Since I loop with my kids, last year I had 1st graders so ending the year with almost second graders and being given a group of new kindergardeners if always a big 'ol slap in the face! It's crazy how much they grow in two years. I definitely have to remind myself to start off slow and focus on procedures as much as I can.
The first day we read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and did several activities related to the book. If you are not familiar with the book, it is about a raccoon named Chester who is nervous about going to school. His mother kisses his hand and tells him that she will be with him while he is at school and not to be scared. The kids made a Chester puppet (I forgot to take pictures so this is a picture of my example) while I pulled one kid at a time to make a Kissing Hand puzzle (handprint paint puzzle with a sticker heart in the middle)
Beginning of the year for me always has a big focus on getting to know everyone. The first month or so of kindergarten writing is focused on writing their first name. One of the first activities the kids do is from my back to school unit where they write their name and draw a picture of themselves on the first day of school.
We also do a lot of name games such as rolling the ball and saying someone's name or going around the circle saying My name is...and I like... I try really hard to help the kids learn each other's names as soon as possible. Since my room is pirate-themed (as you saw in my last post), I did pirate of the day instead of student of the day. (I do have a generic student of the day activity in my back to school unit) I choose a name from my bucket and that student gets to be pirate of the day. They get to decorate a pirate hat and I give them a SWEET eye patch. The kids then ask them questions that I fill in on their student of the day sheet. All the rest of the students then write that student's name and draw a picture of them. I went on the first day so they could get to know me.
We also read a lot of Kevin Henkes books including Chrysanthemum. I sent home a little card for parents to fill out about how they picked their child's name and why it's perfect for them. The kids decorated flowers and I glued their parents card to the flower. In the middle of the flower I put their picture. They are still hanging on our student work wall and they look adorable!
We also read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and did several fun activities related to that book including our own coconut name tree. The kids colored their own tree and cut out the letters of their name. We talked about only cutting out an uppercase letter for our first letter and using lowercase for the rest. Here's my example:
Later in the week we continued to practice writing names by making a "My Friends Book" from my back to school unit. The kids drew a picture of their teacher and then picked three friends to draw and label with their name.
We talked a lot about rules and their importance at school. I read them Growing Kinder's The Day the Monster went to School story and we talked about what went wrong with the monster on his first day and what better choices he could have made. I used several activities from including her monster glyph.
And of course, we did more pirate activities! :) The kids wrote a class book about what they would do if they were pirates (I forgot to take pictures of course! oops!) and lots of kids wanted to find and SHARE treasure. :) They also made their own pirate head which we used to decorate our bulletin board (FINALLY!)
Hope everyone has a smooth first few weeks back to school! I'm having a sale at my TpT store from August 11th-14th for back to school so check it out!