Wednesday, August 8, 2018

First Day of Third Grade: Lesson Plan and Resources

I've gotten many questions about what I do on the very first day of third grade. I believe the first day should be focused on just two things: relationship/community building and teaching routines and explaining expectations. It is such a shock for our kids to go from the lazy, unstructured days of summer to a day in the classroom.  I try to ease the students and myself into the year.  I want the first day of third grade to feel as relaxed and pleasant as possible.
Here's the plan:
When students arrive, they will find a piece of playdoh on their desk. They can play and model things with it....anything they want for awhile. Like a stress ball, I'm hoping it will calm their nerves and occupy them while I tend to all the clerical issues that come in that first half hour of school.  Then they will be directed to model it into something that tells something about them. I will have my example on display. I will make mine into a shoe that represents that I like to go hiking. We'll see what they come up with. They will use the recording sheet to draw a picture and then write a sentence or two about it. 
Afterwards, we will share what we made. 

Then it will be time for our first morning meeting. We will talk about our meeting time and what the expectations are and we will record them. Then it's time for our greeting. I think we will do the "KNOCK-KNOCK" greeting. Here's an example of how that goes: "Knock-Knock", "Who's There?" "Todd" "Todd Who?" "Todd Smith"  "Welcome, Todd Smith".  This will help us to learn each others' names.  
Then I will go over our PBIS system and words: Respectful, Responsible, Productive. 
I will have those  words on cards and we will do word cheers for them, define them and learn gestures for them. 
I will introduce our mascot....our stuffed Wildcat. I will tell them that he and I are on PAW Patrol and are watching to catch students who are being Respectful, Responsible and Productive. They will get stickers to put on their conduct cards.  We are a PBIS school so most students are familiar with this procedure. 

Students will practice PRRing with Pride as they go on a Classroom Scavenger Hunt with a partner. 
Students will search around the room for the  places marked on their recording sheet. They will have to read the question, discuss their answer with their partner and write it down before looking for the next place.  During this time, I will be watching my students interacting with each other and will hand out stickers for students who earn them. Afterwards we will talk about how the activity went. I will share examples of the positive behaviors that I saw and write them on the "PAW PATROL" chart. 
This will lead to our next activity. 

I will show a YouTube video that shows the book"What If Everybody Did That?"
I will introduce the word: consequence and we will discuss how our actions lead to either positive or negative consequences. Then students will get partnered again (different person). We will prepare for our first lunch time together by discussing the scenarios on our dialog cards. Students will talk with each other first and then we will share with the whole class. 
Students will write an anchor chart called: Lunchroom Lessons: Do's and Don'ts. 
Then we will go to the lunchroom and practice these behaviors as we eat our lunch together for the first time. 
After lunch, it is time for recess. The students will be ready to run and play!
After getting the wiggles out, we'll settle down for a read aloud. 
I'll introduce reading expectations and students will come to the floor with a discussion partner. 
I'll have my Story Souvenir Suitcase prepped with the book inside and items that relate to the story. We will talk about how good readers make predictions. Students will predict what each item has to do with the story. I'll read aloud and students will listen and make mind movies. 

We will read how Stuart was really anxious and worried to go to school. 
We'll make story connections and students will get a picture frame paper to draw a picture of themselves and how they felt coming to school on their first day.  We will save these pictures for tomorrow when we will create our first picture graph with them. While they draw, students can snack on some minimuffins....a food mentioned in this book. 

Finally, we will end the day playing a third grade math game- The Game of Three.

This is a super easy card game so it is perfect for the very first day of school  Students deal out an entire deck of cards.  Players will keep their pile face down in front of them and flip over two cards. The partners announce the two numbers and add them together.  The person with the greater sum takes all four cards which makes pile one. Play continues until one person has three winning piles. Then that round is over and they play again. I'll be walking around watching them add numbers to see what kind of addition strategies they use. 
We will end our day with our "Time to Go Home Huddle".   
This is our daily debrief. We will share our "roses" what we liked  and "thorns" what we didn't like about our first day. I'll give them a sneak peek into tomorrow. We'll make sure everyone knows how to get home and call it a day. 
Day Two is the day we start organizing materials and setting up journals. We get much more into the academics and work through our daily schedule. 

If you are interested in using any of the materials I use for Day One, head to my TPT store.
These materials are posted and are available: 

Let me know if you you want me if you are interested in the Model Me or Classroom Scavenger Hunt page and I will add them too!

How do you spend your first day of third grade?
Would love to hear!

I have since updated this post to let you all know that I have combined the Modeling Me, Classroom Scavenger Hunt and Dialog Bubbles into one file and have added it to my TPT store as a FREE set.
You can find it here:


  1. Please make the modeling me available. I would love to start with this!

  2. I would love the Model Me and Classroom Scavenger Hunt! Can you please post! Also, do you have the dialog cards for What If Everybody Did That? I don't see it in your TPT store. Love all this! Thank you!

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  4. Yes! Please post these resources. Thanks so much

  5. I would love the get the model me and discussion cards for What if everyone did that? Could you make them available in your TPT store? Thanks so much!!

  6. Hi! I have combined the Scavenger Hunt, Modeling Me and Dialog Bubbles in one file.You can now find it in my TPT store as a Free Set. Just search "First Day" in the search bar in my store to find it!

  7. Thank you! I teach third grade and these look like awesome activities!

  8. You are welcome, Emily! I hope you and your kids have a great first week of third grade!

  9. Thanks for sharing these great ideas! I came across your blog this evening and have gotten many ideas for my 3rd grade class.

  10. I am so glad to hear that Laura! Thank you for stopping by! Have a great school year!