Getting Ahead of the Game 2017: Week #7

It's the last Tuesday in July, which means it is also the final week of my summer blog series: Getting Ahead of the Game! I hope you are feeling a little bit more ready for August and back to school season! This post does contain affiliate links.

The first day/week/month of school is always just a blur! The beginning of the year is just so fun and so, so, SO exhausting. Let's get a head start on planning! Your challenge this week is to start planning that first day and those first few weeks of school.  Here are a few tips and ideas to help you plan that first day and make it go as smoothly as possible!

Create a photo booth or at least take some pictures! Oh how I LOVE those precious first day of school pictures! It is amazing to see how much the kids grow in just a year and I love including them in my end of the year photo albums.  This is also a fun ice breaker for the kids to be silly and take a few fun pictures together. 

Props make it extra fun for your students! These are the cutest and can be used year after year! Don't forget big sunglasses too! 

I created this back drop on a bulletin board in the hallway with a tablecloth and paper. I will also confess that it is still up and will be used again this year. #keepinitreal. I use it throughout the year to display pictures and what we are doing in the classroom.  

I also highly recommend printing pictures throughout the school year, especially if you will be putting together a photo album for each student at the end of the year. Don't forget to take a class picture for the End of the Year slide show too!

Make a memory book. I have a big box of my personal school keepsakes in the attic and you better believe I have a precious little memory book I made the first week of first grade. Here are a few pictures of the memory book I use. I love how simple it is and is requires NO prep from you! Just print and go! 

I use this memory book as my writing for the entire first week of school. It's super simple and is a sweet keepsake. This year I want to hold onto each child's memory book and give it to them at the end of the year so they can see how much they have grown. 

It is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for KindergartenFirst and Second Grade. 

Make some name tags. The other teachers will thank you! After Meet the Teacher, I usually have all of my students names down, but I only have around 22 to learn. Think about the poor P.E. coach (especially if he or she is new to the school!) who has a lot of names to learn. The teachers with cafeteria and recess duty would probably also appreciate name tags too! You can also put them in a name tag badge and save them for substitute days! I love these bright colors and they come in neon too!

Use a book. This is my new go to book for the first day of school! It's new enough that most of the kids haven't heard it before and it's just PERFECT for younger students. 

It is SO cute and sure to make your kids smile.  We will be using A Tiger Tail the whole first week for different activities. 

My book companion includes a craft and different reading responses to choose from!
One of my favorites is this cute class book inspired by the story. I love class books! They really send the message to students that their work is valuable and worthy of being shared. They love when I read the book aloud and come to the page they created. The books are always a hit in the library for many months to come too!

They have the cutest and most creative ideas!

Of course we will be sequencing the story too! 
This story sequencing can be downloaded FREE in the product preview HERE.  There are tons of other printables and response sheets included in the unit too!

I love these books for the first week too! Click on any book to order or check it out!


  Take a tour. When I taught Kindergarten we chased The Gingerbread Man around the school to learn all of the buildings and the kids loved it! I also created this around the school passport for students to collect stickers or badges as they tour the school. This is a great idea if many of your students have never attended your school before! 

It's also a great idea to take pictures of the places you visit in the school and important people to help students learn important names. You guessed it, I turn this into a class book!

Introduce routines that will be used for the entire year. I try to start class routines from Day 1, although you will be reviewing them for many days after that. : ) One of the most important routines is math journals! 

Everyday, my students solve a problem in their math journals to kick off our math lesson that day. From Day 1, I teach my students where to put the problem in their journal, how write the date on each page, etc. You can read more about math journals HERE!

It's a great time to review previously taught concepts or challenge students. I am SO excited to already have ALL of my math journal problems prepped and ready for the school year! Will save me so much time for sure! Check it out HERE. 

I also introduce and set up Writing Workshop folders, Reading Notebooks and Science Journals sometime the first week too!

Read more about the start of Writing Workshop HERE. 

Read more about Reading Notebooks and how essential they are in my classroom HERE

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