The first day of school is always fun and exciting!

Before I share some of the lessons and activities for the week, I just want to say that most of these beginning ideas grew long before I joined the first grade team, so as awesome as they are, I can’t take credit for creating them all 🙂

Arrival- This first day, I always put out a basic coloring sheet. It helps me to take  quick survey of basic fine motor, I can tell if they know how to write their names, and it keeps them busy as I greet the other children and help them get unpacked. I always like to play a little fun music when they first come in, especially since they are usually so quiet. Music definitely sets a fun mood!


Morning Meeting- I’ll go into detail about my (short) morning meetings at another time)

Launch Read to Self!- Day 1: I introduce students to their book boxes. I put some easy readers in each book box, and then students choose another book from the shelf to add to their box.  We practice the 3 ways to read a book (Read the words, read the pictures, and retell). I ask them to try the first two ways on our first day of first grade. Then we spread out and the students practice this on their own for one minute.

I called the students back and gave them the three expectations (Stay in my spot, Read the whole time, Quiet voice). I modeled what that looked and sounded like, along with what it did NOT look and sound like.

Then students went back to practice for just 1 more minute.


Read Aloud- I LOVE to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! The first day of school. I know that the kindergarten teachers at my school do a lot with it, but it’s too much fun not to read!

I then chart  “_______ will be in this room” on the easel (I write this out ahead of time).

The students take turns coming up to point to the sentence when it’s their turn on the chart ( I check for 1-1 match).

Then students complete a class book page “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom _____________ will be in this room”.

All they have to do is write their name, and draw a picture. They write the letters of their name in the coconut tree on the class book page.

I know this is a simple task, but it helps everyone to be together on the first day succeeding. It also helps me to collect information about the students, and helps them to learn each others names!

Walk Around the School- 

It’s always nice to take a little break and bring the kiddos around the school. On the first day, we practice walking in a line, and touring the school. We take this very slow so students remember (or learn, for new students) about our school.

Read Aloud- I snuck a “just for fun” read aloud in right before lunch time.

A My Name is Alice project- I read the story A My Name is Alice ( I actually read the first few pages to students, then skip around a bit). Then, we brainstorm things that begin with the first letter of each child’s name

I prepare the chart paper with student names:

John likes_______________

Chris likes ______________

Then, we fill in a word that begins with the same letter.

Students come up and practice reading this line as well. Then I display it as they complete this fun project.


I use tracers for the heads and just a half sheet of construction paper for the shirt.


Math- On the first day and through the first week, I like to incorporate pattern blocks for math. The students are tired, they miss their families, and playing is just what they need to do. I put pattern blocks out, divivde studetns into groups, and they have such a fun time.


Magic Playdough- One of the most awaited (by me) activities of the day!

For the past two years we have made magic playdough and it has been a truly magical experience for the kiddos! Make little balls of homemade playdough, press your finger in to make a hole and hide a couple drops of food coloring inside. Close the ball up and it will look plain and white, until they start massaging around (I always have them mix it in the bag at school. The food coloring will dye your hands until it’s all the way dispersed inside the play dough!)

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I like to keep lots of read alouds handy, since you never know when you’ll have an extra few minutes!

There you have it… day 1 🙂