February marks the end to our two month non-fiction writer's workshop unit. For eight weeks we read and explore elements of non-fiction texts before reading and research topics of our choice!
If you've followed along on my Instagram you know my class did a shared literacy immersion experience where each student reads, researches and writes a nonfiction book of their own about penguins. In order to differentiate, students were able to use facts from our class anchor chart or stretch their learning by including facts/new voaburlary they researched on their own. This takes place during the month of January.
After having completed one book with the support of each student writing it on the same topic, students are able to choose a nonfiction topic of their choice. Students read and record new learning in reader's workshop. In February, they write a second nonfiction book on the topic of their choice. This progression is the perfect scaffolding!
Therefore, by the end of our two month unit- we could use a big celebration! All families are invited to attend via this invitation (picture shown above is from last year).
I also prepare a special publishing shout-out of each student's book title to be handed out at the event.
The day of the celebration, I surprise the class with balloons and decorations. You can see their faces light up with excitement and its truly makes it feel more special.
Students greet parents at the door and hand out the publishing shout-out. After, students welcome families and introduce them to our classroom. They continue to read a small blurb describing their hard work and efforts in the classroom the past few months. After, they invite them to walk around the classroom and listen to a reader. Lastly, they encourage parents to write a compliment on a post-it and place it on the whiteboard.
Parents are always so impressed with the work of their first grader. It's truly a special moment in our classroom!
If you're interested in grabbing a copy of the materials featured in this post, you can download an editable version HERE.
It's that time of year again! It's the 100th Day and it's time to celebrate in style. As if the day couldn't get any crazier, our 100th Day fell on Valentine's Day last year. Lucky for me, it seems it's about to happen again this year too (assuming we have no snow days of course). I was thankful that I had an intern and some parent volunteers help prep materials, which made for a smooth day!
I'm hoping to share some of the fun activities and ideas I found online that make for the perfect fun filled 100th Day. This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.
So much of the decor and set up of this day was inspired by my good friend Maria over at Kindercraze. I'm always in awe of how creatively she incorporates color into everything she does! It truly adds a magical touch. She is the genius behind the bold and bright lettering on the banners and backdrops.
Once of the most exciting parts of the day is when students get to showcase their 100th Day t-shirt during the fashion show. I play music through YouTube, usually a Kids Bob mix so that it's something the kids can sing along to.
Maria shared her 100th Day t-shirt parent letter for FREE over on her blog.
I love the way she added 100s to the runway so I decided to do the same!
Here are some of the t-shirts from some of the students in my class last year. I love how unique each and every design of every student in my class was- their personality and interests truly shines through! I look forward to seeing the designs this year too- I'm thinking of switching up my usual.
In addition to our fashion show, students rotate freely through various counting centers. Each center is a different way we count to 100. Many of the centers are freebies Cara Carroll has so graciously shared with her readers. You can find them and all her festivities here!
THE CENTERS I CHOSE:
1. Roll and Race to 100 using a hundreds grid
2. Using the digits 1-0-0 to create a picture
3. Dollar Exchange- how many ways can you make $1.00
4. 100 Days Smarter- write 4 things you learned on the "100 Days Smarter" anchor chart
5. Read 100 books - students read books in the library and tally how many they read through out the day
6. 100th Day Hat- Ten strips of 10 stickers
7. Tally Ties- 100 tallies on a tie
8. Fruit Loop Necklace- string 100 fruit loops on a piece of yarn
Students don't *have* to complete all the centers. In the past I found that it's better to have more and keep them engaged, than having too much down time. They love having the choice of what to do and when to do it.
I ask for parent volunteers to come in and help manage the stations. Just a tip, the hat and fruit loop necklace station take the longest and could use a few extra volunteers to help speed things up! :)
As much as I don't care for winter, there is something to be said about the magic of snow. It's so enticing to kids that it's the perfect theme to integrate into that classroom that is sure to engage and excite your students. I've shared some of my favorite winter activities!
This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.
Lucky for me, Air and Weather is one of our NGSS aligned science units of study. I supplement our curriculum with my absolute favorite nonfiction snow text. It includes content specific vocabulary and opportunities for cross-curricular integration. There is so much math behind how a snowflake is formed- I love every page of this book.
This is the anchor chart that I use each year to record our key details as we read the text. I've laminated it and only write on the post-its. How perfect are those star shaped post-its that kind of look like snowflakes?!
These are also on the top of my list for nonfiction books about snow.
In attempt to make this hand on, there are so many phenomenal resources for you to make your own snow. Each year, I've done things a little different. I once used a snow making kit where I just added water. Then students placed a handful of "snow" on a black piece of construction paper and explored what they saw.
You can find a "just add water" kit on Amazon here for a great price!
This year I had my kiddos make snow slime! It was ALL the rage and this time, they were able to take it home with them. I found the recipe on a blog over on Pinterest. You can find it on my board here! I've included the ingredients below.
Last year we made "snow paint" with shaving cream and Elmer's glue. I wish I had a recipe to give you but I totally winged it- ha! This was such a blast too. We accompanied it with this super cute and fun activity from The Primary Pack. You can find this printable here and blue paper here.
It's perfectly paired with the book Sneezy the Snowman, which you can find here.
Another favorite is this snowy classic by Lyndsey Kuster from a Year of Many Firsts. I'm sure you've seen them all over Instagram and Pinterest and thought I have to do this too!!! She is the genius behind this precious creation and you can find the templates FREE here!
In years past I used liquid glue and had students create snowflakes to sprinkle with glitter. After reading my good friend Maria's post on this craftivity, she shared how she uses her favorite adhesive spray and snow glitter. The snow glitter is thicker, fluffier and truly adds texture. In order to truly let these shine, I made this slight adjustment and couldn't be more pleased with how they turned out. I keep them up for weeks!
You can find the Elmer's Glue adhesive spray here. This snow glitter is perfect for all your winter needs. You can find it here!
Another way to integrate snow into the classroom is with this adorable snowflake addition craftivity! It's the perfect way to review so many skills including double digit addition and describing your thinking. Students used number models such as tens frames, number lines and number sentences to show their thinking. It was also easily differentiated- you can have students choose their numbers or you can "suggest" numbers for each individual students. Last year I did a combination of both.
I saw this on Cara's blog over at The First Grade Parade after she saw it on another blog and added her little spin. Fortunately, Johanna from First Grade Fanatic created a black line master template!! Woohooo, thank you Johanna for saving us so much time!
Another quick tip! I love to have name labels printed for my crafts. I have a master copy on paper that I keep in the labels envelope. I copy the master on the labels as needed. You can find the labels here.
Our nonfiction penguin unit is definitely one of my favorites. If you've been following along for some time now, you know that I say this a lot but in this case, I really mean it!! I incorporate this into our two month nonfiction unit of study in reader's and writer's workshop. I chose this topic because let's face it, who doesn't like these super cute and cuddly littles ones?! Last year we were even lucky enough to have the Camden Aquarium come and bring a real life penguins to our school! It was the perfect culminating experience.
In reader's workshop, we immerse ourselves in the characteristics of this genre by reading nonfiction penguin books. I hand select the texts that I think we will be best for my students for me to read aloud and model my use of nonfiction text features. These books include nonfiction texts of all levels. Scholastic has made such student friendly options. This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.
National Geographic Kids Penguins- Explore My World
This is a great easy reader to get a taste of nonfiction. There are large pictures and very little print with some simple nonfiction text features.
Click on the image to shop this text or find it here.
National Geographic Kids Penguins!
This is a my absolute favorite penguin text to read- and my students too! There are plenty of nonfiction text features and the key details about easily identifiable. Since this is more text heavy (guided reading level M), I use this briefly before multiple mini-lessons to model the use of the nonfiction text features. As we read, we record our new learning on post-its and place them on our anchor chart (see below).
Click on the image to shop this text or find it here.
Scholastic Discover More: Penguins
This option is also very text heavy (guided reading level N) however, it comes in handy when my students have lingering questions that our other texts can't answer. There are so many facts in this book that no child will go unanswered. :) The text covers the page, the images are range from larger to small but it's perfectly perfect for modeling the use of an index!
Click on the image to shop this text or find it here.
Penguins! By Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons does it again! This book is the perfect text to test your students ability to identify nonfiction texts. The images are beautifully drawn, leaving students unsure how to classify it's genre. Many have the misconception that only books real images are nonfiction. This sparks a great conversation around this topic. It also has the perfect image with labels of all the different types of penguins.
Click on the image to shop this text or find it here.
All of our thinking gets recording during reader's workshop and then categorized into subtopics during writer's workshop. This is the perfect place to showcase all our learning.
The books below are also perfect for the discussion about nonfiction vs. fiction texts. I read these for read alouds or during shared reading this month because we can't get enough of these furry friends!
December is definitely one of those tricky months for a teacher. Excitement is growing as the holidays are near and student engagement is exactly what you need! This post is going to be a hodgepodge of all my favorite things to help keep your students engaged up until winter break!
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Our December math unit of study includes nonstandard measurement. Our lessons focus around ordering objects by length from shortest to longest and the content specific language around this topic. When exploring this skill, students can build measurement trees.
I provide students with different colored paper. They begin to cut strips of all different thicknesses. I explain to my students that they could either order from "shortest to tallest" and move from top of the tree to the bottom of the tree or vice versa.
I love how students get the freedom to create! It even gives them the opportunity to practice pattern making. This hands-on math activity is perfectly paired with the heartwarming book, The Great Spruce. You can find it here.
Each year I have a "gingerbread week." Our bookshelf is filled with all the different variations of The Gingerbread Man. We choose our favorites to read and then build a life sized 2-D gingerbread house to record all of our comparisons. The students work with partners to "decorate the house" by writing the title, drawing a labeling the characters, listing the refrain and describing the end. Below you can see a glimpse into our student directed gingerbread house.
Our social studies curriculum is focused around comparing families and their cultures. In order to make this engaging and meaningful for our students, the first grade team adopted an annual tradition. Families are asked if they are interested in volunteering to come in and share about their family's tradition. This usually includes a read aloud, activity or craft. Teachers arrange a time for each family that volunteers to come in. The students love having something extra special to take home with them each day.
In addition, I integrate a holidays around the world unit. There are so many great units online and it's important that you find the one that is perfect for you. My personal favorite is Globe Trot Scot by the fabulous Lyndsey Kuster. You can find it in her TPT shop here!
Check out scenes from our holidays around the world unit below.
Russian Nesting Doll
Holiday Globe Trot Country Display
France- shoes by the fire waiting for St. Nicholas to come!
Feliz Navidad! Decorated poinsettias after traveling to Mexico.
When traveling to Sweden and celebrating St. Lucia's Day, we used the stained glass window craft from Maria over at KinderCraze. Click the image below to download her template!
Earlier you saw a clip of our Mooseltoe activity. This idea came from Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade. I love how students can express their creativity when decoring Mooseltoe.
Our last week before winter break is filled with many themed days! We have a school-wide winter wonderland day where we wear our pjs to school, a Grinch day where we wear green and do many Grinch activities and my latest addition, Reindeer Day!
Reindeer Day is filled with reindeer read alouds, creating a pet reindeer and making reindeer food! You can find the reindeer craft and activities free in First Grade School House's TPT shop here and the reindeer food tag here! The ingredients and directions can be found here.
Click the images below to shop these great reindeer book classics!
Hosting an Elf Exchange can also be fun in the classroom. Students wrap up a gently used book and bring it to school. For a greeting, students choose a name out of a hat and give their wrapped up book to the person. It continues until everyone has been given a book to take home.
Lastly, I wanted to share an idea for student gifts with you. Last year I was able to snag some socks from the Target Dollar Spot. I paired the socks with a book from Scholastic Reading Club using this tag below. Grab your copy of the tag for free here!
Be sure to click any images from my posts to "pin" it to your Pinterest boards just in case you may want to use these ideas in the future! :)
There's nothing better than building classroom traditions this time of year! One of my favorites is this sneaky little guy that comes each year after reading The Elf on the Shelf. A special delivery is sent to our classroom straight from the North Pole! The package is always cold because... brrrr... it sure is freezing up there! His special tag and personalized notes can be found over at The First Grade Parade. Cara's post also includes so many fun ways to integrate this holiday fun into the classroom. I hope this post inspires you to embrace the magic of the season!
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Each year a new elf visits and each year the class gets the opportunity to give our new friend a name. Cheryl from Primary Graffiti was the little lady behind this cut bubble map name anchor chart idea. It's perfect to give students the ownership over our classroom elf. Each year I have students that may not celebrate Christmas, but love that they can join in on the fun by sharing something "their elf" did. More importantly, it's fun that each year our elf brings us our class tree and class menorah. Rather than not celebrating any holidays, I am passionate about celebrating them all! More details to come about our holidays around the world in a future post.
Please note that Jingles may have gotten these ideas from many of the amazing teachers on Instagram and Pinterest. Thank you all for your creativity!
Jingles took the lead last year. He sure was a sneaky little guy and my class ate him up! They came running into our classroom each morning eager to find where he would be next. They loved drawing and writing about all his hiding spots for morning work in Cara Carroll's Elf Diaries. You can get a copy of this free in her store!
Here are some of my favorite spots Jingles found himself over the years!
Jingles loved himself so much that he wanted to share some of his Elfie Selfies. He must have gotten this clever idea after we read the book Memoirs of an Elf. There are so many great elf picture books now. Some of my favorites include How to Catch and Elf and The Littlest Elf. Click on the titles to grab yourself a copy.
Jingles sure liked the sticker bin- there were just so many fun shapes and colors!
Fri-YAY was his favorite day of the week! That way he got to go back to the North Pole for two whole days! :) Our holidays around the world display is from Lyndsey Kuster. You can find it here!
There was that one day when the whole class made it on the nice list except well, for me!
Snowflake was our class elf from a few years back. His favorite hobby was making snow angels.
And he *cereal*sly loved us (and the left over 100th day fruit loops from the previous year ;) ) He sure is a crafty fella!
Turkeys have finally made an appearance in our classroom and I am excited to stretch them for all they're worth! ;) Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart. It's the holiday that is celebrated at my house every year. Traditions are everything in my family and it seems that as a teacher, I have a few special traditions in my classroom too- some of the Thanksgiving read alouds are just to name a few!
There are great discussions to be had around the idea of giving and taking the extra time to think about all the we are thankful for. I find picture books are a great way to spark meaningful discussions around these topics... and of course to throw in a little fiction fun into the mix! I am excited to share with you some of my classroom Thanksgiving favorites and how we will be using them in the classroom during our shared reading/writing block.
I have included affiliate links to these books for your shopping convenience.
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr and Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes are perfect for your classic "I am thankful for..." activities. Each year after a few meaningful discussions on the spirit of the holiday, we list what we are most thankful for. This year I found an "I am Thankful" wreath at Target. I plan to use these read alouds as the inspiration for our responses for what we are thankful for.
Our reader's workshop unit in November focuses heavily on story elements, which works perfectly for Thanksgiving shared reading and writing activities. Last year my class absolutely fell in love with The Littlest Pilgrim. We read it for shared reading and worked together to identify and write the title, setting, characters, beginning, middle and end. My friends took the information on the shared anchor chart to put it in their own words in this pilgrim flip book craftivity. Can you even handle the cuteness with those little pilgrim heads?! I know I can't... freckles and all! And we think they aren't listening or noticing the small details...
While I whole heartedly believe in the power of writer's workshop, I often find a few rare instances in the year to do some creative writing! Thinking out of the box and writing something silly can often be a tough skill for our littles. I think this is the perfect way to engage writers and get them comfortable taking a chance with their creativity!
After reading The Great Thanksgiving Escape and Turkey Trouble, we wrote shared class books about what happened if the turkey escaped on Thanksgiving and what our turkey disguised themselves as. We came up with good "hooks." "I opened the oven and...." or "We sat down to eat dinner when....." Students had to fill in the sentence stem and add all their story elements. Which perfectly ties into our reader's curriculum. Run, Turkey Run! would also be a good fit for this lesson and is the perfect opportunity to tie in some procedural writing (I.e. How to catch a Turkey or How to escape a Thanksgiving Dinner)
A Plump and Perky Turkey and A Very Stuffed Turkey are perfect for teaching into adjectives. We will make our very own turkeys and list adjectives to come up with a turkey name. I am anticipating some of my kiddos will need a stretch, in which I will teach into alliteration and rhyme. I also built this anchor chart and ask students to turn and talk about different "adjectives" they heard in the stories. I added their responses to the chart on post it notes.
I have noticed my kiddos could use some help with identifying and remembering to capitalize proper nouns. I have seen "Proper Pete" anchor charts buzzing around Pinterest which is absolutely genius! Kudos to whoever came up with that genius idea! My kiddos absolutely adore Pete the Cat and I will use Pete the Cat's The First Thanksgiving to build a "Proper Pete" anchor chart to list examples of proper nouns.
Our science curriclum focuses on air and weather. We have been making all kinds of air and weather tools to explore it's properties and what we are noticing. One of mine and the kiddo's favorites is balloon rockets! In full disclosure, I have a super competitive side... it often comes out during this activity. The Great Turkey Race inspired me to have some turkey balloon races of our own. Last year, the kiddos worked in their tables to decorate and name their team turkey. Then we took turns racing each table's turkey. We made predictions on whether we thought if there was more air in the balloon, would it travel any faster? This was the perfect day before Thanksgiving break event. It's the perfect hands on STEM integration.
If you're wondering what a turkey balloon rocket is... it's teacher language for you take two strings, each with a straw on them and attach them to chairs. Then you take a balloon, blow it up, tape it to the straw and add any turkey decoration. Have the kiddos hold the air in the balloon until the class counts down and you let go! Its AWESOME!!!
In addition to this STEM integration, we used this text to complete this adorable craftivity from Cara Caroll over at The First Grade Parade. You can find her freebie here! Before the students completed this independently, we completed the anchor chart below as a shared literacy actIvity!
Another great read aloud for a STEM opportunity is Balloons Over Broadway. It's the true story of the puppeteer of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since we are located so close to New York City, watching or attending this parade is a tradition for many families. It's incredible for our students to think about the math and science behind this yearly event!
I am always looking for new ideas to add to the ever growing collection. This year I am excited to do this darling craftivity I found over at First Grade WOW . Nancy had the amazing idea of reading 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving with her kiddos and doing a little reader's response. "Save the Turkeys! Eat more..." I am hoping to teach into some persuasive writing with this little number. And of course the stuffed turkey character to go along with it seals the deal. The picture below is featured on Nancy's post.
Follow my Instagram page Firstgrade_made for posts on anchor charts, complete craft displays and more through this wonderful turkey time!
When it comes time for back to school, one of my favorite things to do it pick out brand new stationary for a fresh start to the year! There's nothing I love more than being able to personalize it too! #Monogrameverything ... am I right? I'm thrilled to be sharing some of my favorite back to school products with you!
I was thrilled when I stumbled upon May Designs a few years ago. Their designs are completely customizable. You can choose the print, font, color, accents and more! They are well known for their "May Books," which can be customized to be a calendar, agenda, notebook, list, planner, and more! However, their stationary is all the rage too!
This year I chose to go with the notebook. I am always running from meeting to meeting with post-its and it just seemed time to have one central location for all my important information. Since I was designing it for the purpose, I choose the lines. They give you the option to include colored lines, dots, grids or blank pages.
This print is one of my all time favorites! May Designs recently teamed up with Emily Ley to include her eye catching fresh prints from her own personal planner brand. It was a tough choice between the stripes and pineapples, both are so me! However, the name of the striped print sold me. It's called Happy Stripe!
Lucky me, they also included the Happy Stripe print in the stationary styles. When customizing the stationary, you the option to choose the print, font, color, accents and more as well! I decided to have a plain back with my name at the top. I plan to use these to send notes home to families. However, I am tempted to go back and snag some personalized thank you designs as well! They are too cute!
Hoping to get one of your hands on these beauties for back to school? Shop May Designs here and be sure to enter my giveaway for your coupon code to get a May Book for free!!! In order to enter, visit my Instagram here and follow the entry details. Giveaway runs August 5th-8th 11:59 PM EST.
Last year I dreamed of completing a special project to surprise my students and their families at the end of the year. I had found the idea and inspiration for a Student Portfolio from the sweet Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade.
The primary grades are filled with immense amount of growth and special memories that you want your students and families to always remember and cherish. Student portfolios are the perfect way to capture all of that and more for your students! I had posted some pictures of the completed portfolios at the end of last year and had received some questions regarding how I put them together. In attempt to answer those questions, I wanted to share with you the year long process in time for you to start the year off with them!
To get you started, you'll need a class set of three ring binders (I use 1 inch but you can adjust to fit your needs), manilla folders and Avery 5160 labels. I am lucky enough that my student supply list includes binders. Therefore, the students already have them and do not need to purchase them.
The manilla folders are used to house the student's complete products all year long. Each student gets one folder. Once the student's work comes down after being hung up, it goes into their manilla folder, rather than home in their homework folder.
If you begin to notice in the picture, I attempt to keep at least one thematic piece from each month/holiday season. This can include writing responses, crafts, lists, etc. It's up to you to customize what you would or would not like to include.
I also keep a writing portfolio specifically for their writer's workshop pieces. Both portfolios measure and show an immense amount of growth.
If you choose to keep the student pieces in a manilla folder, it will help to keep the items in chronological order. This will make it much easier when assembling them at the end of the year.
I didn't put them into the binder until the very end of the year. I used a hand held hole puncher due to the fact that most of the student pieces were larger than a 3 hole puncher.
Something I will consider and try to do more is use student name labels on each child's completed work. Often times due to the limited time constraints in our schedule, we only have a minimal amount of time to complete these types of activities. Therefore, we finish and clean up in a hurry which means sometimes our names don't always end up on our completed work.
The times I used Avery 5160 student name labels, it was not only easier in managing the student work, students felt proud when they saw their work clearly labeled and identified.
I will admit that I had help when assembling these. It didn't take as long as you would think! No matter how long it takes, I assure you that it's worth it!
Both the parents and students loved them equally! I can only image myself as a parent and how special of a gift that would be for me to receive at the end of year. It's priceless! :)
If you're thinking of doing student portfolios, you can find the Student Portfolio cover I used here. It is a document that will allow you to add text as you need. (Student name, year, teacher, school, etc.)
Be sure to let me know if you have any other questions that I missed!!
The first days back are the most exciting and yet overwhelming days of the year! Empty bulletin boards, a new audience for all your favorite read alouds and of course, all the crafts and activities you've pinned on your "back-to-school" Pinterest board all summer. In full disclosure, I was victim to trying to do it all on the first day but the reality is- you can't! Last year I attempted to try a new back to school method- less is more. I tried slowing down and staying simple with my lesson plans for the first days. Rather than rushing to try to do it all, I made sure to take time to enjoy the small moments that we need to cherish those first few days. I definitely recommend it!!
This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I receive a small income each time someone makes a purchase using some of my links, which helps to support the blog.
I'm sharing with you my short range lesson plans for the first days of first grade and hope you can find some inspiration along the way! I've mapped out the all the read alouds, crafts and activities as well as teaching into the routines and establishing the rules/expectations. It's brief but get's the job done! :)
The first day we spend a lot of time learning and practicing each other's names and doing ice breakers to get to know more about one another. Our focus is on building a community, in addition to reviewing and modeling the rules and procedures. I love to integrate this during our daily morning meeting time. Some examples include graphing our kindergarten teacher and reading/responding to the book "You're Finally Here" with their summer activities (anchor chart idea from Amy over at Step Into 2nd Grade)!
Another activity I do to make the student feel comfortable is one I got from the lovely Cara Carroll over the The First Grade Parade. After reading the book, The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, I tell a story about "Miss Take" to my students. *Cue the dramatics :)* I share all the mistakes "Miss Take" makes and what she has learned from them. Then I tell them that "Miss Take" is actually me. *Gasp* This encourages your students to not only be okay with making mistakes, but also teaches them how to learn and grow from them.
Once that is in place and students feel safe and secure, its important to foster the foundation for becoming a life long learner. I find I love to engage my learners first through my love of reading. The best way is to put on your teacher pants and do some of your best read alouds. How spot on is this meme?! It could not be more accurate.
So, choose your favorite author or book series and align them with engaging crafts and book talks. I love to start out with Kevin Henkes books- they are perfect for making connections to hook my kiddos as readers and their messages are perfect for building a classroom culture. His characters are so strong and memorable that we even refer to them as a mentor text throughout the year.
Chrysanthemum is great to explore learning names and Wemberly Worried is the perfect text to make connections! There are so many great resources online to supplement these texts if you are looking for a little something extra.
My personal favorite is this craftivity I got from Amy Lemons over at Step Into 2nd Grade! I tried to find the link to the template but I can't seem to find it! I'm sorry! :( Amy if you see this, hook a girl up! I'd be happy to provide the link.
I have all the heart eyes for this craft- I love the way they all look hanging up year after year at back to school time. Their responses are always so precious! Take a look at this cutie!
There are so many other great read alouds to build community this time of year. Here are some of my favorites! Each of them have such a strong and unique message. I love the way the messages go hand in hand with building our classroom rules/promise. If you're looking for ways to integrate them into your plans, refer back to my lesson plans.
Click on the titles below to snag yourself a copy!
Also, have I mentioned David Shannon is a genius?! I read these books a few times a year, year after year and I still laugh... every time. Usually the kiddos enjoy this so much that it's the perfect behavior mentor text! After reading, we make this chart and complete one of the fabulous crafts from the Friends in First by Lyndsey over at A Year of Many Firsts about being respectful, responsible, really safe and ready to learn.
These crafts are my go to at the beginning of the year. They truly set the tone for clear expectations in the classroom.
I know adorable, right?! I can't take any of the credit... Lyndsey is amazing and all her products are fabulous. You should go check them out here! I use many of the crafts and printables from that product, as well as many of her themed products all year long. What I love most about these crafts is that above all, they have meaning and purpose. It allows my kiddos to develop a stronger conceptual understanding of the 4 "Rs" (responsible, respectful, really safe and ready to learn) and set goals for how to attain each of our class rules.
Lastly, just before I am ready to start teaching the curriculum, there are two very important content related community building activities I love do do. If your school follows the Responsive Classroom approach to behavior, you'll know this activity very well!
As a class, we spend time thinking about all our "Hopes and Dreams" for the year. I usually give the students some private thinking time before sharing with their neighbor before sharing it out with the class to put on the anchor chart. After I list their ideas, they go to their seats and write/draw out their hope and dream for the year. You can find this printable in in my store here. After, I place them on colored paper before laminating and hanging them for the start of the year.
Lastly, before starting Math Workshop I use my Math Workshop Community Building unit to build our community of mathematicians, establish routines and set expectations. This is the perfect math workshop priming unit before you dive into teaching content.
This resource includes templates to use as anchor charts. When printing, I change the print features to "zoom 200%." This will print the document into 4 pieces, which can be cut and glued to create a larger poster size.
After we complete them as a class, I laminate and hang them up to reference during our first unit. Often times I reiterate these expectations and lessons throughout the "first six weeks" of school. You have quite the eye of detail if you notice they the fonts are slightly different. I recently updated this product! :)
The resource also includes printables to make your very own "Math About Me & My Community" class book. This is the perfect activity for getting to explore real world math, while also getting to know our classmates.
I hope you found some inspiration for any first days of school lesson plan activities! I'm always looking for any new ideas myself. If you have any you'd like to share, be sure to comment below! :)
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