Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lesson Plans for the First Week of School

I finally think my plans for the first week of school are coming together! I have decided to go with a theme, which I have never done before. My theme will carry throughout the first two months of school, but I would love to try to extend it throughout the year. So, we will see how it goes!

My theme is "My Identity". Lessons and activities will center around students finding more about themselves such as their names, culture,family and their passions.

I must give thanks to the following educators for inspiring me and leading me to discover these wonderful lessons and activities to implement in my classroom. Ms. Naugle has inspired me to implement Identity Day with my students. Identity day will allow students to showcase their strengths, interests or passions. Click here to find out more! Also, thank you to Ms. Jasztal a former Scholastic teacher for finding my blog. She has led me to discover a new Scholastic teacher Ms. Zimmerman, who has created a fabulous lesson incorporating reading, writing and technology in finding each student's uniqueness.

So here it is an outline of my Lessons and Activities for the First Week of School!

Week of August 15-19
1. Word Search of Class Names
2. Welcome with Introduction after announcements
3. Introduce Self with Flipchart and Quickly Scan Room and Intro Class Jobs
4. Take Reading Interest Survey using iPads and netbooks / Book Selection from Library/ Silent Reading
5. Call to rug, brainstorm why people read( Circle Map) and then do a Read Aloud Chrysantheum/Discuss Theme “My Identity”
6. Allow students time to browse baby name books and make an anchor chart noting the findings Click here to see lesson!
7. Work in groups to brainstorm Classroom Rules/Expectations
8. Introduce Wordle Activity and allow students to begin creating and saving
9. Writing Activity Journal Tell me about yourself, how you spent your summer, and what are your goals for this 4th grade year. (Brainstorm- Circle Map)
10. Tech Student to take digital head shots of students

1. Activity?
2. Watch video of PBIS Rules and Expectations and designate parts
3. Call to rug and discuss Reading Workshop/ Read Aloud the second chapter of Louis Lowry’s Goonie Bird Greene stop only a few times to make connections/Establish Guidelines for RW (Anchor Chart)/Model how you researched your name and make an example like the one here. Then give students a copy of the organizer and allow them to research their name using the computers or books.
4. Introduce Kidblogs and how to post wordle and begin blogging. (Pairs)
5. Writing- Allow students to complete their journal from the previous day.
6. Introduce Wall Wisher and have students post goals

1. Activity?
2. Take tour of school and practice reading and modeling rules using Flipcamera
3. Read Aloud and discuss 5 finger rule/Ask how to find a good book?/Create an Anchor Chart on how to pick a just right book/Introduce the book log and have them glue into their notebooks and record their books.
4. Continue with blog posts/Discuss how to make comments (Anchor charts)
5. Writing- New Journal Prompt and Share (Allow to use computers and Paint program to Draw a picture to go along with journal) Speech to Text/App (Dragon Dictation)

1. Activity?
2. Take tour of school and practice reading and modeling rules using Flipcamera
3. Read parts of the The Important book by Margaret Wise Brown/Discuss how we can use this book to help us with our writings about our names. Model for students how to write their paper. Then allow for IR time 15 min and inform students you will begin conferring with them on their chosen books. They also need to update Reading Log
4. Continue with blog posts and review how to make comments (Anchor chart) Use one students blog post as an example. Give all students a sentence strip and have them write a comment to post.
5. Introduce Daily Edit and Model have students come to IWB to make corrections/Proofreading Practice
6. Writing- Journal Prompt and Share (Allow to use computers and Paint to Draw a picture to go along with journal) Speech to Text/App (Dragon Dictation)

1. Activity?
2. Play completed PBIS movie for students
3. Call to Rug and Ask what is reading? Explaing “Reading is Thinking”/ Intro. Anchor Chart/Read Aloud and Complete anchor chart and then allow for IR time for 15 min. give students 2 sticky notes to record their thinking conferr w/students/ Call back to rug and allow to share with a buddy if they are ready
4. Daily Edit today students will copy in their notebooks. Then I will Model Proofreading Practice
5. Allow students to complete their writing about their name
6. Next, students will create name collages to decorate their writing. The collage process will allow me to informally assess my students’ basic computer skills. I will teach the following sequence of skills:
Open a new word processing document.
Type your name and capitalize the first letter.
Copy and paste the name at least twenty times.
Change the fonts, colors, and sizes of the names (the students loved this part!).
Print the document.

As you can see above I am still looking for a few 15 minute morning activities to do when the students first come in the room. Any Ideas?


  1. Thanks for posting these lessons! I love the theme! I've always thought it would be a fun introductory research project to find the meanings of student names. I may just try this out too! Are you having them research first, middle, and last or just their first names?

    I found this little activity:

    It's kind of like "I have...Who has" but with following directions. It looks fun and I thought you might like it as one of your introductory activities.

    You could also play a name game. There are many versions, but I've played one where you thought of an adjective to decribe yourself that started with the first letter of your first name, so I could be "Mischievious Marisa". Then, the next person in line would have to repeat my name with adjective and add hers, the third person would say the first two names and adjectives and add his, etc. The first person has to try to remember everyone's names and adjectives. Another time I played the same game, but instead of saying an adjective, you had to make a sound to go with your name. Something like, "Lauren eek!, Sam Boo, Teresa rawrrrr." This got a little weird though, so I'm not sure I'd recommend it! LOL!!


  2. Thanks so much for the ideas! My initial plan is to let them research their first names only. However, I have a few very unique names that I already tried looking up and wasn't able to find anything. I am going to cross my fingers that their middle name will work, or that maybe they can find enough information from their parents on their first names.

  3. Hi Erica,

    I looked back at my plans last year. I did the name wordsearch, too. I assume you are looking for independent morning work? I had them decorate their writing notebooks one morning and then had them write a letter to me. I had a letter written to them on the SMARTboard as a model. Maybe you could think of some open-ended questions about identity, like What makes you YOU? Think of another person. How are you alike? How are you different? Or they could do a heart map of their interests, passions and things close to their heart. Or, they could use a list of character traits and label a picture of themselves with their traits.
    Or how about Boggle, where they work with a partner and see how many words they can come up with?
    I also start getting into math and science pretty quickly. Science related word search, Partner brainstorm, what do you know about rocks, what do you want to know? Simple fact practice math games.

    Your students are going to have a wonderful, busy first week of school!

  4. Thanks so much these ideas are great. I so love the idea of them comparing and contrasting them self to someone else. Thanks again!

  5. Hi Erica,
    I am amazed at your detailed plans for the first week of school. Thank you for the shout out in your post. I am so excited to see all that you are doing - Twitter, blogging, online PD, and so much more. I am proud to think that I had a little bit to do with all of that. I feel like a proud mama.

    i am going to be doing the Identity Day project all year long with a big culminating project at the end of the year. I enjoyed doing Identity Day last year with my students, but 10 days just didn't give them enough time to thoroughly explore their passions. I am going to incorporate the Google 80-20 plan into my lessons this year. That means that 80% of our classroom time is spent on learning our required curriculum and the other 20% of the time the students will be allowed to pursue their passions. I am excited to see how it all works out.

    I will be looking forward to hearing how everything goes with you and your students this year. I'll see you at the TMC cohort meeting on Monday.

  6. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog; so much fun! First of all, I am totally jealous of all the technology you have! I was one of the lucky few to receive a document camera at my school. Second, do you have your students make a movie about school/classroom procedures? It sounds really cool.

  7. @Elisa I do plan on making a movie of the school and classroom procedures. Here is one done by 3rd graders last year Click on PBIS video.

  8. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for entering my giveaway last week. I'm having fun looking through your blog and I'm your newest follower!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  9. I read "Mr. Peabody's Apples" to the class at some point in the week. Then, I pair up students or as a table depending on my budget and hand out paper plates, tooth picks, and a small tube of toothpaste. Have wet paper towels handy. I instruct the students to make a plan to share responsibilities. Then I ask them to squeeze all the toothpaste onto the plate.Then I ask them to put the toothpaste back into the tubes using the tooth picks. At first they think I'm nuts, but they try and talk about it and laugh. Give 5 min. then clean up toss everything into the garbage and meet on the floor. Connect this activity with the feathers in the book. Great for teaching what comes out of your mouth can never be taken back, so think before you speak!