Thursday, August 20, 2015

What to do During the First Days of First Grade

When you're beginning your career as a teacher, you have a vision of what you want your classroom to be like. You put lots of time and effort into the organization of your classroom. You hear advice like, "you can't be too harsh." (Yes, I saw that just the other day.) You hear that you need to be firm and teach routines. It can be really overwhelming.

A guide to the first days of first grade: activities, books, establishing rules, and building community--lots of ideas and freebies!

For the first few days of first grade, I just like to have lots of things planned and prepared, but I base the sequence mostly on how much time I have before a required transition and how the kids are feeling. I repeat activities. I break activities down into smaller components.

It's important to realize that the kids can't sit and listen all day. You also have to realize they will get really tired! I always thought I should have lots of active things planned, but by the afternoon they were way to exhausted to do anything!

I've put together a document that I use as my plans for the first few days. I have the sequence vaguely planned before the kids show up, but it's very flexible. I've included lists of procedures to teach, books I like to read, the steps to establishing rules or a class contract (two possible procedures), activities for the first days, and a few free resources. (Including the poem below and a beginning of the year survey.)

I'm sharing this with you for free. It's Not very fancy, though! ;)
I hope it's helpful to someone!

First Days of First Grade Plans and Poem (freebie!)

One of the things I do is a craftivity to supplement Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I just have the kids make coconut trees with their names on the trees. We display it in the hall with a sign that says, "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! Look at who's in our room! If you want to use the patterns for tree tops and trunks, the letters, and the sign, you can get it in my TPT store for a dollar.

Beginning of the school year craftivity to accompany Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

I've also been creating some new decor. I use a transportation theme. I've made a 0-20 number line with 10 frames, an ordinal word train, a color words display with cars, and months of the year. With the months is a page of cupcakes. You can edit it to include student names and birth dates and display it as a graph if you'd like.

Transportation themed classroom decor from Not very fancy

Finally, if you read my last post about my thoughts on starting the year, you know I'm trying a new approach to meet the teacher night. I made a power point presentation. I'm going to have it printed and posted around the room. I'm also going to play it on a loop on my interactive white board. For my own classroom, I added pictures of supplies from a Google image search.

Meet the teacher night idea with a free editable template.

The details will be different for everyone, and I can't share the supply images, but if you'd like to use the templates, I have an editable file for you.

If you like these freebies or the transportation decor, I hope you'll pin them so others can find them as well. Thanks!

You may also like these posts focusing on Back to School (they include more freebies):

If you found this post to be interesting or fun, I'd love for you to connect with me!

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photo credit: New Colors. via photopin (license)


  1. Hi Deb. Thanks for your plans. I love to read what other teachers do. I now call my plans my "first week" plans... what I don't get to on day one, I move to day two... and I aim for it all by the end of the week. I use a giggle ball to share things around the circle and they love that. Also thanks for the slides with monsters. Just so you know, when I first clicked on it the slides were blank, except for the last page. I downloaded anyway and there they were. Thanks for post! Kathleen Kidpeople Classroom

  2. I'm not sure why that would have happened with the slides. I printed the plans from school and the words on the poem were on top of each other. I updated them, and added my beginning of the year survey. Hopefully the new version will print correctly. Technology is great when it works!

    It is good to just know in advance what you want to get done in the first week, but to know you'll have to be flexible.


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