First Week Of School Activities
Get Started On The Right Foot!

Can you help me with some first week of school activities to make the first week of school less stressful? That's a request I get from many teachers.

The first week of school is so important, it can set the tone for the beginning of the school year and quite possibly the whole year.

Every year, I was filled with mixed feelings about the start of the new school year. I felt excited, regenerated, nervous, overwhelmed - I could never sleep the night before school started.

I always spent a week at the end of August to organize myself for the 1st week of school and set up my classroom to make it a welcoming environment.

Everyone is different - You do what's good for you! But, please keep in mind, YOU MUST KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!

Start off on the right foot, because believe me, the kids will know - they are sizing you up, just like you are doing to them. You can never take away that first impression.

I go nice and easy. Always keep in mind that your students have been off for the summer and so have you.

The first week of school activities begin with setting up your classroom. It's important to make your classroom a "welcoming" environment - and that is so true - for you, your students, admin and parents!

You want your kids to feel safe and happy, as well as making it a learning place. You want them to want to come to school, just as you do. And you can start with the look of your classroom.

I also allow my students to sit wherever they want in my group seating arrangement. Throughout the next day or two, I observe them and change students around where necessary.

Your classroom layout, displays, decorations, bulletin boards and classroom furniture are important to help motivate and stimulate your students. Be sure to have a look at my various pages dealing with classroom layout .

The first week of school activities include ordering your classroom supplies, teacher and student supplies. Each teacher's classroom supplies will vary depending upon the grade they teach.

The first day I also give out school supplies; pencils, erasers, ruler, scissors, crayons, etc. Every student wants cool school supplies. Have a look at my page on student supplies and get a list of necessary supplies that all students will use on a daily basis.

The first week of school activities should include achieving these goals.

My first goal is to ease us back into the swing of things - which means a lot of review from the year before.

I start with a review of their previous year's work. For example, if I'm teaching a Grade 4 class, I would have made up 15 addition, subtraction, multiplication and division questions (one operation each day, possibly taking questions from the Grade 3 math text).

The first week of school activities also include me giving a spelling review (previous year's words), grammar sheets, fun activity sheets (you can get activity sheets from "Scholar's Choice" or "Scholastics"), simple art lessons (start filling up the classroom bulletin boards), and gym classes (even soccer baseball outside).

My second and most important goal for the first week of school is to get to know my students' names, a little bit about their personalities and for them to get to know me as well. I do that through various games and activities.

Remember - let them know you as a person; for example, I tell them about my family - husband, 3 kids and a dog. Have a look at my page about getting to know your students.

There a several classroom games that are part of my first day of school activities:

1. The "Name Game"
2. "Getting to Know You" activity sheets.
3. "My Favorite"

Learn more about these activities by reading my page on classroom games. They're fun and very effective.

The third goal is to set the foundations of the classroom - e.g. the classroom rules , routines, timetables and what's expected for the year.

I also introduce the student agenda . Student agendas are a very important element for effective teacher parent communication.

The final thing I did to end the first week of school was to give out a little certificate that I sign and date, that said "I hope you had a GREAT FIRST WEEK" or "Welcome Back - Good Luck". It also had some type of school symbols or funny animal picture. And believe me, even the Grade 6's loved them.

And .... before you know it, the first week is over. Only 39 more weeks of school to worry about! NOT .... with my help, some of those worries will disappear.

Sooo, that's about it - Be organized and prepare yourself by using these first week of school activities.

Be thankful and grateful that you have a job you love or really like. Be YOURSELF and ENJOY!!!

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