Whether you are a new kindergarten teacher or a seasoned veteran, the beginning of the year planning can be stressful. I hope that this post can provide some fresh ideas to help you survive the first day of school and the entire first month! Here are 10 beginning of the year activities for Kindergarten…
1. Kindergarten Bear Hunt
“We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” has become an annual tradition in my Kindergarten. I turned the traditional school tour into a fun and interactive scavenger hunt that makes the first day of kindergarten (or first week) one to remember! My Bear Hunt activity helps to acquaint your kids with the building layout as they meet familiar faces they will see throughout the year. Clues for finding the missing teddy bears lead students from one teacher or staff member to the next with the final clue leading them to the playground.
2. Kick Off to Kindergarten Bulletin Board
Next on the list of beginning of the year activities for Kindergarten is this Football themed craft and bulletin board. A parent letter is included for students to color a football player at home. At school, they cut out the football and write their names on the line. They tell me their goals for kicking off a great year, and I write their words to complete the sentence.
3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
The second full week of kindergarten is our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Week. The story fits well with letter identification. I read the story, and we dance to the song on YouTube. I use my editable Chicka Chicka Boom Boom resource to create a page for each student. This activity focuses on name writing, identifying the letters in our names, and number writing. Lettering is included for you to display the pages as a first bulletin board of the year. When you take the pages down, you may use the included book cover to create your first class book!
4. We Put the Kind in Kindergarten
Next on the list is a kindness SEL activity. Kindness is our theme all year long in kindergarten. We Put the Kind in KINDergarten is the perfect read-aloud for the beginning of the year. It provides examples of how students can show kindness in the classroom. As a class, we come up with a list of ideas of ways to be kind in kindergarten.
Students then get a heart to practice cutting and name writing. You can use only the outside heart if you do this early in the year. If you do include the writing flip craft, you would ask the students for their responses and write it for them.
Bulletin board lettering is included for this resource as well. I leave this lettering up all year in my classroom!
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5. Kindergarten Writing Portfolios
Another resource I use during the first week is my Kindergarten Writing Portfolios. I prep the portfolios before school begins by simply printing and double stapling into books, which contain one page for each month of school.
Writing Portfolios may just be my favorite writing activity we do all year because the progression you will see is truly amazing! At the beginning of the year, you will have the kids complete the first page independently. Keep in mind that the majority of your kindergarten students are not able to write words or sentences in August. I tell the kids that the first step of writing is to let their pictures tell the story. By the end of the year, they will be filling up pages with sentences. Read about the portfolios HERE.
6. All About Me Books
I designed these All About Me books for emerging writers at the beginning of Kindergarten. Students complete the pages writing simple words such as their name and color words. They also write numbers to complete the sentences. The books make the perfect first keepsake of the year!
7. Handwriting and Alphabet Books
Throughout the first month (and the entire year), we work on proper letter formation and handwriting. Typically, I introduce one letter a day using our Alphabet Books.
I also use these Handwriting Books for additional practice. My customers have used this resource in a variety of ways including morning work, writing centers, and even homework. I laminate the pages on card stock and use them as a Write and Wipe Writing Center all year long. My kids can never have enough handwriting practice!
8. September Math Journals
Just as we introduce letter writing, number writing is equally important. Beginning of the year math activities focus on a lot of hands-on investigations exploring math manipulatives and these Beginning of the Year Math Journals. Students are introduced to number formation and number sense activities by completing one or two pages each day.
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9. Play-Doh Mat Centers
Early in the school year, it is important to Keep Centers Simple! I like to give my students activities they can work on independently while I call students to my teacher table to complete baseline assessments. I love using Alphabet Play-Doh Mats as well as Number Play-Doh Mats. These are great for working on letter and number formation as well as those oh so important fine motor skills.
10. Beginning of the Year Assessments
Last on the list of beginning of the year activities for kindergarten is ASSESSMENTS! Administering baseline assessments at the beginning of the year is important for determining groups for differentiated instruction and for providing a snapshot of each student’s strengths and areas for improvement. I created my Kindergarten Assessments Binder as a grab-and-go resource for assessing my students all year long. In August or September, I pull the assessments I need from the binder. This usually includes uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and number identification.
After screening academic skills, I also like to assess my students’ fine motor skills at the beginning of kindergarten. I created this Fine Motor Assessments tool to do just that!
Throughout the first few weeks, I have students write their names and numbers. They also complete assessments on cutting, copying shapes, coloring, and tracing. You can use these assessments during different data points throughout the year to track progress.
There you have it – my top ten beginning of the year activities for kindergarten! You can find these and more in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
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