Back to school is on all of our minds as the summer wraps up. Today I am going to share my favorite back to school activities and read alouds! If you click on any of the books or products they will take you to an affiliate link! There is a GREAT freebie at the end too!
The Exceptionally, Extraordinary, Ordinary First Day of School
The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School (affiliate link)
We read this book on the first day of school and then we do two activities! First we do a SUPER fun drawing lesson (psst. you will find that lesson later on) Then, we write about our first day of school and send it home to our parents!
Spaghetti and a Hot Dog Bun
After reading this book we talk about how people are different, but can still be friends. I give my students post-it notes and spread out around the room. I will turn the music on and when it stops they have to find a partner. They come up with one thing that is different about the two of them and write it on the post-it. Then, they stick the post-it on their bodies. The kids LOVE this! We also do a fun writing activities about being unique.
Peanut Butter and a Cupcake
After reading this book we talk about how everyone has different character traits that make them a great friend. Then, we do the “Find a Friend Who” game, but with character traits. So, they have to find a friend that is “kind” etc. We also do a fun activity with drawing ourselves as a food and writing about the food!
Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind
This is my FAVORITE story to read to my kids before we start reading in the classroom. We read the story and we talk about how much I love reading and want to help them love reading too. Then, the students create a reading biography and write a about how they feel about reading. I keep this till the last week of school and we talk about how their feelings with reading has changed! They love seeing how they have changed!
Not Your Typical Dragon
This book is SO fun! The kids will seriously laugh the whole time. The students love talking about all the different things that the dragon can do besides just breathe fire. Then, we talk about what we can do to contribute to the classroom! Each child comes up with one way they plan to contribute and we do a “promise” to always contribute in our special way.
When I Grow Up & Future Leaders Board
On the first week of school my students make a poster that shows what they want to be when they grow up, after reading “When I Grow Up”. I then take a photo of them holding the poster and hang it on my future leaders board for the year. This reminds students of what they are working towards and it is so cute to see how they change throughout the year!
Back to School Challenge
This is how I pre-assess my students every year. The students have to complete 8 different reading challenges. Each challenge earns them a school supply. They put the supply into their backpack and try to get their entire backpack filled. When they do they get to jump onto the “bus” and play games while waiting for others. The bus is just a line of desks I make look like a bus! While they are completing the challenge I take notes on what they know and what they don’t know. Then, when the challenge is over we have a party to celebrate! This is an engaging way to pre-assess! Find it here!
Easy STEM Activities
We do SIMPLE STEM challenges all week. I want students to just practice working together and talk about what went well with group work and what didn’t. I always make them work in different groups, so they get to know each other. I will just hand them supplies and have them build something! One day I hand them spaghetti and marshmallows and have them build a tower, one day I give them toilet paper rolls and have them build a playground, and another day I just give them tons of scrap supplies and tell them to make an invention!
On the first day of school I always have a thing of play-doh on the desk for each child. The children can make anything they want with the play-doh while waiting for the day to start. This gives me time to get together last minute things and for them to talk to each other. It also just makes them start to feel comfortable in the classroom. When the school day starts I have them make with play-doh something to describe their favorite activity they did this summer. Then, we go around and share! They get to keep the play-doh which they love! You can find the whole set of play-doh here with the affiliate link!
First Week Plans
You can hear all about my first week plans in this video!
Do you want my entire first week plans with clickable links?! Well guess what?! You can grab them for FREE below!