Mr. Greg Smedley-Warren
Yellow buses are about to hit our city streets. The windows at Target and Walmart display Back-to-School specials from top to bottom. And the calendar says August. It means only one thing. It’s time for the ’22 -’23 school year to commence.
With so much to prepare and so many activities to do, where can a teacher go for ideas? ThinkFives turned to the Kindergarten Smorgasboard and Mr. Greg Smedley-Warren. Mr. Greg recently posted a series of blogs with great ideas for planning and first-month activities for students.
ThinkFives is happy to share Mr. Greg’s Top 5 with links to his site to learn more.
Create a Back-To-School Welcome Package
I used to create a package of documents to go home on Meet The Teacher Night or the first day of school. In 2020, when we learned we were starting the year virtually, I wanted to connect with my students and families immediately because of the challenges I knew were coming. I decided to mail a welcome packet, including photographs, so they had as much information, and a way to contact me, as soon as possible.
This really made an impact because we had formed relationships before the year started! The photographs were included because I wanted the kids to know my face before we had to pop on a screen together. I included a photograph of my family so they could get to know all of me! Now, this packet is mailed home each summer before school starts.
See examples of the documents Mr. Greg shares.
Create a Back-to-School Bulletin Board
Bulletin Boards aren’t something I use very often in my classroom. For one, we have some very small boards in our classroom and those are used for student work, our Instagram picture board, and our required focus wall.
But when Fadeless Paper reached out and asked if I would like to use their materials to create some boards, of course, I said yes because I love to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. I was able to easily create a board. My idea was to draw a jar and fill it with compliments and positive moments from our school! Think of a candy jar that we keep full in our classrooms so people know they can stop by and get chocolate.
When our staff sees something positive in our school, whether teachers, staff, or students, they add that moment to the jar. We want the jar to be full of positive moments from our school. And if the jar gets full, we will empty it and fill it again!
Learn how to create this board
Try Comprehension Activities
The beginning of the school year is a great time to start working on reading comprehension by using those emotions and focusing on making connections to the text. It’s also a great time to use inclusive text that reflects our students, their families, and their communities. Keep reading to see what texts we use for the first few weeks of school and the comprehension lessons we teach using those texts!
This year, we changed our first read-aloud to The King Of Kindergarten. This book is great for making connections and comparisons to our first day of school. The students can talk about emotions and feelings about starting school.
The students also draw a picture of themselves on the first day of school! Our Read It Up creation includes a page for Kings and Queens!
Learn more about this activity
Buy Your Read Alouds
Today I’m sharing my favorite back-to-school read-alouds because, well people, it’s that time of year. It’s a perfect time of the year to stock up on these books.
I continue to add new books that will be used in our classroom this year and beyond. It’s also important to continue to increase the diversity of our classroom library. We are also including books that will open up conversations about topics such as race, racism, gender, and more. Any book that encourages us to be ourself and to accept others is a must-have!
See Mr. Greg’s recommended Read Alouds
Plan Your Arrival Procedures
I get asked a lot of questions about classroom management and what I do to keep my classroom running smoothly. One thing that I’ve done for years and one thing I find works incredibly well is our morning arrival procedure. You see, our kids need structure, they need choice and they need to be successful.
For many of our kids, they don’t have those at home so we need to make sure they’re getting that boost first thing in the morning. I am a huge believer in starting the day right and the impact it can have on our entire day! I want my kids to start the day happy, energized, and successful! So we have loud music and dancing and talking and fun! Yep. Fun. Yep, we sing and dance as we prepare for the day. And that is OK! We’re getting pumped up for the day ahead!
Learn more about Mr. Greg’s Morning Arrival Procedures
What Back-To-School Activities Do You Recommend?
What is the The Kindergarten Smorgasboard?
Kindergarten teacher “Mr. Greg” inspires teachers from around the world with his engaging lessons and techniques through his blog at thekindergartensmorgasboard.com. Even with over 11 million views of his blog, over 300k followers on Facebook and speaking engagements at conferences, he still manages to teach full time, engaging and challenging his Kindergarten students. Jason, known as “The Mister,” handles all things behind the scenes at The Kindergarten Smorgasboard, spreading Mr. Greg’s teaching style, resources, strategies, techniques, and tips & tricks far and wide.