Saturday, August 20, 2016

How to Make the Move to a New Grade and Live to Tell About It

Hi guys!
     Yep, it's me, Hilary and I'm happy to report that I survived my move from 2nd grade to 3rd grade GT! And as much as I hate to admit it, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! Here are a few things I noticed on the first day of school:

  • The kids intuitively know what to do when they come in!
  • They can actually sit down and wait for more than 2 minutes!
  • They don't ask you 40 questions in the first 5 minutes of the day!
  • They don't constantly have a boo-boo that needs a band-aid!
Bottom line . . . they aren't little kids anymore, they are just kids who know what school is about. 
     So, on that first day I decided I didn't want to rattle off a bunch of rules and expectations or do a bunch of 'getting to know you' activities right off the bat. I wanted the kids to 'do school' and have fun. The rules and expectations don't have to be preached and will most definitely be addressed, but not in our first hours together. Here's what we did after everyone arrived:
  • The kids sat in a circle and told me their names. Then, I went around the circle to say their names back to them. I got them all right on the first time around . . . as usual! LOL
  • We stayed in our circle and did a Drama Circle. We had so much fun being dramatic. Drama circles require the kids to actively listen, wait their turn, cooperate with classmates, and follow directions. It is a fun activity that helps them learn to be comfortable in front of their classmates in a non-threatening way. (Read more about Drama Circles by Jen Runde.) It also told me a lot about the different personalities in our class. We did a different drama circle 3 days in a row. They kids are BEGGING to do more! We will, too!
  • After breaking the ice,  the rest of the day went as smooth as silk. We did do a few 'getting to know you' activities, but after our drama, we were all friends.
My advice to you if you are moving grades, just remember why you became a teacher in the first place:
  • You have a heart for kids.
  • You want to make a difference in the lives of kids.
  • You enjoy watching light bulbs go on for kids.
  • You actually like kids.
  • Kids make you smile and even laugh.
  • And the list goes on and on. . . No matter what admin throws at you, just remember, it's just about the kids!
  • Oh, and one more thing . . . you just need to stay one day ahead of the kids! LOL
I know some of you are just gearing up for 
school so it's time to do some shopping! If you'd like to win a Teachers Pay Teachers $10 gift card, just in time for the ONE DAY sale at TpT. Just enter for a chance to win!

You might want to check out drama circles....They ROCK! Stop by my store for a back to school stardust poem freebie as well. 

Have a great year!


  1. I like to hang a piece of chart paper, give each child a post it, discuss how and when we use reading skills over the summer, then have them write one way they used a reading skill over the summer and stick it on the chart. This would include things like reading the road signs on a trip, reading the prices in the grocery store, etc. It is always interesting to see their faces when the realize they used reading skills and didn't even know it.

  2. We always do fun icebreaker activities, read lots of books, show BrainPopJr. videos about school on the ActivBoard & introduce my 1st- & 2nd-grade special ed kiddos to ClassDojo & GoNoodle. We take a school tour, making sure to stop by the fabulous playground.

  3. I always like to start off with a fun book an activities centered around the book. I also like to take a first day of school picture of them in a special frame I made just for the first day of school.

  4. I always like to start off with a fun book an activities centered around the book. I also like to take a first day of school picture of them in a special frame I made just for the first day of school.

  5. I like to use ice breaker activities for my students to get to know each other.

  6. I like to use ice breaker activities for my students to get to know each other.

  7. We read "Pete the Cat, Rocking in my School Shoes" and go on a scavenger hunt to find important places in the school. At the end of the hunt/tour, Pete leaves a treat for us in the principal's office. Kindergartners love it!

  8. I am changing grades this year. I am going from K to 2nd. I am both scared and excited.

  9. I like to start them on explore tubs the very first day. :)

  10. I like to read a back to school book like Chrysanthemum and do a fun art activity!

  11. I start by giving the kids playdoh. They make a picture of something they did that summer. Then they get matched with a partner to talk about their picture. This gives them an idea of what to writre in the next activity. the kids then get a paper to write what they did. They also get to draw and color thier playdoh picture. This gives me a beginning writing sample.

  12. My first day favorite activity is Magic Play doh. I put a few drops of food coloring in the center of a ball of white play doh. When students mush the doh (inside a ziplock bag) the color appears.

  13. We do fun first day get to know you activities, First Day Jitters activities, M&M graphing a and ice breakers, and so much more!!

  14. I love to do First Day Jitters! I really mean it this year! I moved to PK3 and PK! So nervous!! I am so overwhelmed right now I hope the kids don't notice!!

  15. On the first day, I like to give my new kinders magic play dough to use. They are amazed when its begins to change color!!

  16. Thank you very much for the chance - I can't wait for the sale to begin :)

  17. I always like to read a fun back to school story and some about me activities!

  18. A getting to know you handout with entertaining and interesting questions!

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