post: Must Have Back to School Books! These activities are perfect for planning past the first week of school!
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Thanks for reading!! What are some of your favorite Back to School activities? Tell me below in the comments!
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