AGHHH sorting through supplies with kids can be crazy if you don’t have a plan. They always come in with tons of materials and the chaos will ensue without activities to keep your new little kiddos engaged. I always have a couple of different activities ready for kids so I can pull over small groups to go through and sort the materials. I make sure to go over expectations for behavior and how many kids are at puzzle/manipulative centers.
I was so excited when I discovered the book “Back to School Rules” by Laurie Freedman. I read this aloud with my kids and it helps us to create clear back to school rules and expectations in a positive way.
It also helps review various story elements and comprehension strategies. I have multiple guided reading activities to go with this book, and when we are done we do an adorable pencil craft where the kids choose their favorite new “I can” rule. It makes for a colorful bulletin board too. (Check that off the list too… boom!)
I don’t know about you, but my kids love a read aloud. No matter the group, my kids are always their calmest listening to a good story. I try to make a point of reading multiple books during the first week of school.
When choosing a read aloud, I like to be intentional with the theme in my selections so we not only read for fun but there is a purpose. This then leads to great first-week discussions and establishing classroom norms and expectations in a more organic way.
Growth mindset, being flexible, being respectful to ourselves and others, and problem-solving are my favorite topics that I try to target that first week of school. I have created resources that facilitate these important topics in conversation, that review story elements, check in on comprehension, and wrap it all up with a meaningful craft to display our learning!
These back to school activities for 2nd grade also help me make some informal observations of where my kids are with following directions, fine motor, focus, and academics. My favorite part is seeing their little personalities really come out throughout the various projects and interactions.
Years and years and years (lol) ago my cooperating teacher introduced me to share bags. She sent home a simple paper bag with instructions to fill it with 3-5 items to share. The items needed to help us learn a little bit more about you. The items could be photos, toys, awards, etc.
Every year I do this activity and it is one of my favorites. I send them home on the first day and we share the bags as they come in throughout the week. The kids love sharing about themselves, their classmates interact by asking questions and we all get to know each other a little bit better right off that bat and that is priceless. I recommend doing your own share bag as well. The kids think it is pretty fun to find out more about their new teacher.
This is a fun way to help kids get to know your classroom and where things are. I have done the scavenger hunt two different ways. I have done it either during meet and greet when parents are there to help or on the first day to get kids up and moving.
I love this activity because it’s not me just talking at my kids, it also helps decrease the questions and it gives the kids a sense of ownership and independence in their new classroom.
I generally choose 5-8 different places in the classroom that I would like kids to discover. Some places you might add to your list are the job chart, bathroom passes, their cubby, the classroom library, extra supply drawer, different classroom materials you want them to find, etc. As they find the things in the classroom they put a checkmark next to them.
Here is the scavenger hunt I use in my classroom. Feel free to use it or to inspire your own scavenger hunt back to school activity!