The first week of school is incredibly exciting, but let’s be honest, it’s also incredibly overwhelming AND exhausting. I don’t want to spend 2 weeks repeating rule + routines, so I need creative ways to teach them! After years of changing things up, always trying to find the ‘right’ activity for our classroom library expectations, or how to work well with others, or building community, or any other of the 1348230958239085 routines that we have to establish, I have now build these tried and true two weeks of lesson plans. So many teachers have used these activities (in fact, I’d buy the books soon if you are thinking about using these plans, because they get sold out quick every year during back to school time!!) *You can click on the title of any book for a link to the book (Affiliate link, which just means I get a few cents back, at no cost to you, so I can keep sharing books!)
I am so happy to offer these plans to you completely free as a thank you for being a part of this amazing community, and for being an educator. You will see a form at the bottom of this post to join my email list, which will give you the plans and activities for FREE! (Don’t worry, if you’re already a part of my email list, just fill out the form like you aren’t, so you can receive the email!)
All right, no more extra words! Here’s a brief overview of the books + activities! The lesson plans you can get provide all the details and activities for using these books!
This. book. is. everything. It sets the tone for our entire school year, and the lessons we learn from it are invaluable. Use this book to teach about characterization + setting expectations for group work.
When it’s time to open up your classroom library + work on expectations, this book is what you need! I love the classroom library decor we create after reading this book.
Celebrate the opportunity we get every single day to read independently + together with this story. The art is so unique, and students will use this style to bring to life their own sensory imagery of themselves as a reader.
This book provides such a great opportunity to remind students the importance of speaking up! And you can use it to create the perfect door or bulletin board display with what your students want to speak up about!
I know we’re not supposed to play favorites, but it’s hard not to with this amazing story by Lester Laminack. Round out the week with a deep dive into setting. Then add some engaging nonfiction reading + writing practice (and math) and make teacakes!
This read aloud starts our 2nd week of building community + expectations. We want our learners to expand their vocabulary every day, everywhere. This book teaches us just that! Kick off vocabulary notebooks with this read aloud.
Review characterization (from our Junkyard Wonders lesson) and dig deeper with this book. Have students create their name cards to hold their work on bulletin board displays, and start a class name jar for a getting to know you activity!
Starting with analyzing the cover, we will ask students to discuss what they see and what they can make inferences about. This book can help us teach the symbolism and figurative vs. literal language in text, and is another huge piece of our community building!
This story models the importance of understanding that everyone comes from and goes home to different things, and we need to be understanding and respectful of it. Students will open up and share so much with you when given the opportunity to tell you what they wish their teacher knew about them!
The bulk of this lesson is focused on teaching students that books should be windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors. As their teacher, you want them to “see themselves” in some of the books you read this year. The follow up activity will prompt students to share about this experience with you! To extend learning, a quick comparing text activity of all 3 of the Jacqueline Woodson books that you’ve read so far!
Round out the two weeks with an activity that will leave a huge impact. After reading a book written by students, give your students an opportunity to write + celebrate a part of them. The finished product will make a beautiful bulletin display!
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