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August 11, 2013

The First Day of School (Lesson Plan)

Tomorrow is the first day of school with the kids.  I'm excited, I'm nervous, I can't wait to meet my class!  

Last year I posted my typical first day agenda.  It's too long to put all the details in my lesson plan book, so instead I make a list that I keep front and center.  Most of the activities are the same, but I figured I would share it again in case you want to know what I'm planning on doing.

1.  Kids lined up outside - greet them all outside in line, shaking hands with kids and parents.  I say really loud with parents listening - Good Morning Everyone!  In 4th grade kids have the opportunity of going out the side gate after school, please make sure you have told your child where to meet you.  I also remind everyone that 4th grade has a different schedule than last year in 3rd grade - they stay longer.  :)
Back to School Activity Packet : Welcome to 4th Grade
2.  Kids say goodbye to parents and we walk inside.  Kids wander around finding their desks, getting organized.  On the board it says the directions - find seat, put lunch in lunch basket by door, work on All About Me papers.  I give them about 10 minutes to work on those sheets - they may not be completely done by the time I start my spiel but they can finish later.  

3.  I introduce myself and we do a little KW chart about me - what do they know about me already, what do they want to know.  I then tell them about me, about 4th grade, about our classroom.  I pull out my Snapfish book from a few years ago and show them pictures of what to expect.    
4.  Then we take a little classroom tour.  I tell them that this classroom is theirs too - not just mine, so I need them to know where things are.  I start in one corner and work my way around the room, telling them about the different bulletin boards (a little preview of what we will work on), and the different areas - centers station, classroom library, writing area, etc.  
5.  By then it's time for our PE prep, Welcome Assembly, and Recess - last year it took up 90 minutes of our day.  As we come inside to grab our snacks they will find their goldfish treat bag, "You're o'fish-ally in 4th grade!" on their desks. 

6.  After recess, we come back inside to the carpet and I'll do the read aloud "Did You Fill a Bucket Today?"  I will show the example of the toothpaste being squeezed out and will ask for volunteers to try to stick it back inside the tube.  We will brainstorm how we can be bucket fillers in the classroom.  
We will also go over the purpose of the buckets and how that works with class compliments.  

7.  Then I'll introduce "Class?" "Yes!" and we will practice over and over and over again as they transition back to their desks.  
School Rules! {And Procedures, Too!} Activities and Printa
8.  Next will come Rule Time.  I have 3 main rules in my classroom.  Respect yourself, Respect each other, Respect our school - we talk about what that means and brainstorm examples.  I fill up the board with all the different ideas they come up with.  I go over the behavior chart - moving up and down on the colors.  I'll tell them about the behavior beads that they can earn (little pony beads) for staying on green all week, and if they move up how they can earn an extra one.  I'll show them the little containers that we will be collecting their beads in.  Eventually those beads will form either a bracelet of necklace at the end of the year - we just aren't stringing them every single week.  I will pass out an iPad paper and they will draw examples of the rules as apps.
Math Meeting set is from 4th Grade Frolics.
9.  After rules comes the first of many days of Math Meeting.  We will head back to the carpet with their whiteboards and will work through the different activities together.  I want them to get the routine of what to do at this time.  Then we will go through it together.  

9. Then it will be time for a little team work activity.  We are going to "Save Fred".  I got the idea last year from Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies - the kids basically are given a gummy worm, a gummy peach ring, one or two paperclips, and a plastic cup.  Her story goes on to say that Fred can't swim, and his boat (the plastic cup) flipped over before he could get his life preserver (gummy peach ring) on.  They aren't able to use their hands to help Fred, only the paper clip... having to work together as a team to get Fred safe and sound with the life preserver back in the boat.  Last year my kids loved it!  They even wanted that to be part of their memory book at the end of the year.  

10.  Lunch time!  

11.  After lunch we don't have much time - basically only 30 minutes to finish up the day.  When they walk in they will notice that all the books are out of the bookshelf on the desks (still in buckets).  We will come over to the carpet and I will present the Daily 5 "I-PICK" mini lesson.  How they need to choose books that have a purpose, interest, that they need to be able to comprehend the material, and know the words.  They will all go shopping (given a set 10 minute time period) to choose 3 books to keep at their desks.  We will talk about how when they are finished with something, that reading is their only option.  

12.  Then it's paperwork time - passing out homework folders, filling in their agendas, passing out all the papers from the office.  

Well - that's what's on the agenda for tomorrow.  It's going to be a busy one, but from past experience it's going to be a great one too! 



  1. Great plan! I would like to try the group Fred activity! So helpful to see how each student works in a group...
    Grade 4 Buzz

  2. Love the Fred activity! What a fun way to have them to start working collaboratively! Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a great first day tomorrow!
    On the Trail of Learning

  3. I love your posters "Class? Yes!" "Teach, Okay!" "Hands & Eyes". How do you use those? Also, I am planning to have buckets for filling this year, but in the past I have had problems with only some kids getting notes, and others not getting do you handle yours and how does it relate to your compliments? Thank you for sharing!

  4. Have a great day! It sounds as if you are off to a great start! My first full week starts tomorrow and I am still working off of a list:). Next week complete lesson plans, so much to do the first few weeks!

  5. The Class ? Yes! Comes from Whole Brian Teaching. You can look it up there is a whole web page ( think) and You Tube videos to watch how it is done! I use it with my 2nd graders and they LOVE it!


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