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First Week of 2nd Grade Activities and Ideas

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Your first week of school sets the tone for the year! These are some of the activities we did in our first week of 2nd grade!



First week of 2nd grade activities- love all these first week of school reading and math ideas! TheAppliciousTeacher.com #backtoschool #2ndgrade #firstweekofschool

There’s nothing wrong with posting about your first week back halfway through your third week, right? I mean every afternoon I get home I basically look like this….

First day of school tired

Even though I am on like day 12 with my kids… not the first…

But man these kiddlettes keep me on my toes! Ok… so let’s talk the first week of school! I’m don’t know about you, but I like to keep the first week of school all about procedures and building a classroom community. That doesn’t mean we don’t dabble in academics, we just keep the academics simple so that we can focus on how to be a second grader instead of actually being a second grader. If that makes sense… 

first week of 2nd grade lesson plan ideas and activities- theappliciousteacher.con #firstweekofschool #backtoschool #2ndgrade

First Week of 2nd Grade: ELA

One of my favorite stories to read the first week back is “First Day Jitters”


First Day Jitters Activity

If you’re not familiar with this story, I HIGHLY suggest you check it out! The surprise at the end always gets loads of giggles! (Grab more activities and ideas for this book here!)

After reading (and making a prediction as to who is nervous and worried about their first day of school) the students wrote about how they felt coming to school that day. We made this our first entry in our Reading Response Journals


First Day Jitters Response


I love walking around and seeing how students feel! It is also a perfect insight as to where students are in their writing development.Then, I gave each student a sticky note. They used the sticky note to graph their feelings on our “First Day Feelings” interactive anchor chart.



First Day Feelings Chart- great math extension for the first day of school using First Day Jitters


Although I forgot to snap a picture of our FULL chart ( I was hustlin’ folks!) , it turned out that most of my students were EXCITED about their first day back! This chart is part of my First Week of School Chart Pack FREEBIE. Once students finished their entries and shared it with a buddy, I passed out a cover for our notebooks and gave them a few minutes to color it.

 Reading Response Journal Cover

You can grab our RRJ cover here!


Later that week, we started to dive into a “little” more academics. It was time to review story structure! We read a story from our Treasures Reading Series, “David’s New Friend”. (Not my favorite BTS story, but it gets the job done.) On Weds, I read the story to the students while they followed along in the book. We worked to review what reading and listening look and sound like (reading finger following along, eyes in book or on teacher, ears listening)

Then next day, we read the story as a class. This time, we were ready to work on a graphic organizer for our read aloud. After reading a story, we worked together to identify the characters and the setting of the story.



Story Map Interactive anchor chart


We documented this information on our “Story Map” interactive anchor chart.

Then, it was time to ID the problem and solution presented. I passed out blue and yell


ow stickies and the students went back to the text to find the problem our character (David) had in the beginning of the story.


identifying problem and solution

Problems on blue and solutions on yellow.


problem and solution activity
As they found their problem and solutions, they placed the sticky notes on our chart.


Story Map with problem and solution


Once everyone placed their stickies, we reviewed each other’s answers and confirmed that they were actually a problem and solution presented in the story and that our answers made sense.  If our answers weren’t *quite* right, I sent students back to fix it up. I am a HUGE fan of interactive anchor charts (if you can’t tell!) I love that they make sure every student is accountable for their learning and that students are part of the process in creating reference material for our classroom.

In writing, we had to share about our summer vacation fun! We read the story, “How I Spent my Summer Vacation” as a launching point for our stories.

Activities for "How I Spent My Summer Vacation"

Such a fun tale! The kids LOVE deciding if the story he actual wrote for his teacher is true or not! If you don’t have access to this book, there’s this cute read aloud on YouTube.

Then we discussed what we had a chance to do over the summer. We used this cute little bird craft from A


my Lemons to publish our stories.



Later in the week, the students shared their adventures in triangle groups and practiced using the “2 Stars and a Wish” routine for their stories.



If you’re not familiar with this routine, after a student shares, the other students offer 2 items they lik


ed or found interesting about what the student had written about (2 stars) and then ask a question about what was written.


Eventually, students will offer a suggestion on making the piece better (1 wish)

These brightly colored birds made a perfect display for our outside wall!


UPDATE! Amy removed this freebie from her blog! So sorry! But I have this perfect for back to school writing craft in my store you can snag!


back to school summer writing

Now let’s move on to…

First Week of 2nd Grade: Math

Do you have any “must do” activities for the first week of school? Our MUST DO activity for math is our “How we Go Home” Chart


Seriously guys… this thing has saved me from confusion and frustration through the years! To begin our discussion on how we get home at the end of the day, I love to read the book, “This is the Way We Go to School”.


Here’s another video reading of that book!
It’s the perfect discussion starter for how we’re getting home that day.

After reading the story, I have students think about how they got to school and how they are getting home. Then, each student gets a transportation cut out to represent their mode of transportation.


I spot check what students tell me against what their parents had communicated to me on my “Sign in” sheet at Meet the Teacher. (You can read all about that here!)

If there is any discrepancies, or if a student is unsure, I am able to contact the parent or guardian BEFORE the end of school. This saves so much of my sanity at the end of the day! #LIFESAVER!

This is the week we also started our Math Interactive Student Notebooks.


This “Numbers About Me” activity was the perfect first entry in our notebooks.


You can grab this activity here in my “Back to School Math Activities” Pack.

Once students were done, we shared one cool fact about ourselves in our table teams. As students sh


ared, I walked around and spot checked number formation, spelling, and reversals. Very easily I was able to see who was still developing in their math writing skills and who was still reversing letters. #twobirdsonestone

Towards the end of the week, I wanted my students to get in some more practice with working in partners. We do so many activities in our room with a buddy, I really want to build those cooperation skills early on in the year.

In math, we’ve been learning about basic fact strategies. One of the games we played was SUPER easy and simple!


To play, each set of students received a pair of red and green number cubes. Students took turns rolling the dice. Then they used the two digits to create a number sentence and solve the basic facts problem. Originally, I have students just play orally with no recording, but through our math instruction that week, I noticed we needed some extra practice with writing number sentences. A lined sheet of paper was perfect.

WHEW! That was just a little peek at our first week back. Now it’s time for this tired teacher to go to B.E.D! 

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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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