Today is day 3 of 31 Days of Kindergarten and is all about the First Week of Kindergarten.
I think we can all agree that each year in kindergarten is unique and for the most part, we as teachers do not know what is going to walk through those doors on the first day of school. While I would love to say, please come back and read this post before every school year, the reality is that every group of students is different. These are just a few things that I do in my classroom that work during that first week of kindergarten.
If you don’t know me, let me quickly introduce myself…Hi! I’m Abigail (Abbie) and I teach full-day kindergarten in Las Vegas, Nevada. I teach in a middle-class neighborhood, with some families on the higher end of middle class and many on the lower end of middle class. We do not have any multi-family housing zoned for our school, so our transiency rate is fairly low. We have almost 70% free lunch and were just given a grant to implement free breakfast for every student, every day. Most of my kinders come to me, having had no prior schooling experience. A few have went to daycare or attended our Early Childhood program, but the majority have never been in an educational environment. I am giving this information, because it might explain why we have supply boot camp, or practice saying and spelling our names in numerous ways. Maybe your school is different and you can skip over some of the activities I am sharing today. Great! Every school and every class is different. Do what is best for your students, but I hope you find something here in this post that will be a help to you and your class!
Week 1 of Kindergarten -Day 1
I shared what my first day of kindergarten looks like here on this post. It is a thorough overview of what I do in my classroom, almost step by step. I feel like it is very practical and do-able. I’ve read many first day posts and oftentimes there is too much ‘fluff’ and not enough ‘real-life’.
Since I introduced pencils yesterday, the students have a handwriting name practice ready for them when they arrive for the school day. I know that there are a variety of products out there, but I just use handwritingpractice.net and it’s free!
We read more rules & procedures books and review & practice several of our rules and procedures for our classroom. Remember that repetition, modeling, and practice is the key to successful classroom management and eventual success with stations and independent learning!
It’s time for some fun name practice now. I bring everyone back to the carpet and we talk about how everyone has a name. Some friends may even have the same name! I then play the automated version of the book Chrysanthemum on my SmartBoard. I choose to use the audio/video version, since it’s a lengthy story and the automated version keeps their attention. But I also show them the book and showcase it on my bookshelf. After we listen/read the book, I tell them that we are going to ‘investigate’ our names. I model for them how I say my name, how I write it, and how I count the letters. (I have already prepped the project by using the FREE font Janda Manatee to print their name on a single sheet of paper.) I model for them how they will use the crayons to do their best coloring to color the letters in their name and then count and write the number of letters (if they can). I also have additional coloring pages available for students who finish their names quickly. During this time, I walk around giving positive feedback to those students who are using our new coloring ‘tools’ correctly. I also help students count the amount of letters, write the numbers, and then cut each name out. We come back to the carpet and I give everyone their cut out name and we make a name anchor chart together. Tip: I keep glue sticks in my teacher tub, next to my easel, which makes it easy for the students to help me make anchor charts.
We will review the rules and procedures for stations again and get another opportunity to ‘practice’ them. (See this post for 1st day stations.) After another quick recess break, it’s time to learn how to use more classroom tools!! This time we learn how to use scissors and glue sticks and glue sponges!
You can check out my How to Use School Supplies Here!
By this time it is time for another read aloud and lunch. We review rules and procedures and head to lunch. After lunch we have a bathroom break and then head to our specials class. When we get back, we have another read aloud, review our rules for stations and do 2 rounds of stations. Then the last part of the day is creating a fun name collage to hang in our hallway. I use a large 11×14 paper, cut in half the long ways. I write the students name in highlighter. I also provide the students pre-cut paper squares. I model for the students how to tear the squares in 4 pieces and then glue them onto each highlighter letter.
The end of the day is quickly approaching, so we clean up and get ready for dismissal.
We start off the day with more name handwriting practice. Then we move into a simple name puzzle activity. (Puzzle is a sentence strip with written name and separated by highlighted zig-zag lines.) Students cut on the zig zag lines, to create a puzzle. I give every student a ziploc bag to keep their puzzle and practice building their name.
More read alouds and rule/procedure review. Then we get to learn how to use markers.
We use markers to ‘rainbow-write’ our names. Yes, we do lots of name writing practice and here are some more ideas for name practice!
Lots more read alouds, station rotation practice and color and shape investigation. (Remember that my ‘stations’ are for learning routine, rules, and procedures and consist of a lot of investigation and hands-on, fine motor activities. Students go to stations in small groups, until literacy stations are in place.)
We practice writing our names on our dry erase boards and then I give them 3-4 minutes to ‘free draw’. By Thursday or day 4, we have learned to use almost every classroom tool, so their table supply caddies are now full of crayons, scissors, dry erase markers, dry erase boards and glue sponges. Time for singing, dancing, and read alouds! Next is introducing them to a fire drill. Our school has a ‘practice’ fire drill on Friday, so I try to prep them and do our own little practice on Thursday. You can read about how I teach fire drill procedures at this post.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love books and read alouds and feel like our society is lacking in the reading department. So I try and do my best to read as many read alouds as possible and especially during the first few weeks. I love to read Pete the Cat Rocking in my School Shoes and take a little tour of our school, visiting the nurse and our specialist.
I also love to read Pete the Cat I Love my White Shoes and together we make a class big book, which is always lots of fun!
On Friday or the 5th day of school, we are repeating many of the rules and procedures that we have learned all week. Practice, modeling and repetition is the key!! 🙂 We read more books and get ready for our practice fire drill. I always try to prepare my students, as most of them have never experienced a fire alarm and it can be scary! When we come back in from the fire drill, I give them all a brag tag for becoming an expert in fire drills!
I always end Fridays with free choice stations. I have housekeeping, Legos, blocks, activity table with plastic animals & people, free art/creation station, pirates, and trains. These stations are only open at the end of the day on Fridays and are strictly social interaction and play stations. So of course we end our day on Friday with free choice! It’s always a hit and the students love it!!
I wish I had more pictures to share of some of the literacy/book/art activities I do during the first week, but I don’t have any right now. I promise to take some this next school year and share!
Did you miss any of our 31 Days of Kindergarten posts? You can check them out here:
Thanks for following along! <3