Thursday, July 23, 2015

First Week of Kindergarten

So flash back to the end of the school year.  You were high-fiving and hugging your practically first graders and sending them off for some fun in the sun. You sent them off as readers and writers, scientists and mathematicians.  In that moment, it's difficult to remember how they came to you. When you met them in August, they couldn't read, write, add, tie their shoes, spell their name.  Oh, and they were short.  When do they get so tall?!?? The first few weeks, from what I can recall (since I block most of that stuff out) are... well... uhh... interesting.  Once or twice you might find yourself asking, "What was I EVER thinking becoming a kindergarten teacher?"  It's okay. You're not alone.  Hang in there.  It gets better... in fact, it gets SO good!  I thought I'd share with you what week 1 in Mrs. Kelly's Klass looks like.

Do you have a Meet the Teacher night prior to the first day of school?  This is such a good way to:

1. Get the kids excited about school.
2. Meet your students to help eliminate fear.
3. Open the door to communication with parents.
4. Get yourself organized before the school year starts.

Here's how Meet the Teacher works in my classroom!

Here are some of the forms families complete. I do my best to stay organized - get contact information in place, know what parents are interested in helping in the classroom, know how kids are getting home. These forms help me get all that information in order, and they go in a binder with copies of the kids' enrollment cards. 

All of the items for Meet the Teacher night are available alone in my Meet the Teacher pack OR as part of my HUGE First Week Pack that has everything you will read about next! (Don't get both! The forms are included in the First Week Pack!)

So then, school starts.  The beginning of the year is a chaotic but exciting time in Kindergarten.  We practice, A LOT. I set clear expectations from the very beginning and I enforce them from the very beginning.  But along with these expectations, I also like to kinda dive right in, so to speak.  I want the kids to start doing some of the things they will do all year long -- like printables and stations, sitting for read alouds, participating in whole group and small group activities, reading, all of it!  I like my kids to learn the rules, routines, and expectations in TANDEM with the actual things they will be doing for the rest of the school year.  I like them to learn what is expected of them by DOING.  I refuse to spend an entire week just talking at my kids about rules.
We do stations.


For the first few weeks, kids participate in stations that will get them acclimated to the materials we will be using all year {unifix cubes, snap cubes, pattern blocks, dry erase markers, clipboards, play dough, etc.)  I like to introduce a station whole group -- go over the instructions and expectations for using that particular material {i.e. snap cubes are NOT for building swords and/or guns and playdough is NOT meant for squishing into the carpet}.  Then EVERYONE in the class does the same station.  They get used to working in a group, and I don't have to worry about managing 5 different activities at the same time.  Next day, new station, and so on... until I've introduced enough stations to start an actual rotation! 

We do printables.

Kids need to get used to putting pencils and crayons to paper.  I don't expect them to be writing novels, but you have to start somewhere.  I can use this opportunity to teach them how to get supplies, what to do when their pencil breaks, where to turn papers in, how their mailboxes work, etc. 

We sit at the carpet! 

Two of my favorite books to read during the first week of school are Wemberly Worried and The Kissing Hand.  Perhaps it's because I'm a bit of a worrywart myself.  These books are so relateable and by reading them, whole group, at the carpet, we get to practice norms for read alouds.  

And we do whole group activities! 
These books make for great jumping off points for some whole group fun and small group fun! 

We will do a school room scavenger hunt after reading The Kissing Hand.  Students will search the school for clues left behind by Chester.  They get to find all the important places AND we get to practice hallway expectations. 

(This mini unit is included in my Beginning of the Year pack, but also sold separately!)

We'll talk, chart, and write about our feelings after reading Wemberly Worried. 

Developing that strong classroom community early on is so important.  When kids can relate to one another and open up about their feelings, they create a positive and welcoming environment.

We dance! 

Because they are FIVE.  Because they are nervous.  Because they have never been asked to sit still for this long.  Because they miss their moms.  Because dancing is FUN.  Because it's good for their sweet little brains and bodies! 

Above all, have fun and be happy.  If you're happy, they will be happy.  If you're welcoming, they will feel welcomed.  If you create a structure, they will fall in place.  You can pick up all the activities/printables/STUFF shown above in one nice pretty package by clicking the image below. For those who return to school next week, wishing you a happy school year! :)  Grab EVERYTHING you read about today all in one place by clicking here or the image below. 

OH, and if you missed it before... be sure to go pick up these Dismissal Tags for FREE! I blogged about them last week.  Click here to read and click the image below to download. 


  1. Where can I get those fun back to school forms?

  2. Can you point me in the direction of the Back 2 School forms? I can not locate them on TpT.

    1. They are part of my First Week Pack:

      OR, you can get them in my Meet the Teacher Pack:

      Both are on sale through June 7th!

  3. I love the whiteboard marker in your stations picture. Can you lead me to where to find them?

  4. Are you able to purchase just the cutting, tracing, color sheets?

  5. I just downloaded your end of school day dismissal. Thank you so much!!!! :)