Monday, August 17, 2015

A Peek at My Week: The First Days of School {FREEBIE}

Whew! The first week of school is in the books and this teacher is STILL exhausted even after a weekend to try to catch up! But I did want to share with you some of my favorite activities we did from the first week of school! Take a peek below into our first week of fun!

Even in the 3rd grade, we are all still a little nervous. In our school, the K-2 are on one side of the building and 3-6 are on the complete opposite side of the building. We call it the "Big Kids" side and the kiddos get a little intimidated in the transition over to this side of the building. So I began the day by reading First Day Jitters. This is a familiar book that they have all read before, but it's just so cute! I use it to ease their minds and let them know that even I, the teacher, has the first day jitters! We all get a good laugh and relax a little bit after the story. I use that time to introduce myself and then for the students to spend some time introducing themselves using the two activities above from my Back to School Activities Pack!

Next, we get up and moving around the room! I like to incorporate quite a few bodily-kinesthetic activities in the first week just in case any of the kiddos have the wiggles! We did two more activities from my Back to School Activities Pack where the students get to know their friends and the classroom environment.

Next, we start talking about our school-wide expectations! We begin with responsibility by reading Just a Little Homework. The kids can all relate to getting a little distracted and making excuses as he does in the book. We also tie this into the 7 Habits - Put First Things First.

We learned about obeying expectations by reading Miss Nelson is Missing. This is always a class favorite! We then talked about the playground rules and why they're important before we went outside for recess. We created a brochure for the Kindergarteners at our school to help them learn the playground rules as well! Authentic writing! You can find this writing activity in my August/Back to School Common Core Writing Activities

We spend a great deal of time talking about cooperation, because we spend a great majority of our school day working with partners and in groups. We read the story Swimmy and then the students completed the What Should We Do? activity from my Back to School Activities Pack. This activity encourages the students to really cooperate and synergize (7 Habits vocabulary) to compromise on a decision.

Continuing on with cooperation, we completed this activity that I saw posted on 4th Grade Frolics. Thanks for sharing, Tara! The students must "Save Fred"! Fred is the gummy worm and the cup is the boat. Fred is in the ocean and the students must rescue him by getting the gummy lifesaver around Fred and getting Fred back in the boat all without using their hands! They do have tools to use though - paperclips only! The students worked in groups of four to try to "Save Fred" and then we talked about how we had to cooperate in order to make it work!

Next we talked about keeping a positive attitude by reading Pete the Cat. Even though this is a very early elementary book, I just love the way that Pete has such a positive attitude and I love the message at the end! After we read, we worked with partners and toothpaste! The only directions I gave was to squirt all the toothpaste out of the tube and onto the plate with the help of their partners. The kiddos didn't have a problem with that at all - ha! Next, I looked at them and said, "OK, friends, now please put the toothpaste back into your tubes. Go!" *insert confused looks from all my kiddos here* They were all like "Mrs. Rector, that's impossible! We can't do that!" I look confused as well - hee hee! The takeaway from this activity: Choose your words wisely, because once they come out of your mouth, you can't put them back in! I do explain that you can clean up the mess and apologize (we threw the toothpaste away to symbolize this), but you can never put the toothpaste back in the tube. This led into a meaningful conversation about using kind words, having positive attitudes, and respect towards others. NAILED IT!

We ended our fun after the toothpaste activity with Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse where we had more discussion about respect towards your peers and your teacher. This type of conversation is what creates our family-like atmosphere in our classroom and I think it's KEY to having a smooth operating learning environment with mutual respect among teacher and students. 

We also talked about friendships and what it means to be a good friend. One of the stories, among many, that we read through the week was Rainbow Fish. I love the lesson learned in this story and it's just a great book that the kids really like! We followed that up with my FREEBIE Back to School Common Core Writing Activity about friendship! I use this piece of writing as a quick little assessment of their writing skills in the first few days. Click the link or the picture below to download for FREE!

Towards the end of the week, we needed to get some structure and routine happening so we began using my Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time: Back to School Edition to write about our favorite summer memory! The kiddos are doing great with this and the step-by-step approach is perfect! You can save over 20% by grabbing Perfect Paragraphs: THE ENTIRE BUNDLE! This product will absolutely change the way your students write paragraphs! It's been an amazing tool!

Finally, we used Blair Turner's Back to School Interactive Notebooks to get acquainted with our interactive notebooks: cutting quickly and efficiently, using glue without using a TON of glue, and placing the interactive pieces in our notebooks correctly! This was a fun little intro to so much more interactive notebooking to come!

So there you have it! Our first week is done, blogged about, and in the books! I am SO excited to continue on and make even more awesome memories with this great group of kiddos! Here's to a great school year, my friends!


  1. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing these helpful and great ideas with books!!

  2. I am super excited that I found your site. I am hoping to start my first year as a teacher in the 2016-2017 school year. I will be a 2nd Grade Teacher (fingers crossed**). I am nervous and want to do my best. Thank you for supplying information about what you have done and are doing!

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  6. Hi! I just finished my 1st year teaching 2nd grade and one of the things I struggled with was behavior management and enforcing classroom structure. For my 2nd year, I'm thinking a lot about the importance of the teaching classroom routines, procedures, and expectations on that first week of school. I loved your post, but I was surprised you didn't emphasize class procedures and expectations as much! Any suggestions on how to implement strong and clear class routines and behavior management program in between the fun, ice-breaking activities for the kiddos? Thanks!!

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