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First Day Seating with character cards

August 22, 2012

It is extremely important that your students have assigned seating on the first day of school. Don't believe me? Here's why:

first day of school seat work

Assigning seats reduces anxiety

Giving students a place to sit helps them to feel at ease. They do not have to worry about where they should sit or whether or not anyone will want to sit near them. They don't have to worry about how so-and-so and what's-her-face will interpret their decision to sit next to he's-so-not-her-type. 

Assigning seats says, "Here, you belong"

As a student enters your room for the first time and you tell them, "You belong here [in this assigned seat]", you are communicating, "Here [in this class], you belong". Your silent voice begins to drown out the voices of any less welcoming classmates, and it will continue to grow louder and hit the sound waves as you prove to students that yes, you are special. I accept you. You belong here!

Assigning seats establishes your authority

Furthermore, assigning seats on the first day sets the precedent that you are the authority in your classroom. It is easy to let structure go as the year goes on, but it is nearly impossible to put it into place if it has not been there before. You are going to love your students, you are going to connect with them, you are going to make them feel comfortable and accepted and valued and smart and important. But today--the first day of class--you are going to let them know that the buck stops with you.

Zero prep seat assignment

To make it a little easier on yourself and a little more fun for your students, try using my method. My method doesn't require me to create seating charts until the students have stopped shifting between courses and my roster is set…you know…somewhere around second quarter ;-)!

I say Zero Prep but that's not true– you do need to do some prep work at home, so that the assigning itself is no-prep. I created bright colored cards with fanciful creatures on them to "assign" seats to students on the first day of school. You can use mine or create your own version!

You will need to create two identical sets of cards: one that you hand out at the door, and one that is taped to desks, chairs, or places on the rug. In each set, you will need as many cards as there are students in your biggest class. In my classes with 35 students, I need two sets of 35 cards.

Prep step 1

Instead of creating 36 unique character cards, I create 6 characters and copy them on 6 unique colors of bright paper. 6 characters x 6 colors = 36 unique cards! Then, make a second, identical set.

https://mailchi.mp/fda130368b39/seatingcards

Prep step 2

I laminated all of my cards so that I can use them with all five classes, year after year.

Prep step 3

Tape the first set of cards to the seating locations in your classroom (on desks, chairs, etc.).

Time to assign the seats!

As students enter the room, hand them a card from Set 2.

Instruct students to sit at the seat that has the identical card taped to it. For example, if you hand them a pink unicorn, they must sit at the seat with the pink unicorn taped to the desk. If you hand them a blue unicorn, they must sit at the seat with the blue unicorn taped to the desk. If you hand them a green zombie...well, you get the idea.

When to assign seats for real

In all seriousness, I use this method to assign seats for the first week of school (which for me is always a three day week--Wednesday through Friday). By that time, I have gotten a handle on personalities in the class and feel like I have the information I need to assign traditional seats.

Even if you will not assign seats --I encourage you to give students a place to go on the first few days of school. If you are deskless, place the cards on chairs or on spots on the floor. Take the guesswork out of entering the room until your students feel comfortable navigating the space and their peers on their own.

Use the cards for all.the.things.

After the first day, you can use these cards to form groups for any activity. You can use just one of the sets and ask students to get into color groups or creature groups, or you can use half of each of the sets and ask students to find the other person with their exact match. I laminate my set of cards so that I can re-use it each year and throughout the year.

Get my cards for free!

My students love my whimsical cards , and I know that yours will, too!

The cards are a free download in Spanish and French (thanks to Lisa Brown for translating!), and they are available as pretty PDFs and slightly-messy-but-editable Word and Pages files.  I chose these characters because they are all cognates in Spanish, and they are fun for the students. 

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Upper Elementary Teaching Blog

July 7, 2019 | 4 Comments | Filed Under: Back to School , Classroom Management and Organization , Holidays

First Day of School Activities for Morning Work (Free Printables)

The first day of school is always an exciting time (and sometimes scary time 😉 ). My first principal would always say that we couldn’t leave the day before the first day until we had that first day of school activity ready and waiting on the desks for the students. I still remember and follow this advice after ten years of teaching. Having a task for students to do right when they come in definitely helps with the nerves and jitters for both the teacher and the students. This post will share some of my go-to first day of school activities that I have used for morning work over the years (and they are all free!)

Free first day of school morning work activities for 4th and 5th grade! Worried about what to have the students do when they come in on the first day? Grab some free first day of school activities for morning work on this post!

Back-to-School Crossword Puzzle and Word Search

The first morning work option for the first day of school are school-themed crossword puzzles and/or word searches. These activities are a simple way to ease your students into being back in school without heavy academic work. And most students love word searches and crossword puzzles. Copy these back and front and let the students choose which ones to complete, or have them do both.

Free back to school crossword puzzle and word search for the first day of school! Worried about what to have the students do when they come in on the first day? Grab some free first day of school activities for morning work on this post!

Choice Board of Activities

It is no secret that I love using choice boards in my instruction. Using a morning work choice board that first day of school is a great way to get to know what your students prefer and what activities they are drawn to. It will give them ownership of the tasks and give you great insight into their preferences.

You could even have them work on the same choice board all week, continuing a task or choosing a new one each day.

Free back to school choice board of activities for the first day of school! Worried about what to have the students do when they come in on the first day? Grab some free first day of school activities for morning work on this post!

Quick Student Survey

Student surveys are another option for a first day of school activity. Allow the students time to answer a few simple questions about themselves. You can then use those surveys later for partner or whole group activities where students share facts about each other.

Free student survey for the first day of school! Worried about what to have the students do when they come in on the first day? Grab some free first day of school activities for morning work on this post!

Read and Respond Printable

If your morning work time needs to be a bit longer in length, I recommend this first day of school activity.

Place a basket of high-interest books and this two-page printable that has a few simple questions about the book. The students will read the chosen book for 10-15 minutes and then answer the questions.

Free printables for morning work on the first day of school! Worried about what to have the students do when they come in on the first day? Grab some free first day of school activities for morning work on this post!

This is another first day of school activity that could last all week, with the students choosing new books to read and respond to each day (with blank copies of the printables).

Complete the Math Facts

If you teach only math, this next first day of school activity is a great option. I actually like combining this one with the student survey and copying it on the back. For this activity, the students complete the missing blanks in a math facts table. This also serves as a great way to get a quick glance at your students’ multiplication fact knowledge.

Free math printable for morning work on the first day of school! Worried about what to have the students do when they come in on the first day? Grab some free first day of school activities for morning work on this post!

Back to School Coloring Page

Want a first day of school morning work activity that is super easy for the students to complete? Try this back to school coloring page. Just place some crayons or colored pencils and let the students color their nerves away.

A bonus idea for this back to school coloring printable is to have several copies on hand for meet the teacher or open house night for younger siblings to color.

Free back to school coloring page for morning work on the first day of school! Worried about what to have the students do when they come in on the first day? Grab some free first day of school activities for morning work on this post!

Get the First Day of School Activities for Morning Work Here

Click here or on the image to grab all of the first day of school activities shown on this post. I hope you can find a few that work for you that first week of school.

Free first day of school morning work activities for 4th and 5th grade! Worried about what to have the students do when they come in on the first day? Grab some free first day of school activities for morning work on this post!

Tips for that First Day of School

  • Assign seats – I have never not assigned seats. I think it helps with nerves and students who worry about where to sit or worry that no one will want to sit next to them.
  • Greet the students at the door and help them find their seats, if needed. If all of the students come it at once (versus staggering), quickly greet them and welcome them outside in the hall and then stagger them in the classroom.
  • Have the students take all of their belongings to their desks, book bags in all. This way you can call over the students one group a time to turn in supplies or paperwork from open house (and this way you are not worrying about the book bag mess yet). When all supplies have been turned in, demonstrate your book bag procedures and then have groups of students put their book bags up correctly while the rest continue working on the morning work.
  • Have the focus of that first day be more on relationship building, getting comfortable with the classroom and you, and getting to know each other. I sprinkle in procedures and rules as they naturally arise, but I don’t spend my entire first day on this. We do more of that on the second day and the days following.

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first day of school seat work

Welcome friends! I’m Jennifer Findley: a teacher, mother, and avid reader. I believe that with the right resources, mindset, and strategies, all students can achieve at high levels and learn to love learning. My goal is to provide resources and strategies to inspire you and help make this belief a reality for your students. Learn more about me.

Ideas for Morning Work or Bell Work Activities to Start the School Day

Beginning your Day  Submitted by:  Dollucy Grainger, Pre-k teacher Have a designated place for all items backpacks, folders, library books, and anything else your students may need to turn in. Then have students mark themselves present by moving a clothespin or card with their name on it. Then have the students do an independent activity such as math tubs with specific activities or a writing exercise for 15 minutes. This activity gives you time to check for parent notes, do your roll, and any other morning changes or problems that may come up.

Bell Work  Submitted by:  Carol When the bell rings and the children come in after I meet them at the door, they have work to do. I put a quiz, problem or a review of some work on the chalk board. This is called “Bell Work.” The children have a “bell work book” that they complete the work in. They date the page and begin the work as soon as they enter class. This gives me time to do all the administrative jobs that I need to do first thing in the morning. The work is collected and I mark it or I assign someone to mark it. It prevents many disruptions and lets the children realize that they come to class to work.

Daily Geography  Submitted by:  Miley Since I teach s.s at a middle school as the students come in I have a daily geography question on the board the have to complete before we start the activity of the day. All the questions come straight out of the book! Grade Level(s): 6-8

Morning Activities  Submitted by:  Bradford Tanner,  Grade Level(s): 3-5

By the time the children enter and announcements are done, we end up losing out on most of our first period. To combat this, I have a variety of different activities that my class does depending on the day…

  • Mondays are journal time where they tell me about the weekend (easier than trying to tell me in the hallway, trust me!)
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays are a daily speeddrill in Mathematics (we do addition to start, then subtraction, mixed etc.)
  • Wednesdays are D.E.A.R. time(drop everything and read) and
  • Fridays are Problem of the Week (I use the Quest2000 series for these, but any math style word problem that makes them think is good).

This variety in their morning routine helps focus them immediately on entrance and keep them for the rest of the morning session. 

Morning Activity  Submitted by:  Mer, 4th Grade To keep the kids in order in the mornings (after we have gone over handwriting all of the letters in cursive), I have gone to several trivia sites. The interesting and appropriate ones I have put on charts or small chart booklets, and I hang one each day for 1st thing in the morning handwriting practice. Not only do they love it, but they learn something also and share them with their parents for an interesting conversation at dinner. Parents love it too.

Morning Bell Work  Submitted by:  Amanda Suchodolski, Second Grade I found a wonderful activity to use for bellwork while I was student teaching. They are called “Drops in the Bucket” from Frog Publications. What it is is a daily review of Language Arts or Math. The key is that it reviews the skills from the previous year. Each day they focuses on skills such as: beginning sounds, homophones, antonyms, pronouns, geometry, measurement, money, time and many more. The students are able to come in each morning and do the work with confidence and feel success because they already have experience from the previous year. Also, you will feel confident that your class is doing a bit of review each day to strengthen skills needed to grow. They will not be able to forget a skill and will constantly reinforce what is already known. I also use it as a guide for mini-lessons that are needed for large or small groups.

Morning Work  Submitted by:  DeeGee, 3rd After morning assembly on the playground the students enter the classroom and put their things away. They then take out their journal pouch. The pouch includes their journal composition book and journal prompts which I have provided. Approximately 20 journal prompts are given each month. The students cut them out and paste them in their journals. They spend 15 minutes writing. Upon completing their journal writing they are then responsible for completing the math problem of the day. This is also done in the Math journal. As they complete they bring the book to me and I correct. Students are required to show all work in solving the math problem. By the end of the morning work I have completed attendance and any other related activities that need to be completed in the morning.

Morning Work  Submitted by:  Judith, 4th I have the assigned handwriting workbook page and the Daily Analogy which they must explain on the board. They have 15 min. to work on both the Daily Analogy and the handwriting. Then we quickly change to daily math word problems. They have 15 min. to work all 4 word problems. We review all the work they have done, they self correct with red pen. On Friday, I review the word problems…they should have 16 problems. 25 points a day for corrected problems. I review the handwriting pages and analogy explanations. 25 points a day. Wednesday no analogy or handwriting…I write on the board…”We are writing, please join us.” They free write for 15 minutes. The last Wednesday of the month, they select one to revise and rewrite for publishing. Then we make a month story book. Friday we have a math word problem quiz, one problem from each day so the kids are definitely energized on getting the problems corrected. They know they will see one a day again on Friday. Then after the word problems, we do a quick mad minute on multiplication problems. We keep a weekly packet to see how fast they are going. All these activities are quick and thought provoking! Lot’s of skills are reviewed!

morning work  Submitted by:  Cyndi Stahr, 4th I divide my class into colors. I buy fluorescent colored circle stickers and match with the same color highlighter. I ask each child to have a folder for morning work and randemly stick a colored circle on their folder with their name. In my grade book I highlight each childs’ color so I have a quick check of what color I assigned each child. I then assign work either on the board or a review sheet to do as morning work. One idea that the kids like to do is to find the mistakes in three sentences written on the board. This helps them to learn how to edit papers. They place their work in their folder and I call a color each day. The students never know what color I will call so they all do their work. I usually only have 5-6 folders to check each day which helps me keep up with their review work. I can easily see in my grade book what color needs to be called and which students are not using their time wisely.

Promoting Kindness  Submitted by:  mma215 In my class we have what are called RAKS (Random Acts of Kindness). As soon as the students enter in the morning they are to get out their personally decorated RAK journals. They are to then write down all of the random acts of kindness they performed the day before. After they finish writing them all down they are to count them up. We have a RAK bullentin board that is covered with a paper clip chain. After the students count up their RAKS for the day, they count out the same amount of paper clips and add them to the chain. Every Friday the RAKS are counted to see how many nice things our class did for the week. This gives students the opportunity to see how many nice things they do for others! We take just a couple minutes for several students to share their RAKS and we “retire” RAKS that are overused such as holding the door open for someone. The students set goals for how many RAKS they want to have and everytime they reach a goal, the teacher has something “random” for them to enjoy! The kids love it and go out of their way to be extra nice and kind to others!

QQF  Submitted by:  Fran, 7th While my students are arriving and I’m doing attendance, I have them do an activity called QQF. At the beginning of school, I have them purchase a 70 count notebook. Each morning when they arrive I already have on the board a question (Q), a quote (Q), and a fact (F). They have to write this in their QQF notebook. They have until the next day to answer the question. They can use any resource they need in the classroom to look up the answer. I try to have each part relate to something we are studying in class or simply relate to each other. On test day, which is usually Friday, they must have memorized one quote out of the four that I have given them for the week. The quote is given as extra credit on my daily credits sheet. At the end of the six weeks, all those extra credits are averaged in with their grade. The question is checked the next day for the correct answer and it is handles the same way for points. Neither is counted against the student, but just gives them extra points to help their average. This activity takes about 10 minutes each morning, including checking the previous day’s answers. The students love doing this exercise because it gives them a way to get points. Also, they don’t realize they are learning in a different way and it keeps them under control while I’m doing attendance or other required early morning duties.

Related tips:

  • Activities for the First Days of School First Day Hunt To familiarize students with the school and...
  • Rewards – Classroom Management Tips and Ideas B U G S  Submitted by: Margo, Kindergarten, Originally posted at the...
  • Sponge and Transition Activities A Sound Idea  Submitted by: L. Stone Make a tape of...
  • Bulletin Board Ideas Attach With Velcro  Submitted by: Karen Attaching velcro to posters and...
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Thoughtful Seating for a Successful First Day of School

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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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How to Have a Great First Day of School

Last year, I wrote an article about Setting the Tone , which mainly focused on expectation and classroom management.  This year, I want to focus on the things I do the first day that are intended to get students interested in the class and excited about science.

First things first, the seating chart.   For my small advanced classes, I let them sit wherever they want, but tell them that the second day, choose the seat that will be their spot for the entire semester.  

At this point, they usually look around, find their friends and figure out how they want to sit to be closest to their allies.   This method works great for advanced classes or older students who can handle the distraction of sitting next to their BFF.   Freshman students get a little more guidance with seating, but I like to mix things up.

There are two ways I handle seating for these groups, largely it just depends on my mood that day.

Seating Charts on the First Day

first day of school seat work

 Option 1:  Use an overhead projector to have the seating chart displayed when they enter, and students must find their seats.    This can actually take some time as students try to figure out where they are and the room diagram and usually I end up having to fix a couple of mistakes.   This method eliminates the need to have students sit and then move later as you tell them where to sit.

Option 2:  Requires a bit more set up, have the desks numbered in some way, then a sign on the board that tells students to sit in order based on birthdays.   The first seat would go to the person born in January, the second to someone in February and so on.  You can also adjust the criteria and have them arrange by height or street address number.  This will take more time, but as students mill about, they will need to talk to each other to find the right arrangement.   Option 2 will take longer than option 1.   My school has odd times the first day, so I sometimes will do this method with a class that meets for a longer period on Day 1.

Next you will want to give a short introduction of yourself to the class, check your roster to make sure all the students are in the right place and learn how to pronounce their names. (I always add phonetic guides to my original list).  At this point, depending on your school’s schedule for the first day, you might have enough time to do a small group activity.  I have a few listed on  “ First Day Activities ” and I’m always adding to that list.  What you choose to do, probably will depend on how much time you have left and of course, your personal style.

Some Basic Ideas:

I  like to do demonstrations on the first day, such as putting raisins in a beaker full of white soda (the raisins go up and down), and students try to guess what kind of creature is in the beaker.  You can even take this a step further and call it something gross, like sewer lice,  and then demonstrate how edible these creatures are.  You can find other great demo ideas at Steve Spangler’s page  if eating sewer lice is not to your taste.

Student scavenger hunts are also somewhat popular, but it depends on how comfortable you are with allowing the kids to get up and move around, and this might not work for larger classes or irregular room.  Alternate meet and greet activities can work with small groups, such as the Listmania listed on the “ First Day Activities ” page.

Group exercising and problem solving tasks can also be a good ice breaker for the first day.  Activities might include building a tower out of note cards and masking tape,  designing a bridge out of spaghetti, or the Saving Sam activity.  The main benefit of team building exercises is that you get to see how well the students work together and they get to know people in their group or at their table.

Saving Sam

If the activities I have listed aren’t appealing, there are certainly tons of other sites with ideas for what to do for the first day, often with activities for each grade level.  The important thing is to be prepared to do *something*, because letting the students just sit and visit might give them the impression that this is how class will always be.

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Shannan Muskopf

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The Ultimate Flexible Seating Guide

Have you thought about implementing flexible seating in your classroom, but you’re not sure where to begin? You’ve come to the right place! In this post you are going to learn EVERYTHING you need to get flexible seating up and running in your classroom, and have a solid foundation for it to run smoothly for the rest of the year with students. So what are we waiting for?! Let’s dive into ALL things flexible seating!

Ultimate Guide to Flexible Seating

There are SO many amazing benefits to flexible seating and I applaud you for giving your students this opportunity. Just a few of my favorite benefits are allowing for more choice and flexibility that can ultimately enhance student engagement and learning in the classroom. Believe it or not, flexible seating alleviates SO many behaviors students exhibit because they are better catering to their movement needs and are able get all those wiggles out. Think about it. How many times have you had a student fall out of a seat? Jump up and down in their chair? Sit on their knees? Boys in particular really enjoy flexible seating because they can MOVE. Whether they wiggle on a wiggle stool or simply stand, it makes a HUGE difference for them. Learn more about the why of flexible seating HERE !

Seating Substitutes  

First things first when planning for flexible seating is deciding on all the seating options you’ll have available. There are so many awesome seating substitutes out there and chances are, anything different from your normal chairs will be beneficial and comfortable for your students. There is no shame in starting with one or two options the first year! One of my favorite quotes is, “Go slow to go fast.” Whether you want to dive all in or go slow, take your time acquiring different types of seating and do what feels right for you and your students. I have included a list of some of my students’ favorites with links: 

  • Yoga Balls – I ended up buying the ones with the legs because the other ones rolled everywhere and it drove me crazy.
  • Wobble Stools – These are a bit pricey but they hold up well and the kids love them.
  • Crate Seats – You’ll find the link to how I made mine. These hold up really well and make for great storage.
  • Scoop Rockers – I bought these from Walmart when they were on sale.
  • Lap Desks – You can find these at tons of places, such as Target, Walmart, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and sometimes dollar stores! I always look for whoever has the cheapest price and/or best coupon. 
  • Regular Desks are also pretty popular with students. Sometimes they just like to sit in a regular desk and chair! Although, I do like to put these fidget bands on the chair legs for students to still help with the wiggles. 
  • Standing Desks- These are pretty popular for students who don’t like sitting for long periods of time. 

*These are the options that worked best in my classroom. Be open-minded to trying different options and see what works best with you and your students. There are affiliate links included which means I get a small commission if you purchase a seat at no cost to you. 

Once you transform your classroom with seating options, another consideration is what to do for nights where parents will be in attendance, especially Meet the Teacher. With flexible seating, this meeting looks MUCH different. Parents aren’t sure where to sit, siblings are playing with yoga balls, and it can get a bit chaotic. To help with this to run smoother, you might want to consider displaying a few seating choices for parents to see that you can speak to, but mostly having chairs for everyone to sit on. Totally your choice! 

Flexible Funding  

Getting enough seats to accommodate all your little learners can definitely get expensive. Lucky for you, I’ve learned some great ways to acquire seats without breaking the bank. Donors Choose is an amazing tool where you can create a project to get funded and this is how I got a lot of my seats. They even have a feature that allows you to pick out options from Amazon so as soon as your project hits its goal, you can get your seats delivered quickly and conveniently with their 2-Day Prime shipping. Amazon obviously has tons of options to choose from and many have great reviews. Ikea has many cheap options that kids love, while Hobby Lobby and Michaels usually have great sales and coupons to use. Don’t forget to also utilize your teacher discount at Hobby Lobby and Michaels to save even more! 

Garage sales are also a great resource for furnishing your room on a budget. You can usually find some seats that you can make your own with a little DIY project. I personally have collected different seating choices over the years to slowly build up our options so the cost didn’t overwhelm me. My best advice is to try and get as much funding as possible and if you have to pay yourself, look for sales and deals to slowly start acquiring seating options over time.

Planning for Success

Once you’ve acquired seating options, it’s time to make a plan to implement starting day one with students. The biggest piece of advice I have when teaching students about flexible seating is, model, model, model, and then model some more. The next piece of advice is to organize to a tee because it will help everyone out so much! When deciding to implement flexible seating options in the classroom, organization of all things has to be thought about thoroughly. Below you’ll find some of the guiding questions from my flexible seating checklist and planning guide . These are questions that help you begin to think through and plan out how different a flexible seating classroom looks. 

  • Will you have individual or classroom supplies? A combination of both?
  • Where will students store their materials, books, folders and such?
  • Where will you store different seat choices?
  • How will students access seats and materials?

flexible seating checklist freebie

Grab this free resource now!

With the flexible seating planning guide, I’ll walk you through each step of your plan so that you know exactly how your classroom is going to be set up and organized for students. When I restructured my classroom for flexible seating, I did a combination of individual and classroom supplies. Students used pencil boxes to store their personal materials which also doubled as their Portable Name Plates . This resource also helped them ensure they were able to spell their first and last name.  Another huge planning piece with flexible seating is setting up the classroom space FOR students. This can be achieved by labeling ALL the things so they have access to whatever they need, whenever they need it! Sterilite bins are great for housing materials such as scissors, glue, crayons, etc., for students to grab during independent work.

editable pencil box name tags

Editable Pencil Box Name Tags

editable classroom labels

Editable Classroom Supply Labels

Deciding where to store seats is another huge part that should be thoroughly thought through. I knew my plan was to have several spaces that they would live in so that students weren’t all going to the same place all at once. I also knew my plan would probably have issues that I’d have to later work though. It’s ok if you have to change things around multiple times. The way I started the year with flexible seating, is not the way I ended the year. Things change but you and your students adapt and it’s all a learning experience. Below are some different ways flexible seating has been organized and setup in the past.

classroom setup with flexible seating

To start the year, I had different table options that would be “The Yoga Ball Table” or “The Wobble Stool Table”. If they wanted those choices, they would have to sit at that table. Other options, like scoop rockers or lap desks, were stored around the room where they could grab and find a spot. The tables later changed so that students could grab a seat and sit wherever they wanted to work. This set up worked for my classroom and my students. You may want things to look different for your students. It’s whatever you feel comfortable with. It’s ok if things don’t work out how you plan….. that’s usually how it goes anyway right? Just learn from the experience and remember that this will push you farther than expected, but so many great things happen because of it.  Stick with it and watch the magic happen! 

flexible seating storage labels

Flexible Seating Essentials

To house remaining student materials such as textbooks, folders, and notebooks, we labeled bins with a number that corresponded to each student. You can grab those labels as a freebie HERE ! These bins also became the way students would choose their seat. Students would arrive, grab their bin for the day and place it at the spot they wanted. It was a first come, first serve basis and this is just one way students can choose their seats. We’ll discuss how students choose their seats in the next section!

student supplies classroom organization

Student Number Label Freebie

The biggest mind shift in changing my classroom environment was for the space to be more student centered and to remember this is what helped my students thrive. With the planning guide, you’ll work through all these details so that you feel confident from day one. Of course things will change as you learn and grow with students and that’s ok! Plans are meant to be revised, so remember to document the changes you made for the following year so you won’t forget what worked best! 

Put it in Action

So now that you have your seats, you’ve organized and set up your classroom, you have your materials to teach expectations for all your seating options, we’re ready to go teach right? Oddly enough, this is the moment when I totally panicked. I started wondering, “Where are they going to put all their stuff when they come in?” “Where are they going to sit on the first day of school?” “How in the world am I going to teach them how to use all these seats?!” Amongst a million more worries and fears. This is your support telling you ‘I’m here to help you not panic!’ 

For the first day of school, I found it most effective to have students bring their backpack and other belongings right to the carpet. This became routine because it is where we start out every morning. After getting to know each other, unloading, collecting and sorting supplies, we began to learn about a few seat choices. It’s best to start slow and introduce a few seats at a time. Starting with the most basic options, such as regular chairs and standing desks, can help students get comfortable and learn expectations. With THESE editable posters, rules, and practice slides, students can learn expectations and practice what it looks and sounds like with a low level task. Students actually really enjoy this time and it eases them into the first few days of school with quick and fun activities like THESE practice sheets. These editable posters are perfect for printing and displaying or presenting digitally and adding your own images!

Editable flexible seating expectations posters

It’s important to spend the first week of school learning about different seats and practicing how to treat them. With every seat, they always learned the same way. We would sit on the carpet together with our expectations poster and practiced what it looks, what it sounds like, and what it doesn’t. This is the way I teach all expectations to students. Everything is clear and concise when and they walk away knowing exactly how we use these seats. Learn more about teaching routines and procedures HERE !

During our whole group, we would discuss what seat choices we would like to try and how we would use them. I would then randomly call on students in a way where everyone had a chance to get to pick a seat first. After picking seats, we would practice doing a low level activity, such as reading or completing a simple activity sheet, to get students used to being in the seat. After all the seats have been taught, which usually takes about a week or so, I encourage students to try out each type of seat to see which they like best and what helps them work the most efficiently. We discuss how they may not like every seat and that’s ok. When introducing options, we talk about choosing just right seats . This means it’s a spot where we work best, with a seat we want to sit in and how it might not be super smart if it’s a place near our friends that may distract us. We create an anchor chart to hang up and remind students what a just right seat is and what it isn’t. With some groups, you’ll have to have this discussion often and give PLENTY of reminders on how we simply don’t just choose a spot near our friends. The expectation is set that students get one warning and I’m very strict on this rule. ONE warning and then I can move them. They know that these seat choices are a privilege and can be taken away if not used correctly. Check out more of this fun lesson below!

flexible seating tips and tricks

Flexible Seating Expectations

Choosing Seats and Handling Conflict 

Let’s discuss how students will choose their seats. This is something that is all up to you when you think through your planning and you’ll eventually find ways that work best for you and your classroom. I’ve allowed students to choose seats in a couple different ways and they both had different benefits. At first, I created a magnetic board that displayed all of our seating options with the amount of those seats available. For example, there might be a section for “3 Wobble Seats”. Each student had a magnet with their number on it and when they came in for the day, they would place their magnet on the board under the seat they wanted. If three magnets were under ‘Wobble Seats’, the rest of the students knew they could no longer pick that option. This way worked well for us but the board I made wasn’t the sturdiest for the high daily traffic and eventually I tried something else. However, this was and I still think it is a great option for choosing seats. 

flexible seating interactive choice board

Flexible Seating Choice Board

When students used the board to pick their seats, I realized that the next step in our routine was for them to grab their bin and put it at the spot they would be at. It came to me that I could skip the board altogether and gain some instructional time by simply having students pick their spot with their bin. They would come in the door in the morning and put their bin at the spot they wanted to be at. Other students knew that they could not move that bin or that seat because it was taken. This process took practice and we had to focus on paying attention to other people’s belongings, but in time this became pretty fluid. This also taught them that if they wasted time, they might not get the seat they wanted. After a while, students knew exactly what to do when they came into the classroom every morning. 

Of course, even after all of the practicing and all of the modeling, everything will not be perfect. They’re kids! There will be arguing, upset people, and it’s ok. Many days were spent learning how to manage conflict. I really encouraged my students to be understanding and kind with one another. In the beginning of the year, a student might have come in really wanting a yoga ball only to find that they’re all gone. I might ask my students if anyone is willing to give up a yoga ball, especially one who has already had the yoga ball recently. I would facilitate these solutions, but over the year, most of the time students were able to handle this on their own.  

Another scenario that might often come up is when students weren’t attentive to their classmate’s belongings. Again they are encouraged to manage the conflict with kindness. Imagine John, Katie, and Michael have their bins in front of the Wobble Stools. Lucy didn’t pay attention and put her bin in front of one too, even though there aren’t any left. Now it’s time to do work and there is an argument about who can sit there. What do you do? 9 out of 10 times someone will just move somewhere else with no problem because they know someone would do the same for them. They also recognize that they will get another opportunity to sit there throughout the week. This behavior and conflict management comes with modeling and praising when you see it happen without you facilitating it. It’s all about encouraging kindness and fairness and helping students manage conflicts on their own and believing that yes, first graders can do this!!

The biggest take away here is… MODEL, MODEL, MODEL! Be very explicit with your students so they know exactly what it looks like and exactly what it doesn’t look like. Just like with any classroom expectations, be firm and consistent! Flexible seating is a new challenge, but so worth it. Students love being given choices and you will be amazed at what they can do when they’re empowered to do it. I believe if this works with my firsties, this can definitely work with your kiddos! With the flexible seating bundle, I promise feeling completely planned and organized and you’ll walk in the door day one ready to go with your students!

Save Yourself The Stress!  

If you’re looking for more beginning of the year tips and set up, you’ll love the Back to School Teacher Guide . I go through every detail of setting up a classroom to help you have a smoothly run classroom all year long. Even if you’re a veteran teacher this guide can still help you think about things you may not have before! 

I know when I was getting started with flexible seating, I felt so overwhelmed and lost. I had no idea where to start or what to look for. But have no fear! I’ve created this jam packed Flexible Seating Bundle so you don’t have to scramble for resources or put a modge podge of random things together. Instead, you’ll have EVERYTHING you need to begin flexible seating from DAY ONE with students! Included in the bundle you’ll find detailed lesson plans, parent information, editable anchor charts, and SO much more. Check it out HERE !

flexible seating bundle

Flexible Seating Bundle

With flexible seating, it’s a whole new ball game. It’s important to learn how to let some things go. Let go of some of the control, let go of how things look and sound because trust me, it’s going to be different. But if you do let go, wonderful things can happen! Did I know everything diving into this? No. Did things go wrong? Absolutely! But I promise it is well worth it and the difference you see with your students is UNREAL! 

I really hope you enjoyed learning more about how to successfully implement flexible seating in your classroom! Stuck on planning and want help? Please reach out and I’d be more than happy to help you plan through things! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Flexible Seating Setup Checklist FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me   @sweetnsauerfirsties  on Instagram.

To follow me on TPT and get all the latest updates on HALF OFF new products, click  HERE !

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first day of school seat work

Lesson Planning

20 first day of school resources & freebies, first day of school resources.

This year, I decided to do something a little different. I am sharing a few options for all the essential beginning-of-the-year must-dos: morning work, getting to know you, community building, routines and procedures, summer reflection, behavior management, and introducing a growth mindset. It’s always nice to have some options to pick and choose from. You can download the first-day resource round-up at the bottom of this post. Having something for students to do completely independently as soon as they walk in is key . I like to greet each student at the door. I direct them to find their seat and hang their book bag on their chair. We have closets with cubbies to store their belongings but I want to carefully go over that procedure once everyone has arrived.

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Would you like a copy of my First Week of School Lesson Plans? Click here!

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Flexible Seating Classroom Ideas For First Grade And Kindergarten

Flexible Seating Classroom Ideas For First Grade And Kindergarten

Flexible seating is a new alternative to traditional seating in an elementary classroom.  Have you been wondering whether to jump on the bandwagon and give it a try?  Well I'm here to tell you I've tried it out for a few years ago and I liked it. But I did learn a few things along the way, so here are some tips to help you decide if flexible seating is right for you.

Page Contents

1. What is flexible seating?

Flexible seating is an alternative approach to seating in the traditional classroom. It basically means that your students have different options when it comes to seating.

No more conventional rows of desks or even tables. Flexible seating gives students the opportunity to station themselves in a place where they work the best.

Maybe that's sitting with a group of people or maybe it's sitting alone. Some students will want a traditional desk while others will enjoy sitting on the floor or a wobble stool. That's the thing about flexible seating – sometimes referred to as alternative seating – it's ever-changing.

first day of school seat work

2. Is flexible seating expensive?  

first day of school seat work

3. How do I introduce flexible seating?

What to do first.

flexible seating

4. Did the students fight over where to sit?  

first day of school seat work

5. Some kids sat alone? Didn't they feel punished or isolated?

first day of school seat work

6. What kind of seating did you have?

first day of school seat work

What To Keep And What To Toss

flexible seating

7. Where do students keep their supplies?

first day of school seat work

8. What did the parents think about flexible seating?  

flexible seating

9. What did the administration and other teachers think about flexible seating? 

first day of school seat work

10. I'm still not sure….convince me!

first day of school seat work

What I Learned

first day of school seat work

Save these ideas for later!

Take a minute to save these tips to your favorite back-to-school Pinterest board so you can remember them later!

Flexible Seating Classroom Ideas For First Grade And Kindergarten

Need more ideas for classroom routines and procedures? Check out this post:

40 Elementary Classroom Routines & Procedures

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April 23, 2018 at 8:59 am

It's sad to note that teachers like wants to do some initiatives and put new ideas like this in the classroom but I just can't because the average number of pupils in our class is 42 and regurar classroom size is approx 6x6m. With only 1 teacher with 7 subjects all academics from 7:30-11 & 1:00-4:00 actual contact with kids…. only in kinder that has play & nap time. May I know the standard size of your class & classroom please in your country?

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April 25, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Class size and classroom size differ all over the United States. I can tell you that the average class size in my district is around 16-18 students. I'm not sure of the size of my classroom, but it is rather large as you can see from the photos. Plenty of room for flexible seating.

May 28, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Hi Molly – Great article! I have used flexible seating in my kindergarten classroom and my district has asked me to present at our August K-1 conference. May I share the link to this post as a reference? I have my own classroom photos and experiences to share, but want to provide others as well. Thanks for your consideration! Jenni

May 29, 2018 at 11:55 pm

Hi Jenni – Absolutely! I'm glad to hear that flexible seating is working for you 🙂 I'd love to have you share this article at your conference. Send me a PM to my email address….I have a little something you might like to use at your conference. [email protected]

July 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Hi, I’ve used flexible seating for a couple of years and really like it. Our school has the kids eating in our classrooms for two seperate nutrition breaks. Do your kids eat in your classroom? If so, do they all eat at tables?

July 26, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Nice article. I agree with everything you said. I am the only teacher in my school who does flexible seating. I'll never go back to rows of desks! I teach second grade and have a maximum of 24 students. I've had as little as 19, which was awesome, but usually have 22. Parents and teachers comment on how "open" my classroom looks. It's a bit like a Pinterest explosion, but who doesn't love that? I make sure I use a lot of calm colors, like blue, green and purple. No red! I'm fortunate to have a large room (30×30, I think) and really high celings (16ft) with high windows. I use every square inch and I don't have a desk. I used dressers and chests of drawers for my storage and find sturdy wood furniture on Craigslist for the classroom rather than sterile school desks. Hubby cuts legs down to make tables shorter. I teach lessons on the carpet in front of the whiteboard and TV and then send them off to pick their seats. I have a helper everyday who dismisses rows based upon "readiness" or "quietness." It's so funny how kids will listen and be ready for their peers so much faster than for the teacher. Getting ready to start my fifth year teaching and my third year with flexible seating. Have a great year!

July 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Thanks for this article. I half do flexible seating which means all the kids have desks, there are wobble stools, yoga balls and regular chair choices which switch each week, but lots of floor choices for independent work time- scoop rockers, large pillows, core cushions, clip boards, lap desks. I plan to retire within 5 years and don't want to take the time and expense to totally redo the room. I love the idea, but my room isn't big and I get 25-31 (last year) kids and not enough storage spaces much less support from admin. They don't care if I do it on my own, but getting anything from them would not happen.

August 1, 2018 at 5:50 am

I'm a 2nd grade teacher who began flexible seating last fall and I look forward to continuing this coming year! My students get assigned a number (i.e. 1-22) and each day, groups of students, such as 1-4, have "priority seating" for the day. As students arrive, the priority seaters enter first, to determine their seat for morning work. The remaining students make their selections afterward. However, every time students come to the large carpet for whole group instruction, seats can be changed. After the whole group lesson ends, the "priority seating" group leaves the carpet first to determine their seat for the next period of time, before another whole group lesson comes again. This process occurs each day, based on the student priority seating grouping, so students are allowed the flexibility to work at different options, based on the work/task. I found this method very helpful for the students and it truly allowed them to work in an area that was best for their focus and learning, based on the task at hand. Donna

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First day back to school: lessons plans & activities to plan your day.

The first day back to school jitters are real. My anxiety would always start a few weeks before school and ramp up before the first day. For me, the only way to sleep well at night was to plan out the entire first day. I don’t know how you’ve been running your first day back (or if it’s your first classroom, maybe you never have), but I like a nice, low-key type of day to get to know my students . I do my best to keep it fun and easy, while still offering my kids a little glimpse into my personality. In this post, I will share how I prepared for the first day of school and how I was able to put an end to my first-day jitters.

One of the tools I used was the lesson plan shown below. You can grab my free first day back to school lesson plan HERE .

Lesson plan first day back to school

As you start planning your first day back to school, keep your classroom management plan in mind. Your students won’t know how to properly handle unique situations because they haven’t been introduced to your expectations yet. You want to give students the correct cues and set the tone for the year, so don’t plan activities that are totally out of line with your normal routines and expectations. You can read more about how I explicitly teach classroom procedures HERE .

Ask yourself: Do I want encourage students to sit quietly and work independently throughout the year? Do I want students to have the freedom to get out of their seats and mingle with their classmates throughout the year? If you prefer a collaborative environment with lots of movement (and noise), plan activities that set that tone on day 1. If you prefer a quiet or independent work environment, plan activities that set that tone.

1. Before Student Arrival

Have your classroom set up and ready to go. I’m not necessarily talking about comfy furniture, lighting, and decorations (although you can totally have that set up!). What I mean is having all of the functional, important parts of your room set up for students. This means that your daily schedule is posted for students to clearly read. Students’ desks or tables are set up with chairs already at them (Students will not know your unstacking chair procedure yet). All your seating is arranged to foster collaboration, independent work, or a mixture of both. If students are bringing supply items in, have a designated space ready to accept those items (a large, cleared off table with clear signage). Also, make sure all clutter is put away (or hidden in a closet or behind a curtain).

Have students’ desks set up and ready to go. Make sure each student has a place. I always a few extra desks and chairs on the first day in case we get a new student. For the first day back, set out student name tags on each desk so they are clearly visible. Each desk should also have a welcome letter for students. Click HERE to grab this editable welcome letter.

Student desk first day back to school

This welcome letter will serve to greet students, introduce you to them, and get them set up on what they need to do right away. This letter will give explicit, step-by-step instructions for students to follow as they sit down. I completed a letter for you that you can grab for free. Just modify it to fit the needs of your classroom.

welcome letter first day back to school

Have a lunch choice card at each desk. On this first day, you may have to forget about that lunch choice station you spent hours setting up on your white board. Students do not know your lunch choice procedures or routines yet. You can’t expect them to know how to find their popsicle stick and make a choice, or move their magnet picture to their lunch choice. Instead, make “lunch choice” one of the steps of their welcome letter. Instruct students on how to fill out the lunch choice sheet. Then have a clear procedure on how you will collect these lunch choice cards. Organize them when students are working on their independent activities.

Click HERE to grab the free editable lunch choice card.

lunch choice first day back to school

Have an independent activity (or 2) at each desk. The last step of the welcome letter should instruct students to start the activity on their desk.

First, instruct students to complete the name tag you set out for them.

Click HERE for the link to the free editable name tags.

name tags first day back to school

Then I recommend having a few easy, risk-free activities set out for them. When I say low-risk, I mean activities that have no academic standards tied to them. You don’t know your students’ strengths yet. So try limiting most reading and math activities on that first day. Instead, focus on team building and get-to-know-you activities. If you have Volume 2 of my Back to School Activities resource , the “Abstract Coloring” and “Social Media Profile” would be perfect for students to complete during this time. You can check these out by clicking HERE .

first back to school student coloring

2. The Morning Entrance

Now that you have everything set up. You are ready to focus on your new students.

As students arrive, stand outside your door to greet them. If necessary, tell them to find their seat, and instruct them to carefully read their welcome letter. At this time, it’s important to keep yourself at the door. There will be a lot of questions, nervous students, and maybe even parents walking in. You don’t want to get bogged down giving instructions, repeating directions, or walking around the room answering questions.

Once students are quietly working and parents have left, you can use this time to assess what needs to get done. Do a quick walk of the room to make sure students are doing what they are supposed to be doing. On this first day, most students will be too nervous to raise their hand and ask for help. Watch for students looking around, confused. Once you can see that everyone is okay, use this time to take attendance and input lunch choices. Make sure you also feel settled and complete your own tasks. Once you feel good and settled, that’s a good time to greet your entire class.

*Side note: by setting this expectation of students getting right to work when they walk in on the first day of school, you are setting the tone for the entire year.

When I would greet my class, I would give students a friendly smile and a warm hello. I would introduce myself, repeat my last name a few times so they knew how to say it, and then tell them a bit about me. Even though a lot of information is on their welcome letter, I liked to also tell them this information. I would also start the year out by telling students some fun things we will be doing that year, and I also made sure to tell them how excited I was to have them in my class.

At this point, I also told students what to do with the task they were working on. So have a plan for students who finish and students who do not finish the independent activities. Is it important if they finish the independent activities? If it is, how will you have students finish them? What will you have planned for early finishers? Some ideas for the early finishers include: having a basket of picture books or graphic novels set out on each table for students to read independently, set out blank sheets of paper for sketching/drawing, set out more independent activities from my Back to School Get To Know You Activities resource, set out coloring pages and crayons, etc. The key here is to be over prepared.

Now that students have been sitting for some time, you have to get them up and moving. I typically like to pull my students to the carpet to do a whole-group team building activity. Don’t have everyone come all at once. Call small groups a few at a time so it isn’t pure chaos getting to the carpet. This helps bring everyone together. With everyone seated at the carpet, it’s a great opportunity to complete a team building activity that requires students to talk, move, and interact. One of my favorite, easy-to-implement activities is: Switch-a-Roo from Volume 1 of my Back to School Team Building resource . This resource is now available in both a digital and paper version.

first day of school seat work

These icebreaker activities help students feel comfortable with classmates and help them shake off their own jitters. These are a must on your first day back to school. I usually go into the day with a mix of low-prep or more involved icebreaker activities ready to go depending on how the day is progressing.

3. The Rest of the Day

The two most important things you need to remember for the first days are:

  • Building community and allowing your students to get to know one another (and you!).
  • Establishing rules, procedures, and expectations.
  • Teaching and modeling positive behaviors through SEL and character education.

You can see in my lesson plans how I try to find short, five-minute time blocks to teach, model, and practice procedures and routines. There are SO many to cover, and you can quickly overwhelm or bore your students. You don’t want to do that. Remember, teaching and modeling your classroom procedures for students will take time. Make a plan for this and set aside some time specifically for this each day. I typically break this out over a few days so that I have time to model, teach, and repeat. If you have my Classroom Procedures checklist , you can see how I group the various procedures based on when and where they should be carried out. You can read more about how I do that HERE .

Now that students have had the chance to do some independent activities, get-to-know you activities, procedures and expectations, now would be a great time to bring them back to their seats for an “I Believe in Myself Selfie” activity from Volume 2 of my Back to School Team Building Resource found HERE .

first day of school seat work

If time allows, you can even allow students to share their selfies. These will look great hanging in the hallway. Put some colored cardstock or construction paper on the back and tape them up for others to see.

Next, I would pull my students to the carpet to do a read aloud and conversation about character education. Below are some first-day read aloud recommendations. I always like to read books that center around character education traits. It’s a great message to kick the year off with. After your read aloud, have a light discussion with your students about what you read. The “ I Believe in Myself Selfie ” is a perfect activity that will allow you to transition into these great character education discussions. In this blog post , I highlight some of my favorite character education read aloud picture books to use with your students. In addition, each picture book comes with a free writing prompt that you can have students work on.

Click HERE to check those out.

first day of school seat work

The writing prompts come in both a paper and a digital version.

first day of school seat work

I hope you have a great first day!

Below are the links to the free resources in this blog:

1.) Editable Name Tags

2.) Editable Lunch Choice

3.) Editable Welcome Letter

4.) First Day Lesson Plan

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Preparing Your Child for the First Day of School

Back To School - Books And Pencils With Rocket Sketch

No matter what grade your child is entering, it is important to prepare properly for this annual transition. Get a head start on all the necessary preparations well before the first day of school, and talk to your child about what to expect during the academic year ahead.

Before School Begins

  • Check up on your child’s health : Have them visit the doctor and dentist for an exam before that first day of class, and check to see that their immunizations are up to date.
  • Get acquainted : Introduce a young child to their teacher, and visit the school prior to the first day of class – especially if your child is entering kindergarten or is transferring from another school.
  • Create a budge t: Think about what school supplies and other items your child will need, and budget accordingly for what you can afford.
  • Clothing : Take an inventory of what your child already has and what is needed. Coats, jackets, jeans, tops, uniforms (if necessary) and other wardrobe items should be in good condition, fit well, be made of durable fabrics, and be easy to wash and care for. Check the school’s dress code for permissible attire.
  • Footwear : Check the school’s dress code for the types of shoes allowed. Buy durable, easy-to-care-for footwear that is water-resistant and appropriate for the school activity.
  • Backpacks, bags and lunchboxes : Choose durable items that are water- and wear-resistant, lightweight, and easy to tote.
  • Various school supplies : Paper, pens, pencils, markers, erasers, a ruler, a dictionary and other items are musts for elementary school students. But avoid buying too many school supplies before the first day of class. It is often best to talk to the teacher and find out what items are needed for class before making your purchases to avoid unnecessary spending.
  • Write your child’s name, address and phone number on the inside of their coat, backpack or bag, and lunchbox . Never write this information on the outside or in a conspicuous place where strangers can see it.
  • Arrange to have their hair cut at least a few days before class begins.
  • Start an earlier, consistent bedtime routine at least a few days before the first day of school . This will help your child get used to going to bed and waking up earlier than they were accustomed to during the break.

Additional Resources

  • Back-to-School Transitions [PDF]
  • Back to School FAQs [PDF]
  • Helping Your Child Transition from Elementary to Middle School  

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CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines

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Americans who test positive for the coronavirus no longer need to routinely stay home from work and school for five days under new guidance planned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency is loosening its covid isolation recommendations for the first time since 2021 to align it with guidance on how to avoid transmitting flu and RSV, according to four agency officials and an expert familiar with the discussions.

CDC officials acknowledged in internal discussions and in a briefing last week with state health officials how much the covid-19 landscape has changed since the virus emerged four years ago, killing nearly 1.2 million people in the United States and shuttering businesses and schools. The new reality — with most people having developed a level of immunity to the virus because of prior infection or vaccination — warrants a shift to a more practical approach, experts and health officials say.

“Public health has to be realistic,” said Michael T. Osterholm, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota. “In making recommendations to the public today, we have to try to get the most out of what people are willing to do. … You can be absolutely right in the science and yet accomplish nothing because no one will listen to you.”

The CDC plans to recommend that people who test positive for the coronavirus use clinical symptoms to determine when to end isolation. Under the new approach, people would no longer need to stay home if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of medication and their symptoms are mild and improving, according to three agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal discussions.

Here is the current CDC guidance on isolation and precautions for people with covid-19

The federal recommendations follow similar moves by Oregon and California . The White House has yet to sign off on the guidance that the agency is expected to release in April for public feedback, officials said. One agency official said the timing could “move around a bit” until the guidance is finalized.

Work on revising isolation guidance has been underway since last August but was paused in the fall as covid cases rose. CDC director Mandy Cohen sent staff a memo in January that listed “Pan-resp guidance-April” as a bullet point for the agency’s 2024 priorities.

Officials said they recognized the need to give the public more practical guidelines for covid-19, acknowledging that few people are following isolation guidance that hasn’t been updated since December 2021. Back then, health officials cut the recommended isolation period for people with asymptomatic coronavirus from 10 days to five because they worried essential services would be hobbled as the highly transmissible omicron variant sent infections surging. The decision was hailed by business groups and slammed by some union leaders and health experts.

Covid is here to stay. How will we know when it stops being special?

The plan to further loosen isolation guidance when the science around infectiousness has not changed is likely to prompt strong negative reaction from vulnerable groups, including people older than 65, those with weak immune systems and long-covid patients, CDC officials and experts said.

Doing so “sweeps this serious illness under the rug,” said Lara Jirmanus, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and a member of the People’s CDC, a coalition of health-care workers, scientists and advocates focused on reducing the harmful effects of covid-19.

Public health officials should treat covid differently from other respiratory viruses, she said, because it’s deadlier than the flu and increases the risk of developing long-term complications . As many as 7 percent of Americans report having suffered from a slew of lingering covid symptoms, including fatigue, difficulty breathing, brain fog, joint pain and ongoing loss of taste and smell, according to the CDC.

The new isolation recommendations would not apply to hospitals and other health-care settings with more vulnerable populations, CDC officials said.

While the coronavirus continues to cause serious illness, especially among the most vulnerable people, vaccines and effective treatments such as Paxlovid are available. The latest versions of coronavirus vaccines were 54 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection in adults, according to data released Feb. 1, the first U.S. study to assess how well the shots work against the most recent coronavirus variant. But CDC data shows only 22 percent of adults and 12 percent of children had received the updated vaccine as of Feb. 9, despite data showing the vaccines provide robust protection against serious illness .

Coronavirus levels in wastewater i ndicate that symptomatic and asymptomatic infections remain high. About 20,000 people are still hospitalized — and about 2,300 are dying — every week, CDC data show. But the numbers are falling and are much lower than when deaths peaked in January 2021 when almost 26,000 people died of covid each week and about 115,000 were hospitalized.

The lower rates of hospitalizations were among the reasons California shortened its five-day isolation recommendation last month , urging people to stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours and their symptoms are mild and improving. Oregon made a similar move last May.

California’s state epidemiologist Erica Pan said the societal disruptions that resulted from strict isolation guidelines also helped spur the change. Workers without sick leave and those who can’t work from home if they or their children test positive and are required to isolate bore a disproportionate burden. Strict isolation requirements can act as a disincentive to test when testing should be encouraged so people at risk for serious illness can get treatment, she said.

Giving people symptom-based guidance, similar to what is already recommended for flu, is a better way to prioritize those most at risk and balance the potential for disruptive impacts on schools and workplaces, Pan said. After Oregon made its change, the state has not experienced any disproportionate increases in community transmission or severity, according to data shared last month with the national association representing state health officials.

California still recommends people with covid wear masks indoors when they are around others for 10 days after testing positive — even if they have no symptoms — or becoming sick. “You may remove your mask sooner than 10 days if you have two sequential negative tests at least one day apart,” the California guidance states.

It’s not clear whether the updated CDC guidance will continue to recommend masking for 10 days.

Health officials from other states told the CDC last week that they are already moving toward isolation guidelines that would treat the coronavirus the same as flu and RSV, with additional precautions for people at high risk, said Anne Zink, an emergency room physician and Alaska’s chief medical officer.

Many other countries, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Australia, made changes to isolation recommendations in 2022. Of 16 countries whose policies California officials reviewed, only Germany and Ireland still recommend isolation for five days, according to a presentation the California public health department gave health officials from other states in January. The Singapore ministry of health, in updated guidance late last year, said residents could “return to normal activities” once coronavirus symptoms resolve.

Even before the Biden administration ended the public health emergency last May, much of the public had moved on from covid-19, with many people having long given up testing and masking, much less isolating when they come down with covid symptoms.

Doctors say the best way for sick people to protect their communities is to mask or avoid unnecessary trips outside the home.

“You see a lot of people with symptoms — you don’t know if they have covid or influenza or RSV — but in all three of those cases, they probably shouldn’t be at Target, coughing, and looking sick,” said Eli Perencevich, an internal medicine professor at the University of Iowa.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

New covid variant: The United States is in the throes of another covid-19 uptick and coronavirus samples detected in wastewater suggests infections could be as rampant as they were last winter. JN.1, the new dominant variant , appears to be especially adept at infecting those who have been vaccinated or previously infected. Here’s how this covid surge compares with earlier spikes .

Covid ER visits rise: Covid-19, flu and RSV are rebounding in the United States ahead of the end-of-year holidays, with emergency room visits for the three respiratory viruses collectively reaching their highest levels since February.

New coronavirus booster: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone 6 months or older get an updated coronavirus shot , but the vaccine rollout has seen some hiccups , especially for children . Here’s what you need to know about the new coronavirus vaccines , including when you should get it.

  • CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines February 13, 2024 CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines February 13, 2024
  • Is this covid surge really the second biggest? Here’s what data shows. January 12, 2024 Is this covid surge really the second biggest? Here’s what data shows. January 12, 2024
  • Covid kills nearly 10,000 in a month as holidays fuel spread, WHO says January 11, 2024 Covid kills nearly 10,000 in a month as holidays fuel spread, WHO says January 11, 2024

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NYC fails controversial remote-learning snow day ‘test,’ public schools chancellor says

Image: Large Winter Storm Brings Snow To The Northeast

New York City's public schools chancellor said the city did not pass Tuesday's remote-learning “test” because of technical issues.

“As I said, this was a test. I don’t think that we passed this test,” David Banks said at a news briefing, adding that he felt "disappointed, frustrated and angry" as a result of the technical issues.

NYC Public Schools did a lot of work to prepare for the remote-learning day, Banks said, but shortly before 8 a.m. they were notified that parents and students were having difficulty signing on to remote learning.

Follow along for live coverage of the storm

It is the first time the school system has implemented remote learning on a snow day since it introduced the no-snow-day policy in 2022. The district serves 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 schools.

Banks blamed the technical issues on IBM, which helps facilitate the city’s remote-learning program.

“IBM was not ready for prime time,” Banks said, adding that the company was overwhelmed with the surge of people signing on for school.

IBM has since expanded its capacity, and 850,000 students and teachers are currently online, Banks said.

“We’ll work harder to do better next time,” he said, adding that there will be a deeper analysis into what went wrong.

The new system is controversial among parents who lament the end of the snow days of their childhoods, dread a return to the frustrations that remote learning caused during the pandemic and argue that online learning is a far cry from the classroom.

On Monday, Mayor Eric Adams said parents who are not willing to navigate computers for their children’s remote learning represent “a sad commentary.”

Adams defended his words Tuesday, saying they were related to a specific question he was asked about parents who do not want to sign on to remote learning.

“That is not the energy we should be showing right now. Our children have to catch up. They need to be engaged,” he said.

Adams also blamed IBM for Tuesday’s remote-learning issues, saying he hopes the company will be able to provide the product the city is paying it for.

“IBM, I’m hoping this was a teaching moment for them, as well," Adams said.

In a statement, IBM said it has been working closely with New York City Public Schools "to address this situation as quickly as possible."

An IBM spokesperson said, “The issues have been largely resolved, and we regret the inconvenience to students and parents across the city."

New York City Public Schools were the outlier in implementing remote learning during Tuesday's storm. Hundreds of districts in Boston , Connecticut , Philadelphia  and  New York were shuttered for snow days.

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  1. First Day of School seat work by Lynnette Petersen

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  2. FREE MORNING SEAT WORK kindergarten practice

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  3. Kindergarten Seat Work

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  4. First Day of School Seating Assignments

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  1. Morning Seat Work

    PRINT A FREE WEEK FROM EVERY MONTH! Scroll down on this page to see the free links. Our best selling kindergarten morning work will completely transform your mornings from the first day of school until the end of the year.. This resource is perfect to use as independent morning work, bell ringers, homework, sub tubs, daily review, and so much more!

  2. First Day Seating with character cards

    August 22, 2012 It is extremely important that your students have assigned seating on the first day of school. Don't believe me? Here's why: Assigning seats reduces anxiety Giving students a place to sit helps them to feel at ease. They do not have to worry about where they should sit or whether or not anyone will want to sit near them.

  3. First Day of School Activities for Morning Work (Free Printables)

    The first morning work option for the first day of school are school-themed crossword puzzles and/or word searches. These activities are a simple way to ease your students into being back in school without heavy academic work. And most students love word searches and crossword puzzles.

  4. Ideas for Morning Work or Bell Work Activities to Start the School Day

    This is called "Bell Work." The children have a "bell work book" that they complete the work in. They date the page and begin the work as soon as they enter class. This gives me time to do all the administrative jobs that I need to do first thing in the morning. The work is collected and I mark it or I assign someone to mark it.

  5. Results for first day of school seat work

    Results for first day of school seat work 24,000 + results Sort by: Relevance View: List 2nd Grade Back to School Beginning of the Year Math [ [NO PREP]] Packet Created by 123

  6. Thoughtful Seating for a Successful First Day of School

    In this blog post, we'll explore seating ideas for the first day of school, with the pros and cons of assigning seats versus letting students choose. Let's dive in! Seating ideas for the first day of school. Assigned Seats: Order and Ease. Assigning seats right from the start can bring order and eliminate confusion.

  7. What To Do On The First Day Of School

    It includes 14 activities, including: Find Someone Who Word Scavenger Hunt Interview A Friend Squiggle Story Making Words ...and more 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.

  8. How to Have a Great First Day of School

    Option 2: Requires a bit more set up, have the desks numbered in some way, then a sign on the board that tells students to sit in order based on birthdays. The first seat would go to the person born in January, the second to someone in February and so on. You can also adjust the criteria and have them arrange by height or street address number.

  9. First Day of School seat work by Lynnette Petersen

    First Day of School seat work by Lynnette Petersen | TpT Seat work for the first day of school. Pages for Kindergarten, 1st grade & 2nd grade. Also can be used for data collection. ... Menu About Us Gift Cards Help TpT School Access TpT ClassFund Cart Browse Grade Level Pre-K - K 1 - 2 3 - 5 6 - 8 9 - 12 Other Subject Arts & Music

  10. The Ultimate Flexible Seating Guide

    The tables later changed so that students could grab a seat and sit wherever they wanted to work. This set up worked for my classroom and my students. You may want things to look different for your students. ... For the first day of school, I found it most effective to have students bring their backpack and other belongings right to the carpet ...

  11. How to Start Flexible Seating on the First Day of School

    It can be difficult to know how to roll out flexible seating in elementary school. Read to find out how I have introduced flexible seating in my primary classrooms. Learn what book I use to introduce responsibility and choice in the classroom. With the help of this post, your flexible seating behavior management will be solid all throughout the ...

  12. 20 First Day of School Resources & Freebies

    First Day of School Resources. This year, I decided to do something a little different. I am sharing a few options for all the essential beginning-of-the-year must-dos: morning work, getting to know you, community building, routines and procedures, summer reflection, behavior management, and introducing a growth mindset.

  13. February Kindergarten Seat Work

    in Kindergarten! As I have talked about in my other posts on morning work, I feel it is incredibly important to use worksheets and activities that my students can do on their own. simply don't have time to give quality instruction during the first 15 minutes of school. I prefer my students come in, follow our routine and get right to work.

  14. Flexible Seating Classroom Ideas For First Grade And Kindergarten

    1. What is flexible seating? Flexible seating is an alternative approach to seating in the traditional classroom. It basically means that your students have different options when it comes to seating. No more conventional rows of desks or even tables.

  15. First Day Seats Teaching Resources

    PPT. This is a part of my classroom management that I have used for 20 years. It really works and sets the tone from the first day that: 1) You, the teacher have things under control. 2) Students get to work on bell activity right away. 3) There will be structure in the lesson plan.

  16. First Day of School with Flexible Seating!

    Here's a look into my room on the morning of the first day of school. At this point, here were the seating options in the room: 6 Regular Chairs & Desks. 6 Regular Chairs at a Trapezoid Table. 1 Teacher Chair at the Trapezoid Table. 6 cushions at a kneeling/sitting height table. 6 standing desks and stools.

  17. Morning Work Ideas to Implement Now!

    Written by: Katie Palmer The buses have arrived and students shuffle into classrooms to take their seats. They wander around the room. "Now what?" the teacher asks. What do students do while waiting for the rest of the class to arrive and the day to officially start? Luckily, there is an easy answer to calm the morning chaos - Morning Work!

  18. First Day Back to School: Lessons Plans & Activities to Plan Your Day

    If you have Volume 2 of my Back to School Activities resource, the "Abstract Coloring" and "Social Media Profile" would be perfect for students to complete during this time. You can check these out by clicking HERE. 2. The Morning Entrance. Now that you have everything set up. You are ready to focus on your new students.

  19. Preparing Your Child for the First Day of School

    Get acquainted: Introduce a young child to their teacher, and visit the school prior to the first day of class - especially if your child is entering kindergarten or is transferring from another school. Create a budget: Think about what school supplies and other items your child will need, and budget accordingly for what you can afford.

  20. March Kindergarten Seat Work

    I simply don't have time to give quality instruction during the first 15 minutes of school while I amgetting 26 kids checked in, monitoring backpacks being unpacked, checking folders, doing lunch count and attendance all while greeting my kiddos, chatting with parents, etc.. I also don't want it to just be play time (as this can lead to so many other behaviors!)

  21. Your Fitness Tracker Comes With Lots of Sleep Data. Here's How to Make

    You may already own a fitness tracker to monitor your exercise—but here's how you can also use it to improve your sleep.

  22. Free Week of January Seat Work for Kindergarten

    BUSY in Kindergarten! As I have talked about in my other posts on morning work, I feel it is incredibly important to use worksheets and activities that my students can do on their own. simply don't have time to give quality instruction during the first 15 minutes of school. I prefer my students come in, follow our routine and get right to work.

  23. CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines

    People with covid will be able to return to school, work and society if they have been fever-free for 24 hours and their symptoms are mild and improving. ... for the first time since 2021 to align ...

  24. 1st Grade Seat Work Worksheets & Teaching Resources

    All About Me Booklet First Week of School Kindergarten & First Grade. by. Linda Post - The Teacher's Post. 119. $2.25. Zip. Use this All About Me Booklet printable to get to know your younger learners during the first week of school or any time. ️ It can be displayed at Open house as well. ️ There are 2 Versions: Simple Lines & Skip Count ...

  25. Takeaways from the New York special election debate

    In this screengrab from video, candidates for New York's 3rd congressional district Mazi Pilip and Tom Suozzi square off at a town hall style debate hosted by News 12's Rich Barrabi just days ...

  26. Virginia Beach school board accepting applications for vacant seat

    The Virginia Beach School Board has begun the process of filling the newly vacant District 4 seat. Within the next 45 days, the board will appoint someone to replace Staci Martin , whose ...

  27. High school wrestling: Juab's boys, Canyon View's girls in driver's

    High school wrestling: Juab's boys, Canyon View's girls in driver's seat for 3A titles after opening day of state tourney After the opening day of competition Friday at the 3A boys and girls state wrestling tournament in Richfield, Juab's boys are in a good spot in their pursuit of an eighth-straight state championship, while Canyon View's girls are closing in on their first-ever ...

  28. First Grade Back to School Activities FREE WORKSHEETS

    It is the first week of school! What do you teach? getting to know my studentsteaching rules and expectations, procedures for our classroom and make sure my kiddos are excited and comfortable at school. These activities are perfect for those first couple weeks of first grade, and they are no prep for you!

  29. NYC fails controversial remote-learning snow day 'test,' public schools

    It is the first time the school system has implemented remote learning on a snow day since it introduced the no-snow-day policy in 2022. The district serves 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 ...