On this page I have included information about beginning the school year.  I have organized the information in to three sections: Before School Starts, The First Day, and After School has Began.

Before School Starts

Calling Your Students

Send a Note

Registration Day/ Sneak A Peak Day

Wish List

School Supplies

To Do List Before School Starts

First Day of School

First Thing in the Morning

Lesson Plans for the First Day

Establishing Class Rules

Establishing Procedures

Great Beginning of the Year Read Alouds


Pictures of the Classroom

Sending Home Parent Information

After School Has Begun

Back to School Night/ Open House

Projects for the Beginning of the Year


Before School Starts:

Calling Your Students

     We usually get our class lists about two weeks before school starts (I know how lucky I am- I have heard horror stories!!).  We are encouraged by our administration to call each child and introduce ourselves to the family.  I highly recommend this.  I have often received interesting information (and some pleasant surprises) from these phone calls.  I usually call during the day when parents are working and end up leaving a message on answering machines.  It is a nice touch and doesn't take that long.


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Send a Note

     Another thing I do is send a letter to each student.  I know that some students are nervous and unsure.  I believe that this settles and calms them!  Besides, mail makes them feel special!  In my letter this year I introduce myself and tell the a few things we will be doing this year. Last year I just prepared them for what to do that first day.   Here is a copy of my letter from two years ago and here is a copy of the one I sent last year.  Feel free to save it and make any changes to it!  I usually get that cute kid paper from Wal-Mart and print them on that.


This year I will be moving down to second grade and I thought that my letter should reflect this.  I also wanted to include some of my credentials.  Click here to see a copy.  Please note that I used several types of fonts including Little Cuties, Comic Sans, and FH Kristen Script.  You will need to download these in order to view the letter correctly. Here is a copy of the letter in PDF.


Here is a wonderful link to scholastic with examples of letters for students AND parents.


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Registration Day/ Sneak a Peek

What is Registration/ Sneak a Peek Day?

     We usually have registration about two days or a day before the kids arrive.  This is something my school/ district does and I am not sure if all districts do this.  It is a morning (about 9am-1pm) where children and their parents can come in and meet the teacher and find their classrooms and get a packet of information from the school. 


What is given out at Registration?

     The school has several papers they want to pass out so I keep my papers to a minimum.  The school sends home a menu, Inclement weather directions, bus route information, Emergency information card for the office, Clinic cards and I think that might be it.  Maybe a map of the school?  These kinds of things. 


At my new school we have Sneak A Peek.  It is similar to registration, but the amount of paperwork as been arranged differently.  Basically it is just a time to get information out, meet parents and introduce yourself to your new students.


What does this packet look like?

     So this is what the packet of information looks like.  I get large manila mailing envelopes.  I stuff everything that DOES NOT need to be signed and returned inside the envelope (like the menus and maps and information basically).  On the outside one copy of each paper that needs to be filed out and returned is paper clipped to the outside of the folder.  (By the way this system is NOT my bright idea but it works wonderfully and most the teachers at my school do it this way).  This way parents know exactly what they need to fill out and are not confused.  On the bottom or top of the envelope I write each student's name so parents can easily find their child's packet and at the end of Registration I know who did not come.  Parents are expected to fill out this information at Registration so I make sure to have plenty of pens or pencils as well as the Yellow Pages or White pages to look up phone numbers.


At me new school, the paper is distributed differently so I do not put together a packet of information.


How is Registration organized?

    Many teachers so it differently but this is the easiest way I have learned to organize it.   I set up several stations around the class room.  Since I have tables I have each table as a station.  On each station I have a sign with directions for what to do.  I glue down each printed out paper on a large sheet of the 11 X 18 sheet of construction paper to create a tent. Families rotate in a circle and when they are back at the door they can leave!  For copies of the printable signs click here.  I will explain each station below.


This year, I was too rushed to create the construction paper tents.  Instead I simply printed out the directions on cute school paper I bought at the Dollar Tree and taped down to the desks.


Below is a picture of the stations from my new school.  I have included a description and printables to the left of each picture.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.


Sign States

What to Do


1.   Please sign in and fill out the information sheet.  If you would like to be contacted about school events and information about your child through email please sign the list below.

On this table I have two things out.  On is a copy of this sheet.  It has all the contact information I need for parents.  I go ahead and staple it into a file folder (I like to use a colored folder) so it is always at my finger tips.  The other sheet is a sign up sheet for parents to receive emails.

Information in the picture:  This is the first station that parents signed in at.  There were three forms.  The first was a sign in sheet that also served as a list of parent's email addresses.  The second sheet was a clipboard of How Will I Go Home sign up sheets.  The purpose of this sheet was to let me know how to send home the kids. The third sheet was a phone documentation form.  I finally figured out it took me forever to fill out one form of information per child.  This year, I had parents fill out the top.  Then I put all of the forms in a clasp folder and use as a parent communication folder. 

All forms are  returned to the white bucket.  The small black basket held pens.

2.  Important Information

This was the second station for parents. It held a variety of importation information.


There were three forms at this station.  The first was a clinic card provided by the school.  The second was an inclement weather form provided by the school.  The last was a sheet I received from teammates.  it was a detailed information sheet about how the child will go home for just the first week, with each day listed.  I do not have  a copy of this form since it was given to me as a hard copy.

There was also a white bucket to return papers to and a white basket of pens.

3.  Volunteer and Parent Surveys



These are forms that I have found somewhere (maybe on www.proteacher.com?) and have modified to my needs.  The first is a form requesting parent volunteers.  The second is a parent information survey that lets me know about the student. This is the survey I mentioned earlier.    Here is an example from www.teachertools.or  site and/or Teaching is a Work of Heart website.

Here is an EXCELLENT example of a child information form shared by Andrea from PA.

Here is another example of a child information form from Mrs. Wrights first grade classroom.  Click on the parent feedback form.


4. Random Stuff



The title pretty much sums this up.  There was a PE form from the school, a school supply list and something else that I can't remember!


Wishing Well

Although it is not listed as a station I have a table that just *happens* to be on the way along with the others that is a wish list.  I usually have a big bowl in the middle with some kind of goodie (Starburst, lollipops, etc.).  I take the small shape note pads by Carson Dellosa that look like apples or pencils or stars and write one wish list item on each paper.  Then parents can just grab a sheet and go!  For ideas for you wish list look below.  Also, when kids ask to have a piece of candy, I tell them as long as their mom/ dad says its ok!  Then parents usually notice it!
Thanks for coming!

I had this on the same station as the Wishing Well.  I got the idea from some of my clever new team mates.  I bought two boxes of mini popcorn.  Then I printed a sheet of labels that said "Thanks for popping in!"  in Tinker Toy font. I stuck one label on each packet of popcorn for families to take with them.  I thought it was a cute and simple to make thank you!


Reminder Board

On my white board I usually write a large sign that invites parents to attend the school's Open House Night.  Then all around the note on the board I have sticky notes with the information written on it (Open House, the date and time) so parents can grab one and go.  Our Open House is an evening shortly after school starts for teachers go over expectations and procedures as well as curriculum and testing.  See about this below.


Frog Business cards

I used to make business cards off of my printer or order them from www.Vistaprint.com.  Then I would stick a a magnet on the back so parents would have my contact information for their fridge.  This year, since I was swimming and overwhelmed at my new school, I got a cheap idea from another colleague.  She had made star die cuts from the die cut machine at the school.  Then she printed of address labels with her name, school phone number and email.  I thought this was brilliant so I decided to make my own.  I cut out frog die cuts, printed out my  information on address labels, laminated them and stuck a magnet on the back. Cute, cheap and eye catching!


Drawing Station

I have this out for the students to do while their parents are filling out forms.  It is just a large sheet of white butcher paper.  I labeled it "Mrs. Gregory's Second Grade Stars."  Then I drew a picture of myself and labeled it.  When kids come in I encourage them to draw a picture of themselves and sign it as well.  I do this for two reasons: one, it keeps them busy, and two, often their drawings are very telling of where they are developmentally.  Then when students arrive the first day of school, I have this hanging in the hall.  They already have their artwork proudly displayed before school even starts!


Any other final hints?

Also, make sure you have things for little brothers and sisters to do.  Often families arrive as a group for this so be prepared.  I usually have my library open so kids can read.  Also make sure you don't get "trapped" talking to on parent. I don't mean this to sound negative, but it is your job to float around and meet and greet, not conference with individual parents.  So how can you do this gracefully?  Many times I make it a priority to meet with the kids, taking them on a tour of the room.  I show them their cubbies, the library and other points of interest in our classroom.  Also, if a parent wants to talk I may listen if it is only a minute, but is it is longer I simply say, "I really think that this sounds important and  I would like to talk more about it.  However, it is busy in hear and distracting.  Can I call you or email you about this? I want to make sure I understand it all." Then you actually have to call or email!

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Wish List

These are the items that are not included on our school supply list but are so helpful during the school year.  Students are not required to buy theses, but can volunteer to purchase these if they choose. 

  • baby wipes

  • band aids

  • ream of color copier paper (any color)

  • white copies paper

  • index cards (any size)

  • hand sanitizer

  • erasers tops for pencils

  • extra #2 pencils

  • gallon zip lock baggies

  • quart size zip lock baggies

  • Sandwich size zip lock baggies

  • Candy for the candy box

  • Post it notes

  • gel pens (for black paper)

  • Magazine subscription to __________ magazine


I think this year I am going to ask for magazine subscriptions to a few kids magazines. Maybe have a family "sponsor" one? My parents have agreed and I am hoping one more might! It would save some cash for me!  No one volunteered last year, but I am hoping parents might be a bit more active in the lower grades!
There are many lists out there, but these are just the ones I actually ask for and use!

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School Supplies

     Listed below you will find the school supply list that my school sends home.  We are encourage to "stick" to the list and not ask for different supplies.  It causes too much confusion in the office when parents call during the summer!   My point of including this information is not to show what other teachers use in the classroom , but HOW they use them.  My first year I remember thinking, "What do I do with all this stuff?!?!"  Hopefully things will get your brain thinking!  I am including both the list from fourth grade and from second grade.


Second Grade


Supplies How I Use Them
4 Mead Composition Notebooks Students will use one notebook for their Writer's Notebooks.  I have used these for years and they tend to hold up pretty well.

Another notebook will be used for their spelling/ word work.  Students often use these for brainstorming and finding patterns in words.

The third composition book will be used for math notes and math work.

The last notebook will be a science and social studies notebook.  I will not use this as an interactive notebook, but we will use it to draw pictures and make observations and collect ideas about the world around us.

4 Pocket Folders with Brads (one red, one blue, one yellow, one green) The red folder will be the students unfinished work folder and homework folder.  Students will store any work that needs to be taken home and finished or finished up during free time.

The blue folder will be the student's reading folder. 

The yellow folder will be the students' writing folder.

The green folder will be the student's science/ social studies folder.

One three ring binder (1 inch)  with pockets inside the front and back covers At this point, I am thinking that I will use he students binder to become their Bee Binders.  I am still thinking on this one.

06/08- I ended up using this as a modified BEE binder.  The kids kept their agenda (provided by the school) and their math workbook (thin consumable workbook from the math series).  This stayed in their  book bags. I never had to worry about kids leaving it at school because it lived in their book bags! It worked out great- I usually assigned homework from the math workbook or a worksheet they stuck in the front pocket. It worked very well and kept everything all together.

One three ring plastic pocket to keep pencil in for homework (a pencil bag) Students will keep this in their binders and it will be used to store parent notes and pencils.


pack of dry erase markers I will collect these and store them for student use on the small dry erase boards.   I will provide a sock for each student.  Students will store one dry erase marker in the sock so they always have a marker and eraser (the sock).
red pen I am still thinking about this...I am thinking kids will keep their own and use them when we check work together.  Students will store them in their pencil bags.
notebook paper  
highlighter pen Students will keep this in their pencil bag.  I use highlighters a good bit in reading groups and also word work and checking work.
ream of copy paper (to contribute to class) This is great!  Parents donate copier paper and I use these for drawing assignments, final drafts, paper for my printer and so on.
#2 pencils The next couple are easy ones!!!
 notebook paper  
 Kleenex (to contribute to class)  
Glue sticks/markers/scissors/colored pencils or crayons and pencil bag to store in (if student wishes a personal set).  No pencil boxes.  

computer headphones





Fourth Grade



How I Use Them

2 spiral notebooks

I intend on using one of these spiral notebooks as a reading notebook to keep track of what we do in groups, notes for mini lessons, book lists, etc.

The other notebook will be used with our Spelling.  We use Sitton Spelling and students do lots of looking things up and brainstorming.

  1 composition book

We use this as our Writers Notebook.  These are sturdier than spiral notebooks and papers do not tend to rip out as easily.
 Plastic expandable file folder (see picture)


In years past we have used binders.  We have always had problems with kids bringing zip up binders and Trapper Keepers which do not fit inside desks.

This year we (the whole grade level) decided to try something new when a teacher said this worked for an "organizational challenged" child.  We will see how it goes!

1 dry erase marker (dark color) Use when we do white board activities. Students keep in their pencil pouches.
    3 pocket folders (pocket only, no brads) One will be used as the student's Friday Folder (weekly behavior information and papers), another as the  writing folder (holds drafts, editing information, writers workshop expectations, and their writers notebooks)  and a reading folder (papers from groups and our reading spirals).
ream of copy paper (to contribute to class) This is great!  Parents donate copier paper and I use these for drawing assignments, final drafts, paper for my printer and so on.
#2 pencils The next couple are easy ones!!!
 notebook paper  
2 boxes of Kleenex (to contribute to class)  
Glue sticks/markers/scissors/colored pencils or crayons and pencil bag to store in (if student wishes a personal set).  No pencil boxes.  

computer headphones





Organizing School Supplies


One of the most difficult part to the beginning of the year (to me at least!!) is getting everyone's supplies ready. This is SUCH a headache to me!  I actually dread taking out all the pencils and crayons and spiral notebooks because there is always stuff the kids DON'T need mixed in there and the supplies breed and take over their desks and area.


This year I found a way to simplify it. My grade level requested specific colored supplies.  This made everything SO MUCH EASIER!  Here is what I did:


First I decided what each supply would be used for (see above)


Then I used address label stickers to create a label for each subject area.  On the address label is the child's name and number and the subject area.  However the BEST part is I color coded the labels.  For example our writing folder is yellow and I knew we would all use a yellow folder for this.  So, for the writing label is says the child's name and number, and then writing folder in YELLOW.  Each child will also have a writers notebook (composition book).  On this label is the child's name and number and Writer's Notebook all in YELLOW.  The kids know all the yellow label things stay together. Here is an example of a label page.  I cut the page into thirds and each child got a "strip" of labels.


 It was SO much easier to label supplies this year. The kids understood it and it took no time at all.  In fact, I was really shocked.  I collected all but two of their pencils (unless they were cool colored ones- I only took yellow pencils), dry erase markers, extra highlighters and pens, and notebook paper.  I will use these to replenish the supplies as a class.


The kids kept their own crayons, scissors and markers.  Instead of a pencil box or pouch which can break or fall out of the desk, This year I collected 20 white Sterilite baskets.  I purchased them 3 for $1.00.  I thought $7.00 for a class set was great! They are perfect for holding pencils.  Students keep all their markers, crayons, scissors and so on in the little baskets and two pencils in the tray in the front.  The white basket fits perfectly in the desk between their books and folders.  Also, it is really easy for kids to get supplies because all they have to do is slide it out!


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To Do List Before School Starts

This is the list that I am working on.  I am sure I will add to it as I think of more things I need to do for the school year!   Click here for a printable version of this list.


Here is an example of a checklist from Scholastic.

Here are several Back to School lists that teachers posted on Proteacher.  I have cut and pasted them into one word document.   Check it out for some excellent ideas and lists!

Mrs. Kilgo's to do list


Make New Friends!

      If you are new to the school make it a point to meet your new team, the office staff, the lunchroom staff, the librarians and the custodians.  All the "stuff" we have to do in the classroom is important, but so is our sense of camaraderie (is this spelled right!?) and interest in others.


Organizing the Classroom Atmosphere

            Clean off my desk and organize it for the school year

            Finish organizing the classroom library

            Find places for the students to put their new supplies (For example, Kleenex boxes, computer paper, etc.) These supplies are the ones I will be collecting.

            Arrange the classroom.  Put furniture in places that are easy to walk around, where all students can see the board and you can always see all students!  You may want to think about setting up specific areas/zones with purposes (library, writing area, etc.)

            Organize the indoor games cabinet.  Include a picture of the cabinet neatly organized so students have a model.

            Label all storage boxes and cabinets so students know what is inside

      Sort all math manipulatives

      Label Clock

      Organize math calendar wall- don't forget to label coin denominations on math calendar wall


I have set up my classroom with these specific areas in mind:

          writing center for all of our writing supplies

         reading corner/ classroom library

         meeting area for read aloud and mini lessons

         teacher area for my materials and my computer

         area for student computer (must think about internet drops and outlets)

         Where will office passes, library passes, Kleenex and other important items go?


      Cover you bulletin boards and put up border.  If you have time, decorate the boards.  This should be the last thing on your list!  Since bulletin boards are not stressed at our school, I rarely change mine.  One is a math calendar board, the other is word wall.


Organize Paper Work/ Prepare for Documentation

      Re-label my Friday Folder box with the new class

      Prepare my grade book with new names

      Do you have all the forms you need?  Get a few extra lunch count forms, attendance forms, discipline forms, leave forms, Money accounted for forms, and so on.\

      Create Registration Day packets.

      Create your sub folder.  This should have information for a sub if you are unexpectedly absent.  Have spare activities, worksheets, schedules, emergency information and a class list.  Also include blank copies of attendance and lunch count sheets. A wonderful website with information to include is pre-kpages.com


Preparing for the Students

      Put names on cubbies and desks

      Call each of the students

      Assign each student a number

      Create label sheets for each students to label materials

      Put each textbook in the students desks.  Make sure text number matches students personal number.

      Number all of the paperback workbooks and put in corresponding student's desk

      Write your first day letter.  Check here for the example of my first day letter.

      Write your parent letter with information on procedures for the class.  Here is an example of mine.

      DO YOU KNOW HOW EACH CHILD WILL GET HOME? This is very important.  If you dont you need to find this out BEFORE the first day if possible. Here is a list that parents complete for me during registration.  It made it A LOT easier the first day.  I go ahead and pre-type the names in advance so parents only need to circle and write in a bus number.

      Student List- have several copies that you can use as check off lists, have one posted one the door for students and families to check out.

      Pre-address one postcard for every student and stamp the post card.  As the year goes by, pick up one post card out of the stack, jot down a nice note and send it home.  Read more about this here.


Classroom Management

    KNOW YOUR PROCEDURES FOR EVERYTHING!  Have them written down on a list you can refer to when explaining them to students.  Here is a list of the routines I go over with students.  This is just a rough outline of where to start.  Ms Powell at www.mspowell.com has an excellent list.  Click here to see it.

    Will you be creating your rules with the students, or will they already be posted?  Create your poster if they will be posted.

    What is your behavior management system?  Will students pull strips?  Then you need to make a pocket chart and slips.  Will they move a clothespin on a stoplight?  Then you need to make a giant stoplight?  Will you have a clip board?  Then you need to make your clipboard sheet.


Agghh!  What Am I Going to Do!

      Prepare lessons for the first week!  This is very important!

      Pull materials for any craft or activity.  You don't want to be fumbling around for any construction paper while your new students wait, and wait and wait....



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First Day of School

First Thing in the Morning

     The first day of school, first thing in the morning is probably one of the MOST chaotic times.  Students are coming in confused and unsure.  Parents are coming in to tell you, "One little thing about Bobby."  Supplies are flowing out of backpacks.  Lunch money is everywhere.  Yikes!  So how do you keep things organized and ready to go and your sanity?  Well, I haven't quite figured that out yet- but here are some tips I have picked up along the way!!

Have your classroom clearly marked.

     Not all students and/or parents are able  to make Registration day and are trying to find the classroom on the first day of school.  Make sure your classroom is clearly marked.  I like to post a class list outside my door so that kids and parents can double check to see if their name is on the list- also if any friends are in the class!


Have a clear welcome message on the board.

     We are so lucky in the upper grades because most our students can READ!  I have no idea how kindergarten and first grade teachers do it!  When students walk in I always have a good morning message.  On the first day it usually says something like:

Welcome to our class!

 Come on in and find your seat! 

On your desk you will find a letter that tells you everything you need to know!

I am so glad to see you!

-Ms. Gregory


Have students desk/table area/ storage areas clearly marked.

     I go ahead and mark student's table space (or desks) with name labels so they can easily find their seats.  So many teacher stores have all the cute name plates.  I know teachers that contact paper the plates down or use clear packing tape.  I usually just write the student's name on the desk in permanent marker.  Hairspray or nail polish remover will take the name off if needed and students just drag around their desks when I rearranged.  Now I make my own name "plates" because students sit at tables and then after we switch a new student sits in the seat.  I take a large piece of construction paper, mark in the middle table # ____ and around the edges write students names.  Where the students name is, is where they sit.  Then I do the same on the back side for my other class.  When my new class comes in I just flip the tags.


      Since I also use cubbies I have to label these areas.  I use neon colored file folder labels.  I write each child's name on one an stick it above the student's cubby.  This way students' will always know which one is their cubby.


Have clear directions waiting for the students on their desk.

     I usually write a letter to the students on the first day of school.  The letter contains clear, step by step directions what they should do (and where things are located.  I got this idea from a fellow teacher at my school and it rocks.  The letter tells them what to do with their supplies, where to put lunch boxes, what to do with lunch money, where to put their stuff.  It also is a good indicator of who can follow written directions!!!)  Here is an example of my first day letter from last year.  Here is a copy of the letter I am using this year.  It is very similar, but I edited out some information.


Because I have moved down to second grade, I simply have students take all their materials to their seats.  They hang their book bags on the back of their chairs.  I collect any tissues and computer paper since these things are usually so big.


Have clear spaces labeled for supplies.

     Students will walk in with supplies for the class that they will have no idea what to do with.  In your letter give them specific directions for where supplies go.  I have a spot marked for computer headphones, computer paper, tissues and any extra white board markers.  With my second graders, I collect these from them.


I got this great idea from a message board somewhere, on their desk is a large paper bag from a grocery store.  I went to Kroger and asked for 20 bags.  They were happy to donate them for free.  Students put all the rest of their supplies in that bag.  EVERYTHING.  Kids will want to know if this goes where and so on; I tell them everything goes in.  Then their book bags are empty and and their supplies are contained.  Since the first day is so crazy, we don't usually get around to organizing the supplies to the second day.  The students keep their paper bag under their seat until it is time to organize the supplies.


Have an activity on their desk.

     After students finish getting organized have a sheet with something for them to do like a crossword, coloring sheet, all about you sheet and so on.


     For my second graders I had a two sharp pencils (so there would be no worried about sharpening the first day) a word search with everyone's names in it (from Puzzle Maker - make sure to check the bottom of the puzzle to see if all names make it.  Sometimes it will only fit 18 out of 19 names and you might need to edit it) and a hidden picture from Highlights on the other side.  This gives them PLENTY to keep busy with until the day is ready to begin.


Hopefully this will free you up to wander the room, comfort children- and comfort parents!!!


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Lesson Plans

Here you will find my lesson plans for the first day of school and the first week of school.  I  have posted my lesson plans for last year and my lesson plans for this school year.    I am going to cut and paste my first week of lesson plans here so that I can link the activities listed in the plans to here they can be found on the site or on other websites.  A printable version can be found below.


Lesson Plans for the First Day 2006-2007


Lesson Plans for the First Week of School 2006-2007 (printable version of those below)

Lesson Plans for the First Week (2004-2005)

This year I typed my lessons in longer format since I was at a new school and was swimming.  I needed something in my life to be as detailed as possible!  I was flexible and did not do every activity or changed some, but it was a great place for me to start.

First Day of Second Grade lesson plans (2008-2009)

Second Day of Second Grade  (2008-2009)

Third Day of Second Grade (2008-2009)

A new year, a new grade level!  These are the lesson plans that I used for the 2010-2011 school year in third grade.

First Day of Third Grade 2010-2011

Second Day of Third Grade 2010-2011


First Week of Third Grade 2011

* Helpful Hint* - My co-teaching partner taught me this simple, yet BRILLIANT idea for movement.  Since students are not used to sitting for long (or any) periods of time they will need frequent movement breaks.  Have students play Heads Up Seven Up.  This game accomplishes two goals.  Not only does it allow students to move, but then students have to remember and learn names when they guess which student picked them!  not sure how to play Heads Up Seven Up?  Read here for directions!

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Lesson Plans for First Week of School 2006-2007 Fourth GRade







See first day of school lesson plans or more details.



  1. Morning Work
  2. Specials: PE
  3. Go over procedures on the procedure checklist
  4. Have students line up in birthday order without speaking.  Emphasis on nonverbal cues, mouthing, hand signals, etc (team work)
  5. Label all materials and folders, etc
  6. Finish up the Squiggle line activity from Monday
  7. Begin Initial Writing sample.  Read aloud Chris Van Allsburgs The Mystery of Harris Burdick.  Have students create a story (45 minutes) to match a picture of their choice. (writing)
  8. 3 Corners Punctuation- Label each corner with a punctuation mark (period, question mark, exclamation mark).  Teacher closes eyes and counts to 10.  Students tip toe silently to a corner.  Teacher says a sentence.  What punctuation the sentence ends with, students tin that particular corner are out. (basic grammar assessment)
  9. Read aloud Odd Velvet (being an individual/ building classroom community.  Discuss difference in laughing at verse laughing with)
  10. Return to procedures if time



  1. Morning Work
  2. Specials: PE
  3. Go over Procedures checklist
  4. Complete Initial Writing sample with Chris Van Allsburgs The Mystery of Harris Burdick.  Have students create a story (45 minutes- total of 90 minutes of writing) to match a picture of their choice. (writing)
  5. Create Friday Folder (add sheet, label folder, procedures and put it where it belongs)
  6. Read aloud Leo the Latebloomer (being an individual/ building classroom community)
  7. Finish activities from yesterday




  1. Morning Work
  2. Specials: PE
  3. Go over Procedures checklist
  4. Read aloud Tacky the Penguin and create a personal logo to glue around or class pledge.  Introduce the idea of themes and tie into Beth Newinghams theme posters.
  5. Model and complete DROPS in the Bucket sheet (This is a language arts review sheet by FROG publication we send home weekly for homework).
  6. Punctuation 3 Corner
  7. Read aloud Tyrone and the Swamp Gang (Doing the write thing, not following a crowd, bullies/ classroom community)




  1. Morning Work
  2. Specials: PE
  3. Go over Procedures checklist
  4. Assembly
  5. Practice DROPS in the Bucket with a partner and check. 
  6. Model and practice morning work/ DOL.
  7. Complete Tacky the Penguin logos.
  8. Play Procedures Jeopardy
  9. Complete Friday Folders
  10. Finish anything from the week!




Establishing Class Rules

After reading Ms. Powell's website I decided I really liked how she establishes her class rules.  Read her pages to get specifics, but I will include here how I have added on to her idea.

I only use two class rules (from her site) which are respect yourself and others.  We then brainstorm what respect looks and sounds like.  This is where we discuss how everything can fit under these two rules.  Then I ask students to share situations (without names) where kids have not been making good choices and we discuss how that is break one of our rules.

Then I take all of their suggestions from the looks like/ sounds like chart and I create a nice a tidy chart with 4 or five of the biggest ideas they came up with, all stated as positives (we will...).  Then they all sign the chart as a pledge for how we promise to treat each other.

Update 9/06- This year my team partner and I decided to try something different.  We brought both classes in together and we discussed our rules of respecting self and others.  Then as a group we write our class promise to each other.  The goal is that since we all wrote it together, with the other teacher present, then students will know the expectations are the same in BOTH rooms. I write out two copies on large chart paper and backed it on green bulletin board paper.  Students all signed the bottom of the promise, showing they agreed to the promise. Then each child glued their personal logo from the Tacky the Penguin activity around the chart.  I don't know if this will work any better, but it is worth a shot!

This year, for some unknown reason to myself, I did not do the Tacky the Penguin activity.  Instead we wrote the class promise and then I gave each child a cut out of a person that I had bought from the School Box and never used. Students created a picture of themselves and then I put them around the class promise.



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Establishing Procedures

      During the first two or three days of school I go over classroom procedures.  It usually takes me a really long time to get through all I want the students to know.  If at any time during the school year students start to slip, I *try* to go back over these procedures.


           Here are all the procedures I go over with my students and what the procedures mean.  For a printable procedures list, click here.  There are actually a few more procedures on the printable list than are listed below.

Routines and Procedures



How students enter the classroom/ What to do before school

Students enter quietly and go to their seats to read the morning message.  We practice shutting the door (it is REALLY tricky) and putting away books, writing down homework and other class procedures.

Lunch Count

Explain to students how I take the count

Pencil Sharpening

Must sharpen two before school starts. If they do not have two they need to borrow from a friend or see the teacher. 

Student cannot sharpen a pencil when the teacher is talking. EVER!  This is my pet peeve!

Emergency Drills

Go over fire drills, tornado drills, lockdowns, etc

How to head the top of you paper

We have an example that we go over.

Turning in work

I show students where to turn in work and HOW to turn in work (quiet without knocking over the paper stacker)

Library Use  I go over how to check out books and the job of our librarian.
Agenda How to write down Homework, bringing the agenda home every night and getting parents to sign.
How to get my attention Raising hands, do NOT follow me around the room!!!!
Classroom signal Give me five
Bathroom How to ask to go to the bathroom students stand by the door and hold the bathroom pass, I will nod at them yes or no if they can go.  They may not go while I am speaking.
Exiting classroom/ How to go to other classrooms Quietly, so not to disturb the other classes.  Explain silent hallway  procedures
Dismissal Double checking to make sure that you have all your homework, students must stay in seat
Organizing supplies This is more a labeling of all their folders, figuring out which books are for each subject
Class and school rules we go over these
Lights Last person in line turn the lights out when we leave the room.  The first person in turns them on.
Classroom Jobs I go over what each of them is and let them pick for the first time
Work Habits rules What happens if you do not turn in homework or class work
Library How to check out books/Go over the librarian's job again
Friday Folders These folders go home every Friday and need to be signed and returned by Monday.  If they forget on Monday, it is ok.  Everybody is allowed one day of "grace." If it is not brought back by Tuesday they have time off recess.
Where are the games and puzzles/ when do they get to use the games and puzzles I show where they are stored and let them know we save tem for rainy day recess.
Writing Center Where it is and what is in it!
Pencil or Pens We use only pencils for our work.  Students can use pens when we correct or check  class work.
Getting water same procedure as bathroom
Getting things out of desk or cubbies Nobody can get anything while I am speaking or we are having class instruction
The Clipboard My behavior management system.  Click here for more details.
Tickets These are what students earn for good behavior and use like class money
Absences Must bring a note from home
Birthdays Students will get the birthday paper on their desk and can choose a birthday goodies bag.  Any treats for the class must be dropped by the front office se they can  be serve at lunch and must be precut.
Which bathroom do we use? I show them the bathrooms we use so they don't go to the one o the other side of the school!
What happens when a another adult enters the room/ or when teacher is called over the PA Students are on their best behaviors, it is not a time to talk to you neighbors
Tattling If someone is bothering you, write a note on a sheet of paper and put it in the tattle jar.  I can not do anything about it until I have it in writing.


Procedures Jeopardy

      At the end of the first week after we have gone over and practice procedures, we play procedures Jeopardy.  This is a great way to go over and reinforce the procedures one last time with all the kids engaged.  The simplest way I do it is to break the class into two teams.  Then I have this chart on the over head.  Each student gets a turn to choose a point value and answer a question.  When they choose a point value I scratch it off the overhead and then read the question aloud from my cheat sheet.  The team with the most points wins! Here is a copy of my cheat sheet.  Save it to your computer and you can change it to match you class procedures!


Many other sites have wonderful procedures lists.  Here are some links to other sites:






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Here are some activities that I match up with literature.  Since I only teach language arts I try to REALLY connect everything to books.  These book are all listed below for read aloud.  Now here is other things you can do with them! 


Now that I teach second grade, I teach ALL the subject areas...BUT I still connect everything to picture books.  I also do many of the activities listed below with my second graders.


First Day Jitters  by Julie Danneberg

I read this book first thing and use it as a spring board to discuss how we are ALL nervous on the first day, even the teachers!  Then I bring in pictures and things I did from the summer to introduce myself so the kids can get to know me and ask some questions (which they all have).





Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester

This is an idea a veteran teacher gave me.  It is very cute and I have used it every year.  She has since retired and I miss her!

Read aloud the story and discuss how Tacky was like no other penguin.  He was an individual and was special.  I share my own logo which shows special things about me. As a whole group I model how to create a "logo" to represent Tack and all his special talents.  Then students make their own on tag board. 

Here is a picture of my logo.  It is an apple because I am a teacher.  The ring represents my marriage, the book because I like to read and the cat represents my two furry babies!  You can click on the picture to enlarge it.


Before I read this story I talk about how our experiences shape us and help mold us into who we are.  We all have different schema (like to introduce the word here).  Then I read aloud the story and ask if anyone has ever seen a picture in the clouds and tried to show someone else and the other person couldn't see it?  This is because we our individuals with different schema.  Then a share a piece of paper with one squiggle line. I tell them if I could add more to the picture I would see a roller coaster ride with flags all around it and people screaming.  Then I ask others to share what they see.  Finally students are each given a page and asked to draw what they see.  Here is an example of some of my second graders work.  After they created the picture, they wrote about it.


Click here to see an example of the squiggle picture.


Another GREAT book to use with this activity is the book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis


Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Marilyn Burns has a great activity to match this books about names on her website.  It is a great way to learn each other's names and also practice graphing!  Here is the link to the site.








Sweet Treat

I found this idea online somewhere.  After the first week of school I will give my students a sweet motivational treat to celebrate finishing the first week.  They will eat these while waiting to cash out for the treasure box for the first time.  I thought it might help keep hands busy while they wait : )!  There are two available.  One is for cookies and the other is for individually wrapped cakes (like a ding dong).  The cookies are on Avery name badge labels 5160. Click on each picture to download.



These are some great ideas that I have found around the internet and that others have sent me!


Here are some  ideas submitted by Kate. (from the www.teachers.net board)

  Kate posted this idea on the teachers.net board and then emailed me specific directions.  This looks like a great team building idea. Making the class rope: Our district is really getting into
differentiated learning and this activity is meant to focus on relationship building (strength, unity, blah, blah). It is made out of yarn but very strong. We will use it throughout the year and each child will take piece of the rope home at the end of the year. I did this in a workshop recently and I can see where after an entire year, this would be a very meaningful item. 
Rope Making Directions.  Click here For the Rope Making Directions in PDF.

Then we sit in a circle and introduce ourselves. Each person is allowed to tell 3 things about themselves. We then play Friendship Bingo, take a "tour" of the classroom, and talk about their daily schedule.

Establishing classroom rules: How to Wreck a Room ( a process where kids feel like they are coming up with the rules but you "steer" them in the direction you want.)

Birthday Graph: Kids write their name and birthday under the appropriate month then we graph the b-days (already getting math done on the first day). This also gives you the info you need for hanging a b-day chart if you want.

Teacher Read Aloud: Miss Nelson is Missing.

  In between all of this (and really for many weeks after this) I will be teaching them procedures like how to line up, how to turn in papers (we use table captains), how to sign out if they need a restroom break, etc.

Reading: Start discussing genres. I use our basal to introduce different stories. Autobiography is first (See writing.)

Math: Introduce ADD, read "Chrysanthemum" (see Marilyn Burns site for lesson), begin activity to brainstorm words for the 4 operations.

Writing: Introduce DLR, share teacher's autobiography, students begin writing and illustrating their own autobiography in book format (this will be used on parent orientation night)

Science: Introduce scientific method using M&M's

SS: We will be starting a new unit this year on Ancient China so I am not sure what activities our team will decide on but I would keep it hands on and "fun" for the fist week.

Tina submitted these ideas on the www.teachers.net board.

I have an M&M activity that I use with my students. After we have completed some activities that revolve around process skills, we get into the scientific method. I use several activities/lessons prior to the M&M activity, so the students are aware of the process and can complete the activity with little help. I give the students the purpose or question, and they take it from there. Question: What color is there more of in a package of M&M's? (I would suggest that you use only one kind of M&M, unless you want to incorporate variables into your lesson.) Students then have to fill out their lab sheet where they will make their prediction, list all of the materials that they will need to conduct the experiment, list the procedures as to how they will go about experimenting, describe their observations, and then write a conclusion. They also have to make a graph to show their results.


This website has a "me glyph" that is upper grades appropriate.  I have never tried it, but it might be interesting!!!


This website has some other great back to school ideas! I liked the All About Me Graph and the Important Book page idea. 


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Sending Home Parent Information

     On the first day of school I always send home this packet of information.  In this packet it has all of the class rules and procedures that parents need to know.  Parents and students must sign and return stating that they are aware of classroom procedures.


Here is another example of a 3rd grade classroom handbook on Mrs. Scott's site.


 Here is my most current parent handbook from the 2007-2008 school year.  This is geared toward my second grade class.  Many of my awesome teammates in second helped me add new ideas to the packet, so not all these ideas or words are mine.)

Here it it is PDF and here it is in Word.



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Great Beginning of the Year Read Alouds


   Please know that these are NOT all of my ideas.  I cut and pasted them off the ProTeacher 4th great message board and I cannot take credit!  If you click on the link it will take you to the www.amazon.com description.  Click here to see more beginning of the year read alouds.



First Day Jitters  by Julie Danneberg

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester


First Day in Grapes by L. King Perez


Odd Velvet by Mary E. Whitcomb



Leo the Late Bloomer By Robert Kraus

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester

A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon

How I spent My Summer Vacation

by Mark Teague


The Brand New Kid by

Katie Couric


The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard


The Recess Queen by Alexis O'neill


King of The Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor





Chapter Book Read Alouds

For other chapter book read aloud ideas, make sure to check out the Book List page.  On this page are several ideas for read alouds for third though fifth grade!


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After School Has Begun

Back to School Night/ Open House Night

At my school we are required to have an Open House or a Back to School night about a week after school begins.  I have tried to include several of the things that we use for this night.  I team teach so I get to do this presentation with my partner (aren't I lucky?)

A few days before Open House my teammate and I send home this survey.  This helps us understand what specific information parents are looking forward.  We try to compile these results and answer them during the evening. 

When parents walk in we have several papers waiting for them at the door.  We have a sign in sheet for parents to sign their names and leave email addresses.  We have copies of the agenda, spelling program information and a parent survey.

Here is a copy of the agenda if you would like to see it.   I have created a newer, "cuter" version of the agenda using a Microsoft template.  Then I went in and added notes to the agenda about what I would like to speak about.  Click here to see a copy of my notes.  Anything highlighted in yellow is something I made into an overhead to show parents. Often these are standards or papers parents will see often (like grades).

I typed up a sheet of topics that I made into an overhead.  These are all things we will cover in fourth grade. Click here to see the list of topics.

This idea was shared on Proteacher by Susan.  She suggested having students and their parents complete this scavenger hunt.  This will allow parents a tour of the room and free up the teacher to wander around and talk to parents.  Neat idea!!!

Another great idea shared on Proteacher was to have a Power Point presentation continuously looping in the classroom.  This way parents can learn general information about the classroom while they walk around.  Here is an example of a presentation submitted by this Proteacher visitor.  A modification of this idea would be to take several digital pictures of what kids do during the day and have this playing as a continuous Power Point.

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Projects for the Beginning of the Year

     In the beginning of the year I like to send home one take home project for the students to complete.  I have purchased these All About Me posters from Scholastic.  Each child takes one home and completes it.  I usually give students about two weeks to complete the poster.  Then we share the posters with the class and it is a wonderful opportunity for the kids to share something special about themselves.  I hang all the posters on the wall outside our classroom door.  I try to do this BEFORE Open House.  It makes a wonderful display for the parents to see when they come to Open House and is very easy for me since it is all done at home!

Graphics are from