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First Day of First Grade: 5 Must-Do Activities [2022 Update]

As you gear up for the first day of school I wanted to share some tips I do every first day back to school! These activities can make your students’ first day of first grade very enjoyable!

Read a First Day Book

My absolute favorite thing to do with my students on the first day of school {and every day, for that matter} is to read a great book! Reading a book gives you the chance to teach your expectations for coming to the carpet, pushing in chairs, etc. And, it gives everyone the chance to relax and settle into the room.

Many students are nervous on the first day (especially of first grade), and listening to a story is an easy way to bring your class together and help alleviate some nerves. There are dozens of picture books that are perfect for the first day. I’ve linked a couple of my favorites below!

helloe world book for 1st graders and young students | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Have you seen this darling book? I just love the illustrations and the message that we meet interesting people wherever we go. It’s a perfect book for breaking the ice in the first days!

our class is a family book for the first day of school | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

There are so many things to love about this book, but most of all, I love that it was written by a real classroom teacher!

butterflies on the first day of school book is a perfect reading opportunity for first graders | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

I’ll admit that I still get butterflies each first day of school! So imagine how our little kiddos are feeling! This book highlights that it’s okay to be excited and still nervous at the same time. After reading the book go around the classroom sharing what you were nervous about but also what you’re most excited about. For example, “I was nervous I wouldn’t remember your names, but I’m so excited you’re all here!”

you're finally here book | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

I love the power of the word Yet and I introduce it on the first day of school. It’s good for students to know that they are not expected to know everything just yet!

Develop Classroom Rules Together

Every classroom needs rules, but rules are most effective when your students have buy-in. Taking the time to discuss what rules the class should have and why will ensure that your students remember those rules all year long.

Plus, building your class rules together helps your students feel like this is their classroom, too. This is a great way to build a 1st-grade classroom community, first thing in the morning!

example of a making rules activity for new first graders | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Grab the Rules Freebie HERE!

Do an Art Project or Activity

Who doesn’t love to do an art project on the first day of school? We all want to do something fun with our students on day one. But, I recommend choosing a project with a purpose!

I like to have my students complete an activity that has them set some goals for the year. This leads to a great discussion. Projects like this also serve as the perfect bulletin board. So, if you have an open house or Back to School Night coming up early in your year, you already have some student work hung up! 

Check out three of my favorite Back to School activities and projects!

Leaders of the Pack Writing

leader of the pack writing activity for 1st graders | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Back to School Flipbook

back to school flip book cover | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Tee’d Up for School!

tee'd up for school activity for the first day of first grade | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Introduce Routines on the First Day

I like to kick off the day with a morning meeting, the same way I will every day of the year. Introducing your routines right away organizes your students.

The first day of first grade often feels more chaotic than other days. The typical school schedule doesn’t apply, and it can make both you and your students feel untethered. Sticking with as many daily routines as you can helps your students adjust to your classroom faster, but also creates anchor times during your day.

This way, you have opportunities to practice routines such as coming to the carpet, or lining up at the door, in between fun activities! 

Related: Morning Work for 1st Graders

Share your Enthusiasm

This one may be the most important! In all of the bustle of the first day, make sure your students know that you are excited to be their teacher!

As you are reading, practicing routines, and more, keep smiling! The thing your students will remember the most when they go home that afternoon is how they felt being in your room.

Did they feel welcomed, loved, accepted? Did you seem tired and frazzled? Or were you calm and happy to be there? Your students can sense your stress, and they will internalize it. So, take a deep breath, and enjoy your new students! 

First Day of First Grade Recap

Trying out some of these first day of first grade activities will surely help ease everyone’s nerves and help your new students feel welcome!

What first day of school activities are you always sure to do? Share your ideas with me!

2 Responses

  1. I also like to do an ice breaker with either Skittles or M &Ms, where each color of candy represents a different thing students get to share about themselves with the rest if the class. I also hand out “Me Bags” the first day, review the instructions with students, and then send them home the first night, with instructions to bring them back to share on the last day of that first week. We do make some kind of craft as well that highlights some unique things about each student.

  2. Hi Molly! Thanks for sharing these tips and ideas for the first day of school. We normally read “First Day Jitters” on the first day, so I am grateful to see the other story ideas that you provided. Though we already began the 2021-2022 school year, I have favorited your post to use in the future. Awesome ideas!

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