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    First Couple of Weeks of School
    By Becky

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    Here are some things that I do the first couple of weeks as beginning of the school year activities:

    ***We make time capsules (a paper towel tube). We stuff is with a self-portrait, a writing sample and a writing prompt ("My favorite thing to do is....."). We attach a note that says "Do not open until June 22, 2002, or whatever the last day of school is. One the last day, they had so much fun looking at their handwriting from the first week of school.
    ***I used a large piece of oaktag to make a blank puzzle. The amount of puzzle pieces should be equal to how many kids there are in your class plus yourself. Give each child a piece and have them write their name on it and draw a few things that represent them. Once this is done, get together in a circle and put the puzzle back together as a class. Once it is complete, tell the children that you are like a puzzle, every piece (person) is different, but you all fit together perfectly. You can even hang it on a bulletin board with a title "Ms. Smith's Class.....A Perfect Fit!"
    *** Read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. Do a writing prompt "I am important because....."
    *** Read Ten Black Dots. Give them a dot tracer. Trace 10 black dots and have them create their own picture. Give them a strip that says "With my ten black dots I made..........."
    ***Do a Kevin Henkes author study.
    For Chrysantheum, make a graph "How many letters are in your name?"
    For Owen, give the kids a piece of yellow felt. Tell them that it is their own piece of Owen's fuzzy.
    For Wemberely Worried, talk about some of the things that the class might be nervous about for First Grade. Last year I had a former study come in while we read the story. She was there to address the fears and since the kids knew that she had just been in my class they really listened to her.
    Some of the teacher websites have other ideas for extensions with Kevin Henkes books (#####).
    ***A good way to establish classroom rules is by having the kids write and draw the one rule that they think is the most important rule to follow in school.I give this as a homework assignment on the first night.
    Share and discuss what they wrote/drew. Come up with a list of rules. Make sure that you come up with a list of consequences as well. Look at the other posts that talk about the Stoplight management systems. I use that (the four colired cards) and it's very effective.
    ***There is also a book called When Will I Read? by Miriam Cohen. It's part of the Welcome to First Grade series. That's another good series to use as a Spotlight Author.
    Good luck!

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