The first ten days of school are exhausting for both teachers and students! So many routines to teach and so many little learners to get to know! My lesson plans for the first ten days of school are almost always the same with a few little tweaks here and there. To make back to school easier for you, I’m sharing my lessons plans for the first ten days of school! Everyone has been asking for them so here they are! The link is at the bottom of the post! Did I mention there is an EDITABLE version too?
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You will find daily lesson plans and weekly center plans! I put at least one new thing in each center every week so those are in there for you too.
The number one most important thing you will need to the first few weeks is to begin building trust and relationships with each little learner so they can feel safe and happy. And if they feel safe and happy most likely the mom will feel safe and happy leaving her child with you each day.
The first two weeks I sprinkle tons of All About Me themed activities during the day to help build that relationship with each child in my classroom. It also helps the child get to know me as well. I always participate in every All About Me type activity we do and try include any other teachers or therapists who are in our room or building.
For most of our little learners, this is the FIRST time they have been to school. Most have no idea how to sit at circle, get in line, eat snack or lunch at school, wash their hands, clean up, wait their turn, and wipe their own bottoms when they go #2.
The first month is all about teaching all of those routines! It is not wasted time I promise. Take the time to use visuals and teach each and every classroom routine and expectation. Take the time to teach is now so you can just use cues later.
You will thank me later if you do. Teach any routine you see students struggling with. This Character Ed (aka Social Skills) Bundle has visuals for almost every classroom routine!
On the first day, we practice our morning routine: say bye to mom/dad, put things away, answer the question of the day, sign in, and pick a table time activity. First I go over the arrival routine chart, I model the routine (pretending like I am a student in the class), talking out loud what steps I need to do so students can hear and see me doing the routine.
Then I have the students put on their backpacks and we all walk outside the classroom. A few at a time, students practice the morning routine with me cheering them on, using the chart as a visual, and giving them verbal cues, and praise as they do each step.
It is amazing how much different arrival time is on the second day just by teaching the arrival routine on the first day!
You will see in my lesson plans I do many activities to help teach our class rules: We take care of ourselves, each other, our school, and our world.
I send a note home to families, we make class books, and we make anchor charts. We read children’s books and discuss if the character is following the rules, how it makes them and others feel when they do/don’t follow the rules.
We also talk about what could happen if someone doesn’t follow a rule (ex: someone could get hurt, other’s wouldn’t be able to learn, etc.). I always use natural consequences as examples. You can grab my Class Rules pack HERE from my store.
Fire drills and any other emergency/safety drills you have to do can be super scary for our little students. I teach emergency drills just like I teach any other routine…with visual supports and social stories! We read The Fire Drill at circle time, I model the routine, and the whole class practices a fire drill. Now students know what to expect when that loud alarm goes off later in the week.
I also teach the Playground Rules and it is amazing the difference it makes! You can see in my lesson plans how I slowly introduce all the different choices students have on the playground (balls, bikes, chalk, swings, sandbox, hopscotch, ect.), teaching the rule for each, slowly those first 10 days.
On day 5 I introduce the most AMAZING thing ever…..Green and Red Choices at a class meeting. You can read all about Green and Red Choices in detail HERE. It has been the best thing I have ever created. It has truly changed the way my students behave in my classroom!
During center time the first 5 or so days, I introduce and teach about each center in our classroom. My classroom has 5 centers: art, blocks, pretend, library, and discovery (math, science, STEM).
Instead of open centers the first few weeks, I spend time during center time introducing each center in more detail. So I take the whole class (my new class only has 10 kids) and we sit on the floor or at the table in the center.
I introduce the center name, color, and symbol. We talk about the materials in the center, how to use them, who we could pretend to be, and how to clean up. Then the students played in that center for about 20 minutes or so. Then we go to another center and we do the same thing.
After I have introduced each center once, the second time we go to the center as a class we review it. It takes about 5 minutes and then students play in that center for 25 minutes or so. Then we go to another center, review it, and play in that center.
When I taught full day (18 kids a day) I split the class in half. Each group went into a different center with a teacher and after 30 minutes the kids switched and went to the other center for 30 minutes. The other center times (we had 3 center times a day because we were full day), students could just play in centers as they wished.
You can find this STEM I Can Build anchor chart HERE.
During circle time, I read a book about each center and we do some kind of interactive anchor chart. You can grab this Parts of a Scientist anchor chart freebie HERE. Want to know more about how I manage center time? Click HERE.
I always have colored noodles in the sensory table the first few weeks because it’s super easy to clean up. The noodles I bought from the grocery store and dyed using food coloring and rubbing alcohol. Put a dustpan under the sensory table and teach students how to sweep up the items that fell onto the floor. Make a square with washi tape on the floor for a visual support
The pretend center is always a home the first month of school. You can read all about my home living dramatic play theme HERE.
In the library center is my writing table It has family word cards and student’s name cards the first two weeks. A child’s name is powerful so put it in the writing center for students to use in their writing in authentic ways. You can get this family word cards freebie when you sign up for my newsletter HERE.
Each week I add something new to each center and for back to school those activities have a school theme. These fun, hands on Math and Literacy School Themed Centers are what I use for some of my table time activities too!
Go grab your FREE lesson plans:
Lesson Plans (PDF file)
EDITABLE Lesson Plans HERE (PowerPoint file)
Make sure you download the lesson plans, CLOSE OUT of the internet, and THEN open the lesson plans to print and/or edit. If you don’t, the formatting will be crazy and some of the squares will be filled with colors. You will need Powerpoint to edit lesson plans.
The lesson plans are clickable so anything in blue you can click to download the freebie or go to my store to purchase or download the item.
Are you excited to plan out your themes for the whole year? Grab my FREE Curriculum pacing map with themes by week HERE!
If you are wondering what my classroom looked like on the first day, I have a treat for you! I did a Facebook LIVE tour of my classroom after the first day of school this year. I’m showing you EVERYTHING… my classroom, my storage areas, my office, the bathroom, and even inside my cabinets. Oh, the camera is sideways for about two minutes then it flips back to normal. Sorry about that!
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