4 of the Most Important Focuses for the First Week of School

Who else is ready for school to start?  I have been thinking a lot this summer about how to set my new students up for success right from the start.  There are quite a few tasks we have to accomplish the first week back. so our class schedule is not always our own.  Assemblies, special events and other surprises will eat up some of our time, and I know to plan for that now.  There are some things I focus on in the little time we have that will help my students feel better prepared for the year.  What I would like to share with you is the 4 Most Important Focuses for the First Week of School.  When you do have time as a class, think about trying these ideas to help you start the year off right!

Looking for what to do the first week of school?  These are my top 4 focuses for the first week of school.  Don't get caught going over rules the boring way.  Reach your students through fun and get to know them!


I can’t say this enough….. Whenever you have a chance, practice routines you want to see in your room!  This doesn’t mean spending 30 minutes teaching each and every routine at the beginning of your first day.  That does mean briefly going over each routine before you ask the class to try it.  Get those little bodies moving!  If you can practice the routine several times in a row, go for it! I like to add a timer for some that we repeat to make it seem more fun. 

Letting your students understand their roles and classroom jobs is also really important early in the year. Use a classroom jobs bulletin boards and/or a class schedule to review your routines for each of those areas.  Students should  know what to expect each time they transition.

Classroom decor can help with jobs and schedules to make your first week back easier!
           Click here for Cactus Jobs

Click here for Superhero Schedule                       Click here for Emoji Schedule

Building Trust

Many new students come to school nervous and unsure.  They may have heard about their new teacher from older siblings or friends, and they usually have some kind of idea about school in their head, good or bad.  One of the first things I work to do is build up trust.  I set up stations around the room of review materials or fun activities that can be accomplished alone or in a group, and this frees me up to move around the room and talk to individual students.  At this point in the year, I honor what they show me they need.  I never insist on a one-on-one conversation, but I will try to interact with every student individually by the end of the first day.  Showing each and every student that I value them as an individual is a great start to building the trust we will need to be successful throughout the year.

Getting to Know Each Other

Prioritize time that lets you learn about your students.  Work in some fun games and team-building activities that allow students to learn each other’s names, likes and personalities.  This is a great chance for me to learn about my students as well!  I am always being sneaky and assessing their ability to work together as well as their communication skills.  This is a great way for me to create effective groupings for my students. 
One of my favorite get to know you activities is Get to Know You BINGO!  Students love to get up and move around the room asking their friends these questions.  It’s great for name recognition and finding new friends!  Click on the picture for your free sheet! 


This might be easier for me in 2nd grade than it would be for others, but I feel like prioritizing play and fun in my classroom sets my students up for success.  They want to come back to school on day two, because day one was SO MUCH FUN!  If I can set this up from the beginning, I can count on students who are more engaged the rest of the year.  We play board games, review games, games at recess, and sometimes I even join them for the last few minutes of PE, Music, Art or other specials just to join in and learn with them!  The sneaky goal of this is to learn more about my students, how they behave with other teachers, how they interact with other students, etc.  The more I can learn about my students, the better teacher I can be for them.
You probably noticed one thing I did NOT put in this list was going over our rules.  I have the luxury of working with students who have done this before.  For the most part, they know what is expected of them.  Even if they didn’t, I don’t think I would have students sit down and listen while I lectured them about the rules and regulations.  That seems like a great way to lose students from day one.  Instead I work these expectations into our games, play and routine practice.  They learn the rules whether they realize it or not!  Hopefully, these 4 Important Focuses for the First Week of School struck a chord with you!  What do you plan to prioritize in your first week?

Looking for what to do the first week of school?  These are my top 4 focuses for the first week of school.  Don't get caught going over rules the boring way.  Reach your students through fun and get to know them!


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