Sunday, August 3, 2014

My Back to School Lesson Plans

Hi friends! I have received a few messages on my Facebook page from teachers who are moving from the primary grades to intermediate and were curious about my back to school lesson plans.  

So I compiled a post for you guys of my first eight days of school.  Make sure you scroll all the way and down read the entire post for links to the products and freebies included in my back to school lesson plans! 

Our first week of school is a three day week and our second week is a five day week.  

Products featured in my plans: 

As you can see, we spend a lot of time learning and practicing procedures, building community, and getting to know each other.  I feel this is SO important, no matter what grade you teach!  You might feel the curriculum crunch, but I promise you WILL make up that time.  Especially if you are doing the Daily Five.  Model and practice those procedures again and again until your students get it right.  Time invested in that now will pay off, I promise.  The years I jumped right into curriculum have been some of my rockiest years.  I certainly teach academics those first two weeks but my main focus is on rules, routines, and community building.  

My school year scrapbook is a new product, and one that I'm SO excited about! I always did a  scrapbook with my third graders and they loved it. However, as the demands of being in a testing grade increased, I stopped doing them a few years ago.  I forgot about them until I ran into one of my former third graders, who is now going into tenth grade, and she told me that she still has her third grade scrapbook and how special it was to her.  So I spent some time this summer turning our messy and time consuming scrapbooks into something more manageable! 

The new version has NO cutting or gluing! All you need to do is select one of the included cover pages and select a monthly page for your students to complete and assemble them before school starts.  I plan on using the stapler setting on our copier that puts a staple at the top and bottom of the page, this makes the packet into a booklet.  One of my coworkers is planning on hole punching the pages and putting them into folders.  

I included multiple options for the beginning and end of the year and for each month. I have options for August-July.  All you need to do is select the pages that best fit your class.  

On the first school day of each new month, I will have my students fill out their scrapbook page for the previous month.  This literally takes twenty minutes tops.  They brainstorm their memorable moments, write about their favorite memory, and color the picture on the page to give it more of the scrapbook feel.  I let them choose memories from home and school, but you can do what works for you!  Here's an example of a completed page:

School Year Scrapbook is a yearlong memory book and makes an awesome keepsake for your students.  I can't wait to show you pictures of our scrapbooks throughout the year. :) 

I also get by with some help from some friends during Back to School!  Our first two weeks in reading are spent on reading strategies and I use Ashleigh's amazing Reading Strategies Unit.  Seriously, go check it out.  Everything you need to get your students really thinking about their reading is in one easy to use file.  It is pictured under reading in my visual plans. I plan on using this fun Finish the Picture freebie from the Thinker Builder as part of our morning work on the first day of school. 

I use the Daily Five to organize my literacy block and follow The Sisters guide for implementation pretty much step by step.  I highly encourage you to read the book if you are thinking of implementing the Daily Five with your students. There are lots of great blog posts about it out there about the Daily Five but the book made it all click for me.  You can find the Second Edition of The Daily Five {here}

You can also find a list of the books I use with Cooking Up a Great Year Together to promote a caring classroom environment {here}.  The Toothpaste Words activity is offered as a freebie on my blog {here}

Enjoy your day, friends! I hope you found my Back to School Lesson Plans helpful.  


  1. What a great post! I am also moving to grade 4 this school year (called junior here in Ontario, Canada) from four years in kindergarten. Thank you for the plans, as well as the details on your products. It is great that the scrapbook has options for each month with us celebrating Thanksgiving in October. I will be adding some items to my wishlist.

  2. I agree Lisa! Spending the first two weeks establishing your classroom community, rules, expectations, and procedures are so important! I'm going to use the Making Meaning Reading/Vocabulary program and Being a Writer this year from the Developmental Studies Center! I'm so excited! Great Post!


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  5. What a great way to build self-confidence. I know some of my 6th grade students will respond well to this strategy. Thanks for the bright idea!
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