Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to School- The First Day in First Grade!!!

Hey Everyone! I'm sorry I'm a day late posting this...yesterday just wasn't a blogging friendly day...I went nonstop from one errand to the next to the next, while in the back of my head I was thinking I want to share my back to school stuff with my blog buddies! Anyhoo, I am ready to go now!!!

The first day of school will be here before I know it! My kids start on August 10th, which is on a Wednesday! I LOVE starting on hump day because it gives me just enough time to have a lot of back to school fun before we *really* get into our daily routine!! Plus, I learn a lot about the kids to better plan for the following week! PLUS, I am t.i.r.e.d. and my throat always hurts after three days so it gives me a chance to rest and prepare for a full week!!!

When planning for the first few days of school, my main goal is to set a tone for respect and love for one another! I want my sweeties to get to know each other, enjoy their classroom (and teacher), have fun learning, while also understanding expectations for rules & procedures!

I use a simplified lesson plan format for these days since they are so different that my *normal routine*( which starts the following week)!
Normal Lesson Plan Format.....
 Back to School Lesson Plan Format...

Let's get to the good stuff!!

DAY 1 (My Favorite)

I start the day out by just greeting everyone and helping them get settled in! Once the kids are unpacked, they'll go to their desk and write about something fun they did during summer! Click on the picture to download the "Summer Fun" writing paper!  

While they are working on this, I'm taking attendance, making sure everyone has made a lunch choice, checking for transportation notes, putting name tags on...y'all know the drill!!! My grade level goes to activity class first thing in the morning, so I like to quickly introduce myself and explain how they will go to PE/Music/Art before they are out the door!! While they're having fun in activity, I enjoy a nice, STRONG cup of coffee and organize a mountain of school supplies!!!
When everyone gets back from activity, we have our very first calendar time and play what I call the "Name Game". It's super easy...I just go around and say each student's name & then challenge other students to do the same thing...lots of fun! Then to get to know everyone better and to break the ice a bit, we play "Grab a Question"! I put little slips of paper with different questions on them for students to pull out of a bucket one at a time and answer!I even play so the children can get to know me better, too!! Click on the picture to download the questions I use!
Then it's snack time!! I always have extra snacks on hand just in case someone forgets to bring one!
While they eat their snack, I read...

Afterwards, we talk about how everyone has first day jitters {even ME!}! Once we have a nice jittery discussion, I let the students write about their first day jitters on this paper! Click on it to download!

You should also check out this awesome First Day Jitters activity guide that I found online!

Then we have a class meeting to talk about the classroom rules & expectations! We discuss why rules are important to us and our school. We also create a "First Grade Expectations" poster and everyone signs it! I hang this up in front of the room to remind everyone, if needed!!

Once we have a chance to talk about the rules, it's time to take a school tour! We practice following the rules and having the BEST first grade line on our tour!

When we get back, we have some math fun & create a "How Do We Get to School?" graph on the SMARTboard! You can get it HERE! I also add van riders to this presentation since that is another mode of transportation at my school!

After lunch, children usually start missing their parents so it's a perfect time to read them one of my favorite back to school feel good books.....

After the story, I pull students over one by one to do a handprint activity with me (will post pictures when school starts) while they write about their first day in first grade and complete their "Hall Heads". Click on the picture to download "My First Day in First Grade" writing paper!

Here's a picture of what the "Hall Heads" look like when they are done!! I just cut the heads out of poster board and the kids create a portrait of themselves...Then I laminate them. FYI-if you are going to laminate them make sure children use color pencils and not crayons- crayon wax will run all over the place when laminated...learned this the hard way!!! Once they are laminated, I hot glue two clothespins to the front and they are ready to go!! I like to put them up ASAP so I can display their "My First Day in First Grade" writing!! They stay up all year long and add a special touch to our hallway!!

Well, this pretty much sums up what we do on the first day in my classroom! At the end of the day, I go over the playground rules before we go to recess! AND most importantly, I make sure everyone knows how they are going home because it's one more round of the "Name Game" and dismissal time as soon as we get back in from recess!

Whew! I'm going to take a little blogging break and I'll post my lessons & resources for my 2nd & 3rd day tomorrow!!


Mrs. I said...

This looks great! Thanks for sharing!

Would you be able to share your normal schedule in an editable format? I really like it!

Cathy I.
Mrs. I's Class

Anna Brantley said...

One of my awesome team members created my normal lesson plan format so I will have to ask her if it's OK to share!

According to Ashley said...

Wow! I love you. That is all. Haha - but seriously, thanks so much for posting all of this! First Day Jitters is my favorite book ever, and I read it to my kindergarteners every year. Usually about 2 of them "get it" and I have to explain why it's so funny to the rest of them. Hehe! Would you be able to send an editable form of your regular lesson plans to me, too? Thanks!!

Cindy said...

Thank you for sharing these ideas. I love hearing what other teachers do on the first day to get some fresh ideas. I especially love, love, love your "hall heads". I'm definetely putting that in my plans for the first day!!!!

Cindy said...

Ooh, and if you can send me an editable lesson plan for too, I'd love it!

mandytaylor said...

Thanks so much for the cute printables! Adding a border just makes it better, don'tcha think?

Kristina said...

Do you leave the hall heads up all year and just change the writing piece? I love the idea.

Mrs.Capps said...

Hi Anna, if your teammate is willing to share will you post or e-mail the editable format for your plans??? If she is willing to lend it I would love to have it before I start my plans! It looks AWESOME. THanks!

Anna Brantley said...

YES! I will post them here if she gives me permission:)

Anna Brantley said...

Kristina-YES! I leave them up all year long & change out their work every couple of weeks!

lauren brittany said...

LOVE IT! I am saving it all! I would love to see your lesson plan template in word or adobe.

Megan said...

I love the hall heads idea! Very cute. I may have to try that this year. I really like the lesson plan format too. I've tried everything and created my own but nothing that simple and streamlined. I hope that you team mate doesn't mind sharing!

Mrs. Lochridge said...

Thanks for all the downloads and ideas, Anna! Love the graphing on the Smart Board.

First Grade Factory

t. ulch said...

Thank you for the great ideas! I wish I had a SmartBoard for the graphs!! Could you explain the "Name Game" again? I'm not sure what is involved but it would be a fun first day game!

Charlotte said...

Thank you for all the wonderful first day activities!

For the "Wall Heads" do you just trace a circle on poster board and cut them out? I can't zoom in on the picture to see, so can you tell me how you make the idea!m

Mrs. Osborne said...

Wow! Thanks! Can you please tell me how you get Google Docs to keep your formatting when you post to blogspot? Mine messes up everytime! (I'm a newbie.) Thanks :)

Ally said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing. Very detailed and will definitely be adding some of your ideas to my first days of school!

mrs.wolf said...

Thanks for sharing! I always love seeing other teacher's ideas and schedule for the first day. Even though this will be my sixth year teaching, I still get nervous on the first day! :) Thanks again!
Lacey Wolf

Francesca said...

Thank you for sharing these great ideas, I can't wait to use them! Can you please tell me where you got the polka dot border for the first day in first grade writing?

Literacy Teacher said...

Love these ideas! Very clever !

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing your fun ideas! I'm looking forward to using the "Grab a Question" game during our carpet time :)

Rachel said...

This is fantastic! Your students are very lucky, thank you for the downloads :) I love the "hallway heads", I need to figure out where I could incorporate this.


1D Kids said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing. I do lots of similar first day activities, and I really appreciate you providing the sample writing papers. I have my kiddos bring a "jitter critter" - small stuffed animal to school on the first day, and they love it.

Kristen Smith said...

You have NO idea how much this post has helped me! I will be a new teacher this fall, teaching in my dream career...first grade! :) But I definitely have major "jitters" going on which may or may not be accompanied by nightly stress dreams about the first day of school! ;)

Anyway, thank you, thank you for this post! It has helped me a TON!

Kristen Smith

Shannon said...

This is all awesome! You rock! :)

Cindy Gilchrist said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas and inspiration!!!

kiwiblu216 said...

This will be my first year teaching first grade! I am super excited to you your plans!!

Mrs. Oyler said...

Wonderful ideas!!! Thank you for sharing ~ I just posted them on my pinterest board!!! ;)

Jenn O.

Seriously Primary

Kara said...

Thank you for sharing your ideas! It is fun to see what other first grade teachers plan to do for the first days of school!

alp42883 said...

Awesome activities!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Ms. Morales said...

Thank you for the wonderful ideas! I noticed that your lesson plan mentioned the SMART BOARD activity "Following/Not Following Rules". DO you happen to have that link or file? I'd really love to see it! THat would be a great activity after going over the rules. THanks!!!!

mumzie said...

I really love everything you have shared. Thanks! Is it possible that you could make the August 10 lesson plan downloadable?

Anna Brantley said...

The Smartboard is something I created, but it's on my school computer! It's nothing fancy, but I'll try to see how I go about sharing it here??

I'd be more than happy to make by Back to School lesson plans downloadable...check back tomorrow:)

Thanks for all of your sweet comments everyone!!!

Carrie said...

You are so amazing. Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas in an easy-to-understand way :) Have a blessed school year!

stressgirl37 said...

Fantastic! I am not able to print anything- I just get the screen shot and not the actual document. :(

Anna Brantley said...

Go to the left side & click on file. Then click on download original. Let me know if that works!!

Thanks for checking out my blog!!

Brittany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittany said...

Love your ideas! I use some of the same books at the beginning of the year, but you've got some ideas that I hadn't thought of. Thank you so much for sharing!
A Day in First Grade

Bethany McClure said...

Love the writing paper! Thanks so much for sharing! Getting excited for the 1st day! :)

Learning is a Journey

*leah* said...

WOW! I am amazed at all your great things. Thank you for sharing all your FABULOUS ideas!!

Jennifer said...

Where do you get all the borders for your pages?

Julie Bell said...

I too would love to see your lesson plan template!!

Frugalteacher said...

Thank you so much for sharing the "First Day Jitters" page and activity guide! I love teacher who share!

rjavadi said...


Love, love, love your blog. I would also love a copy of that lesson plan template if possible. I am going in to my second year of teaching and have not found anything that I like yet. Yours looks like it has a lot of things that I am looking for.

Thank you so much for sharing all of your ideas.

Miss Javadi

Susan said...

I am a new Kindergarten teacher and I love your lesson plan template. Would you mind to share it with me? Thank you so much for the great ideas!

MissMc said...

I love your ideas!! I am a first year teacher and would love an editable copy of your lesson plan format if it is possible! Thanks in advance,

Bose said...

Inspiring designs and creative excellence, keep up the great work!@boseTransportation CV Templates

Amber Unger said...

Thank you for the "First Day Jitters" writing response! I will be using this on my first day of third grade next school year. :)

Nicola said...

Thank you for your great ideas and inspiration! I look forward to using many of these ideas this next year. Also, what is the black dot border around your lesson plans? It is super cute and I would love to find out how to get it. :)

Va said...

I agree the all of the posts have really created some great docs and I appreciate you sharing! Did your friend ever agree to to sharing her lesson plan document? If so, I would love to download it or you can email me at

Thanks again!

Terri said...

I am looking at your great documents and wondering if you have them in a printable (and better yet editable) format? I love what you have created.

Terri Izatt

{lindsey} said...

I love your blog! I am getting ready to start my first year teaching and all of your documents are so helpful! I was wondering if you have a working document of your lesson planning. If you do and wanted to email me that I would be so thankful!

Thanks for your great blog!


Katy said...

Thank you so much! I've been substituting for three years and finally got my own class! First grade will go awesome, especially with your help. =)

Dee said...

Thanks for the great ideas & activities! I'm moving up to 1st this year so the First Day Jitters really

Take care,

Lori McConaughy said...

I noticed this was an older post, but like most people on here I would love a copy of the lesson plan template. Thanks bunches!

Lori McConaughy said...

Sorry I forgot an e-mail :)

Kelly Dorsey said...

I love your blog! :) I'm a first year first grade teacher and I absolutely LOVE your lesson plan template as well as the first day activities! Do you happen to have the lesson template in an editable format?


cernstes said...

Hello. I love your normal lesson plan format. I would like a copy so I could make a similar one for myself. Please let me know if you are willing to share. Thanks. Mrs. Ernstes

77029428-e362-11e1-94e7-000bcdcb471e said...

Love your ideas! I would also like a copy of the lesson plan format:

Melody Tompkins said...

Love your ideas!! Thank you so much! I love everything!!

Rachael said...

I love the Hallheads Idea! Do you keep the First Day in First Grade up the whole year or is that so you can switch up work that each child does?

Rachael said...

I would also love the lesson plan template if you don't mind!

Thanks so much.


John Placzek said...

Anna-- Love, love, LOVE your blog!! It's such a fun timr of the year to get new ideas and inspiration from others. I would also love an editable version of your partner's lesson plan template. I have been trying to create one for days and can't seem to get it the way I want it.
Thanks so much!!

Mallory said...

Please send the following plans for days 2 and 3... love them

Ms. T said...

Thank you SO much for this!!! I am a first year first grade teacher and I have been agonizing over the first day! I already had "First Day Jitters" ready to read and wanted to do most of the things in your plan... I just had no idea HOW to do it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

K.E.'s EOS fight said...

Thank you. So much. This is great

cuteacher22 said...

Thank you! This is my second year teaching first grade, and I am adding to my materials/files. I read "The Kissing Hand" and a following activity to my students on their first day of school. They enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing your ideas!

tahir sumar said...

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Samantha Poccia said...

Is there a way that I can get a copy of your lesson plan template? I really like it!

bird said...

May I get a copy of your "normal" lesson plan format?

Tsedale Ryan said...

Hi Anna, if your teammate is willing to share will you please email me a copy of the editable format for your plans??

Thanks so much,

Photos by May said...

I was reading through the comments and see that there are lots of requests for the editable lesson plan format. I wanted to let you know that it looks like she posted them with another post (day 2 and 3) here

Thanks, so much helpful information here!

Lauren Manns said...

I know this blog post is a couple years old. But I am going to be in my second year teaching first grade and I would love a copy of your editable "normal" lesson plan pages.

Kristen Nilo said...

I am a new teacher and I'm looking for a great template for displaying my lesson plans. I would also love a copy of your editable "normal" lesson plan pages if possible. Thank you for posting all of this. It is very helpful and inspiring!

Jennifer Creelman said...

Thank you so much for sharing!! As my first year teaching is approaching this year, reading this blog has calmed my own anxiety for the first day. I absolutely adore your "Hallways Heads" idea and will be completing this on the first day also!!! Thank you again!!! - Mrs. C

Jill said...

Your awesome ideas for the first day sound so fun and have helped me with my Jitters! I love your blog and thank you so much for sharing! I would be grateful for your lesson plan template, too, please! Thank you!

Kimberly Marquardt said...

Hi, I know it has been a couple of years since this post but I would love to see your "following the rules/not following the rules" smartboard activity if possible. Love your activity ideas.

Teachern2005 said...

If you can send me an editable lesson plan for too, I'd love it! Thanks!!!

Rebekah Waters said...

would love a copy of the editable lesson plan! :)


Amy Pixley said...

I loved this. This will be my first time to
be a first grade teacher. I could not get the
papers to print it says there is an error. Could
you email me the pages?

teacher24 said...

Like all the others, would you be willing to send me an online version of the lesson plan? Thanks!

LanaV said...

Thanks for sharing your 1st day lesson plan! I hope it's not too late to get a copy of your weekly lesson plan template! Can you please email me a copy? My email address is: Much appreciated!

Ivania said...

Hello! I love your lesson plan format! Would you be willing to send me an editable version of your weekly lesson plan template? I would love to use it and make it fit my first grade schedule. Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas!

Ivania said...

whoops! Here is my email:

Thank you so much!

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تخلص من الحشرات

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نظافة المسابح

Nermine Ayman said...

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Nermine Ayman said...

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WienerFUL Days in 1st Grade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WienerFUL Days in 1st Grade said...

I love your lesson plan format! If you don't mind, would you please send me an editable version of it? I reallllllly appreciate it! My email is

Cr Mu said...

Sharing is Caring! Thank you, you're wonderful!

Darcie Dewald said...

Hi Anna - Would you be able to e-mail me editable templates of your normal lesson plan format and your first days of school plans? And possibly the writing templates you use? I'm a first year teacher and came across your blog! It's been really helpful! Thanks!! My e-mail is

René Rojas said...

Hey, thank you so much for all the resources! This will be my first year teaching 1st grade. You have been great help!

Amanda Planta said...

Love your first day of school activities!

We grow TickleMe Plants to start the year off. Imagine growing a real house plant that closes its leaves and even lowers its branches when you Tickle it!.
For sure it makes them look forward to the next science lesson

Angie Coley-Smith said...

I'd love an editable copy of your daily lesson plans please. They rock! :)

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This comment has been removed by the author.
mossad eladawy said...

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