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  • Writer's pictureSaresha Zentner

How to Prepare for a Smooth First Week Back to School!

We've all been there. Thinking about the first week back to school and what we should add to our empty lesson plan book. There will be plenty of time to introduce new topics and assess students.

I recommend you use these first few crucial days to get to know your students, build relationships, practice classroom procedures, and have some fun.

Classroom Procedures

We all know how important it is to set expectations and put procedures in place right away. I have found it so helpful to take the time to think through different classroom procedures and expectations and write them down.

I like to use these pages to record what I think will work for this year. Of course, things may change and you will probably have to be flexible, but in my experience it is best to be prepared ahead of time.

Then, I transfer all of my expectations and procedures into one slideshow. This makes it super easy to sprinkle in some procedure teaching, review, and practice when needed.

Ready to Go Activities

Once my procedures are planned out, I find it so helpful to have a couple ready-to-go activities that I can rely on anytime during that first week back. Some of the activities take 10 minutes - some can take up to an hour!

Here are some of my favorites that I've included in my First Week of School Activity Packet:

  • All About Me - these activities are always so fun. It gets kids to come out of their shell and tell about themselves. I always start by modeling and sharing about myself. I love finding connections between students this way!

  • Wordsearch - this may sound simple - and it is! That's okay. This is my favorite way to start out the beginning of the first day. It is low-prep for me and low-stress for students. Everyone knows how to do a word search and can get started right away. This frees me up to address unexpected parent or student situations that may arise.

  • Math About Me - this is a fun way to tie a get-to-know-you activity with some low-pressure math. Students will answer questions about themself and then write a math equation that equals that number. It can be as complex or simple as students make it.

  • Reading Color By Code - this is another fun way to review and practice reading comprehension. Students will read a short story and answer comprehension questions. Then, they will use their answers to color the picture in by code.

  • Classmate Search - I love this one year after year! Students go around and try to find classmates who like or have done certain things on the worksheet. This is another fun way to draw connections between students as they are getting to know one another.

  • Letter Writing - I have done this almost every year of teaching and it is one of my favorite way to get to know my students. I start by writing a letter about myself (childhood, family, hobbies, etc.) and then ask them to write a letter back to me. I keep these letters to see their writing growth throughout the year, but also study them to learn more about each student.

  • Bookmark Doodles - Who doesn't love creating their own bookmark. This one combines a 'which is your favorite' element to design their bookmark. This is perfect for the first day of library.

  • Wonderopolis - This is a favorite site of mine. I like to use this as a first time practicing technology procedures and expectations. Students will use the page in the activity packet to review expectations and record their learning.

All of these activities are included in my resource and are READY TO GO for you!

The cherry on top is that I have a 30+ page slideshow included to display directions and examples for each activity as you present it to your class.

This is something I wish I had my first few years of teaching. It is a game changer for anyone, but especially someone who has a lot on their plate and needs some no-prep activities!

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