Need Some Activities for a Stress Free Back to School?

Back to school is stressful and planning for the first week of school is one of the hardest lesson plans to create. Too  many unknowns can happen such as:

  • Your class dynamics – you probably don’t know many, if any, of the students you will get and therefore you can’t plan specifically for them. Are they a rowdy group? Who are the talkers? Who are the attention-seekers? How well do they listen? Who will be upset? Whose parents will have a hard time letting go?
  • Last-minute changes – there are so many changes and unanticipated emergencies that will crop up during that first week – Will any of the children have bathroom accidents? Did each bus rider get on the right bus? Do they have their lunch? Do they know their lunch number or where to find their lunch card?
  • Admin changes – and then there are the changes that admin sends down, sometimes without any warnings. New students that you weren’t prepared for. All those forms that need to go home. Schedule changes. Last minute details that have to be ironed out. Curriculum changes…

All of it makes for a lot of confusion.

What can you do to minimize the stress?

Keep your lesson plans simple. There will be many days this month where you will say to yourself “This class will never get it together”. Don’t worry…they will. Just stick to your plan and procedures, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Make sure your students have all rules and procedures down first before you start teaching new concepts. Remember, primary grades are about teaching the curriculum, yes, but the a good portion of it is about teaching independence. Concentrate on the rules and procedures. You are setting them up for success so don’t stress about the curriculum the first few weeks. Just keep repeating procedures and routines. It will make the rest of the year easier.

Here are a some very basic activities that I use the first week (bonus…2 of them are FREE!). All other activities – plus more – can be found in my No Prep Back to School Activities and Assessments. I hope you will find some inspiration here to make your first week as stress-free as possible.

1. My Name is…

For 1st and 2nd grades, use this opening activity in the morning as kids are arriving. For Pre-K and Kindergarten, use as a small group activity with you or an assistant. If they struggle writing their name or drawing tally marks, use a yellow highlighter pen that they can trace over.

back to school activity of all about me printable

2. My Classroom

New students will feel more comfortable knowing important information about their classroom and school. Work as a group to fill out the information or use a yellow highlighter to help those students who are not fully able to write yet. When done, insert it into a clear page protector and keep it at their desk for easy reference.

3. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Get your students up and moving around the room for a fun scavenger hunt. Use it as an ice breaker for a new class by pairing students and having them search together.

back to school activity of classroom scavenger hunt printable

4. Play a Back to School Bingo Game {FREEBIE}

Bingo games are a fun way to let students practice new skills without them realizing it. All students play at the same time – a benefit since your students might not be ready to take turns. The game also teaches important lessons about winning and losing.

This freebie allows students to create their own board. Students color 9 out of the 12 tiles provided and cut them out. They then glue them onto their bingo card in any pattern they choose. You will find the link to this FREE resource at the end of this post.   

5. Roll a Shape Game {FREEBIE}

Roll a dice games are an engaging way to teach students basic turn taking skills as well as mathematical literacy. Use this game below to observe what they know about following directions, basic number skills, and shapes. You will find the link to this FREE resource at the end of this post. 


Back to School No Prep Activities & Assessments

Back to School Bingo {FREEBIE}

Roll a Shape {FREEBIE}

I hope these resources help reduce your stress for the first week of school. I wish  you a very successful back to school time!

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