Welcome to my weekly series I will be publishing highlighting first grade themes and ideas you can use in your classroom. Each week I will share with you what we did in our classroom the week before. In our room we choose a theme or author, specific skills that we focus on and then we plan. I have the most amazing team that meets weekly. We are all pretty laid back, Our collaboration has created many new ideas for our students. and we work really well together. Everyone steps up to the plate, shares, and it is pretty stress free. I know I am super fortunate to have this and I’m thankful to be in a happy place. So for that reason, I want to share with all of you so maybe you can get one or two ideas from us!
The first 4 days of school for us we read back to school stories trying to make school fun and enjoyable. We learn some of the basic rules and routines but we save most of that for the second week of school. This year I made some fun puzzles for my students to complete as morning work. I don’t like to do paperwork, especially on the first day, because I really don’t know their levels. I don’t want to cause frustration right off the bat! These were a huge hit with the children. They completed them and then switched with a friend. We did them a few days because they enjoyed them so much and I created 25 different puzzles!
On the first day of school I read “First Day Jitters”. In the morning we talk about how we felt coming to school. I also send a letter home the night before school at our Open House telling the students to bring something special to school on the first day that will take their jitters away. After the story we share what we brought. This year I was able to bring my daughters with me since they started school a day later! Super helpful and a fun treat for me!
Then we make jitter jars. We write all the things that make our jitters go away in our jars. This is my first writing sample and it gives me an idea of their writing abilities. They are super cute hung up on their lockers or in your room!
In the afternoon we make a mini book and talk about the things that give us the jitters. This is fun to see as well. I had a funny this year. Check it out below! Gas gives me the jitters too!! (I’m not sure if that is what they meant???) If you know, let me know in the comments section. It sure made me laugh.
On the second day of school we read “Pete the Cat Rocking in my School Shoes”. We tour the building like Pete does and we get our the guitar for some fun pictures. We also do this little fun guitar craft!
On day 3 we read, “If you Take a Mouse to School”. We do a little predicting and we talk about how they prepared for school and how the teacher prepares for school. This is a great opportunity to discuss all the things you did and how it is their new home. We talk about taking care of things in the room and ownership.
On the last day of the first week we read “Froggy Goes to School”. They love the part where he is at school in his underwear. We make these fun little frogs and write about the character froggy. A lead up to next week where we talk about characters and setting.
During this week we do our first poetry flip book about called School Bus. We learn about periods, commas, rhyming, and sequencing altogether. We glue our poem in our poetry book and work on the activities in the flip book. We also practice reading the poem together pausing at the commas and stopping at the periods.
We also complete our first big writing. On Thursday we do our prewriting. We learn about an introduction, detail, and a conclusion. We always start out with opinion writing because it is the easiest for my students. We sing our opinion song and do the pre-write with a lot of guidance. We learn about my favorite writing word, “snip its”. I’m sure it is not a real word…but we use it all the time. In my pre-writing I only want us generating ideas, no need for full sentences.
On the second day we review our pre-writing and turn it into a story. By this time I have looked at all pre-writing and I know who is ready for a whole story and who needs to work on a sentence or sentences. I model the story for the whole class using one of my student’s pre-writing. Then I get those students off and writing. Next I work with a smaller group of students and guide them on a writing that they will be successful completing. Off they go and I walk around the room. In the picture below you can see two different options given, however I have a lot more for each topic. I wanted to start out simple. This opinion writing was… Would you rather stay at home or go to school? I LOVE that we are all writing about the same topic but everyone can be successful at their own level.
As you can see above my students love the mini offices. We use them for everything and they are open to all students. They don’t have to ask to get them, they just help themselves. They offer accommodations with letters, sounds, chunks, colors, number words, number lines, 120’s chart, writing, months, and days of the week.
Finally, I have to share with you this fun freebie. I use this the entire week of school. Whenever we need a little break, I pull out a question and we complete it. The goal of this activity is to get the children moving around the room, build connections, and for me to get the know the students. Super fun and free!
That is snapshot of our first week! I hope you were able to grab a few fun ideas!