Categories: Uncategorized

This First Day of 2nd Grade Lesson Changed My School Year!

The beginning of the school year can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when you’re transitioning to a new grade. If you’re a 2nd-grade teacher wondering what activities to do for your first day of school 2nd grade lesson, you’re in the right place. A few years ago, I found myself in the same situation, searching for engaging and meaningful activities that would set the tone for the year ahead. In this blog post, I’ll share with you the game-changing lesson I used to start my school year and make it a memorable experience for my students.

Read Aloud and Discussion

In general, kickstart the first day of school 2nd grade lesson by reading the book aloud to my 2nd-grade students. This story emphasizes the importance of kindness, empathy, and filling each other’s buckets with positive actions and words. We have a meaningful discussion about bucket filling and what it means to be a bucket filler in our classroom.

Using Buckets

In order to bring the concept of bucket filling to life, I provide each student with a small bucket from Dollar Tree (link in the description). We discuss how a bucket gets filled with water and compare it to filling someone’s emotional bucket with kind words and actions.

Bucket Filling vs. Dipping

While we delve deeper into the discussion about bucket filling versus bucket dipping. We establish our classroom rules and expectations together, and every student signs a commitment to be bucket fillers.

Scavenger Hunt and Classroom Tour

In order to familiarize students with the classroom and reinforce procedures and bucket-filling habits, we embark on a scavenger hunt. Along the way, we discuss different areas of the classroom and how they relate to our bucket-filling mindset.

Writing Activity

After the scavenger hunt, we write about how we are going to be bucket fillers throughout the school year. Students share their ideas, aspirations, and commitments to filling each other’s buckets. I introduce bucket filling notes, which are slips of paper that students can use to write uplifting messages to their peers.

Additional Bucket-Filling Activities

Throughout the year, we incorporate bucket-filling activities in various subjects, such as reading and math. These activities reinforce the importance of kindness, empathy, and fostering a positive classroom community.

Wrapping it Up

Overall, by starting the school year with bucket-filling activities, you can set a positive tone in your 2nd-grade classroom and foster a sense of community from day one. I hope you found these first day of school 2nd grade lesson ideas helpful for planning your own memorable first day of 2nd grade. If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t forget to like and subscribe for more teaching inspiration. See you soon, teacher bestie!

Categories: Uncategorized

I taught classroom procedures wrong in Kindergarten for 3 years!

One thing they don’t teach you about being a teacher is how to teach kindergarten classroom procedures. Sure, you may have had some experience with student teaching, but unless you were there to see your mentor teacher teach procedures, you are often just guessing how to get your students to behave correctly.

Let me let you in on a secret – I was terrible at teaching classroom procedures in the beginning. In fact, I was so oblivious that I thought my students weren’t behaving rather than taking a look at how I was teaching them to do things.

It showed up as students getting out of their seats while I was teaching, playing in the bathroom, and walking in the hallways super loud and out of order. Instead of looking at my procedures, I scrolled Instagram looking for solutions. If you can relate to this, hang tight. I am going to share with you the three mistakes I made with Kindergarten classroom procedures for years, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did!

A Quick Note:

Before we get started, I want to give you a little backstory on my exposure to teaching kindergarten classroom procedures. I did my student teaching during my Master of Arts in Teaching program with an amazing mentor teacher. However, I started after she had already taught procedures, so I missed out on that crucial learning opportunity. I was left to guess how to teach procedures to my students. It wasn’t until I ran into this lovely human, Miss May, that I learned so much! Be sure to check her out – I’ll include the link in the description below. I started experimenting with classroom procedures and realized I was doing it all wrong. Here are the mistakes I realized I was making:

Not Modeling:

I wasn’t modeling what the procedures should look and sound like. I would just tell my students what to do and expect them to do it perfectly. Despite taking so many education classes on modeling and practice, I didn’t think to apply that to kindergarten classroom procedures. Then I would get frustrated with my kids when they didn’t know how to behave. No wonder! Always remember to model the procedure in Kindergarten – it makes a world of difference.

Not Providing a Visual:

After I told my students once, I would expect them to remember it. But it takes practice and a visual reminder, especially at a Kindergarten level. It’s important to visually remind them of what they should be doing. Whether it’s displaying the ABC song in the bathroom or having a raising hand sign, providing visual cues never crossed my mind. But it can make a significant impact on their understanding and compliance with procedures.

Not Reviewing:

I would tell my students once and felt like I was repeating myself a thousand times, but I never really reviewed the kindergarten classroom procedures consistently. This lack of review impacted my classroom management, and I found myself relying on incentives to get my students to do what was expected of them. I have come a long way from that, and I’ve learned to do better. However, I wish I had known all of this earlier, but I simply hadn’t seen it done.


Those were the three top mistakes I made teaching Kindergarten procedures. If you found this blog post valuable, be sure to like and subscribe because later this week, I will be sharing the right way to teach classroom procedures. Stay tuned for more helpful tips! See you soon, teacher bestie!


Helena <3

The Present Teacher

P.S. Do you have more questions about teaching at the elementary level? Check out the Ultimate Teacher Elementary Answer Guide where I share my answers to the top 10 questions I get asked about teaching elementary.

Categories: First Year Teacher

This First Day of Kindergarten Lesson Changed my School Year

You have your kindergarten classroom setup, but now you’re thinking:

  •  “Now what?”
  • What do I teach? What activities do I do?”
  • “What procedures should I teach? How should I teach them?”

 I know it’s a lot, but not to worry! Today, I am going to share with you the first day of kindergarten lessons that changed my school year. After teaching Kindergarten for 3 years, I’ll show you what works so you don’t have to learn the hard way, like I did. Let’s get to it!

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    Themed Days:

    Themed days are a fantastic way to engage children and bring books to life. One of my favorite themed days for the first day of school is centered around the amazing book, “The Kissing Hand.” This heartwarming story is perfect for comforting students who may be scared or nervous about starting their first day of school. Let me show you how you can create an unforgettable first day experience with “The Kissing Hand.”

    Reading “The Kissing Hand”:

    On the first day, after breakfast and introducing myself, I gather the students on the carpet and read “The Kissing Hand.” This amazing story helps calm their nerves and reassures them that they are loved and cared for. It sets a positive and comforting tone for the rest of the day.

    Heart Sticker Activity:

    After reading the book, I give each student a heart sticker to put on their hand. This small gesture symbolizes the love and support they have from their families and teachers. It becomes a visual reminder throughout the day that they are safe and cherished in the classroom. Most of all, it helps them build confidence as they move about the school day!

    Scavenger Hunt:

    To further engage the students and reinforce the themes of “The Kissing Hand,” I organize a scavenger hunt related to the story. It allows the children to explore the classroom and discover hidden clues that connect to the book. This interactive activity not only makes the day exciting but also helps them feel a sense of belonging in their new environment.

    You can download the Scavenger Hunt for FREE by clicking here. 

    Teaching Rules and Procedures:

    Establishing rules and procedures on the first day is essential. I keep it concise, focusing on no more than 5 important rules. During the scavenger hunt, I hide the clues around the classroom and the school. I take the students on a tour of the school, highlighting important areas and explaining procedures. During the tour, we review our numbers or letters as we search for all of the Scavenger Hunt clues. 

    Kaboom! Game:

    Adding an element of excitement, I introduce a Kaboom! Game, which reinforces number and letter recognition in a thrilling way. This game not only captures the students’ attention but also allows me to teach procedures while assessing their learning progress.


    As the day comes to a close, I like to wrap up with a writing activity that ties back to “The Kissing Hand.” I provide a link to a writing resource that you can use to encourage students to express themselves and reflect on their first day experiences. These engaging activities not only make learning enjoyable but also provide an opportunity to teach procedures effectively.

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      I hope you found this blog post helpful in preparing for your first day of kindergarten. By confidently implementing this lesson centered around “The Kissing Hand,” you can ensure that your students have a positive and engaging start to their school year. I

      As always, remember, “We are stronger together!”

      I’ll catch you next time, teacher bestie! 


      Helena <3


      The Present Teacher