First Week of School for Kindergarten and First Grade 2023

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First Week of School for Kindergarten and First Grade 2023

❤️ Off To A Great Start! ❤️
      Here are some back to school ideas for the first week of school in first grade that help to make each young learner feel welcome and special!
 I’m sure none of these ideas will be new to you, but for some of the ideas, I’d like to show you some materials I created in an effort to help you implement them.
     First of all, I always have each student’s name in as many places as possible in our classroom.  This lets students know that they are really a part of your class, and you have made everything ready for them.
     I ask my students to find their desk name plates, put on their name tags that I have placed next to their name plates, and see how many other places they can find their names in our classroom.  While they do this, I greet each student with something unique:  “I like that smile you are wearing!  Wow, you are walking in so quietly!   I am so glad you are here today!  You look like you’re ready for a great day!”, etc.   If a student has already put on his or her name tag, I use his or her name as I comment.
       My goal is to create a safe and caring environment for my students.    I try to never use the word “no”.  When a student responds to a question, and it is not correct, I always try to value that student’s answer, respond with a positive, understanding comment and then guide that student to a better response.  My students quickly learn that when one student offers a response, the others don’t shoot up their hands again in an effort to supply the correct answer, because they know that I will guide that first student to a better response.
    I use phrases like:  “I think I know why you said that… It’s because…. That was good thinking, but what about….Yes, that is a possibility, and what if…Hmmm I never thought of it that way… I like your thinking, now how about….”  In rare instances when I can’t get a better response, I will ask that student to call upon another student in our class.  I have found that this approach creates a classroom of risk takers who aren’t afraid to take a chance and answer a question.
     When students feel like they are part of a community, they become much better learners!
      I have created materials for you to use to help you establish a community of friends:  back to school songs/poems with colored clipart and black and white clipart, desk name plates on which you can type your students’ names or a version where you can print the names yourself, a wide variety of labels for items such as mailboxes, homework folders, journals, etc., sets of illustrated graphing questions with several illustrated responses for each question,  “How Am I Working?”  Work Cards and more that you can find in my shop.
Good work habits are another important thing to establish during the first part of the school year… Old habits are hard to break, so encourage students to try their best right from the start.  Here is a set of My Work Cards so students can alert you when they have a problem.  You’ll also know who is working fine…

My Work Cards - Self Assessment:


FLAT STYLE ABOVE (Cut out cards and put in a small pile.  The student places the card on top that best describes his/her current needs.)
TENTED STYLE  (Cut into strips the long way… fold each strip in half so the same card can be seen from all angles in the classroom… place tents on top of one another.  The student places the tent on top that best describes his/her current needs.)
I have a wide variety of labels for various items in my product listings.  Simply type in each student’s name.  Here is a sample:

Editable Name Labels Type in Century Gothic Font Multipurpose Set 5

TRI FOLD Desk Name Plate.  Type students’ names. Fold in thirds… students flip for various references.  (also available in cursive and D’Nealian in my product listings).  Also available in single “stick down” style, as well as single fold in my product listings….

Editable Desk Name Plate Name Tag Tri Fold - Print ClearlyFont - Type Names!

Establishing a Community of Learners

Also, our classroom motto is always “Be a friend…”
     When all of the students have had enough time to find their seats and walk around the room, I call them up to our first morning meeting.  The focus of our first meeting is that we are all friends.  The number one rule in our classroom is “Be a friend…”  Before students say or do anything, they ask themselves, “Is this something a friend would say?”  Or “Is this something a friend would do?”   If it isn’t, then the student needs to make another choice.
“If we all treat each other like friends, we will all feel safe and happy.  I will always treat you like a friend, and I expect you to treat everyone in our classroom like a friend, too.”
     I have large charts with back to school songs for the first day, as well as individual copies for the students to place in their poetry folders.  We sing a few of those until I make sure that everyone’s name has been used in a song.
     Here is a file of back to school songs/poems in color and in black and white versions for students to color and take home or keep in Poetry Folders.   I have also included some large images in the file to use on large charts to make for shared reading.
Back to School Poems/Songs – Color and Blackline

Back To School Poems & Songs For Shared Reading & Fluency

Each morning we pass a greeting around our circle.  I begin the greeting by starting either on my right or left and saying, for example,  “Good Morning, Nathan!”  Nathan says, “Good Morning, Mrs. Post.”   And then turns to the person next to him and says, “Good Morning, Sarah!”Sarah says, “Good Morning, Nathan!” and then turns to the next student and says, “Good Morning, _______” and so on until the greeting has made its way completely around the circle and back to me.  Then we all say, “Good Morning, Friends!”
      Next, we go on to “Who has been a friend to you?”I begin by addressing a particular student who I have noticed has done or said something a friend would do or say.  Then, that student tells how another student acted like a friend by something s/he did or said.  Each student can only be addressed once.  We continue until everyone has received an acknowledgment.  The students beam when one of their friends speaks about them.
     Another great activity for helping students to get to know one another is graphing.  I have created lots of illustrated graphing cards and illustrated responses that help students to learn about their friends, and we learn key math skills at the same time.
     I have 2 files of graphing sets.  Each set contains 10 illustrated questions with multiple illustrated responses for each.  Here is a link to set 1.  Set 2 can be found in my product listings.
Set of Pocket Chart Graphing Cards to help your students get to know each other…

Back to School Graphing Questions & Answers w/Graphics Pocket Chart-Set 1 -CCSS

    Here’s a simple file for name badges to be worn by students during the first few days of school.  This one prints out on 2″ x 4″ labels, but I also have a file of larger ones that you can print out on oaktag.   Instead of the school name and phone, you can put the bus number or type of transportation like walker, van, etc.
Name Tags for First Week of School (Save and use for field trips, too!”)

Editable Name Tags Badges     Editable Name Tags Name Badges First Day of School or Field Trip

    Differentiation is so important!  All of my emergent readers have at least 2 or 3 reading levels included.   I also include Illustrated Vocabulary Cards for a Word Wall or Pocket Chart.  All readers come in color, black and white, and non-illustrated (so students can illustrate to show comprehension).
     Many of the readers also have writing follow-ups for students to create their own versions complete with “write your own” text and “draw your own” illustrations.  Here is one set of “Back to School” readers about School Rules.

Back to School Classroom Rules Mini Books Emergent Readers 3 Levels + Word Wall

Here is another set for Back to School!

Back to School Emergent Readers & Mini Books + Illustrated Word Wall

Emergent Readers:  “PEOPLE AT SCHOOL” 
3 Reading Levels 
Plus Illustrated Vocabulary Cards for Word Wall or Pocket Chart!

Back To School Emergent Readers Mini Books People At School 3 Levels & Word Wall
     To help students with DIBELS onset rime blending, I have onset rime activities with a wide variety of themes to keep students motivated throughout the year.  Here is Level 1 of the Back To School Onset Rime DIBELS Center:

Back to School Blending DIBELS Practice: Onset Rime Activities:  Level 1

First Week of School For K/1

First Week of School Activities Bundle Value For Kindergarten and First Grade

Off To A Great Start!

Back To School Activities BUNDLE Planning & Centers for Kindergarten First Grade

Establishing a Community of Learners 

This is paramount…   Every student should feel like your classroom is a safe place to be.  Here is a set of mini books: “Be a Friend” with 2 reading levels, complete with an illustrated word wall!  I also have a set of Back To School Friendship, Bully-Free and Manners Poems, all sung to familiar children’s songs.  I hope they are not too corny!

Back to School Kindness SEL Emergent Reader Mini Books 3 Levels + Word Wall

Bully Free Friendship Songs – 
Set the stage for kindness right from the start!

Classroom Community SEL Poems and Songs World Kindness Day

Bus Safety Mini Books:
2 Levels + Illustrated Word Wall

Back To School Mini Books Emergent Reader School Bus Safety 3 Levels + Word Wall

    I have many, many labels and desk name plates that you can choose from, and all

very reasonably priced.

Thank you for visiting my blog! Take care…


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  1. Although your post is targeted toward kids in the primary grades, I can see the same ideas used with older kids. I like the idea of not saying, "No" to an answer but rather encouraging them to adjust it to a better answer.

  2. Hi Linda! Your post is very informative for both new and veteran teachers. Many years ago, my first principal told us that everyone loves something to take home the first day of school and wants to feel like you know them. Your ideas are so similar! Have a wonderful school year!

  3. As an elementary teacher, I always incorporate a variety of activities at the beginning of the year to create a community of friends.

  4. Thanks for the great blog. I can really see the importance of building a classroom community with my students!

  5. Building community right from the start is HUGE! It is important to also teach the little kiddos how to be a good friend and how to be kind in the beginning.

  6. I always like having more songs to help teach even though I would never consider myself a singer. In PreK you cannot worry about your singing ability.

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