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This lesson idea organizes first day of school activities around the rules “be kind, be safe, and be your best”
K, 3, 2, 1
By Jane Peterson
I have three main rules in my classroom–
be kind, be safe, and be your best.
For each rule I read a picture book and do an activity or two to reinforce learning of the rule.
For “be kind” I choose a book that shows kindness such as The Ant and the Elephant by Bill Peet. We discuss and chart ways to be kind, then do a getting to know each other activity. (Check this site for a number of fun activities you could use here.) I also like to sing some friendship songs at this time or do some movement activity that helps build community.
For “be safe” I like Officer Buckle and Gloria. It’s a darling book about the importance of safety rules at school presented in a humorous and fun way. After reading we talk about and chart ways to be safe. For the activity I take the students on a playground tour and cover the school playground rules for safety.
The last rule is “be your best” and for this one I use, of course, the book Little Engine That Could. It’s a great discussion starter for the importance of doing our best. The activity that goes with this one is any first day assessment you need to do. For kinders or first graders, you could have them do a self-portrait. A beginning of the year writing sample would be appropriate for older students.
I’ve found that I can introduce all the important things students need to know the first day through doing these readings and activities. I can introduce my reward systems (special stickers they wear for being kind or mini stickers on a personal desktop grid for good effort or good work.) When they do the assessment I am able to introduce my management system for doing and collecting papers.
Doing all this totally fills up the first day of school and lets the children learn the three main rules easily. As part of the discussions, the students can generate more specific class rules, which will fall under one of the three main rules.
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