Back to school time is right around the corner. Teachers are preparing to head back to school after the glorious summer break. It can be easy to get wrapped up in your to-do list and forget things, such as your own self care or a read aloud for day 3 of school. Prepare with confidence and cover your bases with this first week of kindergarten survival guide.
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Survival Guide For the Teacher
Teachers have a lot on their plates when planning and prepping for back to school time. There’s organizing and decorating the classroom, learning about new students, planning lessons, catching up with coworkers, and doing beginning of the year professional development just to name a few.
While the to-do list may seem never ending, it’s important to remember your own mental health and well-being. A tired, rundown teacher won’t be able to show up as the teacher they want to be.
Be sure to get your rest, do self care when you can, and give yourself grace. Not everything will be perfect or go exactly as planned during the first week of kindergarten, and that’s ok.
To ensure you’re prepared for any situation that may arise at school, it’s also a good idea to prep a teacher emergency kit as part of your first week of kindergarten survival guide. This will help you feel good and cover your self care bases at all times while you’re away from home.
Save yourself some stress and feel more prepared to head back to school by getting prepared at home. Deep clean your house and wash your car before school starts. Stock up on groceries and prep some healthy lunches that you can take to school so you aren’t scrambling every morning as you’re heading out the door.
When planning lessons for the first week of kindergarten, be sure to focus more on building relationships and classroom community and making your students feel welcome than on curriculum and skill practice. There’s plenty of time throughout the year for that. However, this first week is all about getting to know your students.
Don’t try to do it all this first week. Take the time to get to know each other, teach routines and procedures, and make your students feel safe and welcome at school. The goal for each day of the first week of school is to make your students love school and be excited to come back the next day.
You can check out a sample first week of school schedule in this Realistic Expectations for the First Week of Kindergarten blog post.
To help you plan developmentally appropriate lessons for the first month of school and beyond, it’s helpful to use a kindergarten pacing guide. A pacing guide will help you see the progression of skills taught throughout the year and the seasonal units and themes you can incorporate. This will make lesson planning even easier.
You can grab a copy of the free kindergarten pacing guide by filling out the form below.
Survival Guide For the Classroom
As you sit down to plan your lessons for the first week of kindergarten, remember to keep it simple. You’ll be spending a lot of time on routines, procedures, and learning how to transition from one activity to the next.
As part of your first week of kindergarten survival guide, I’ve included ideas for read alouds, hands-on activities, and math and literacy must-haves. These ideas will make school fun for your students and will get everyone in the groove while slowly incorporating beginning of the year skills.
One of the best ways to connect with your students and make them feel welcome at school is with back to school read alouds. There’s something about listening to a story that makes students feel calm and more relaxed. A few of my favorite back to school read alouds for kindergarten are:
- The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
- Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg
- First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Check out your school’s library or see if you can borrow these books from a teacher friend if you don’t have them and you’ll be set for an entire week of read alouds.
Having a variety of hands-on activities for students to work with is an essential element of your first week of kindergarten survival guide. These activities will teach students how to use different supplies and manipulatives in the classroom while being exposed to basic kindergarten skills.
Remember, during the first week, the main focus is routines, procedures, and relationships. No need to give grades or worry too much about skills just yet. These hands-on activities are perfect for the first week of kindergarten and can be incorporated several times during the week.
- Alphabet Play Dough Mats
- Tic Tac Letter Recognition Game
- Mini Eraser Make It Mats
- Roll and Match the Colors
- Roll, Count, and Cover Math Games
Back to school math and literacy must-haves.
While the first week of kindergarten is mainly a focus on routines, procedures, and relationships, you may want to start planning your back to school math and literacy lessons for the following weeks. Keep in mind, clear expectations, consistency, and practice is key.
To help you set your students up for success and ease them into more structured lessons, I wanted to share my 3 favorite back to school math and literacy must-haves. These resources will help you establish a consistent morning routine, save you prep time, and help your students learn to work and transition during centers.
- Back to School Morning Tubs
- First Week of Kindergarten Activities
- Back to School Math and Literacy Centers
I hope this first week of kindergarten survival guide gives you peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to do it all in the first week. I’d love to hear which ideas and activities you implement this year. Leave a comment and let me know!