The First Week of School

Are you looking for ideas for your first week back in the classroom? I'm excited to share my top 5 "Must Do" back to school activities in this fun linky party with my friend Stephanie from Mrs. D's Corner!
Because I teach kindergarten, I think it is SUPER important to snap a first day pic of each kid.  These are always loved by parents especially if their morning was too crazy to take one of their own), and are perfect for the end of the year slideshow.  If I don't write it in my plans however, I always forget to do it.  And lets be real 99% of the time I take them in the last 10 minutes of the day as I panic that I forgot to fit them in during all the first day routine teaching, kid wrangling, parent comforting, crazy that is the first day of K.
One thing that helps is having a little sign printed ahead of time.  I made a few quick options for pre-k through fifth grade for you that you can print and use today, did I mention they're FREE.  Happy Back to School, check that off your to do list. ;)

While we're talking cute kid pictures...I also snap a picture of each kid for our birthday board.
I don't print anything special for these ones, I just write the number for each kids birthday day on a dry erase board, put a crown on them and hope I didn't miss anyone.  I make small prints of each photo and display them by month on our board.  It makes a cute display that's a little more personal than just writing down their names.  The kids love looking at their pictures and seeing which friends have birthdays close to theirs!

Okay so lets get into some actual teaching. Read alouds are a must the first few days because most kindergartners have sat and listened to a story before so thankfully I have attention for longer than 7 seconds.  One of my newer favorites is Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale. Clark is an excited little shark that zooms into school, crashing through the classroom, and acting wild at recess.  Luckily he has a great teacher that helps him contain his enthusiasm and get down to business. I use this book to introduce rules and I found this awesome freebie from Read with Me ABC. After reading the book we brainstorm rules the students think are important and then make them into a class book.  Check it out here:

My next favorite read aloud has been a staple for me since my first year teaching, and I am sure most of you already have this one in your plans, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  I usually do a ton with this book including a school tour, class book, a craft, and this awesome Venn Diagram activity I found from Erin at Eberhart's Explorers.  Head over to her blog to read more and grab it for FREE!

Last, I need to get down to business and start taking some formal and informal assessments of my students' abilities.  If you teach kindergarten, you know the never ending list of concepts you assess at the beginning of the year.  We are not lucky enough to have students come in before hand to get these done, and usually do not have anyone to help us with them so we have to get real creative with ways to fit them in while students are learning the first few weeks. One of the ways I get these assessments done is by using interactive emergent readers.  After introducing the first one, each book follows the same pattern so students easily adapt to the routine and know what to do.

With these readers students practice cutting/glueing:
Reading words/coloring:

Identifying letters:
And even get to sing a fun song while they learn!

These books are a great informal assessment of students fine motor skills and give me the chance to assess students one on one while they complete their books independently.

You can find my Interactive Alphabet Readers here:

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