5 Ideas For The First Week Of School

 Back-to-school time is so much fun! In first grade, the first week of school should be filled with meaningful activities that help your students feel "at home" in their new classroom and ease into the school year. There are a few activities I always like to include during the first week to ensure a great start! Here are 5 of my favorite ideas and activities for the first week of school! 

Use these fun activities the first week of school to help your students get excited about the upcoming school year.

1. Read Some Back To School Books 

Use books like these to ease your students into the first week of school with engaging stories they will love.

In first grade, we read books every single day but I especially love stories for back-to-school time. Books for the first week of school should help calm those nerves and encourage students to settle into their new classroom. I like to choose books that will make my kiddos laugh and help break the ice a little during those first few days. Some of my favorites include: 

Any of these books are a great place to start but be sure to check your local library too! I have found there always seem to be a few new ones for back-to-school every time I look! Also, don't forget to stock your classroom library shelves with some fun back-to-school-themed books for the first week of school. Books like these really help to help form a community in my classroom and make my new students feel welcome! 

2. Play Some Games

Next up, I always make sure to include some games during my first week of school planning. It's no secret that kiddos love games and using them is a great way to kick off the year on a positive note. When it comes to game choice, I like to keep things simple and choose something most kiddos are familiar with- BINGO! 

Grab this FREEBIE CVC Bingo activity to use in your classroom during the first week of school.
I love playing BINGO in the classroom and use it for many different topics. At the beginning of the year, I like to pick something that will be a bit of a review for my students like CVC words. Most kiddos have worked with CVC words at some point in kindergarten and so this makes it a great topic for the first week of school. 

If you want to try BINGO out in your room to help break the ice with your kiddos, be sure to grab my FREE Short A CVC BINGO set.  

These simple words will be perfect for new first graders settling back into a school routine! I love playing BINGO as a whole group, but this game is also great for small groups. 

I Have, Who Has 

turn learning into a game with fun activities like I Have Who Has.
Another fun icebreaker game is "I Have, Who Has". This is a great one for the beginning of the year since it only takes a few minutes and allows every student a chance to speak. If you're not familiar with the game, it's super simple!

First, pass out task cards to students. I like to use a set that focuses on the recognition of numbers to 20 since it's a topic that students are likely familiar with. Next, you will choose a student to start with. They will read their number and then count how many dots are in the tens frames on their card to ask who has that card. The student with that number goes next and this continues until all the cards are read. This is a super simple game, but kiddos always love it! And . . . it's another great way to get in some beginning of the year review.

3. Set The Stage For A Year Of Adventure

During the first week of school, I love to make sure I reserve some time to work on back-to-school memory books. There are so many fun ways to do these, but in my classroom, I like to use a simple booklet that students can fill out. 

The booklet we use has a safari theme and hints at preparing for a year filled with adventure! I love this little memory book because it makes the perfect project to set on students' desks during that back-to-school open house.  Each page has a different prompt and includes things like:

  • Date, Age & Drawing of Self
  • Teacher's Name & Drawing of Teacher
  • Drawings of Friends
  • Classroom Rules
  • Favorite Foods
  • Drawings of Classroom & Playground
  • Things Students Would Like to Learn

Your students will love filling out the pages and drawing the illustrations. As I mentioned, I love to save these for back-to-school night and have them waiting on the desks for parents to flip through as they arrive. It's a really great way to welcome new families and let them know their child is already learning and having fun in your classroom! 

4. Do A Fun Craft 

After we finish our safari adventure memory books, I like to continue with this theme and have my students create a little craftivity as well. For this, students will complete a writing prompt and then design a safari kid of their own to hold the prompt. These are SO cute displayed on a bulletin board and especially fun if you can get them up before back-to-school night to tie your whole theme together! 

To do this, I have my students start out with the writing prompt. I have used several different prompts over the years and even let students pick which one they want to use. Some ideas are: 

Use this fun craftivity the first week of school to help your students set goals, and practice writing sentences.
  • On my adventure this year I want to learn...
  • I think this year will be an adventure because...
  • My goal on this adventure is...
  • I want to learn...

I've also provided blank writing pages in the past, depending on the skillset of my group. Some first graders are not ready to write on lined paper just yet, so feel free to adjust this fully customizable activity to make it suit the needs of your students!

After your students have finished writing, they can cut and assemble their safari kid and glue the whole project together. Hang on a bulletin board for the perfect back-to-school display! 

5. Ease Into The Curriculum 

In the first week of school, I like to make sure our lessons provide a gentle transition back to school work and plenty of review for my new firsties. For this reason, I like to use worksheets and activities that are always a hit in the classroom. Using fun activities that I know my students love helps build confidence and independence in my new students right off the bat. 

I always have some basic review worksheets ready for use during the first week of school. No prep worksheets are a great way to review some concepts my kiddos had experience with in kindergarten. They also give me a chance to see where each of my students is starting on a variety of skills and concepts.  

In my classroom, I have a set of Back To School Worksheets that I love to pull out this time of year. The worksheets feature the same fun safari theme as many of our other activities and offer a review of both math and ELA concepts. Some of the things we cover include: 

    Use these back to school worksheets focusing on math and literacy to help your students get off on the right foot this year.
  • ABC Order
  • Beginning Sounds
  • Rhyming Words 
  • Sight Words 
  • Addition to 10
  • Missing Numbers 
  • More or Less

These skills are familiar to my students and offer a great way to ease back into daily work while also building confidence. These worksheets also feature fun formats I know my students love like color by code, dot-to-dot, word search, and more. 

Start Planning Your First Week Of School 

Ready to dive into some back-to-school planning? I hope these ideas were inspiring to you as you prepare for your own first week of school activities! If you're interested in any of these activities, or other Back to School activities,  they can all be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Have fun picking and choosing which activities to include in your first week of school!

Save these Back to School Activities! 

Don't forget to save this post on your classroom Pinterest board so that you will have plenty of inspiration to plan your first week of school! 

The first week of school can feel overwhelming for teachers and students. But, when you plan meaningful and engaging activities that not only help you get to know each other but also help students review key skills, it's sure to be smooth sailing. Use these fun activities your first week of school and plan with purpose. #firstweekofschool #beginningofyearactivities #beginningofschoolyearactivities #firstweekofschoolfirstgrade

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