Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First Day of School Activities

Picture this: It's the first day of school and your students are arriving with their parents. The kids are lugging in bags of supplies, you're chatting with parents, and you're trying to get everyone settled and busy. Every year I struggle with the constant flow of parents coming in to meet me and ask questions. So I decided to come up with an activity that would keep students busy, engaged, but  not overwhelmed. I also kept in mind some ELA Common Core training that I recently received. One of my areas to grow is the opportunities I give students for speaking and listening. My plan is to have the following "This is Me!" graphic organizer on students' desks as they arrive. Then students will have the opportunity to share them with the class (hit those Speaking & Listening standards!). I'm also going to give out play-dough for students to create their favorite animal and to tell their groups WHY it's their favorite. Click on the picture & link below to download my "Back to School Activities" pack.

  Click here to download FREEBIE

For the first piece of writing, students may use the graphic organizer to write a paragraph about themselves. I like to collect  a first day writing sample from my students so I can determine where each student is with writing. Plus, who doesn't like writing about his/her self?

The next handout is a short back to school math task. This will help keep those early finishers busy!

Lastly, on the first day, I enjoy reading the book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. This is a must-read! After the read aloud, I share a Memory Bag with three things that tell about my memories (this is my modeling how to share). We discuss that a memory is something you remember and how memories can be happy, sad, funny, etc. I send home a brown paper bag with each student and staple a note to the front explaining their homework- Collect 3 objects that represent your memories. The following day, students share their Memory Bags. I take this opportunity to explain what makes a good listener (there's a good anchor chart I found on Pinterest about good listeners). This share time will provide another opportunity to hit those Speaking & Listening Common Core standards. Yay!!!

I hope you enjoy this free pack of activities and ideas. They are great way for getting to know your students and building those relationships!

Speaking of memories, here's a picture of one of my Yorkie babies, Elphie. She brings me joy every day!

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