The first week of school is a whole different ball game. Whether you’re a brand new or seasoned teacher, or somewhere in between, writing first week of school lesson plans is just different. There’s so much to remember and after summer break, you’re just not in your lesson planning groove yet.
That’s why I wrote your first week of school lesson plans for you! And, get this, they are completely free! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to grab your first week of school lesson plans freebie.
But before we get to that, I’d like to share my “must dos” for planning the first week of school. Read on to check it out. ⬇️
Teaching Expectations and Routines
Teaching expectations should always be the first consideration when writing first week of school lesson plans. I bet you already know that setting clear expectations and practicing routines is important so let’s breeze past the part where I explain that to you. I know. You know. We know.
Okay, but actually setting aside lots of time to go over these things is super important. For real. So if you think you need an hour, schedule in two hours. No joke. Your students will probably have a bunch of questions and going over every single expectation takes much longer than you may think.
Also, go over every expectation. Like when to use the bathroom and sharpen pencils, where students put their lunch bags, where students hand in work, etc. If you want help coming up with all of your expectations and teaching them, grab my best-selling resource the Procedures & Routines Checklist and Slides.
Practice Makes Perfect
I promise I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here but students need time to practice the routines and procedures that you want them to learn. So, as much as we know that we need to teach these expectations, students also need time to practice them.
To recap, any routine or procedure that can be practiced, should be. So, if you want your students to line up quietly, have them practice. Yes, even in upper elementary. Want your students to learn your morning routine? Teach it to them and then “test” them by having them do it without any reminders.
Have fun with it! You can give out prizes to the most efficient or quietest student. Or hand our house points or table points.
House Keeping Items
Have students take part in putting the finishing touches on the classroom or getting things set up and labelled. In upper elementary, this can be incredibly helpful to you but it also gives your students a sense of ownership in their new classroom.
For example, on the first day of school, have students help you sort and put away supplies. You can also set aside time where you hand out students’ books and label them with their names, etc.
If you want students’ help with tasks like these, make sure to include it in your first week of school plans. For a bit of added fun, put music on as you have them help you with these tasks.
Getting to Know One Another
There are two types of get to know you activities to include in your first week of school lesson plans. The first is traditional get to know you or ice breaker activities. Some ideas are partner introductions and playing a guess who game.
The second is low-stakes class activities where students can naturally get to know one another. My favourite way to do this is by sprinkling in art activities throughout my first week of school plans. There’s something special about the conversations that get started between students while working on an art project. My personal favourite is to have students work on a self-portrait during the first week of school.
Take It Slow with Academics
During first week of school lesson plans, dive into academics slowly. When launching a new subject, get students familiar with the routines and expectations that are subject specific. For example, in Math I teach through math rotations so I would go over how to do math rotations during my Math block, then have students practice.
Consider giving time for students to get familiar with any resources they will be using specific to that subject (textbooks, whiteboards, manipulatives, etc) and to go over what they will be learning. Taking students’ subject-specific questions during a subject launch is also a good idea.
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