First Day, Back to School Fun

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Howdy friends!
Do you get first day jitters?  I know that I do, but something happens right when that first little friend walks in.  The “teacher instinct” kicks in and it’s all about getting the little ones settled and starting to learn about them.  The focus finally shifts from my prep work for my students’ arrival to the actual students.

We had such a blast on our first day back.  I know that every teacher says this, but I’ve got a special group this year!  I’m excited to see how the year progresses with this group.

Now that our first week is over, I wanted to share a few activities that we did.

“Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes is always a beginning of the year favorite.  This year was no exception!  This was actually the very first lesson that I taught during my first year of teaching.  I think it’s safe to say that it has “stuck” and for good reason.

As we read through the story, the kiddos took turns crumpling up a large butcher-paper heart and then trying to smooth it out.  Love the visual that is created to show how words can hurt.  I also loved the creativity that the students showed while trying to figure out how to smooth the paper again.

 This year I added a little poem to the heart after we were finished.  I got the idea for the poem from the wonderful [First Grade Parade].

What first day would be complete without a school tour?  Even though most of my students are familiar with the school, we are in a new area for them and it’s always nice to refresh at the beginning of the year.

I can’t think of anything better than a “Pete the Cat” scavenger hunt to explore the school.

We started by watching [Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes].  I have the book, but the singing in this video just added so much fun and couldn’t be passed over.

After watching and singing, the kiddos finally noticed the little note with a blue paw print hanging by our meeting area.  With that, we were off on our scavenger hunt!

You can grab a FREE copy of our Pete the Cat scavenger hunt by clicking either of the pictures below.  I even made it editable so that you can choose what areas your students visit!

Finally, we ended the day by reading “Swimmy” by Leo Lionni.

After reading “Swimmy,” we created our own fishes.  This was a really good informal assessment on drawing ability, cutting ability, and fine motor control.  No template involved – just the kiddos being creative.

Tying in with the theme in “Swimmy,” we worked as a class to put our fish together to create a larger fish.  If you look closely, you’ll notice the two fish making the tail, two fish making a mouth, one a tongue, and the black eye.

What was so special about this activity was that at first all the kiddos just put their fish in random spots.  Once they realized that a large fish had not been created, one of our little leaders spoke up with an idea that we should use a pointer and each student could show where he or she thought their fish should go and then the class could agree or disagree.  Talk about MELT MY HEART!

We’re on to our first full week of school tomorrow.  If you’ve already started school, I hope it’s going great.  If you start tomorrow, GOOD LUCK!  And, if you haven’t started yet… well lucky you!

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