My Favorite 1st Week Activities

Back to School time (while slightly depressing) is also so exciting!! I am thrilled to sorta-kinda know what I am doing this year and have a handful of lessons/activites to choose from!  I have already shared a *rough draft* of my first day plans.  I was going to finish out the whole week but decided just to clump all my favorite activities together instead since I will most likely move them around anyway!  I like to have a plethora of options to choose from since you never know what will happen that first week!

Summer Vacation puzzles

After listening to "How I Spent My Summer Vacation", students illustrate something they did on puzzle paper. I encourage them fill the entire page! Then, they cut it out and swap with a friend.  Once they have put their partner's puzzle together, they can share about their summer vacation.
{You can find free puzzle paper here}

This year, I bought actual real puzzles for them to use! They were $12.99 for 24 from Amazon. This eliminates the cutting part (which to be honest takes a long time).  My plan is for this to be an early finisher activity for the first two weeks or so...

Inovart Puzzle-It Blank Puzzles 28 Piece 5-1/2" x 8" - 24 Per Package

Behavior Stories
We ALL know that expectations and routines are what makes the classroom go round.  A few years back I decided to create some stories about fictional students who make positive and negative choices.  We use these stories to jumpstart conversations about behavior, not just in the classroom but all over the school.  This packet includes recess, lunchroom, bathroom, hallway, groups, and homework! You could even have students act out their fictional character to model acceptable and unacceptable behavior!

Mrs. Spitzer's Garden
This is a new one for this year.  I was recommended this book, Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, as a great back to school read aloud.  I immediately bought it from Amazon (because that's what I do when people suggest buying anything school-related).

It is the sweetest, most endearing book.  I may have teared up as I read it to my husband who proceeded to make fun of me.  So of course I had to whip up some activities to go with it.  You can find those here.

Find a Friend

This is one of those simple activities I keep on hand as a filler usually at the end of the day the first week. It lets the kiddos get up and moving after what probably feels like a lifetime of routine and expectation review and practice.

Math Tools Exploration Activities

I was inspired by Amy Lemons for this next activity.  Students just love math manipulatives but let's be honest, some students see them as toys instead of tools.  So I use one of those first days to review how we use each math tool and allow for a few minutes of free exploration before we go over expectations.

Then, to be sure that we are all on the same page, they complete this sort of dos and don'ts.  It is something I like to hang onto for those inevitable slips where Johnny flings a rubber band across the room.  I can pull this out as sort of a contract, if you will, to remind him that I know that he knows he shouldn't be doing that!

You can find these activities and more in my Math Manipulatives packet.

Numbers About Me
Speaking of math, this Math About Me is wonderful! I know there are many versions of Math About Me activities but I love this one because we can look at the 0-99 chart and discuss patterns and uses of this math tool! It is a perfect first week activity because it seems like fun (coloring, answering questions about yourself) but it is a perfect informal assessment of my kiddos math skills.

Trash Can Math

I think I mention this game in pretty much every blog post.  I won't go into details but you need to know it is the best game ever and you should go read about it in the blog post where I do go into details ----here----.

So there ya go, those are my go to activities.  And I am such an expert considering this is my 2nd year as a full time teacher *wink wink*

What are your favorite first week activities?

1 comment

bri.mott said...

Wow! Loved this post. I had never heard of trash can math and am definitely going to use it in my classroom next year! One activity my class loves to do is the getting to know you motion chant. Each child says their name and one thing they like to do. We create a motion to match as a class. Ex - Kevin likes eating pizza (mouth munches). Then the next person gets a turn. The catch is that we add on each child and their motion to the list. By the end, going back through 24 names is quite daunting, yet as a class we was able to learn each students's name and something about them in 30 minutes!