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First Day of School Worksheets & Printables

The first day of the new school year can feel overwhelming with lesson planning, organizing your classroom, and getting to know new students (or reconnecting with your students after summer) all on your ever-growing to-do list. Here you’ll find a collection of back to school activities, printable worksheets, checklists, and templates, to help ease you into the first week of school and take away some of that back to school angst.

Back to School Worksheets & Printables

Here you'll find our tried and tested teaching resources for the first day of school. Choose from icebreakers, writing and math activities, in-depth projects, and more. Browse the collections by grade level to find the perfect back to school activity for your class.

First Day of School Activities for Elementary

These back to school activities and printables have been created for Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade. You’ll find activities specifically for the first day of school as well as getting to know you printables, and handy “5 minutes left” activities. Many of the worksheets and templates have been designed so that can be used for bulletin boards or open houses and back to school nights.

  • First Day Activities For Elementary School Students Themed Packet
  • 12 First Lesson Icebreakers For Elementary
  • My First Day Of Kindergarten
  • My First Day Of School Picture Activity
  • My First Day of School Poem
  • First Day Of School Thoughts
  • Our First Day of School Classroom Book
  • "5 Minutes Left" Activities for the Elementary Classroom
  • Beginning Of The School Year: Find Someone Who
  • All About Me - Getting To Know You Questions
  • We All Fit Together
  • Get To Know You Turn and Talk Cards 
  • Getting To Know You Cards For Elementary
  • Getting To Know You Suitcase For Elementary
  • My Summer Break

First Day of School Activities for Middle School

This collection of first day of school activities and printables is designed for middle school grade levels. It might be time to welcome back your classes from last year or to get to know new classes, either way, these getting to know you and icebreaker activities are a great way to settle in on the first day of school. For new students moving from elementary to start 6th grade, try our packet of helpful transition activities.

  • First Day Activities For Middle School Students Themed Packet 
  • Back To School: Welcome To 6th Grade Packet
  • Getting To Know Your Classmates Scoot 
  • All About Me Worksheet - Getting To Know You Questions
  • Getting To Know You Activities for Middle School

First Day of School Activities for High School

For new high school students moving up from middle school, and new classes you may not have taught before, try our first day of school activities packet and getting to know you activities. For those more familiar with their surroundings, the beginning of the year is the perfect time to set goals for the upcoming school year.

  • First Day Activities For High School Students Themed Packet
  • Back To School Goal Setting Activities Themed Packet
  • Getting To Know Your Classmates Scoot
  • Getting To Know You Activities for High School

First Day of School Printables for Teachers

The beginning of the year is the time to restock and organize those planners, check off everything you need to do in those first days and weeks and find fun ways to get to know your new students. Here you’ll find a collection of ready-to-use printables specifically for teachers.

Checklists & Templates for the First Day of School

The first day of school is a great time to set classroom rules, expectations, and routines with your class. Use our checklists to make sure you’ve got everything covered, and our planners and templates to get organized for the beginning of the year.

  • Teacher Planner 2023-2024
  • Back To School Classroom Routines And Procedures Checklist
  • End Of The Day Organization Checklist
  • Daily Planner Printable
  • More Classroom Forms and Graphic Organizers

Tips for New Teachers

The first day of school is particularly intimidating for new teachers not quite sure what to expect or how to prepare. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with all the advice, templates, and printables you could possibly need for your very first day of school as a new teacher.

  • New Teacher Starter Kit
  • First Day Of School Checklist & Teaching Tips
  • First Day at the Elementary Level
  • First Day at the Secondary Level
  • FAQs for the First Days of School
  • 15 Essential Teaching Tips for Back To School
  • More New Teacher Resources
  • Getting To Know Your Students

The first day of school is your first opportunity to get to know new students and start building a classroom community. Here we’ve included our top tips and ready-to-use icebreaker printables for getting to know your students.

  • 5 Tips For Getting To Know Your Students
  • 20 Tips For Remembering Students' Names
  • Meeting And Greeting Students At The Beginning Of Class
  • Ice Breakers For Kids In Elementary And Middle School
  • Icebreakers and Getting To Know You Classroom Kit
  • More Getting To Know You and Icebreaker Resources

More Back to School Resources

If you’re looking for more support for the back to school season, try these resource collections, for the first day back and beyond!

  • Back To School Headquarters
  • New Teacher Resources
  • Icebreakers
  • Classroom Management
  • Lesson Planning
  • Classroom Organization
  • Bulletin Board Ideas

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47 Foolproof First Day Of School Activities

November 10, 2023 //  by  Joanna Balla-Elliot

The first day of school is all about setting expectations, learning about each other, and building culture. It is an anxious time so you’ll want to set your students at ease right away with something to do walking in. As the day progresses, you’ll balance get-to-know-you activities with a review of classroom rules, and an introduction to a few academic routines. Their first day will fly by in the best of ways with our foolproof list of engaging activities. Read on to pick out a few for your new class!

Bell Ringers

1. name tag share.

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First things first, let’s learn some names! Have your students design a name tag as their first assignment walking in the door. This concrete and simple activity puts them at ease straight away. It’s also a great partner share once everyone has arrived.

Learn More: Name Tag Slide

2. Something You Read/Learned This Summer

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Take the pressure of writing off your kiddies by having them share their summer adventures aloud. Did they learn something new about nature on their family camping trip? Did they read a clever graphic novel on the beach? You might be surprised by how quickly you’ll start to get to know them! 

Learn More: Retrieval Practice

3. Math Riddles

first day of school homework ideas

Kick off your math curriculum with intriguing numeracy riddles! These will challenge your students to think critically and stretch their problem-solving skills. This is sure to make math fun straight off the bat, and encourages their curiosity and engagement!

Learn More: Mental Up

4. Time Capsule Surveys

first day of school homework ideas

Take a snapshot of your kids’ personalities with this super time capsule activity. Have them fill out a questionnaire about their current interests and predictions for the year, then seal them up! At the end of the year, they’ll love to see how they’ve grown and changed over time as they read what they wrote!

Learn More: Teaching Mama

Behavioral Expectations

5. classroom map / scavenger hunt.

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Get out your compass! It’s time for your kiddos to find their way around your classroom!  Have them explore, then draw their very own map to help them get to grips with the new space. You could even build community by pairing them up in small teams to complete this task.

Learn More: Twinkl

6. Classroom Crest

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Set your classroom apart by working together to complete a classroom crest. What’s a crest they might ask? Well, they’ll soon find out! This fun activity further builds a sense of unity and belonging in this new space and can establish some common values to guide your kids into the new school year!

Learn More: Committee for the Children

7. Interactive Modeling

Practice interactive modeling to teach your students the key routines in your class. Get everyone moving by practicing standing in a line, organizing their cubbies, or getting their attention with some clapping or call-back signals. This is not only fun but works wonders to achieve order early on.

Learn More: Youtube

8. Hopes and Dreams

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This first day of school activity, not only introduces your kiddos to goal setting but can be a colorful addition to your hallway bulletin board. Have them fill in the printable template showing their hopes for the year, then you can go back to them later to discuss how their hopes and dreams have changed and evolved over the year.

Learn More: Responsive Classroom

9. Classroom Charter

first day of school homework ideas

Why not create a class charter? Together, have your class discuss and decide upon a set of guidelines, behaviors, and values that will shape the classroom culture and promote respect for the shared learning space and for each other. You can even make it formal by letting everyone add their signature!

Learn More: TES

Fun Icebreaker Games

10. stem challenge.

Thisteam-building activity doubles as a STEM learning opportunity! Group your kids into small teams and have them work together to build a straw bridge, then test the strength of each bridge using weights. This is a great way to break the ice and get them collaborating. Be sure to review your expectations for teamwork beforehand!

Learn More: Matt Farrell

11. Puzzle Piece Activity

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Create a class jigsaw! Print off each of your youngsters a large puzzle piece and let them decorate it with images, colors, and words that represent them, from their hobbies to their personality traits! All that’s left is to put the pieces together to make a super display. 

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

12. Beach Ball Activity

What are your kiddos’ favorite hobbies? What’s their favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Use a Sharpie to write these questions and more on a beachball then have them throw and catch the ball, answering whatever question their hand lands on. They’ll soon forget those first-day jitters and will be having a ball!

Learn More: Thought Co

13. Paper Snowballs

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A snowball fight on the first day of school?! Start by writing some fun getting-to-know-you questions on some paper then scrunch them up into “snowballs”; then have your kiddos have fun throwing them around! After a while call time and have them open them up and answer the questions!

Learn More: Teaching Made Practical

14. FriennDiagrams

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Allow your kiddos to interview each other in this fun getting-to-know-you activity! They’ll record their partners’ answers in the respective circle and see what similarities they find. Afterward, allow them to share their answers in front of their classmates. This is a fun introduction to each other and to Venn diagrams!

Learn More: Conflict Resolution Frienn Diagram

15. Two Truths and a Lie

first day of school homework ideas

Everyone’s favorite icebreaker, it’s an oldie but a goodie! Let each of your kids take a turn to present three statements about themselves – two of which are true, and one a lie. The rest of the class will then have to vote to guess which was the lie; this is sure to lead to some surprising revelations and lots of laughter.

Learn More: Teachers First

16. Guess the Teacher

first day of school homework ideas

Take this opportunity to share some quirky, unknown facts about the teachers and staff with your kiddos! They’ll work to guess who each fact belongs to, which creates a super fun way for them to learn about the grown-ups they’ll be interacting with.

Learn More: Pinterest

17. “Find a Friend Who…” Bingo

first day of school homework ideas

Another classic first-day game that’s stood the test of time is Bingo! Give your kiddies a bingo card filled with getting-to-know-you statements and encourage them to mix and mingle to find classmates who fit these descriptions and write down their names. This is a super interesting way to learn about their new classmates!

Learn More: Bingo Baker

18. Who Am I?

first day of school homework ideas

All you’ll need for this idea is a pack of sticky notes! Put a sticky note on each of your kids’ foreheads with the name of a famous person, place, or thing. Next, they’ll mingle with one another, asking yes or no questions to guess what’s on the sticky note. It’s a surefire way to bring interaction and laughter to the first day of school.

Learn More: wikiHow

19. Interview Carousel

Put your kiddos in the hot seat with this interview activity! For this icebreaker game, create two concentric circles where your students are facing each other. Each pair will have a brief chat, and then one circle rotates, forming new pairs; let this continue until everyone has met each other!

Learn More: Teach Starter

20. Human Knot

first day of school homework ideas

Can your kiddies untangle a human knot? Have your entire class form a circle and reach across to grab the hands of two other students, creating a human knot. They’ll then work together to untangle themselves without releasing their hands, giving them a lesson in teamwork and problem-solving!

Learn More: Theatre Folk

21. Musical Sharing

Play a snippet of music and pass around a “sharing ball” to learn more about your kiddies! When the music stops, whoever’s holding the ball shares a little about themselves. This is a fun way to keep everyone engaged and on their toes, and gives them the perfect opportunity to introduce themselves. 

Learn More: Mom Junction

Academic Activities

22. pica ferme nada.

Get your students refreshed on place value and their brains firing with this engaging math strategy activity. Pica Ferme Nada is the perfect game to shake off that summer fog and practice the expectations around raised hands and positive peer support!

Learn More: Sarah Buratti

23. My Ideal Day Pie Chart

Review fractions and pie charts while getting to know more about what makes each of your kiddos’ perfect day! Start with a class brainstorm to get the wheels turning and then make sure to give them plenty of time to decorate and color their charts. This is an extra fun way to make their first day extra special!

24. I Am From Poems

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“I am From” poems make for a beautiful, literary way to learn about each others’ backgrounds and jumpstart your literary circle! This classroom activity is perfect for older learners as they’ll work to create a template after reading the original poem and then write their own.

Learn More: UMN

25. Independent Reading Time

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The first day is a great time to not only set independent reading expectations but also to tour your classroom library! Invite your class to fill out a reading survey and then go to the library and discuss book picks that are based on their surveys! 

Learn More: The Thinker Builder

26. Letter to My Future Self

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Time capsule letters are a fantastic way to start the year off with some self-reflection. Have your kiddos envision their future selves and write them a letter; put the letters into a padlocked box that you’ll crack into at the end of the year. You could also let them add things throughout the year too!

27. Virtual Field Trip

first day of school homework ideas

A field trip? On the first day of school? It’s time to take your class on a virtual tour of a museum, historical site, or natural wonder. This experience ignites curiosity and sets a tone of exploration for the academic year ahead. Plus, it’s a great way to roll out routines for safely retrieving and putting away the devices. 

Learn More: Discovery Education

28. Mad Libs

first day of school homework ideas

Make English fun and tap into your kids’ sillier side with Mad Libs! Start with a quick refresher on parts of speech and then have them work in pairs to fill in the blanks of a story with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. What a hilarious way to start your school year!

29. Word Association Game

first day of school homework ideas

Get your class back into the swing of turn-taking with this fun word association game! With your kids all sitting in a circle, have one student say a word and then the next say the first word that comes to mind. This continues around the circle, encouraging spontaneity and creativity!

Learn More: Teach This

30. Quick Writes

first day of school homework ideas

Give your class a thought-provoking prompt and a short set time limit to write continuously. It is the perfect way to boost creativity and is a great first-day-of-school formative assessment tool! Over the course of you can extend the length of time to build stamina.

Learn More: Journal Buddies

31. History Mystery

Tap into your kiddos’ curiosity for all things ancient. First, present them with a choice of mysterious, obscure historical facts. Then they’ll work in groups to uncover the significance of these facts,  through detective-like investigation. This activity is best suited for older classes and the range of topics you can choose from is limitless. 

Learn More: The Beano

32. Bridge Building

first day of school homework ideas

Start with some STEM! Divide your class into small groups and challenge them to build the strongest bridge using only cups, construction paper, and tape. This one fosters teamwork and engineering skills, as your learners must collaborate on design and construction!

Learn More: PJ’s Summer Camp

Filler Time

33. captain’s coming.

Captain’s Coming is a game to get heart rates up while having fun. It is important to provide communal games during recess for the first few days of school and this game is the perfect choice as it’s impossible for kids to feel left out! Everyone will return to the classroom more at ease and with all their wiggles out!

Learn More: Mindy Brady

34. Zentangle Coloring Pages

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The very best teachers know that brain breaks are key for retention, especially on a day like the first day of school when anxiety can be high for kiddos. Give your new learners time to decompress with these fantastic zen coloring sheets .

Learn More: Just Color

35. Brain Teasers

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We all know the cafeteria can turn into a zoo, if not carefully managed. Ask your students some tricky brain teasers during lunchtime to stimulate conversation and keep things lighthearted. Invite other lunch monitors to join in the fun by distributing a list of riddles!

Learn More: Reader’s Digest

36. Would You Rather Questions

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 Would you rather have sponges for hands, or be followed everywhere by five ducklings for the rest of your life? Ice cream for breakfast every morning or amusement park every afternoon? Cleaning your room, or loading the dishwasher? Questions like these will have your kiddos contemplating with a giggle!

Learn More: Family Education

37. Art For Kids Hub

Give your kiddos a fun, but challenging, art activity for their first day!  This follow-along video will show them how to draw a fun fold-out ice cream illustration! They’ll need to concentrate and follow the instructions closely, then when they’re finished, they can add their creations to a bulletin board.

Learn More: YouTube

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You can’t go wrong with a game of Kahoot – it’s a definite win every time! Make a Kahoot with fun facts about your life to allow your kids the chance to get to know more about their new teacher. This could be a fun way to roll out the Chromebooks or iPads on day one!

Learn More: Teaching Expertise

39. Green Glass Door

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Get ‘em head scratching with this tricky word game ! The object of the game is to figure out what can be brought through the door. Start by saying “I can bring a tree through the green glass door, but I cannot bring a leaf”. The key on this one is that the object must have double letters, but you can create a new rule each time you play!

Learn More: The Game Gal  

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This is like twenty questions but with a twist! In Poodle, it’s all about verbs! The first player thinks of a verb and must try their very best to keep the verb a secret, while their classmates ask questions and try to guess it. This is a great first day of school way to practice quiet hand raising and get some laughs!

Learn More: The Game Gal

41. Emoji Bingo

first day of school homework ideas

They might not be allowed to have phones at school, but bring on the emojis! Give each kid their own emoji bingo cards and as each emoji is called out, they’ll mark their cards. What a fun way to kick off the school year!

42. Memory Chain

first day of school homework ideas

In this memory-building game, each student will share and remember facts about each other! As each person adds something about themselves to the chain, subsequent students have to recall all the previous shares before adding their own! They’ll create a chain of information that challenges memory in a fun way.

Learn More: Funny Game Ideas

43. Classroom Jigsaw Puzzle

Who doesn’t love a jigsaw puzzle? Designate an area of your class to set up a whole class jigsaw and let your kiddos work on it during breaks. This collaborative activity promotes problem-solving and patience, and they’ll have an awesome sense of achievement when it’s done!

44. Blind Drawing

first day of school homework ideas

This game is sure to get your class laughing! Your students will pair up, with one describing an object without naming it, and the other trying to draw it on a piece of paper, based solely on the description. What a fun way to demonstrate the importance of clear communication and listening skills!

45. Mindful Breathing

This is a great mid-day activity for day one when everyone could use a breather, even you! Start with some simple deep breathing exercises, in for two, out for two, with eyes closed and body calm This’ll easily help to quell the first-day jitters and introduce the concept of mindfulness.

46. Origami Corner

first day of school homework ideas

This is a great one for middle schoolers who love a challenge. Set up a station with colorful origami paper and instructions for various figures for your kiddos to create! This relaxing activity promotes fine motor skills and concentration and provides a quiet, creative break during the busy first day.

Learn More: The Spruce Crafts

47. Escape Room Challenge

Divide your class into small groups and create a mini escape room with puzzles related to the subjects you’ll be teaching throughout the year! Gamifying any lesson is a win-win and with this one, your kids will be practicing critical thinking in a fun way. They’ll definitely feel a sense of accomplishment as they work as a team to solve the challenges.

  • BookWidgets Teacher Blog

first day of school homework ideas

20+ ready-to-use digital lesson activities for the first day of school

first day of school homework ideas

The first day of the new school year is coming. It’s almost as exciting as your own birthday! New students, and with them, a whole lot of new potential.

In this blog post, we’ll show you 20 digital activities for the first day of school. These are ready-to-use back-to-school activities created with BookWidgets . If you want to edit these exercises, that’s possible too. We’ll explain how at the end of this post .

Here’s how it works… Just like any other first day of school activity, you’ll have to find the right fit for your students. That’s why we divided them into 5 categories:

  • First day of school activities for kindergarten 🧸
  • First day of school activities for primary school students ✏️
  • First day of school activities for middle school students 📐
  • First day of school activities for high school students 📚
  • First day of school activities for teachers 🧑‍🏫

As you can see, we’ve indicated the category of every exercise by adding a suitable emoji. This way, you can quickly see if the exercise is appropriate for your students. Make sure to take a good look at all of them though, as some back-to-school exercises can be used on more than one level. With only minor changes, you’ll be able to use the activity in other grades as well.

Let’s get started! Click on the title links to jump to the right category.

First day of school activities for kindergarten

1. letters in my name 🧸.

first day of school homework ideas

Show your students how to do it by using your own name as an example. This way, they’ll get clear instructions and will know how this digital activity works. And… they’ll know what to call their teacher too.

This activity is perfect for when you’re working with tablets or iPads in kindergarten.

first day of school activity - kindergarten

2. Counting to 10 🧸

first day of school homework ideas

3. Garden senses 🧸✏️

first day of school homework ideas

This exercise focuses on the human senses and teaches the differences between them. First, explain all about the senses. Then, share this exercise with them. When they are done, ask them to show what they’ve drawn on their digital canvases. This way, every student can contribute their own story too.

first day of school activity - kindergarten

In some cases, this first day of school lesson might be too hard for your students. Don’t worry… Here’s an easier variant of the exercise . I’ve already put in stickers of things you can smell, see, touch and hear. Your students just need to click on the star icon in the activity, pick a sticker and drag it to the right corner.

First day of school activities for Primary school students

4. ice breaker bingo activity ✏️.

first day of school homework ideas

All students who, for example, have a cat, can stand up and immediately tick off that box on their bingo sheet. You can ask those students standing up to tell a bit more. That way, everyone gets to know each other better.

You just do the same for about 25 more times or until a student (or the 3 first students) gets bingo (= 5 ticked of boxes in 1 row) . From my experience, this is even more fun when you bring a few sweets for the winners. You can start the new school year as “the cool teacher” .

first day of school activity - primary school

Thanks to Yolande Doensen, a Spanish language teacher in the Netherlands, we can include a Spanisch version of this fun bingo Icebraker activity as well!

5. Ice breaker word search activity ✏️

first day of school homework ideas

You’ll see that you immediately can take a copy of this exercise in your own BookWidgets account. The configuration of the exercise will immediately open and you can replace the names with your students’ names.

As for the first day of school icebreaker activity… it’s pretty straightforward. Students look for a classmate’s name in the grid. They mark the name, go up to that student and introduce themselves. If the other student hasn’t found the name of the person they just met yet, they’ll have to find it first before moving on.

first day of school activity - primary school

6. Timetables dinosaur drawing ✏️

first day of school homework ideas

7. Name tag STEM challenge ✏️

first day of school homework ideas

All they need is some materials and a checklist with the criteria. You’ll see that, even with the same criteria, your students will come up with very different and unique name tags. That’s what makes it fun!

first day of school activity - primary school

Here’s a quick list with the materials your students will need: 1 piece of construction paper - 1 pipe cleaner - tape - hole puncher - markers/ crayons - stickers - ruler - 1 pencil - Scissors

You can give them other materials if you like.

8. Schoolbag planner ✏️📐

first day of school homework ideas

As a teacher, you can even extra information to the tasks, including audio instructions. I’ve also added some less common cards to the planner. Students can access them by clicking on the + icon in the upper right corner. If for example they have to bring their swimwear the next day, they can add it to their planner so they won’t forget.

Students can clear the planner every time by clicking on the dustbin icon in the upper right corner. Some students even might have another planner, e.g. so they don’t forget to bring their glasses or other tools they may use in the classroom.

first day of school activity - primary school

P.S. This handy planner also includes a pencil case checklist and some delicious lunch ideas for parents to prepare with their kids.

9. Learning goals ✏️ 📐

first day of school homework ideas

This is a perfect first-day-of-school activity for both primary and middle school students alike.

first day of school activity - primary school

First day of school activities for middle school students

10. digital rulebook and agreement 📐.

first day of school homework ideas

Well, this digital rulebook might help.

As every teacher has their own classroom rules, you might want to take a look and possibly edit, add, or delete rules that don’t apply to you.

This rulebook doesn’t just explain the classroom rules, it also has some handy resources available for your students. After going over all the rules, your students need to “ sign ” the agreement stating that they’ve read all the rules and will abide by them. Don’t worry, it’ll be fun!

Rules and recourses in this rulebook:

  • Come to class prepared : a planner to make their school bag
  • Ask questions : flashcards with important questions that prompt students to ask meaningful questions and reflect on their learning
  • Raise your hand to speak : a fun “ Red Hands ” game. If they are quick enough to play this game, your students can raise their hands too. No excuses…
  • Respect your teacher and fellow students : a mindmap lesson plan about the meaning of respect
  • Reflect on the lessons : a list with 25 fun digital exit tickets students can use to reflect on the lessons and remember lesson content even better the next day
  • Be creative and proud of your work : a split worksheet (emoji drawing and writing) so students can get creative on the first day of school and be proud of their work.
  • Even more rules : an interactive meme slideshow with some other basic rules.

And finally… The agreement , a worksheet in which they have to fill out the blanks in the rules and state they will abide by the rules of this classroom.

first day of school activity - middle school

11. Nice M&M-ing you 📐

first day of school homework ideas

This game will help your students get to know each other. They have to pick an m&m and complete a challenge or answer a question in order to be allowed to eat the m&m. We’ve digitized the game, so students can do this at summer camp or with their families as well.

Just share the link with your students. They need to go over the rules before they get started. As a teacher, you can also explain the game rules yourself.

first day of school activity - middle school

12. Say it with emojis 📐

first day of school homework ideas

13. School days around the world 📐

first day of school homework ideas

This lesson is just perfect if you want to test their reading, data analytics, writing, and speaking skills. Two birds, one stone. And the topic is not far-fetched for a first school day lesson either…

Here, your students have to read an article about the differences between normal school days around the world. Here’s what they have to do:

  • Your students to pick a country and analyze the information for that particular country.
  • Then, they write a summary of what they learned.
  • Finally, they present their country to the class.

This is a very informative back-to-school activity and will give your students some interesting new insights!

first day of school activity - middle school

First day of school activities for high school students

14. randomness questions 📐 📚.

first day of school homework ideas

There are two ways to play this question icebreaker game.

  • Project the question wheels on a large screen in your classroom and ask a student to come forward and spin the wheels. The first question is always for the teacher. The second question is for the student in front of the classroom and the last question is for another student. The student in front of the classroom can name a fellow student. In turn, that student needs to answer the question and comes forward to spin the wheel. Just continue like this. The game ends when every student has answered 2 questions.
  • Divide your students into groups of 5. Let them take turns to spin the wheels. Each student has to answer all three questions in their spin turn.

first day of school activity - high school

15. School poetry 📐 📚

first day of school homework ideas

Students have to listen to the poem and read the English translation. They fill out the questions afterward and submit their answers to you. In your first lesson of the new school year, you immediately get an understanding of your students’ learning level for your course.

first day of school activity - high school

16. Facebook profile 📚

first day of school homework ideas

So… it’s a perfect first day of school activity. Below, you’ll find a digital Facebook profile form your students have to fill out. When they’ve submitted all the forms to you, you pick out a few profiles anonymously and read their likes, intro, or their interests out loud. Other students have to guess to which student the Facebook profile belongs.

first day of school activity - high school

17. Schools tour around the world

first day of school homework ideas

  • Which school would you want to go to? Why?
  • Which school left the biggest impression on you? Why?
  • Which 2 schools have the biggest differences between each other? Why?
  • How about our school? What do you like? What don’t you like?
  • What would you like to have in our school that is in the other schools?

first day of school activity - high school

18. School calendars around the world 📚

first day of school homework ideas

19. What is school for? 📚 🧑‍🏫

first day of school homework ideas

First , watch the video in the worksheet below and try to find yourself as a teacher. Ask yourself some important questions. What kind of teacher are you? What’s important about your craft? Why do students learn and above all, can you explain what your grades stand for?

Next : up to your students! Let them watch the video and start a conversation about it. They have to find an answer to the questions mentioned above the video in the worksheet. On top of that, they have to find the true meaning of school for themselves by answering the ultimate question “ What is school for? ”.

Bonus : There’s an extra challenge for the creative ones, or if you’re a language teacher. Ask your students to write their answer slam poetry style, just like in the video. Your students can practice a bit and record their slam poetry answers in the worksheet.

This extra challenge immediately shows you the students with deeper interests in your course. Make sure to support them and push them in the right direction. Even if students don’t do the extra challenge, it’s very important to read their answers to the question. You’ll immediately capture their thoughts and feelings about school.

first day of school activity - high school

First day of school activities for teachers

20. dear future me 📚 🧑‍🏫.

first day of school homework ideas

It’s also a fun writing exercise for older students. So, if you’re a language teacher, give them this fun back-to-school writing activity.

first day of school activity for teachers

21. Teacher WebQuest 🧑‍🏫

first day of school homework ideas

You can set up some rules too. Can, or can’t they use a helpline ( the internet )? Or maybe they get “ 1 call ” where you can give them a good clue when they are stuck.

You can immediately share this WebQuest link with your fellow teachers and they can finish it ( if they get everything right ). But if you’d like to know everything that’s behind it, so you can help them out when they are stuck, this cheat code file might come in handy as well.

But hush! 🤫 Keep it for yourself. You don’t want your students to cheat either, right?

first day of school activity for teachers

How to use these free first day of school activities

We’ve made a BookWidgets group including all these back-to-school activities, icebreakers, and digital lesson ideas.

Follow the next steps and you’re good to go!

1. Create a free account on BookWidgets.com .

You can just click on this link to the group with the back-to-school activities and it will ask you to create an account if you don’t have one yet.

2. Share it with your students

Navigate to the group and share the exercises you want to share with your students.

Click on the black arrow on the right of the exercise and choose “ Share ”. Make sure to keep the “ Send answers to me ” checkbox checked. If you’re sharing the exercises from your own BookWidgets account, the results will automatically go to your BookWidgets account. You can find them in the “ Grades & Reporting tab ”.

When you share an exercise, you can send over the link to your students, or immediately generate a QR code. You can also send it to your learning management system if you have a Google Classroom, Teams, Schoology, … connection.

3. What if you don’t have a BookWidgets account?

You can still use the exercises! Just share the link you can see in the exercises mentioned above. When students have to submit their work to you, they will have to enter a mail address (the one you gave them) . You’ll receive all the work separately by e-mail. Of course, if you do have an account, you can review everything much faster and enjoy the comment and feedback options. You can even return the work to your students.

4. Editing the exercises

If you want to make changes to the lesson activities, that’s possible too. Instead of sharing the exercise immediately, you’ll have to duplicate the exercise first. Click on the black arrow on the right of the exercise, choose “ Duplicate ” and place it in the “ My Widgets ” folder. From there, you can open the exercise (Click edit) , make changes to the content, design, and widget settings. When you’re finished, click “ share ”.

That’s it! Have fun with these interactive first-day-of-school lessons. Make sure to share this article with fellow teachers and give your favorite back-to-school lesson a shoutout on our socials . If you have questions about using the activities, you can always contact [email protected]

And remember… You can create all these exercises, or widgets, yourself with BookWidgets.

Create your first widget

First day of school lesson activities

Join hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and get the best content on technology in education.

BookWidgets enables teachers to create fun and interactive lessons for tablets, smartphones, and computers.

first day of school homework ideas

Hands-On Teaching Ideas

35 Best First Day of School Ideas and Activities

We are still a month away from the first day of school, but I’ll admit, I’m starting to think about it and beginning to collect ideas. There tends to be a mix of excitement and butterflies in stomachs as the first day of school rolls around each year. Below you’ll find a collection of first day of school activities and ideas.

As a mom, I love finding new first day of school ideas to mark the occasion and prepare at home. As a teacher, I am always looking for creative first day of school activities and lessons that I can use to make the day special for my students.

I have created a list of back to school activities including hands-on activities, art activities, games, reading, math, free printables and much more!

For your classroom or home, choose activities and lessons that are the right fit for you and your children. I hope that the collection of first day of school ideas and activities below give you lots of inspiration as you prepare for your first day.

back to school pinterest pin with a collage of activity ideas like crafts, slime and printables.

Educators – If you teach young children and are looking for detailed lesson plans for your first day of school, filled with hands-on activity ideas as well as printables, such as a first day photo sign, class rules, certificate and much more, there is a link to my “ First Day of School Day Plan and Printables” available below activity #35.

For more ideas to get your year started off on the right foot, visit 53 Best Mindfulness Activities for the classroom or home. For more First Day of School activities visit my category page for all Back to School Ideas !

Activities for the Classroom or Home

Many of the activities below can be done at home to prepare for the first day of school or in the classroom with students.

first day of school ideas shows a collection of crafts and ideas in a Pinterest pin.

* Click on each image for the full activity description. *

This is my personal favorite activity to do on the first day. This Magic Dough activity gives children the chance to share their hopes for the upcoming year in a fun and almost magical way – sure to be the highlight of the day for many children.

first day of school ideas shows three balls of playdough.

#2 Free School Scavenger Hunt

Start the year by exploring the school and showing children all that it has to offer with this Free School Scavenger Hunt . The clues are simple rhymes and fun for all ages. All you need are the FREE printed clues and you can quickly set them around the school. It is also a great way to take learning beyond the classroom.

This is also a great activity to have ready to go during the year to use on a rainy day, because indoor recesses are no ones favorites.

free school scavenger hunt shows a container with pencils and erasers and a printed card.

#3 Creative First Day of School Game

I love using escape room/scavenger hunt type activities in my classroom – it makes learning fun! A classroom escape room can be created for any occasion including the first day.

Make the clues important things or places around the classroom or school. This way children are introduced to their new room in a fun way.

As children solve the clues they unlock a lock until all locks are opened and the prize inside is revealed. For the first day of school, school supplies, certificates or a small treat is a great idea to put in the box.

first day of school activities shows a classroom escape room game and a locked box.

Or save yourself planning time and print a Classroom Escape Room Game . All you need are the printables and you can set up quickly (with no extra prep).

This is one of my favorite activities to do on the first few days of school with my class. I have done this with older children in intermediate grades and even with younger children in primary grades.

This friendship wheel is a great way for children to work together and get to know each other. It also creates some beautiful pieces of art to display at the beginning of the year.

first day of school activities shows a large circle paper divided into slices and colored on.

Spread some kindness on the first day with these pencil toppers! This would work well for teachers to prepare for students, or for your own child to find in their pencil case from you.

back to school ideas shows pencils with a note that says you have a kind heart.

If you’ve got a collection of pencils ready for the school year, this STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) challenge is a great, hands-on activity for the first day of school. For more STEM activities, visit 45 STEM Challenge Ideas for Kids .

STEM activity shows a stack of pencils.

#7 First Day of School Activities

Write a letter to your child’s new teacher telling a bit about your child. Prepare the letter before starting school, and have your child give it to their new teacher on the first day.

This gives children the opportunity to tell their teacher a little bit about themselves and anything your child really wants their teacher to know. It is also a great way to do a bit of writing before school starts.

first day of school shows children writing letters.

#8 Back to School Slime

If your kids love to make slime, this is the perfect back to school activity. If you’ve got a collection of broken crayons around the house or classroom, this is a great way to reuse them. I also love this idea as a small gift for students on their first day.

back to school slime with crayons in it.

There are a lot of great books for the first day of school and most first days involved at least a story or two. Take a look through 4 very popular first day of school books for kids and try out a craft to go along with them.

first day of school shows a racoon mask.

#10 First Day of School BINGO

I can’t wait to try this Back to School Bingo! If you are looking for an exciting hands-on activity to try on the first day of school, a BINGO game with a back to school theme is sure to be a hit!

This would also be a great activity to try at home to have some fun with children starting school. For younger children, discuss each of the pictures on the BINGO board as a way of showing some of the things they may see once they start at school.

first day of school shows back to school bingo cards.

#11 First Day of School Ideas

I love this idea! Create a card with your child for their teacher. It is a great way to tell the teacher a little bit about your child, and have some fun making a cute card. Such a sweet gesture!

back to school shows an apple teacher card.

#12 First Day Activity

These would be a simple way to quickly decorate a classroom with children’s handmade creations. Kids will love seeing their art work displayed in their classroom after the first day.

I love using an apple theme at the beginning of the year. Children are excited about fall and the changing season. This easy apple stained glass art activity would be perfect in a preschool or kindergarten class as a simple sensory art activity.

first day of school shows apple craft stuck to the window.

“The Wheels on the Bus” is a great song for the first day of school. For many children the first day may be their first time on the bus. Make it fun with this adorable bus craft to go along with the song.

back to school activity shows a bus made from paper plate.

This is such a cute idea for teachers! At the beginning of the year, have each child create a birthday card. Before a child’s birthday, choose a card and have everyone sign it.

Each child gets a unique card made by one of their peers and signed by all of their friends! Click the image for lots of ideas for really creative, but simple cards.

first day of school activities shows a birthday card with a bear.

#15 First Day of School Ideas for Bulletin Boards

How cute of a bulletin board would these adorable self portrait crafts make? Children can mix and match and get creative while working on their fine motor skills!

first day of school ideas shows three people cut outs.

This free emergent reader book is great to help prepare children for school at home, or in the classroom to remind children about being kind. These are important lessons, and discussions especially at the start of school.

These books are ideal to read and discuss together at school. They would also be great to send home for children to read and talk about with parents at home.

first day of school shows a beginner reader book that says I take turns.

How cute is this apple craft? Use a few simple materials to create with young children during the first days of school or to celebrate fall. Simple crafts like this are ideal for the first day of school because every child can feel successful when making it.

first day of school crafts shows two apples made from paper plates.

#18 First Day of School Hats

First day of school hats are a classic first day of school art activity. These printable back to school hats are perfect for teachers, homeschooling parents or just for fun at home.

first day of school hats shows a child wearing a hat that says first day of preschool.

Add a little bit of math as you prepare your little ones for first day of school with this hands-on apple tree activity. This activity would also work well in a classroom especially when celebrating with a fall theme.

first day of school ideas shows an apple tree subtraction activity.

If you are looking to do a bit of practice with young children for their first day of school, this ABC game would be a great choice. Whether you are looking for a fun, hands-on way to practice letter recognition at home, or a fun center in the classroom on the first day, this game is sure to be a hit!

first day of school ideas shows pencil and eraser cut outs with letters on each.

#21 First Day of School Activities – I Spy

This I Spy activity is a fun back to school activity that kids of all ages will enjoy. I Spy games also involve lots of learning!

first day of school ideas shows an I spy back to school printable.

My daughter would love this! These would look beautiful in a classroom to fit a fun theme. Creating a fun pencil holder for children to keep some writing and coloring materials at home would be a great way to get ready for the first day of school.

back to school shows a can crafted to look like a unicorn.

This printable booklet gives kids the opportunity to record their experiences from the first day of school and first week in their new grade. The booklet is designed with young children in mind because it is simple and gives kids lots of room to draw.

first day of school shows a book about making friends for kids to draw pictures.

#24 Back to School

Don’t forget about math on your first day of school. These crack the code worksheets are all school themed and fun!

back to school shows a math page with school supplies.

With many people learning online, this First Day of School Laptop craft is an adorable way to mark the beginning of school.

first day of school shows a printable laptop craft.

Have some fun reviewing numbers on the first few days of school, or at home to practice, with this hands-on number matching activity. Simple centers and hands-on activities to reintroduce important skills are ideal to do when school starts.

For more math worksheets visit my collection of 39 Math worksheets for Kindergarten and preschool.

back to school math activity shows numbers made from pencils on printable cards.

#27 First Day of School Song

Music is a great way to make children feel welcome and a fun way to discuss some of the great things that can happen this year. These printables and songs would be a wonderful addition to any classroom.

back to school shows the kids at school song.

#28 Back to School Name Tags

If you are looking for a fun, inexpensive, and easy way to make name tags for your child or classroom, these vibrant back to school name tags are a great choice!

first day of school shows DIY name tag crafts.

My kids would love to come home to this special apple cupcake for the first day of school. They would also love creating it on their own to enjoy. I love the idea of themed food and treats!

back to school shows an apple cupcake.

First Day of School All About Me Printables

Doing a bit of printing and writing is important to start right away in the classroom. Try to keep it simple, but meaningful. All About Me posters and pages are ideal to start the year with because any child can be successful because they know all of the answers – because they are about themselves!

I created this All About Me package that I use at home, and in my classroom each year. Children fill out the sheets with their answers about themselves and the pages also include recording height, hand and foot size and much more.

This activity works really well as a time capsule activity where all of the pages are put inside a container and sealed up. I usually return it to children on the last day of school to reminisce and create memories.

At home, we have a few of these ‘capsules’ sealed up for my kids to open years down the road.

first day of school activity shows an all about me printable sheets.

Create a lapbook of memories with this printable activity. This would be great for children in the primary grades and it creates a beautiful foldable mini book all about each child.

first day of school ideas shows printable all about me sheets.

Get children doing a bit of writing, either at home to review for school, or in the classroom on the first few days. These All About Me booklets are a great and easy, way to record special things about your child. This is also a great way for older children to write about themselves.

first day of school shows an all about me template.

#33 School Ideas

This compact, foldable mini All About Me booklet is an easy way to get children to record lots of information about themselves as they start their new grade. This is a great first day of school activity or even to continue throughout the first few weeks.

first day of school activities shows an all about me printable.

These All About Me posters are designed with young children in mind. Give kids the chance to print some of their answers and be creative with their coloring.

first day of school shows printable all about me posters.

If your kids love creating with building blocks, this All About Me page will keep them engaged and happy to write.

all about me printable card.

This All About Me page integrates math and learning as it requires children to measure as they record all about them.

all about me printable about senses.

As you prepare for back to school, another area you’ll want to think about is literacy and books. Booksandgiggles.com has created a great list of Best Read Aloud Books , perfect to help get you started.

Back to School Products

Make back to school easy with these classroom supplies and first day items. Some of the materials below are for activities shows above, and others are ones that you may need as you prepare for your first day.

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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First day of school printables + day plan.

I remember my very first day of school as a teacher and looking for any activities and ideas that I could use. I finally have a first day of school plan that I love and has worked well with my groups over the years.

Of course, each year is different, but my first day of school day plan and activity pages below have been tested in my primary classroom.

The product includes a very detailed lesson plan with everything I make sure to reinforce, teach and do on the first day. A collection of printables for activities and exciting, unique hands-on activities to keep children engaged and make the day memorable are included.

first day of school product.

FREE First Day of School All About Me Printable

To get you started on your first day of school, you can download a FREE All About Me page for children to fill out. Printable is available in black and white and color.

When you subscribe you will gain access to Hands-On Teaching Ideas Free Resource Library, filled with a variety of free printable learning resources. You will also receive emails with my latest blog posts and freebies! Click image below to subscribe and gain access.

subscribe to hands on teaching ideas button.

Preparing for Back to School – Printables

Being prepared for the first day of school is one of the best ways to keep from being nervous and helping to make sure that your first day goes smoothly. Below are a collection of printable products ideal for preparing for the first day of school.

Click the image for more information.

first day of school homework ideas

More Hands-On Teaching Ideas

If you are looking for more hands-on learning activities, below are a collection of some of my favorite, and most popular activities and ideas from my classroom.

first day of school homework ideas

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Simply Full of Delight

Simply Full of Delight

Practical Help For Parents

15 Amazing First Day of School Activities

It’s time to prepare those Back to School Activities! If you are looking for some new and exciting First Day of School Activities for preschool, kindergarten, and Elementary age kids, look no further!

I asked my fellow bloggers for some fun ideas for the first day of school activities, and wow – they had some fantastic ones!

Amazing First Day of School Activities - it's time to prepare those Back to School Activities!  Here's some fun ideas that are perfect for the 1st Day of School! Shown: apple suncatchers, apple teacher card, school slime, and first day of school printable page

You’ll find lots of first day of school free printables plus ideas for taking pictures, first day of school books, slime, craft ideas, and more!

The first week is often filled with learning classroom rules, meeting new students…. and then more class rules, so it’s nice to have a fun activity to engage those younger students.

I hope you find the perfect first day of school idea for your lesson plan!

Let’s dive in!

1) First Day of School Worksheet

First Day of School Worksheet by Simply Full of Delight, blanks for favorite color, age, name, pic of self.

This first idea comes from my blog Simply Full of Delight.

This First Day of School Worksheet is perfect for preschool, kindergarten, and lower elementary grades!

The free printable allows kids to share a little about themselves like their favorite color, what they look like, how old they are and what they love to play.

It’s simple and perfect for those little ones who aren’t writing yet!

2) Free Back to School Printable Coloring Sheet

These back to school coloring sheet with a school house and bus by Freebie Finding Mom

This Back to School Coloring Sheet is by Freebie Finding Mom .

Kids can color the bus with a school along with the bubble letters “Back to School.”

What a fun morning work page to bring in the new school year!

3) Back to School Bingo

Back to School Bingo game by Made with Happy

This free printable Back to School Bingo game is by Made with Happy .

Kids love games and Bingo is a classic they are sure to enjoy!

This is great for both in-person learning and distance learning as well!

4) First Day of School Crayon Craft

This adorable First Day of School Crayon Craft is by Wonder in His World .

Your kids can create these adorable oversized crayons which open up to reveal favorite things, what he/she wants to be when they grow up, and more.

What a cute idea for a bulletin board or a fun keepsake for parents!

5) First Day of School Pictures

First Day of School chalkboard and back to school photo op ideas

First Day of School Pictures are a classic Back to School activity!

Here’s some awesome First Day of School Sign Ideas from my blog Simply Full of Delight.

You are sure to find an adorable sign to make those First Day of School pictures of your student perfect!

6) First Day of School Interview

first day of school interview printable by mimosas and motherhood.

This First Day of School Interview is by Mimosas and Motherhood .

Grab this free printable and make a keepsake of your child’s answers each year!

Parents will treasure looking back at their elementary students’ responses at this age.

What a great idea to help remember their favorite thing or vocabulary at this age.

7) Back to School Slime with Glue and Crayons

Back to School slime with crayons and erasers in it by The Soccer Mom Blog

The Back to School Slime with Glue and Crayons is by The Soccer Mom B log.

With this simple recipe, you can create some awesome school supplies themed slime.

The kids will love it and you’ll love how fast this slime comes together.

8) Back To School Children’s Books

Back to School Children's Books by Kelly's Classroom Online  Shown If you take a mouse to school  and portions of 3 other books

Check out these Back to School Children’s Book suggestions by Kelly’s Classroom Online .

There’s classics like If you Take a Mouse to School as well as Pete the Cat books (and the infamous story of him rocking in his school shoes!

You’ll find the perfect read aloud for your classroom on the First Day of School or a great book to read to your child to prepare them for school.

Older children will enjoy it too!

9) All About Me Printable

all about me worksheet by Heathy Happy Impactful

This All About Me Free Printable is by Healthy Happy Impactful. How cute it this!

Students can fill in the fun little shapes with things to tell their classmates about themselves.

I love the little dinner plate for their favorite food!

What a fun first day activity!

10) First Day Of School Interview Printable

First Day Of School Interview by Mom Hacks 101

This First Day Of School Interview Printable is by Mom Hacks 101.

The free printable has spaces to record all of your child’s current favorites, aspirations, and even a space for their signature.

What a fun way to mark this school year and keep a sweet memento of this time!

11) “About Me” Apple Craft

About Me apple craft by the soccer mom blog

The “About Me” Apple Craft is by The Soccer Mom Blog .

This free printable helps your children create adorable pop-up apple cards with a little “all about me” section.

This could be used as a card to introduce your child to their teacher, or it could be used in a classroom as a cute bulletin board idea to help students introduce themselves to their classmates!

12) Easy Apple Stained Glass Window Decoration Craft

easy apple stained glass window decoration craft by Active littles

This Easy Apple Stained Glass Window Decoration Craft is by Active Littles .

Kids will love creating these cute apples for a simple first day of school craft.

Nothing says school quite like an apple! These apple crafts will look adorable hanging on the windows of any room.

13) Back to School Banner

Back to school banner by All about Baby Blog

This free printable Back to School Banner is by All about Baby Blog.

Simply download the free full color banner, print and cut it out.

This would make a fun project for older students to build classroom community and encourage students to bond.

Plus it makes a great classroom decoration!

14) Free Welcome Back to School Coloring Pages

6 Welcome Back to School Coloring Pages by simply full of delight

This idea comes from my blog Simply Full of Delight.

You can grab 6 different versions of a Welcome Back to School Coloring page here .

There’s a Welcome Back to School coloring page for each grade preschool through 3rd grade.

Plus, you can grab a plain “Welcome Back to School” page as well!

15) All about Me Self-Portrait Frames

Free printable All about Me self portrait frames

You can find these 3 free printable All about Me Self-Portrait Frames on my blog Simply Full of Delight.

Kids can draw themselves using the blank face templates.

This is perfect for an All about Me theme and of course the Back to School season!

Alright! That’s it!

I hope you’ve found some amazing First Day of School Activities for preschool, kindergarten, and lower elementary age kids.

I hope you and your family have a great Back to School Season.

If you are looking for some fun free lunch notes to print out for your child’s lunchbox, be sure to check out these funny lunch box notes .

Also, you can find recommendations for the best water bottles for kids here!

There’s some fun ideas for an All about Me theme here that are perfect for preschool and kindergarten.

Planning for the First Day of School?

Be sure to Pin the picture below and save it to your “Back to School” Pinterest Board!

Awesome Back to School Activities - Find free All about Me printables, first day of school craft ideas, and more.  Plan your 1st day of school activities today!

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first day of school printable

I can not wait to do the “Easy Apple Stained Glass Window Decoration Craft.” My student love to hang their art in the window for others to see, now the students will be able to see the changes. Thank you!

Awesome! Thanks for sharing. We always enjoy window art too!

Love all of this

Thanks so much! Glad you found some fun Back to School ideas!

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31 Best First Day of School Activities for Students

Teacher supervising young students in class

The first day of school can be challenging for educators as students start to pour in and get reoriented to the goals and expectations of the school year. As a teacher, you can face several challenges in setting the right tone, which is why the first day of school activities is important to plan out and execute.

SplashLearn: Most Comprehensive Learning Program for PreK-5

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SplashLearn inspires lifelong curiosity with its game-based PreK-5 learning program loved by over 40 million children. With over 4,000 fun games and activities, it’s the perfect balance of learning and play for your little one.

You can focus on in-class decorations, fun introductions, educational games , show & tell activities, and other fun activities that can instill a sense of enthusiasm and playfulness. You can even create fun group mission statements that your class can fill out as a way of expressing intent and vision for the rest of the year.

21 Best First Day Of School Activities

Teacher holding pamphlet with students in class

1. Friends Diagrams

You can pair up students in the classroom and ask them to find similar interests to fill out a Friendship Venn diagram. This can be a unique way to help students understand how math can be used for practical applications.

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – Venn diagram template

Special Note – Add prompts to help kids understand better

2.  My ideal day chart

You can have your students design their ideal first day of school and convert their ideas into a pie chart. You can add instructions on how to color, categorize, and label different parts correctly to have the chart represent their day.

Tools Needed – Pie chart outline, colors

Special Note – Stickers will help label different categories

3. Introductions all around

Introductions are some of the most fun first day of school get-to-know-you activities, and you can have your students share a few facts that their classmates didn’t know about. You can also use an instrument to turn introductions into songs. 

Age Range – 3 years and older

Tools Needed – Instrument

Special Note – Rhyming introductions will be more fun

4. Name tags for kids

You can make customized name tags for everyone to get to know each other better. Your students can also use name tags to stick onto toys, books, and other objects. This personalizes the first day of school, which can overwhelm some students.

Tools Needed – Stickers and labels

Special Note – Initials will also be helpful

5. Designing a classroom crest

Elementary students writing on a paper

A memorable first day of school activity can be around designing crests that represent the classroom’s mission and vision. You can prepare templates for kids to draw into, along with a motto and symbols representing different aspects.

Tools Needed – Template, colors, labels, stickers

Special Note – Explaining the utility of crests will keep them engaged

6. Get to know your teachers!

The first day of school can be stressful for kids who are more introverted and shyer. By having fun facts about yourself listed out, along with hobbies, interests, and favorite books, you can encourage everyone to talk to you about anything on the first day.

Tools Needed – Printable sheets

Special Note – Talking about relatable traits and hobbies will be key

7. First day of school time capsule

You can add fun mementos, toys, stickers, and other unique objects to help kids understand the value of archiving and storing memories. You can also make unique time capsules for each child to take home at the end of the school year.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Toys, stickers, notes, labels

Special Note – Having the students fill up their capsule will be more impactful

8. Book reading activities

Teacher reading a book to the children

Instead of jumping straight into the curricula, you can take the first day of school to read books aloud and engage kids in storytelling. You can make the first day more magical and awe-inspiring, bringing the joy of reading intently back into their mindset.

Tools Needed – Story-rich fiction books

Special Note – You can find the right book by referencing the Lexile score

9. Share a compliment

You can have your class add blank stickers to their backs as students write compliments on them anonymously. This can significantly uplift children’s morale on the first day of school.

Tools Needed – Large stickers, pencils

Special Note – Adding prompts for compliments will be ideal

10. Would you rather questions

You can have your students unpack the first day of school with would you rather questions. You can ask them what they’d like for lunch, what they want to study, what they’d like to play, etc. This can be a group activity as well, with kids voting on what they’d like.

Age Range – 5 years and older

Tools Needed – Voting sheets, pencils

Special Note – Making the questions as unique as possible will garner specific responses

11. Individual promises

Your students can fill out a promise sheet about what they plan to do and what promises they plan to keep by the end of the school year. You can customize each sheet to the strengths and exploratory areas you’d like each child to focus on.

Tools Needed – Template

Special Note – Adding blanks where kids can fill out promise sheets is ideal.

12. Two truths and a lie

Teacher giving lesson and children raising their hands

This is a fun first-day-of-school activity that asks kids to get creative and imagine unique lies and specific truths. You can have them write it down and read it out loud for the entire class to guess.

Tools Needed – Paper, pencils

Special Note – You can provide examples of truths and lies

13. Self-portraits

You can have your students draw self-portraits and add what they love to the paper layout. You can have them make it unique and personalized by adding their names at the top of the sheet.

Tools Needed – Paper, colors

Special Note – Ask your students to be as colorful as possible

14. Sticky-note expectations

You can have a paper board on the wall and ask students to add what they expect from their class for the year. They can write their thoughts on a sticky note and place it on the board directly.

Tools Needed – Sticky notes, board, colors

Special Note – Asking specific areas, such as subjects, topics, goals, etc. will be ideal

15. Printable coloring worksheets

You can create coloring sheets around each student’s personality and hobbies and have them fill them out with colors, prompts, and answers to questions. This can be hung up on the classroom wall to make each child feel special.

Tools Needed – Paper sheets, colors, templates

Special Note – Focusing on unique traits and hobbies will be key

16. Art session

By organizing a few easels and painting supplies, you can start the first day of school with an art session. You can ask students to express themselves through art and give them a memorable experience for the start of the school year.

Tools Needed – Easel, painting supplies, props

Special Note – Giving them specific direction will make the session more impactful.

Also watch:

17. Trivia Day!

You can host a Kahoot-style Trivia Day session, asking questions about what they’ve learned during their break. You can also focus on specific subjects, such as math and science, to get them into the right mindset to return to learning.

Tools Needed – Trivia questions

Special Note – Making the quiz specific to subjects or goals will be the right way ahead

18. I-Spy Back to School

An I-Spy game with back-to-school elements will make the first school day more interesting. You can have students guess the right answers or write them down for rewards. You can also make the activity more academic by asking kids to solve puzzles for the prompt.

Tools Needed – Props, quiz list, paper

Special Note – Having distinct items spread across the room will make the activity more dynamic.

19. Birthday boards!

Birthday boards are a great first day of school activities elementary students will enjoy as something fun to look forward to. You can plan special celebrations around each child’s birthday and make it a fun activity for everyone.

Tools Needed – Board, paper, buttons, calendar templates

Special Note – You can make paper cutouts of the kid’s names and stick them on specific dates.

20. Role-playing on the first day

Teacher helping young girl with writing in class

To make the first day of school more exciting, you can assign different roles, professions, and jobs to kids and have them role-play for accomplishing specific tasks. You can have some kids be ice cream vendors while other kids are comedians.

Tools Needed – Paper, colors, tasks list

Special Note – Asking what your students want to be when they grow up can help you customize the professions and task lists.

21. Making FDoS welcome bags

Your students can make welcome bags for other classrooms for the first day of school. The activity can help students across different classrooms feel connected to each other. You can also have students fill out these bags however they like.

Tools Needed – Paper bags, ribbons, stickers, labels, colors, props

Special Note – You can ask students to think about how they’d feel when they receive a welcome bag

Let’s check out the first day of school activities for remote learning classrooms

Photo of boy video calling with a woman

Remote learning is quickly emerging as the new norm worldwide, with teachers having to bring out hybrid activity ideas for the first day of school. These fun-filled and engaging online first-day-of-school activities will help you get your classroom excited for the school year.

1. Holiday Snapshots

In this activity, students can prepare snapshots of their vacation with different activities, things they learned, places they visited, and other fun memories they’d like to share. You can make the activity even more interactive by having them present their snapshots in class.

Tools Needed – Snapshot template, colors, pencils, online video software

Special Note – Customize the snapshot according to grade

2. Emotions check-in

This activity is great for remote learning classrooms as it allows you to measure your students’ emotions without overwhelming them. You can develop a creatively designed survey sheet that asks your students about how they are feeling about the first day of school.

Tools Needed – Editing software, template, interactive tool

Special Note – Add emojis or cute animals for younger children

3. Virtual sing-alongs

Girl in pink shirt sitting on the table waving on video call

One of the best ways to make your students feel joyful and enthusiastic is to conduct virtual sing-alongs. You can also have your students print and cut out fun props, such as microphones, hats, masks, animal cards, etc.

Tools Needed – Templates, high-quality microphone, virtual meeting software

Special Note – Going with familiar songs will be ideal

4. Virtual icebreakers

You can create virtual icebreaker questions, asking your students to name their favorite animals, their deserted island books, or their favorite activities. The answers to these questions can be shared with everyone in class, giving each student a chance to learn something about each other.

Tools Needed – Ice-breaker questions, online Q&A tool, presentation tool

Special Note – Encouraging students to build friendships over common interests can be helpful.

5. Online scavenger hunt

You can create a digital scavenger hunt based on what your students have learned over the past year. These questions can also help reflect how much information has been retained by your students.  

Tools Needed – Rules sheet, outlines, rewards

Special Note – Focusing on math or science-related prompts will be key.

These 5 take-home activities will be great for your classroom!

Children reading poem book at home

Take-home first-day-of-school activities can also help students become excited about school and what they can expect for the rest of the year. You can also customize take-home activities with a smaller class and add stickers to make them unique and special.

1. Classroom Decor ideas

You can have your students decide how to decorate the physical classroom space by giving them take-home templates. They can choose the seating arrangements, the decorations, the daily affirmations/notes, and the placement of toys & books.

Tools Needed – Empty classroom template, stickers, rewards

Special Note – Giving students the exact categories of decoration will help

2. Word puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to help students improve their confidence across subject areas. You can make amazing puzzles that reflect what students may have learned over the last year as a fun home first-day-of-school activity.

Tools Needed – Puzzles template

Special Note – Giving them crayons and pencils will make it more engaging

3. Math worksheets

Math worksheets are great tools to help you analyze knowledge retention and understand how your class performs against standardized measures. It’s one of the more comprehensive take-home first-day-of-school math activities that provides a fun challenge to students across grades.

You can download a free math worksheet from thousands of options here on our platform . 

Tools Needed – Access to worksheet template

Special Note – You can use different worksheets for different objectives

4. What are your hopes & dreams?

An interesting first-day-of-school activity is to ask your students what their hopes & dreams are. They can carry the template sheet home and fill out what they hope to achieve during the year, their dreams, and where their interests reside.

Tools Needed – Printable sheet, pencils

Special Note – Adding prompts or examples will provide more clarity.

5. Awesome STEM activity

A great way to get the ball rolling on the first day is to engage them in a STEM activity. You can give them seed kits, cardboard car cutouts, parachute and egg-basket kits, and other fun science-based projects. 

Tools Needed – STEM activity kit, instructions, access to tools

Special Note – The simpler the experiment, the better the results

Get Started With The Preparations!

These are the best first-day-of-school activities for students that you can use to make the day that much more memorable. You can use these activities and games to keep their spirits up and help shyer children come out of their shells. 

These games are also versatile, with some of them being given as homework for kids to work on. You can use them in conjunction and come up with your own unique games that can excite children for the first day of school.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What areas should i emphasize on the first day of school.

You should start the school year on a bright and positive note. You can introduce fun activities, games, and online learning sites to help kids ease into the lesson plan for the week. You can also focus on ensuring active participation with group activities and sing-alongs.

How should I schedule the first day of school?

You can start slower in the first half of the day with some introductions, games, and group activities. You can schedule multiple breaks and leisure time to keep them engaged. You can then introduce concepts and subjects by covering them on the surface level and recommending books to help them get acquainted.

How do you make the first day of school interesting?

There are several things you can do to make the first day of class enjoyable.

  • Having activities planned around the first day.
  • Focus on introductions and social playtime.
  • Mention the objectives for the year.
  • Prepare schedules for your students to follow.

How do you engage students on the first day of school?

You can make the first day more memorable and engaging by using multisensory strategies, such as music, reading , and kinesthetic experiences.

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what to do the first day of school for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers

What To Do On The First Day Of School – A Practical Schedule

what to do the first day of school for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers

Wondering what to do on the first day of school?

I was always surprised at how quickly the day would fly by. One minute I'm greeting students, the next, I'm exhaustedly sitting at my desk wondering where the day has gone, why my feet are so tired, and how I could have gone the entire day without doing anything I had planned.

Over the years, I learned to prioritize what I wanted accomplished the first day of school so that I didn't forget to do the most important things. In my opinion, the non-negotiables for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students are:

  • collecting school supplies
  • building classroom community
  • establishing classroom routines and procedures

Figuring Out School Supplies On The First Day Of School

Of all the things to do the first day of school, this is definitely the least important.  But it is also one of the first things you will have to deal with, as students will come in to the classroom eager to try out their new supplies.

Some schools have systems in place for parents to bring school supplies in ahead of time, but that is not always the case.  But even if parents brought in supplies ahead of time, there is a good chance that students come with more on the first day of school.

If you don't have a plan for these school supplies, then students will come up with their own plan.  And that plan will usually involve half opened bottles of glue and broken crayons stuffed inside their desk, and that copy paper that you so desperately need disappearing.

There are a lot of ways to handle student school supplies - communal supplies, every student keeping their own supplies, a mix of both, sharing with tables, etc.  However you decide to handle supplies in your own classroom, you need a plan in place ahead of time.

When students entered my 3rd grade classroom wondering what to do on the first day of school, I would ask them to find their seat, hang their backpack on the back of their chair, and begin one of these no prep activities (usually the word search, since they could do that independently) with the pencil I had already sharpened for them.

I provided everything they needed so that students didn't need to mess with any of their supplies.  If they had any supplies, they were asked to keep the supplies in their backpack or on the floor next to them.

Once we had time later in the day, I would go over the expectations for school supplies - what supplies they could keep in their desk, what to do with other supplies, how to treat school supplies, what to do if they didn't have any, etc.

Make sure you have a plan in place for school supplies when they first enter the classroom.  A free for all is not a sustainable solution.

Monitoring Comprehension Practice for 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade

This is one of my favorite ways to practice comprehension! Students read passages with intentional mistakes that do not make sense based on the context of the passage. Students must read carefully to find the mistakes.

It's fun, engaging, and best of all - no prep! Check out this Monitoring Comprehension Resource here. 

Building Community on the First Day of School

Once all of your upper elementary students are in the classroom, you can begin the most important part of your day - beginning to build a positive classroom community.  You want to get to know your students, you want your students to get to know you, you want them to get to know each other, and you want to begin to create a culture of kindness.

Any extra time you have on the first day of school should be devoted to building community!  There are endless ways to do this.

Interview A Friend

All about me activities.

All About Me Activities are a fun way to get to know each other.  And if you complete the activity as well, it gives students a chance to get to know you.

One of my favorites was modeling this All About Me Bag activity , and then assigning it to students as their first "homework" assignment.

These other All About Me Activity Ideas are fun as well.

Partner or Small Group Discussion Questions

Giving students a chance to talk to each other in a low stakes setting is one of the best ways to build community.  Asking one of these fun discussion questions and giving students a chance to talk to the students that are around them will set them more at ease.

This also gives you a chance to explain and practice your different partnering up procedures - an often used procedure in my classroom.

Team Builders and Ice Breakers

Introducing and practicing important routines and procedures.

Beginning to set expectations and practice routines from Day 1 is essential.  If you don't take the time to establish a routine, then 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students will create their own.

There will probably not be enough time on the first day of school to practice ALL of the routines and procedures on this free checklist, but you can definitely begin by practicing the ones that will occur daily.  Things like:

  • Entering the Classroom/Morning Routine
  • Sharpening Pencils
  • Going to the Bathroom
  • Walking in the Hallway
  • Using Hand Signals
  • Classroom Jobs
  • Finding a Partner
  • Cleaning Up the Classroom

Most of these procedures will come up naturally during the day, so introduce them and practice them as they come up.  Just make sure you plan for plenty of time to practice before you are expected to be anywhere!

For example, allot around 5-10 minutes to go over bathroom procedures before you plan on taking a bathroom break.

Be sure you have time to practice your lining up procedures and hallway procedures before you have to get your students to lunch or P.E.

And since dismissal is almost always the craziest time of day, make sure you have plenty of time to practice this procedure - you don't want to rush it, and you also don't want students leaving school late!

The first day of school isn't the only time you'll be practicing procedures.  You'll do that over and over again throughout the school year.  These fun ideas to review procedures and routines can keep you and the students from getting bored!

Fitting it All Together - A Practical Schedule

So what does a typical schedule look like for that first day of school?  Since all classrooms have different schedules for things like recess, lunch, school-wide assemblies, and specials, it's hard to say exactly.  But it could go something like this:

  • Greet Students (and tell them what to do with school supplies)
  • Introduce Yourself
  • Team Builder/Ice Breaker Activity to Build Community
  • Procedure Practice (probably lining up, hallway, and bathroom procedures so you can take a bathroom break)
  • Another Team Builder/Ice Breaker Activity to Build Community
  • More Procedure Practice (whatever you need to practice before going to lunch/recess)
  • Lunch/Recess
  • More Procedure Practice (possibly practicing the morning routine so they know what to do when they enter the classroom the next day)
  • Read aloud one of these Back to School Books
  • Another Team Builder/Ice Breaker Activity
  • More Procedure Practice

Between procedure practice and building community, there really isn't much time in the day for anything else!

You might also find these other back to school ideas and tips helpful.

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Miss Kindergarten

Kindergarten Teacher Blog

The Ultimate GUIDE For First Day of School Activities!

August 6, 2019 misskindergarten Leave a Comment

Planning for the first month of kindergarten can be so tough, but it doesn’t have to be! I put together some of my favorite First Day of School activities and tools to make your transition back to school just a little bit easier! I love using these resources because they help me feel organized, prepared, and ready to take on a new year!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL ULTIMATE START-UP KIT

The ULTIMATE resource for all the First Day of School tips and activities you need! Everything you need to start up a new school year in one easy download ! This resource includes classroom organization labels, classroom management ideas, fun back to school crafts and printables!

First day of School activities

CLASSROOM LABELS

Create a print-rich environment in your classroom with this set of classroom labels! Hang the cards around your room to help your students learn to read. The black and white background can be used with any classroom theme. You can also back the labels onto colored paper to match your classroom!

classroom labels with pictures

Here’s a great way to let visitors know where you are when they walk into an empty classroom! Hang the “where are we” sign on or near your door (there are 4 font options to choose from). When you leave your classroom, hang the card to show where you are.

Kindergarten First Day of School Activities

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT TOOLS

One of my BEST classroom management tools are these picture direction cards . It helps my students visually see their instructions and prompts them to keep going when they aren’t sure what to do next. I put up the direction cards as I explain the instructions so students know exactly what to do and it’s the perfect visual reminder.

picture direction cards

And of course, my all-time favorite management tool, Songs in the Classroom ! These are songs and chants that I use in my classroom to help with classroom management, calendar time, learning sight words, colors words and more! Music is included so you can easily learn how to sing each song!

songs for classroom management

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

I LOVE doing a  fun craft  with my students that I can have on display during Back to School Night or Open House. These fun back-to-school crafts will have students engaged on their first day of school!  They also make a thoughtful keepsake book of their first day or first week at school that parents & students will love for years to come.

First Day of School Activities

ALPHABET PRACTICE PAGES

Your students will have fun practicing the alphabet with these printable alphabet practice pages! Each page focuses on one letter. They will practice writing the uppercase and lowercase letter, identifying the letter, and work on beginning sounds. These are perfect for word work during literacy centers, morning work, or even sent home as extra alphabet homework.  

alphabet practice pages

NUMBER PRACTICE PAGES

And finally, some fun number practice pages! They can be used as a fun way to incorporate teaching numbers 0-20 in your classroom. These printables combine learning and fine motor skills in a fun and engaging way!

number practice pages

Are you ready to try some of these  Kindergarten Back to School Activities ? Click on the picture below to check these out in my store:

back to school activities

PLAN FOR THE FIRST DAY!

Need more ideas to plan for the first day or week of school? Check out my  First Day of Kindergarten  for even more ideas!

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Hello, I’m Hadar

Welcome to Miss Kindergarten. I’m so happy you’re here!

If you are looking for hands-on, engaging kindergarten activities, you came to the right place! I’m here to save you time by sharing tried and true kindergarten resources, and hopefully spark some ideas for your own kindergarten lesson plans!

Whether you need ideas to teach reading, sight words, math, or even some fun crafts, I have you covered. My ultimate goal is to help passionate educators and parents to young kids gain their valuable time back!

If you want to stay connected with Miss Kindergarten, please follow me on social media and be sure to sign up for the newsletter below.

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first day of school homework ideas

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10 Things Teachers MUST DO on the 1st Day of School!

  • Classroom Management , Differentiation , Planning , Routines & Systems , Seasonal

Rules, procedures, and expectations must always be taught on the 1st day of school - but you should be doing other things on that first day, too! Read this list of 10 things every teacher must do on the 1st day of school to make that day more engaging and calming for your students.

Ahhhh… Summer is gone. Where did it go? It seems that it was only yesterday that you were packing up your classroom and driving off into the beach’s sunset. Now, it’s almost the first day of school. It’s time to unpack the classroom, make the copies, and start off a fresh new school year! Well, let’s make sure you start it off right – right from the first day of school!

Rules, procedures, and expectations must always be taught on the 1st day of school - but you should be doing other things on that first day, too! Read this list of 10 things every teacher must do on the 1st day of school to make that day more engaging and calming for your students.

There are 10 things that every teacher MUST DO on their first day of school. If they want their school year to be successful, then they cannot leave any of these 10 things out. Here they are in no particular order.

The 1st Day of School MUSTS

1.)  Greet Your Students.   As your cute little darlings are coming down the hallway, you need to be ready to help them out and greet them. This is definitely not the time to catch up with colleagues you haven’t seen all summer. You need to help these Nervous Nellies feel better – and the best way to do that is by making them comfortable with your smile and warm greeting.

2.)  Have Work for Them Right Away (and All Day!).   When students enter the classroom – even on the first day of school – there should be something for them to do. This sets the tone for the entire year. They need to understand that, in your classroom, you get down to business and that working (and learning) is a priority. Now, obviously, it’s the first day, so you may be thinking, “What am I going to have them do on the first day when they enter?” Why not a questionnaire, such as an interest inventory , to get to know them more or have them write about their summer (a writing sample!)?

Make sure you have plenty of things to do on the first day. I always over-planned on the first day because I didn’t know just how “this group” would move – were they tortoises or were they hares? You don’t want to be standing there unprepared with a few hours left to go; that leads to classroom management issues.

3.)  Introductions.  Have each student introduce themselves. There are lots of fun games to play where students have to share a little about themselves. You can even find some in my Back to School Product .

4.)  Build Community.   Building community is important because then, throughout the year, you can work together like a team or a family. This can be done through various team-building activities.

5.)  Teach Procedures .  It has to be done, but don’t just have students just sit and take it all in at once. I made that mistake my first year teaching. I droned on for what probably seemed like decades for those poor kids – and you know what? – they didn’t learn my procedures. Mention them as it is time. For instance, mention the procedures for lunch a few minutes before lunch. Seriously – otherwise it’s “information overload” and “shut the teacher out” mode.

Check out these resources for back to school!

Place Value Sliders Hands-on Manipulative

6.)  Enforce Rules.  I know some teachers (myself included, at one time) that would not enforce rules on the first day of school because, well, it was the first day. BIG mistake . Make sure you introduce the rules (or create them together) right away and begin enforcing them on the first day – warnings and consequences. You usually don’t have to worry about them on the first day of school because they are so incredibly sleepy and in denial that summer is over, but hey, you never know!

7.)  Question and Answer Time.  This is one of my favorite things to do on the first day. It’s a great opportunity for me to make connections with the students and begin building relationships with them. I provide students with a 3×5 index card and allow them to write down any questions they have. They can even ask questions about me. Sometimes the questions are silly and wild (and I answer them kind of silly back – but that is just me!). Not all students have questions, and that’s okay. I answer the questions on the cards, and then I share with students a little about myself, including artifacts from my childhood, such as my report cards, my drawings, my handwriting (Mrs. Livingston, I finally finger-space between all my words!), and even pictures from when I was in elementary school. Students need to hear about your childhood and who you are outside the classroom. It helps them see that you also made mistakes and are human, too! The kids learn so much from it and love it!

Rules, procedures, and expectations must always be taught on the 1st day of school - but you should be doing other things on that first day, too! Read this list of 10 things every teacher must do on the 1st day of school to make that day more engaging and calming for your students.

8.)  Read.   Yes, read. On the first day, demonstrate the importance of literacy by creating a time for reading. If you don’t want to drag out your library just yet (understandably so), then choose a read aloud – even a picture book that will pique their interest – and just slow down to enjoy reading. We need to create students who have a passion for reading and who enjoy it. (I’m biased, of course, because I love reading). If you need some ideas for what to read, then check out my back to school read alouds or use the menu bar above and find my mentor texts posts.

9.)  Observe and Assess.  I know, students get tested and tested and tested. I’m not saying it has to be a formal test, but the reality is that when they come into our classroom, we don’t know exactly where they are academically. Sure, we have an idea because of their files and previous teachers. I like to get started right away, because the sooner I can get that information, the sooner I can start teaching. I can’t stand “taking days off” so I can assess. Observation is another great way to take note who they are forming relationships with for when you start creating seating charts and so on. (Of course, if you can’t get to this on the first day of school, then do try to get to it within the first week!)

1 0.)   Ease Their Nerves.   Students are very nervous on the first day of school. They are nervous about you as a teacher, about their class, about what they will learn this year, and so much more. Even if they have been in school for many years and have many of their friends in the same class – they are still nervous. Help them feel at ease by calming their nerves and giving them a heads up to what they will learn. I always try to give them a “preview,” similar to a movie trailer, of what is to come throughout the school year and excite them.

When school starts, think about how you want the day to run and imagine being in the shoes of your students. They are not going to want to do the same thing that every teacher does every year. They aren’t likely going to want to present about their summer, or listen to you drone on about the rules and procedures. Yes, some things have to be done every year, but there are ways to get those things done while still making the first day great! What do they say – it’s the first impression that counts?

Here’s to an amazing first day and a successful school year!

first day of school homework ideas

  • Back to School , Planning , procedures , routines

4 Responses

This is such a fantastic post. I can totally relate- my first year of teaching I told ALLL the rules in the first hour… HUGE mistake! 🙂 #thejoysoffirstyearteaching

I’m not a first year teacher (I was previously a special education resource teacher), but this year I will be teaching K at my school with two new to my school teachers. Surprisingly, I had forgotten about setting aside time for introductions! lol thanks for sharing!!

Thank you for these useful tips!A really good start drives a year. That’s why I usually try to find an interesting question to start. To tell the truth talking about summer seems boring to some students, but the question ” where did summer go? ” can be a real fun. Writing guestions to each other is a great idea too. This school year I am going to start outdoors. My students are fond of informal lessons. It’ s always challenging but inspiring. Also on the first school day children feel sleepy and tired. So moving around can create a special atmosphere. It can be a quest, an excursion, a competition. a photo session with posts and comments, etc. All in all, the first lesson should be memorable, involving and fascinating.

Thank you so much. This is my first year as a teacher and this is super helpful!

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53 Perfect Back-to-School Books To Read Aloud on the First Day

New year, new books!

Childrens books feature

The first days of back-to-school can truly set the stage for the entire school year with students. Read-aloud books are a perfect way to get to know one another, encourage class discussions, and figure out which values will define your class’s identity. Here are 53 of our favorite back-to-school books plus follow-up activities for each one.

(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)

1. How To Get Your Octopus to School by Becky Scharnhorst

Book cover of How to Get Your Octopus to School children's book- back-to-school books

Just like many little ones, Octopus is nervous about going to school. He would rather stay at home and play, so he finds clever places to hide. Your students will get a kick out of trying to find him in the colorful illustrations.

Buy it: How To Get Your Octopus to School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to share with a neighbor about a time they hid when it was time to go somewhere they didn’t want to go. Ask them to include details about where and why they hid.

2. The Smallest Spot of a Dot by Linsey Davis  and Michael Tyler

Child holding one of her first day of school books entitled The Spot of a Dot

When you head off to school, you meet a lot of kids that seem to be really different from you. This charming story teaches us how much we really all have in common.

Buy it: The Smallest Spot of a Dot at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Play a round of Get to Know You Bingo or one of these other fun icebreakers .

3. Lou’s Zoo and Winston Too by JoAnn M. Dickinson

Book cover of children's book Lou's Zoo and Winston Too

Winston the Wise Owl joins the neighborhood in this sweet follow-up to the book Who’s New at Lou’s Zoo? With his help, his new friends learn how to solve problems with kindness and compassion.

Buy it: Lou’s Zoo and Winston Too at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Together with your students, make a kindness chain. Or try one of the other activities in 19 Activities To Help Nurture Kindness in Your Students

4. The Two of Us Belong Together by Michael Engler

Book cover of children's first day of school book The Two of Us Belong Together - back-to-school books

Little Hare and Little Hedgehog become friends and learn to respect and enjoy all of the things that make each of them unique.

Buy it: The Two of Us Belong Together at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students pair up and create a Venn diagram together about the things they have in common and the things that make each of them unique.

5. The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer by Davide Cali  and Benjamin Chaud 

first day of school homework ideas

When the teacher asks the main character what they did over the summer, he tells a fantastical tale full of daring and adventure. But is it all true? Your students will be on the edge of their seats waiting to find out.

Buy it: The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have your students create a comic strip of what they did (or maybe didn’t do?) over summer. Download some of these free comic strip templates .

6. Never, Not Ever! by Beatrice Alemagna

Book cover of children's book Never, Not, Ever as an example of First Day of School Books

Pascaline is NOT going to school, regardless of what the other kids are doing. But in a clever twist, her parents figure out a way to help her overcome her fear and anxiety.

Buy it: Never, Not Ever! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask your students to tell a follow-up story about what happened after Pascaline got to school.

7. Llama Llama Back to School by Anna Dewdney

Cover of Llama Llama Back to School from the back to school books collection at Amazon- back-to-school books

From the beloved Llama Llama series, this story deals with back-to-school anxiety. Llama wants summer to go on forever. He’s had such a lovely time with his friends and family. How will Mama Llama convince him that going back to school will be fun?

Buy it: Llama Llama Back to School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Gather your students in a circle and talk about all the fun things that happen in school. Create a large poster with their insights and post it on the wall to remind them of how much fun they are going to have this year.

8. Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School by Emily Jenkins

children's book cover Harry vs. The First Day of School

An energetic, funny book that follows Harry through the first 100 days of first grade—from name games to making friends to learning how to be a friend. It’s broken into short chapters, so add this to your list of back-to-school books for a fun way to start your first days of school.

Buy it: Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Start a 100-link paper chain to mark your first 100 days together, or try one of these fun activities .

9. The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague

The Circles All Around Us, an example of first day of school books for children

When a child is born, their circle is very small. As they grow, the circle around them grows to include family, friends, and neighbors. This sweet story is perfect for back-to-school to set the tone for enlarging our circles to include new friends and experiences.

Buy it: The Circles All Around Us at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Watch this video , adorably narrated by the author’s children.

10. Principal Tate Is Running Late! by Henry Cole

Cover of children's book Principal Tate is Running Late- back-to-school books

Looking for funny back-to-school books? When Principal Tate is running late, the students, teachers, parents, and visitors at Hardy Elementary School must come together to keep school running smoothly.

Buy it: Principal Tate Is Running Late! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Try one (or more) of these fun team-building activities with your students.

11. Hello World! by Kelly Corrigan

Hello World! as an example of first day of school books for children

Everywhere we go, we can meet interesting people who add value to our lives. This charmingly illustrated book is a great conversation starter to help your students get to know one another.

Buy it: Hello World!  at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Try one (or more) of these icebreaker activities with your students.

12. A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School by Shannon Olsen

Cover of children's book A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School

In this heartwarming book, a teacher writes a love note to her students. She shares all the things she is looking forward to for the school year and all the fun things they will share.

Buy it: A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to turn to a friend and share what they are most looking forward to this school year.

13. Butterflies on the First Day of School by Annie Silvestro

Butterflies on the first day of school cover

If you’re looking for the best back-to-school books to ease your students’ butterflies, try this sweet story. Rosie gets a new backpack and can hardly wait for school to start. But the first morning, she’s not so sure. “You just have butterflies in your belly,” her mom tells her.

Buy it: Butterflies on the First Day of School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Play a game of toss-around. Form a circle and begin by telling your students how you are feeling about the new school year. For example, “I was nervous, but now I’m excited.” Toss the ball to a student so they can share how they’re feeling. Play continues until every student who wants to has had a chance to participate.

14. The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi

Cover of children's book The Magical Yet- back-to-school books

An inspirational rhyming book that teaches kids the power of “yet.” We all have a lot to learn in life, and sometimes skills we wish we had just aren’t there … yet. A book about perseverance and having faith in yourself. Add this to your list of back-to-school books that teach growth mindset.

Buy it: The Magical Yet at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to write an entry in their journal about something they are hoping to learn or get better at this year.

15. My Wild First Day of School by Dennis Mathew

Cover of children's book My Wild First Day of School

This humorous book by the author of Bello the Cello  encourages kids to be brave, take a risk, and try something new.

Buy it: My Wild First Day of School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Brainstorm a list of “what if” questions with your students. Tap into their hopes and wishes and set the stage for an amazing year.

16. Most Marshmallows by Rowboat Watkins

One of the funniest first day of school books entitled Most Marshmallows

If you’re looking for the best back-to-school books about individuality, you’re going to want to check out this quirky tale. It’s all about marching to the beat of your own drum. What would happen if you dreamed big?

Buy it: Most Marshmallows at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to write in their journals about what makes them unique.

17. If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen

Hover desks? Robo-chef in the cafeteria? Field trips to Mars? The main character of this school story has some out-of-this-world ideas about what his ideal school would look like!

Buy it: If I Built a School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to draw a picture, with captions and explanations, showing what their perfect school would look like.

18. Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Cover of children's book Your Name is a Song

A young girl learns the musicality of African, Asian, Black American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names and returns to school eager to share with her classmates.

Buy it: Your Name Is a Song at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Go around the circle and ask each student if there is a story behind their name.

19. Our Class Is a Family by Shannon Olsen

Children's book Our Class is a Family as an example of first day of school books- back-to-school books

Back-to-school books like this one show your class that they are a family, no matter whether they meet for online or in-person learning.

Buy it: Our Class Is a Family at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have each student draw an image of their family and “extended family.”

20. Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Jessica Hische

Tomorrow I'll Be Kind children's book cover

Sometimes the smallest gesture of kindness goes a long way. Reading sweet back-to-school books like this one teaches young ones how to be good friends and classmates.

Buy it: Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to share what is the most important thing about being a good friend.

21. I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison

I Got the School Spirit book cover

Students will love the rhythm and sounds in this book about back-to-school spirit. VROOM, VROOM! RING-A-DING! 

Buy it: I Got the School Spirit at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to share the sounds they identify with school.

22. Waiting Is Not Easy! by Mo Willems

Children's book Waiting is Not Easy! as an example of first day of school books- back-to-school books

Mo Willems has written some fantastic back-to-school books. In this one, when Gerald tells Piggie he has a surprise for him, Piggie can hardly wait. In fact, he has a hard time waiting all day ! But when the sun goes down, and the Milky Way fills the night sky, Piggie learns that some things are worth the wait.

Buy it: Waiting Is Not Easy! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask your students to turn to a partner and share a time that they had to wait for something.

23. Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School! by Christina Geist

Children's book Sorry Grownups You Can't Go to School

If you’re looking for back-to-school books for students who are having a hard time leaving their parents, this sweet tale is a good pick. Perfect for the child who is feeling a little nervous about going to school, this story features a family that doesn’t want to be left behind.

Buy it: Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Draw a picture of what school would look like if students’ moms and dads came to school with them.

24. The Pigeon Has To Go to School! by Mo Willems

The Pigeon Has to Go to School children's book as an example of first day of school books- back-to-school books

Want more back-to-school books by Mo Willems? This silly picture book addresses many of the fears and anxieties that little ones feel as they get ready to go to school for the first time.

Buy it: The Pigeon Has To Go to School! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: This one will get kids riled up, so after reading, have them stand up and shake their sillies out.

25. School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

School's First Day of School as an example of first day of school books

There are books about children, parents, and teachers being nervous for the first day of school. This adorable book examines the first day of school from the perspective of the school itself.

Buy it: School’s First Day of School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Project a photo of your school onto the board as inspiration as kids draw and color in their own image of school.

26. Brown Bear Starts School by Sue Tarsky

Book cover Brown Bear Starts School

Sweet little Brown Bear worries about the first day of school, but soon he realizes he is more capable than he thought.

Buy it: Brown Bear Starts School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students turn and talk about one worry they had before school started.

27. Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten! by Lisa Robinson

Children's book Pirates Don't Go to Kindergarten- back-to-school books

Need back-to-school books for kindergartners? Ahoy, mateys! Pirate Emma has a hard time transitioning from her beloved preschool captain to the new captain aboard the S.S. Kindergarten.

Buy it: Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to share their favorite things about preschool, which you can record on a piece of chart paper. As you list them, tell students something that will be just as fun about kindergarten.

28. The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald

Children's book The Cool Bean as an example of first day of school books

Once “peas in a pod,” poor chickpea doesn’t fit in with the other beans anymore. Despite having grown apart, the other beans are always there to lend a hand when chickpea is in need.

Buy it: The Cool Bean at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to write about a friend from whom they have grown apart.

29. How To Read a Book by Kwame Alexander

Children's book How to Read a Book cover- back-to-school books

Back-to-school books can inspire students with beautiful illustrations about the miraculous pleasures of reading that will inspire the book lover in all of us. One reader gushes, “Every page is a wonder as the words and art melt into one.”

Buy it: How To Read a Book at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask students to write one colorful sentence in praise of reading.

30. The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Children's book The King of Kindergarten

The bubbly main character of this sweet story is bursting with excitement for the first day of school. His confidence will be contagious for your new kindergartners.

Buy it: The King of Kindergarten at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students turn to a neighbor and tell them the one thing they were most excited about on the first day of school.

31. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Children's book The Day You Begin as an example of first day of school books

Starting fresh in a new environment can be scary, especially when you look around and think that nobody quite looks or sounds like you. This lovely story will inspire your students to understand the gifts of individuality.

Buy it: The Day You Begin at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have your students play get-to-know-you bingo to find out just how much they have in common with their classmates.

32. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman

Children's book All Are Welcome - back-to-school books

A lovely story that celebrates diversity and inclusion in a school where everyone, no matter their dress or skin color, is welcomed with open arms.

Buy it: All Are Welcome at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Create an anchor chart of character traits. Brainstorm with your students all the ways they are alike and some of the ways they may be different.

33. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

We Don't Eat Our Classmates book

One of the silliest back-to-school books, this story will crack up your students. Little Penelope Rex is nervous about going to school for the first time. She has some very important questions: What are my classmates going to be like? Will they be nice? How many teeth will they have? Little ones will relate to this charming story.

Buy it: We Don’t Eat Our Classmates at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask your students to share some of the questions they wondered about before starting school.

34. You’re Finally Here! by Melanie Watt

Children's book You're Finally Here as an example of first day of school books

A perfect first read-aloud book to show your students how excited you are to finally meet them! Follow along with the main character, Bunny, as he bounces through a hilarious range of emotions. All of your students will recognize the back-to-school feelings beneath the surface of this silly, in-your-face story.

Buy it: You’re Finally Here! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students draw a self-portrait that shows the strongest emotion they felt coming into school this year.

35. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

First Day Jitters children's book- back-to-school books

Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach at the prospect of being the newbie. Sarah Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. Kids will love the delightful surprise ending of this sweet story!

Buy it: First Day Jitters at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students write about a time they were scared and how their situation turned out. Or have students partner with a friend and tell their stories to each other.

36. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

The Name Jar children's book

When Unhei, a young Korean girl, arrives at her new school in the United States, she begins to wonder if she should also choose a new name. Does she need an American name? How will she choose? And what should she do about her Korean name? This heartwarming story speaks to anyone who has ever been the new kid or welcomed one into their familiar surroundings.

Buy it: The Name Jar at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have groups of students brainstorm 10 different ways they could make a new student feel welcome in class and create a poster to display.

37. The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School by Albert Lorenz

Children's book about the first day of school

John is the new kid in school. When asked if the school is any different from his last one, he weaves a wildly creative tale that captures the attention of his new classmates. A hilarious story about conquering the fear of being the new kid.

Buy it: The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students write a tall tale about what school was like last year to share with their new classmates.

38. The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Children's book The Book With No Pictures

You might think a book with no pictures would be serious and boring, but this book has a catch! Everything, and we mean everything, written on the page must be read out loud by the person reading the book, regardless of how goofy and preposterous it may be. Irresistibly silly!

Buy it: The Book With No Pictures at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students work with a new friend or partner to create their own short book with no pictures. (Be sure to set clear parameters about content before letting students create.)

39. Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat! by Rob Scotton

Children's book Splat the Cat as an example of first day of school books- back-to-school books

How can there be homework when it’s only the first day of school? Splat must pick only one of all of his fun summer adventures to share with his classmates at show-and-tell.

Buy it: Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: First-day-of-school homework, of course! Have students write about one of their favorite summer adventures.

40. If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff

If You Take a Mouse to School children's book

You know the routine … if you take a mouse to school, he’ll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he’ll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he’ll need a notebook and some pencils. He’ll probably want to share your backpack too. Another silly story from one of our favorite authors that is not only fun but lays the groundwork for teaching sequencing.

Buy it: If You Take a Mouse to School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Using a long, narrow sheet of paper folded accordion-style, have students create their own “If You Take …” book. Students can build on the mouse story or create a character of their own.

41. Dear Teacher by Amy Husband

Children's book Dear Teacher- back-to-school books

This hilarious collection of letters from Michael to his new teacher comes packed with alligators, pirates, rocket ships, and much, much more. Can Michael’s imagination save him from the first day of school?

Buy it: Dear Teacher at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students write a postcard to a friend or family member telling them about their fun first week of school!

42. How To Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan

Children's book How to Get Your Teacher Ready

In a charming role reversal, the students in this story gently guide their teacher through the getting-ready process for back-to-school. Your students will laugh and surely learn a lesson or two themselves.

Buy it: How To Get Your Teacher Ready at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students compile a list of rules that will help their teacher have the best year ever.

43. If You Ever Want To Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! by Elise Parsley

Children's book If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON'T!

An alligator for show-and-tell sounds like TONS of fun. What could possibly go wrong? Magnolia is determined to have the best show-and-tell ever. What will she do when her reptilian pal starts wreaking havoc in the classroom? This hilarious story is sure to inspire even the timidest of show-and-tellers.

Buy it: If You Ever Want To Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students write a story or draw a picture about something outrageous they would bring to school for show-and-tell.

44. This School Year Will Be the Best! by Kay Winters

Children's book This School Year Will Be the Best- back-to-school books

On the first day of school, new classmates are asked to share what they hope for in the upcoming year. The children’s wishes, from the familiar to the off-the-wall, are shown in humorously exaggerated illustrations. As the first day draws to a close, there can be no doubt this school year will definitely be the best!

Buy it: This School Year Will Be the Best! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students draw a star, put their name in the middle, and write one wish for the school year on each point (total of five). Then, have them loop a colorful ribbon through a hole on top to hang from the classroom ceiling.

45. Back-to-School Rules by Laurie Friedman

Children's book Back to School Rules as an example of first day of school books

School is in session! When it comes to surviving school, Percy has 10 simple rules that show there is more to school than showing up on time and staying awake in class, including no spitballs, no running in the halls, and no crazy scheming! See what other trouble—and tips—Percy has in mind!

Buy it: Back-to-School Rules at Amazon

Follow-up activity: As a whole class, brainstorm “rules” that will make this year the best ever. Then, have students transfer their ideas to a class-promise poster that can hang prominently for the rest of the year. Have each student sign their name to make it official.

46. David Goes to School by David Shannon

Children's book David Goes to School

David’s antics in the classroom will make your students giggle with recognition. He’s so enthusiastic about going back to school! But David needs to learn that every classroom needs rules so that every student can learn.

Buy it: David Goes to School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Gather the whole class on the rug. Select a few students to act out “bad” behavior and ask the other students to explain why the behavior is not OK for the classroom. Then have the same students act out the “good” behavior. Repeat with different sets of students to address the different rules you are reinforcing in your classroom.

47. A Place Called Kindergarten by Jessica Harper

Children's book A Place Called Kindergarten as an example of first day of school books- back-to-school books

One of the best back-to-school books for kindergartners, this story will help ease their worries before the event. Tommy’s barnyard friends are worried. He’s gone to a place called kindergarten. They wonder what will happen to him and if he will ever come back. Eventually, he returns with exciting tales of all the fun and learning he’s had.

Buy it: A Place Called Kindergarten at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have your students take a “field trip” around the school to learn more about their new “barnyard.”

48. Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick

Is your buffalo ready for kindergarten book cover

Is your buffalo ready for kindergarten? Does he play nicely with friends? Check. Share his toys? Check. Is he smart? Check!

Buy it: Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Follow along with Buffalo’s checklist in this hilarious look at first-day-of-school jitters.

49. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books! by Lucille Colandro

Children's book There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books

We’ve all heard about the old lady who swallowed a fly. Well, now she’s getting ready for back-to-school and is swallowing up a whole assortment of things to make it the best first day ever!

Buy it: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Trace the image of the old lady from the book cover without the books in her hands. Make a copy for each of your students and have them fill in the picture and write a sentence about what they would “swallow” for the first weeks of school if they were the old lady.

50. School Is Cool! by Sabrina Moyle

Children's book School is Cool- back-to-school books

Holy smokes, tomorrow is the first day of school! The characters in this story have lots of needless worries as they discover that school is cool.

Buy it: School Is Cool! at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students do a turn-and-share about one thing they were worried about before the new school year started and how they are feeling about their worry now.

51. Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London

Children's book Froggy Goes to School

Lovable favorite Froggy is off for his first day of school. His mama is worried, but not him! He hops off with his trademark enthusiasm and curiosity.

Buy it: Froggy Goes to School at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Together with your class, make a “Top 10 Best Things About School” poster. Ask for students’ input, then vote on the top 10.

52. Chairs on Strike by Jennifer Jones

Children's book Chairs on Strike

Everyone’s excited about going back to school. Everyone, that is, but the classroom chairs. They’ve had enough of wiggly bottoms and smelly kids and go on strike to protest.

Buy it: Chairs on Strike at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Ask for volunteers to play the part of the different chairs and act out the story. Have a few rounds so that as many students that want to participate can.

53. It’s OK To Be Different by Sharon Purtill

It's okay to be different book cover- back-to-school books

If you’re looking for a back-to-school book that embraces the uniqueness of your class, this is a lovely tale that subtly broaches the subjects of diversity and kindness in a way that students can grasp.

Buy it: It’s OK To Be Different at Amazon

Follow-up activity: Have students reflect about the one thing that they think is truly unique about themselves and write a paragraph (or more) about this trait in their journals.

What are your favorite back-to-school books? Share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group  on Facebook.

Plus, if you like these back-to-school books, check out all of our book lists here., you might also like.

first day of school homework ideas

28 Activities for the First Day of School To Start the School Year Off Right

Back to school, here we go! Continue Reading

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The First Week in First Grade

I wanted to stop by today and share some a few of my “go-to” activities during the first week of school to build our classroom community and set expectations for the year!

During the first few days of school, we are setting the tone for the rest of the year. Our students are looking to see what kind of teacher we will be and making judgements about their school year. They’re deciding if school is a place they want to come or a place they dread. The choices we make at the beginning of the year can have a lasting impact!

As instructional demands increase each year, it’s easy to want to jump right into our curriculum as soon as possible. We think we can teach routines while we’re teaching other things, and that we can build community during our district mandated curriculum. While it is possible to review routines and procedures in the middle of instruction, our students aren’t getting the necessary TIME to practice. I believe that starting slow lets us go fast later in the year. When we make sure every student knows exactly what’s expected, and they get the time to discuss and practice, we will have less interruptions when we finally start our regular schedule and instruction.

I’m including tons of ideas in this post for you for you to add in when it makes sense! But if you’re looking for a detailed schedule of the first week in my classroom, you can download it for free by clicking the picture below!

Click Here For Your Free Download

Each day includes a daily schedule, to-do list, and activities to include! All of the activities can be found in my First Week Survival Kit.

First Week Plans for First Grade

Teaching Transitions

If I was honest, I would say that a LOT of the behaviors I have to correct happen during transitions. Once my kiddos are engaged, I typically am only having to remind my most challenging students what’s expected. But transitions are less structured, and my students struggle to control their impulses. Once I realized that, I knew I needed to EXPLICITLY teach what is expected during transitions during the first few days. We can do entire lessons on transitions just like we would on a language standard.

In the hallway, for example, my students know exactly what they should do and how it should look. Before we go on our first bathroom break, we come to the carpet and talk about hallway behavior. We not only discuss how it looks, we also discuss the why . I ask how it feels when you’re concentrating hard on something, and you hear kids playing in the hallway. (It feels distracting, it makes me want to go play too, I forget what I was working on.) Even in teaching transitions, I’m helping my students be empathetic. We don’t want to be the reason another student can’t do their work.  Then we’re ready to discuss the specifics about expectations. Together, we create an anchor chart. (Before the lesson, I have cut the pieces out but only the title is on the chart.) As I add things to the chart, I’m having students model inappropriate and appropriate. (I like to have my challenging students be my models…they usually love the attention, and I can remind them that they DO know how to do it.)

Hallway Behavior Anchor Chart

We practice, practice, practice and for the first several weeks (possibly months) this chart is hanging by the door for us to review before we leave. We also have this poem hanging and read it often.

Hallway Expectations Poem

 Some days I might choose to reward students who are doing a great job, but I’m constantly coming back to our discussion about helping other students learn. We want THAT to be the reward and motivation. 🙂

Even though we don’t have an anchor chart for “Coming to the Carpet,” or “Lining Up” I make sure to give clear directions. I hold up my fingers for each step and it works like magic! We use this anytime we’re leaving our desk. (MOST students don’t need this. They just know not to act crazy, hahaha. But you will have some that do, and it’s best to just start off strong. This (***hopefully) keeps our energetic little buddy from jumping out of his seat and running to the line full speed.) We practice over, and over, and over…until you want to never practice it again. That’s when you know you’ve practiced it enough!! 🙂

  • Push My Chair In
  • Walk Silently

Once we start workstations, and rotations we’ll have specifics for that as well. During the first week, we DO start Reader’s Workshop so I make sure to decide ahead of time if they should have their book box at their desk or pick it up on the way to their spot. We also practice finding a quiet reading spot a LOT. We discuss problems that might come up (what if we both want the same spot) and how to resolve them (in my classroom, we use paper-rock-scissors to resolve those types of conflicts.)

Lunch/Recess Time

Before we discuss expectations, I wanted to share my opinion about lunch and recess. I truly believe it is my students’ time, and my expectations should respect that. I don’t think it’s fair to ask students to eat silently…I would never want to eat silently. I also don’t think it’s fair to take recess time on the first day to practice expectations and safe play at recess. I think that’s additional time we find during the first few days (which is why we don’t start our curriculum.) . On the first day, our students need recess more than they need ANYTHING. They’ve gone from hours and hours of free time to a very structured setting. Most likely, the first few days won’t be full of fun science experiments and group work…they’ll be full of lots of read-alouds, discussions, and modeling. It makes it even more important that we give our students this time. BUT…it means I need to find time before lunch and recess to talk about playground safety, lunch expectations, etc. In my classroom, we go to the cafeteria in the morning and I show them where their table is, where they get lunch, etc. Then we head out to the playground and talk about how to use the equipment, and what it looks like to play safely. Before their recess time, I will remind them but that is their time to play. After that, we come back to the room for our discussion about lunch room expectations. I love using sorts for this type of discussion, because they find the “silly” choices hilarious. (Unfortunately, they will probably all happen haha!)

Lunch Choices Anchor Chart and Sort

(I believe in using natural consequences. If a student has trouble with the expectations after several reminders, I’m not going to have them move their clip or lose a privilege. They’re just going to keep practicing until they can get it right. If they’re being unsafe at recess, I will give them a few reminders. Then we will have to use their recess time to practice appropriate behavior.)

Classroom Community

Before we start our curriculum, it’s so important that my students know our classroom is a safe place for risk-taking, and that we are all learners. I love to ask “What do you need from your teacher?” I get insight into their experience in school, and what motivates them. But it also shows them that I am learning with them, and we are all in this together.

A Good Teacher Discussion and Chart

I feel like when I let them tell me what THEY need, it’s alot easier for me to explain what I need. My FAVORITE read aloud for this is My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown. If you haven’t read it, please do!! The little boy thinks his teacher is a monster, but he learns she isn’t at all! After our teacher discussion, we can have a discussion about what makes a good student (doesn’t give up, tries their best, is kind.)

Good Students Chart for Back to School

Because we spend about 45 minutes each week on character education , I typically just do read-alouds and discussions each day during the first week on kindness, friendship, etc.. I actually start teaching HOW to be kind and respectful the following week…during our morning meeting and character education lessons.  We DO read The Recess Queen  and talk about being a good friend.

Good Friend Anchor Chart

Classroom Materials 

During the first few days, I build in lots of time for free exploration with math tools. I think if we jump right into them as manipulatives, our little ones will be dreaming about all the cool things they could do with them. I typically do this for about 30-45 minutes, which gives me time to organize my paperwork and things.

We also talk a LOT about using supplies correctly (pushing the marker cap down until you hear the click <—-Monica Geller). During this week, it’s so important to remember that saying “put it up” isnt enough. They need to know…WHERE do I put it up? HOW do I put it up? WHO puts it up? If I don’t teach it explicitly, I can assume it’s be a time sucker for the rest of the year. I try to find opportunities to use lots of different supplies during the first week so we can talk about how to use them!

After reading Chyrsanthemum , I love to do a directed drawing and them let them paint their work. It gives me the opportunity to really talk about how to use the paint, how to clean up, etc. When we use it later in the year, I don’t have to waste time on the procedures and we can jump right in! (I love to let my kiddos paint…I try to do it at least once a month. It truly doesn’t take that much longer than coloring, and they take SO much more pride in their work.)

Chrysanthemum Directed Drawing

We also talk a LOT about using glue. I go over this poem with them and then we practice a LOT on this little craft. I pre-cut squares and they make their name with the squares. It gives them the opportunity to practice using one drop of glue…if they don’t, their paper is super messy and it’s a good natural consequence. It’s also a great fine-motor assessment! You could also cut out bigger squares and let them make the first letter in their name if that works better for your kiddos! 🙂

Glue Poem

To make sure I cover everything I need to, I make sure to check them off my routines checklist. I love having this sheet to make sure I hit everything!

Picture1

All of the photos in this post are linked to my First Week Survival Kit , with the exception of a few other ones. 🙂 Thank you SO much for reading! I hope it was helpful in planning your first week of school! Don’t forget to grab your FREE lesson plans at the top of this post!

First Week of First Grade

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The Brown Bag Teacher

Teach the Children. Love the Children. Change the World.

January 23, 2015

100th Day of School in 1st Grade

Morning tubs.

Just like we do every morning, we started our day with Morning Tubs! These play-based tubs are a perfect way to integrate play and social-learning into our day. For this special day, our tubs all contained 100 objects for us to build and play with – foam shapes, unifix cubes, place value pieces, straws and playdough, small stacking cups, and foam blocks! (Snag the visual directions for FREE here .)

Our 100th Day of School Checklists

100s chart puzzles, race to 100.

first day of school homework ideas

When I Am 100 Years Old

100s chart chocolate style.

For differentiation, I did have 3 different charts I used. One chart had 12 numbers already written on the chart (at least one in each row/column), one chart had 6 numbers, and then, the 3rd chart had 2 numbers (45 and 17) written on the chart. I’ll definitely introduce this game into our normal math-center routine. It required some awesome math talk between my friends!

100th Day of School – Foam Shapes

In our next center, students used 100 foam blocks to create patterns and shapes. Then, students decomposed the larger shapes recording the number and type of smaller shapes each picture required!

Adding Groups of 10

first day of school homework ideas

Writing 100 Words

We also took the “Write 100 Words” challenge. Students grabbed a clipboard, pencil, and recording sheet traveling the room searching for words. From content-vocabulary to word-wall words, it was interesting to see where students gravitated. (Snag the visual directions for FREE here .)

Reading 100 Books on the 100th Day of School

One of our goals for the day was to read 100 books as a class. That meant each student (myself included) needed to read 4 books from our display shelf, classroom library, or individual book bin. If you’ve following along, you know  I LOVE a themed bookshelf , so of course we pull out our 100 themed books!

With all of the excitement of special centers, we did not reach our goal today, making to ~50 books. Tomorrow, we are recommitting to reading 100 books and will finish our list! As students read a book, they wrote it below. (Note – 2 chapters in a chapter book counted as 1 picture book.)

100th Day Art Project

At the end of the day, each of the four 1st grade homerooms rotated among the classrooms completing a different activity. In the three classrooms, students completed 100 exercises, 100 necklaces, and sang read 100-themed poems/songs. Together my students turned die-cut ‘100’s into art! (Thank goodness for the parent volunteer that cut 270 die-cut numbers.) It was the perfect time to be creative and use everyday things in an unusual way. Some of the final products were fabulous! (Snag the visual directions for FREE here .)

This fellow was one of my favorites – a boy licking a lollipop!

I Would Want 100… (Google Slides)

Last year, I looped with my classroom of K/1 friends to 1/2. It’s a great chance to try new things and develop new tricks. Our school is moving in the direction of 1:1 with Chromebooks, so any chance to get to teach my Littles about using technology, I’m game. We create *very* simple “I Would Want 100” Google Slides. We have a Google Classroom, so I just posted a blank slide where every student got their own copy. You could also have students open a blank slide directly from Slides and “Share” it with you. From there, we typed our text first and then, added pictures. Easy peasy, fun, and something new! (Snag the visual directions for FREE here .)

first day of school homework ideas

Our 100 Days of Learning

Lastly, in transition times and in-between activities, we took time as a class to reflect on the things we have learned this school year. It’s really amazing to consider how much we’ve practiced in just 100 days. Each time we met, we added topics and memories to our ‘100’ chart! It was a sweet way to reflect on our 1st grade year. 🙂

In the past, I’ve also made paper chains. Each student is responsible for 4 links and then, we sting our “learning” around the classroom!

Well friends, we did it! It was a loud, fun-filled day filled with great reminders of how far we’ve come. I am so happy to be in 1st, and I was so proud of my friends today.

When is your 100th day? What fun things do you have planned? I’d love to hear your ideas for activities and centers I can include next year. Please share!

Related Posts

100th Day of 1st Grade: 100 Days Smarter!

Reader Interactions

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January 23, 2015 at 2:43 am

I love the art with the die cut numbers! So cute!!

January 23, 2015 at 4:24 am

Looks like a fun-filled day of learnirng. We do several things you listed and… solve a mystery puzzle of 100 on a hundreds chart, go down the slide 100 times (as a class), see how many times we can run up and down halfcourt in 100 seconds, say our names 100 times, solve 100 math problems and spell 100 words (as a class on bulletin board paper that I hang in the hall for all to see), play a game where we roll a die for as many times as it takes to make it to 100 (play with a partner), build with 100 Legos, blocks, etc., bring in and count 100 items by grouping them into 10s…the regular stuff! Thanks again for sharing. I'm going to make the 120 chart puzzles. I've never done that before. I think the kids will like it.

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January 28, 2015 at 1:59 am

I LOVE the idea of solving 100 math problems. I'll definitely have to try that next year. I'm sure my kids would be so excited!

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January 11, 2020 at 4:30 pm

My school is doing a school wide 100th day and I am going to expand your idea of 100 spelling words. Each class has to come up with 100 words but as the grade level goes up so will the minimum number of letters per word will go up so for 4th grade their words would have to have at least 4 letters in it,

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January 30, 2017 at 2:24 am

Thank you for more great ideas! I also have two cup stacking centers, one with small Solo cups and one with large ones. Students need to work with their small group and make a pyramid! I all so have a floor puzzle of sea life with 100 pieces, another favorite!

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February 6, 2021 at 3:03 pm

I have baggies of different kinds of food, 100 of each: Gold Fish, Marshmallows, M&M’s, Cheese Balls, Skittles, pretzels etc. We look at each food item of 100 and see the difference. Then we will compare 2 of the items at a time, which would weigh more and we drop them in a balance. We continue weighing the baggies of food to compare, then I dump all of the food in a bowl and we have a 100th day snack. The kids always love it!

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March 19, 2021 at 1:10 pm

2nd Grade, 9th Grade, 16th Grade, 23rd Grade, 30th Grade, 34th Grade, 38th Grade, 42nd Grade

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November 26, 2023 at 9:47 pm

Casinos have been a fascinating backdrop for many films, and finding the must-watch ones can be as tricky as picking the right slot machine. A curated list at runpee not only suggests the top five casino-related movies but also delves into what makes each film a standout. It’s a perfect guide for movie lovers looking to indulge in the glitz and drama of casino-centric stories.

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January 17, 2024 at 2:23 am

This is just one of the many activities I do with my students. The looked forward to celebrating this day, which is a week long of fun. Whether you’re at school, work, or on a restricted network, unblocked games 76 has your back.

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February 2, 2024 at 10:01 am

School is a transformative journey, shaping minds and characters. Essays, reflections of intellectual growth, refine communication skills. In the school order an essay environment, we absorb knowledge, build relationships, and develop essential life skills. Essays foster analytical thinking and articulate expression, crucial for personal development. Together, school and essays form a dynamic foundation, nurturing not only academic proficiency but also the skills necessary for success in life’s diverse challenges.

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  5. 28 First-Day-of-School Activities To Start the School Year Off Right

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  6. 19 First Day of School Ideas + Printables for Teachers!

    Blog 19 First Day of School Ideas + Printables for Teachers! Written by Alison Smith Updated 8 months ago | 6 min read Planning those first day of school activities can really set the tone for the rest of the year. The goal of these activities is for you to connect with your students and build those all-important relationships!

  7. First Day of School Activities for High School and Middle School

    sET UP FIRST DAY ACTIVITY STATIONS. 3. Use stations for first day of school tasks: There are always a number of housekeeping items that must be taken care of on the first day of high school. Stations are a fantastic way to create movement and natural icebreakers while also making sure each back to school task is complete.

  8. 20+ ready-to-use digital lesson activities for the first day of school

    1. Letters in my name 🧸 This first day of school lesson for kindergarten makes complete sense. Ask your kids to color or circle the letters in their names. After just one day, you'll already know the names of your kids, as well as which kids can spell their name and which ones still need more help.

  9. 35 Best First Day of School Ideas and Activities

    #1 This is my personal favorite activity to do on the first day. This Magic Dough activity gives children the chance to share their hopes for the upcoming year in a fun and almost magical way - sure to be the highlight of the day for many children. Memorable First Day of School Activity #2 Free School Scavenger Hunt

  10. First Day of School 2023 Activities

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  11. 15 Amazing First Day of School Activities

    4) First Day of School Crayon Craft. This adorable First Day of School Crayon Craft is by Wonder in His World. Your kids can create these adorable oversized crayons which open up to reveal favorite things, what he/she wants to be when they grow up, and more. What a cute idea for a bulletin board or a fun keepsake for parents!

  12. 31 Best First Day of School Activities for Students

    8. Book reading activities. Instead of jumping straight into the curricula, you can take the first day of school to read books aloud and engage kids in storytelling. You can make the first day more magical and awe-inspiring, bringing the joy of reading intently back into their mindset. Age Range - 4 years and older.

  13. What To Do On The First Day Of School

    Over the years, I learned to prioritize what I wanted accomplished the first day of school so that I didn't forget to do the most important things. In my opinion, the non-negotiables for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students are: collecting school supplies. building classroom community. establishing classroom routines and procedures.

  14. The Ultimate GUIDE For First Day of School Activities!

    The ULTIMATE resource for all the First Day of School tips and activities you need! Everything you need to start up a new school year in one easy download! This resource includes classroom organization labels, classroom management ideas, fun back to school crafts and printables!

  15. 10 Things Teachers MUST DO on the 1st Day of School!

    Introductions. Have each student introduce themselves. There are lots of fun games to play where students have to share a little about themselves. You can even find some in my Back to School Product. 4.) Build Community. Building community is important because then, throughout the year, you can work together like a team or a family.

  16. The First Day of 1st Grade

    Our 1st Read-Aloud Now that we were all on the carpet, we read How Will I Get to School this Year? It is a very silly book and a great way to level the playing ground. At this point in the morning, I don't want to talk about going home because it will stress everyone out (myself included).

  17. Fun Art Lessons for the First Day

    A group painting can make a fun lesson for the first day. Divide your class into groups. Give each group a large piece of paper and whatever materials you want. Alternatively, one long strip of paper down the middle of the room could be fun too. You could either give students a theme such as 'Your Summer' or 'Back to School' or ...

  18. 53 Perfect Back-to-School Books To Read Aloud on the First Day

    9. The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague. When a child is born, their circle is very small. As they grow, the circle around them grows to include family, friends, and neighbors. This sweet story is perfect for back-to-school to set the tone for enlarging our circles to include new friends and experiences.

  19. First Day of School 2024 Activities

    Dive into a curated collection of teacher-created first-day-of-school activities, printables and icebreakers to help your students settle in and feel comfortable whether they're starting their very first day in primary school or just their first day of the 2024 school year!

  20. The First Week in First Grade

    The First Week in First Grade. I wanted to stop by today and share some a few of my "go-to" activities during the first week of school to build our classroom community and set expectations for the year! During the first few days of school, we are setting the tone for the rest of the year. Our students are looking to see what kind of teacher ...

  21. 100th Day of School in 1st Grade

    Our 100th Day of School Checklists. In the morning, we used Cara Carroll's ( The First Grade Parade) idea for a centers checklist. With 8 100s-themed centers, students worked in groups of 3 to visit each of the centers by lunch. I did not assign students to visit centers in a particular order and they only spent enough time at the center to ...

  22. 5 Easy Activities for the First Week of School

    Large white paper. Magazines. Scissors. Glue. 4. Jewel the Name. This activity invites children to decorate their names as they look closer at the lines and curves of letters. Use this activity and these 10 letter recognition activities with your class. This back-to-school activity is a great art idea that kids enjoy.

  23. 50 Fun 100th Day of School Project Ideas for Teachers to Add to Their

    Draw 100 shapes or designs on a blank t-shirt and wear it to school on the 100th day or design their own with a printable 100th day t-shirt. Write 100 ways to be kind for homework. (Teacher Tip: Compile everyone's ideas in a classroom poster or door decoration.) Write 100 things they've learned this year or want to learn.