Wednesday, July 11, 2018

First Day of School Quick Write Activity: First Day Freebies

 Do you struggle to figure out how to occupy students on that very first day as they trickle in loaded down with book bags full of supplies? You know the scene, students come in a few at a time, full of nerves and questions about where things go and what to do.  You spend those first minutes running around repeating directions, collecting materials and calming kids. The first day and especially the first hour can be a stressful time for kids and teachers. But it doesn't really have to be. 

  I like to have an easy and open ended activity waiting for them on their desk on that very first day. They set their materials on the floor beside their chair and work on the activity while I make my rounds visiting them. 

I like using one of these two activities because they both also give me some insight into my students.  
 For the first one, students decorate the number three or fill it with pictures that represent themselves or their new grade level. This also gives me a very quick and informal assessment of their ability as a writer and speller.  It also helps me gauge their feelings regarding this brand new year.

Here is the new and improved version for both second and third graders:

Head here to download your free copy:

In this next one, students find a lump of playdoh on their desk.  Students can mold and play with it as I make my rounds.  This is something they really enjoy and the process of molding and creating relieves those first day jitters.  

I learn a lot about my students through this activity as well.  

This student made his favorite food: a pizza slice. 

Another students molded the play doh into her pet dog. 

Then students used the recording sheet to illustrate and write about their creation.

Here is the link to this free file if you are interested: 
First Day of Third Grade Printables

Check out my other freebies while you are there. 
Follow me and you will get an email when I post new files!

While we are on the topic of Back to School Writing ideas, I must share my absolute FAVORITE writing activity.  I love it too, because the final product looks fantastic hanging up for our Back to School night in September!

This one uses a poem as a mentor text.  Students write a "Friends" poem using the pattern of this poem. I use this writing activity every year.  It is super simple and so all kids feel successful and are able to produce and publish a piece of writing that they can feel proud of.

You can read all about it in this blog post:

Blog Post: Let's Write a Friends Poem

Writer's Workshop: Friends: A Patterned Poem

Or you can find the resources for this writing activity in my TPT store:
It includes the lesson plans, writing folder notesheets and poem printables.

Let's Write a Friends Poem Resources

Do you have favorite Back to School Writing Activities?
I would love to hear!
I'd love to hear!
Please share by commenting below or email me:

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I post new material every week and LOVE connecting with other teachers!


  1. I love this freebie and your math about me. Thank you so much for sharing them=)
    Lisa L.
    TGIF- Third Grade Is Fun

  2. Thank you for the Freebie! My third graders will really enjoy this on the first day of school!

  3. I'm trying to prepare and get units ready...but ...
    Thanks for the freebie and your wonderful posts. Smiles and stop by anytime!

  4. I appreciate your generosity in sharing your 3rd grade freebie.

  5. Where did you find the pencil? I may/may not be cycling up to 4th grade this year, but I would love to use this either way. Thanks

  6. Thank you for sharing this super cute idea! You're right about it being a quick way to get a good idea where they are after a long summer break. Leeann

  7. I am happy to share! Mary Beth- I am going to make you a fourth grade one and post it. Check back!

  8. Is it possible to find one for first grade? Or maybe just say which fonts were used, so we can make our own? Thanks!

  9. Where did you get the pencil? We used these this year and it's going to look great up on my board! Love all of you stuff. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Holly :)

  10. A new way to start the year. Thank you.

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  12. Thank you for the ideas and the freebies! I like to read What If Everybody Did That the first week of school. The speech bubbles you shared would be PERFECT to encourage "turn and talk". Thanks again!
    Laughter and Consistency

    1. I love that idea Jan! Have a great first week of school!

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