Back to School with 10 First Week Lessons
The first week of school is unlike any other week of the school year. We are tasked with getting to know 20+ students and establishing a classroom community while still teaching them classroom and school procedures and expectations. Oh, and we have to squeeze it all into a week because we hit the ground running with pacing the following week. It’s exhausting and can be overwhelming. There is no wonder I usually crash on the couch at 5 every night that week.
As I am gearing up for my 8th year in the classroom, I’ve come to realize what really works in my classroom to check off all the boxes mentioned above. Every year I try out a couple new lessons, but I definitely keep my tried and true in the mix. I’ve condensed my back to school must-do’s into 10 lessons that I teach during the first week of school. The first 4 lessons are all about setting up my classroom data wall and establishing behavior/learning expectations. The second set of 6 lessons focus on building my classroom community and fostering relationship not only between the students but between myself and them as well.
I’ve spent some time this summer writing formal lesson plans for my big 10 lessons and creating all the resources you would need to teach them in your class. The resources can be found in my TPT store, by click on the links below.
Building Your Data Wall & Expectations Lessons
Pre-Lesson: Data Wall rundown, graphs, and header
Lesson 1: Crafting a Mission, Vision, and Goals
This lesson helps students establish a class goal for the year and discuss how they will meet it. Students will decide on a weekly goal and set individual goals for themselves.
Lesson 2: Crafting Classroom Expectations
This lesson helps the kids understand what type of behavior is expected of them and what behaviors they can expect from classmates.
Lesson 3: Defining a Quality Student and Teacher
Students will discuss and define what it means to be a quality student and what they expect in a quality teacher. Students also discuss and understand their job/role in the classroom and the job of their teacher and class as a whole.
Lesson 4: Establishing Classroom Procedures
This lesson helps students learn respectful procedures to make the school day and classroom more efficient and effective.
Building Your Classroom Community Lessons
Lesson 5: Student Surveys
This lesson helps you get to know students and how they learn best with class surveys.
Lesson 6: Creating a Birthday Board
Students will help create a birthday board or poster that will hang in their classroom and celebrate them.
Lesson 7: Creating a Class of Problem Solvers
This lessons helps teachers explain to students their expectation for how to best solve problems that may arise in the classroom.
Lesson 8: Laying the Groundwork for Reader Leaders
In this lesson, students will recognize the difference between fake and real reading as well as how to treat books with respect.
Lesson 9: Setting up a Writing Portfolio
This lesson helps students will create a writing portfolio that they will build throughout the year to showcase writing growth and take home at the end of the year as a keepsake. Students will practice writing in response to a prompt.
Lesson 10: Sharing Summer Experiences (You can download this lesson as a freebie and a sample HERE.)
Students will write about their summer and listen critically to classmates while they share their summer stories.
We can’t forget about the Back to School Read Alouds!
This will be my third year departmentalizing to teach reading and writing in third grade, so you know I’m a sucker for a good read aloud. Below are some of my favorite books to use during the first week.
I am always looking for recommendations for read alouds or lessons for the first week back. Don’t be shy! Drop your ideas below.
Talk to you soon,