I jump right into centers the first week of school. They aren't all academic, a lot are play based; however, I really want to get the kids into their daily routine, learning procedures, learning how to rotate, etc.
On the first day of school I make sure to grab students one-by-one out of their centers to snap a quick 'first day of school' picture for their memory books. This year I used a free sign I found HERE.
In their centers they also work on a page for their memory book. I pre-write all of the students names so it is ready for them when they get to that center. They have to write their name and draw a picture of themselves. This page is AMAZING to see at the end of the year when they complete this page again and we compare!
Some of their other play based (or exploration) centers were unifix cubes.
I know play-doh is always a favorite so I left out these play-doh shape cards from my August/September Math Centers unit.
They definitely enjoyed this center. They kept asking when they were going to be able to 'do play-doh' again!
Another center was blocks. I have blocks, legos, cards, lincoln logs, etc., but they were only allowed to use blocks. I do one activity at a time until I know that they can clean up their centers properly :)
At another center, I left out my writing and word work cards. These cards are something we constantly use in my classroom (at writing, for 'early finishers, and more) so I want them to know how to use these cards properly.
I always tell my kids that they can draw any picture they want on their white boards, but then they have to write the word that accompanies the picture! Eventually this leads to sentences or a little story.
These cards help my kids become writers! They are SO proud of their work and can't believe that they 'spelled' these words!
We also learned 'Write the Room' at our writing center.
Students loved exploring the room and finding words to write down. Some of my students were only able to write 5 words in the allotted time and other were able to finish their entire page.
I did introduce our class library, but I didn't give the kids freedom to all of the book baskets. I told them they were allowed to read any book from baskets 1-4. This way they could work on putting the books away in the correct book basket.
The students worked together at one of their centers to build their 'Letter Caterpillar'. I did not give them the activity sheet for this, I just wanted them to start learning how to work together.
Another writing activity that I introduced during the first two weeks of school was color writing. I let students use the color page in the writing and word work cards to help them spell their color words. I also show them where the color posters are hanging in the room as another option.
For writing one day we read No David! Then as a class we discussed things that were a 'no' and things that were a 'yes'. When we were finished I did a directed drawing of David with them. Their drawings came out adorable!
We also started writing in our writing notebooks. We only did sight word sentences the second week of school just to get us started on writing. We either did 'I see' sentences or 'I can' sentences. The students did amazing at both.
I walked around the room to help them sound out the last word in their sentence; however, they had to write their sight words by themselves. (These sight words are also on the word wall for extra help).
During writing we worked on drawing our pictures with pencil first and coloring our pictures in with the correct colors.
Poetry notebooks are also up and running these first two weeks of school! We do a poem (sometimes two) a week. The children just LOVE these!! They take their poetry notebooks home on Fridays to enjoy with their families over the weekend. The parents love to hear their children 'reading' (mostly memorizing right now but that's okay!) their poems.
During poetry we highlight our sight words and we work on adding settings to our pictures! Throughout the week these poetry notebooks stay in their book bins for students to practice reading when they are in our classroom library.
I'd say we are off to a good start!