What's Going on Here...

Friday, June 18, 2010

First of School Activities

Here is a more detailed description of what we do the first three days of school. Thank goodness our system purposefully sets the beginning of school so that the K's do not go a full week!
Day 1:
        Read, Brown Bear, Brown Bear and retell several ways:
        Character Hunt - We tour the school looking for each character from the story. As each character is found I color the character on my "characters" coloring sheet. We also take this opportunity to point out specific locations in the school (ex. Office - red bird, Library - blue horse, etc.). Brown Bear is found in our classroom when we return (a giant, stuffed bear). Each child has their photo taken with him - this is saved for their portfolio. 
        Story Map - paint sections of white bulletin board paper to match the colors of the animals from the story.  This is such an important activity because it begins our year of working together and respecting each other as learners. (whole group-see picture)
Day 2:        
        Character Head Bands: Each child is given colored dots to represent each character. Children glue the dots in order of the story (whole group) as we retell. This activity teaches correct gluing procedures ("Just a little bit of glue holds a lot *snap*snap, just a little bit of glue holds a lot *snap *snap. Just a little bit of glue, just a tiny little dot, just a little bit of glue holds a lot *snap *snap" - tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It").
        Character Cut Outs - After the tour, usually the next day, the children color their own page of characters and cut them out into cards. These cards are placed into a brown lunch bag, with a Brown Bear glued to the front, to take home for sharing our new story with parents (cutting procedures are introduced and practiced with this activity).
       Sort color pom-poms - I introduce the use of my sand timer for this activity (we use it all year). Children gather in groups of 4 or 5. Each child has a tweezer. Each group has an assortment of pom-poms and a 9-sectioned muffin tin (1 for each character). Each section of the muffin tin has a color circle glued to the bottom. When I say go, the group works together to sort their pile of pom-poms by color with tweezers - NO FINGERS! The goal is to beat the timer. This is a great assessment for fine motor, group work, listening skills, etc. 
Day 3:
       Character Cut Outs II - I make another white copy of the same page and give children Skittles or M&M's to sort by color (ex. orange candy on the fish, etc.). This activity is a great "quick assessment" to check for recall (the characters are NOT colored), sorting, more/less, counting, number/set, etc. I scan the room asking, "How many orange? Can you write that number?". 
        Story Map Part II - I pass out "black print" color word cards, "in color" color word cards, and a picture card of each story character. After we sing along with Greg and Steve's "Brown Bear" song holding up our matching card, we label the map accordingly with our cards - another great assessment for word matching, color word recognition, sequence, retell, attention span, etc.


  1. I am so glad you gave a detailed schedule of how you spend the first few days. Can you imagine how amazing it would have been to have this information your first year?! Thank you, Suzan, for the great plans!

  2. I agree with Mrs. Hicks. What I would have given to have had free access to such great plans when I began teaching in 1995?!?! Even as an "oldie", I am excited about incorporating some of your fresh ideas in my classroom this August. Thanks for taking time to share. I hope you have a ton of "followers" - I expect you will. :) Love, Andrea :) (a.k.a. 3 BarcliftBoys). :)

  3. Girls, that is EXACTLY my hope! I remember being SO lost and just trying to keep up! There is so much you can "gather" during those first few days to help guide you in your focus...while having a great time in the process. We have to be such "kid watchers" - these activities help me do just that. If you know me you know that I try to find activities that are worthwhile. Any suggestions for improvement?

  4. I am a new follower and I love the detail you give on how you run your classroom! I was wondering if you could/would be interested in sharing all the various music you use throughout the day! I am moving from second to kindergarten next year and I know how important music is and Im looking for some suggestions and ideas!!
    Thanks again!

  5. Katie - I'm so glad to have you along for the ride! I have some songs we do on a daily basis for calendar - very simple and short. I can email you the words to some if you like. I also LOVE Dr. Jean's Tooty Ta - our "induction activity" into Kindergarten. The rule is if you are in the room (parents, anyone) you MUSt participate - NO OBSERVERS! I also like Jack Hartman, Greg and Steve, and the OLD standby Hap Palmer!