Once every student has a baggie of Magic Dough on his or her desk, I pass out a copy of the Magic Dough Lab Report. We talk about what it means to observe, say and trace the magic word, and then we get started with our very first science experiment!
We start working on an All About Me poster before we go to lunch on the first day of school. It is a nice way to practice our “working expectations” at our desk and helps students unwind before the chaos and craziness of the cafeteria on the first day of school. It also gives me the opportunity to front-load directions for when we get back from lunch on the first day. I tell the students before we go to lunch, that we will work on our posters for a few minutes when we return from lunch/recess. Since we are not in any kind of “routine” yet on the first day of school, I want my students to know ahead of time what we will be doing when we return from lunch. This really helps calm the nerves of students who get anxious and thrive on “knowing what comes next.” (On Day 2 of school, we will start to learn our Daily 5 routines, and from that day on, my students will grab their book bins immediately after lunch, and meet me at the carpet for a mini-lesson.) I also love these little All About Me posters because I have 4-5 students share their posters at the end of the day during the first week of school. It helps us all get to know each other, and it’s important to me that every student has a few minutes to shine independently during the first week of school. This builds confidence and helps students feel comfortable talking and sharing with one another.
My Back to School Pack also contains TONS of other All About Me activities. Starting on Day 2 of school, students work on their All About Me activities right before lunch, and I begin to pull students back for their DRA assessments. I think it is important to build some quiet “desk time” into our day during that first week, so that students can build stamina with independent work and practice the expectations and routines we discuss from Day 1.