The first day of school can be a roller coaster of emotions for both you and your students. Your students are still learning how to socialize and being surrounded by a new group of people that they may not know can be exciting and a bit scary. On your end, planning that first week and getting everyone settled in and comfortable in the classroom can be challenging, to say the least. If you are having trouble drumming up fun lesson plans for your 2nd-grade students, here are a few writing-related 2nd grade lesson plans for the first week of school.
Kick The Year Off With These 2nd Grade Lesson Plans for the First Week of School
1. Get to know me throughout the week!
This lesson plan was inspired by the classic, “Tell me three things about yourself.” icebreaker but instead of just saying three things aloud on the first day, your students will write down one thing about themselves every day during the first week of school.
We suggest encouraging your students to try and tell you something about themselves that is a little different than the typical, “I like animals.” Instead, have them write about what their favorite animal is and why they like that animal. Since your students are just starting 2nd grade, it may still be difficult for some of them to form full sentences, but they can definitely use single words and short phrases to describe themselves.
This activity is great for making new friends as your students may find someone they didn’t know before who has similar interests and experiences that they can bond over.
2. Tell me about something you struggled with last year (learning letters, writing, addition) How did you get better at that thing?
This new year will be full of changes and it is important to introduce the concept of self-reflection to your young students so they can begin to assess those changes and how they handle them. A great way to do this is to have them look back on their kindergarten year and think about the challenges they overcame.
Self-reflection has a number of benefits, but looking at how you overcame an obstacle is extremely vital because you can take the experience with you into the future and remember that you absolutely can accomplish something - even when things get tough.
Writing is important in self-reflection because instead of just looking back on the situation within your own mind, the thoughts are down on paper and can be looked back on to help further personal growth.
Start this lesson by reading your students a short story or two about overcoming challenges- there are tons out there and you may already have some favorites on your bookshelf, but a couple of good ones are:
- The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
- Brave Irene by William Steig
- The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
- Flight School by Lita Judge
Once your students have an understanding of how overcoming challenges relates to literature and how the main characters feel after their journey, have them begin to think about things that they felt were difficult last year and how those things became less difficult.
Have your students divide a piece of notebook paper in half and write down something they found difficult in kindergarten or first grade. On the other side of the page, have them write down the steps they took to become better at that particular thing.
3. What is something you want to become really good at this year? Tell me how you will accomplish that goal.
This activity is similar to the one above but focuses more on goal setting -something we LOVE to talk about here on our blog. Laying the foundation of goal setting is important to do with your young students as it is a tool that will serve them well throughout the rest of their academic career and beyond. A good way to introduce goals to your 2nd graders is giving them an easy to remember acronym: SMART.
Specific: Tell me exactly what you want to do
Measurable: How will you know you have achieved your goal?
Action Plan: Can you attain this goal in a year? What steps do you need to take to succeed?
Realistic: Is it something that you can make a reality in a year?
Timely: What is the deadline for reaching this goal?
Have your students use this acronym to create a plan to reach their goals for the year. It is also important to let students know that if they don’t reach their goals during the school year, that is okay and they should continue to work towards achieving what they set out to do.
It may seem like a year to a 2nd grader is an eternity, but you can have them remember their goals by writing them on a slip of construction paper and taping them to their desks so they look at them every day.
4. Tell me about something you helped a loved one with. How did you feel after you finished helping them?
This writing activity goes hand-in-hand with the lesson that helping others out is important and makes you a better person. Let’s be honest, 2nd graders aren’t always the most selfless and the things they help out with like cleaning their rooms, drying the dishes or pulling weeds are usually done with an air of resentment - not all of the time, but often this is the case.
It is important to remind your young students that helping someone out can be very rewarding and having them think back to a time they felt they truly made a difference in someone’s day can help achieve that.
Have your students use this informative writing worksheet to organize the story of how they helped out. The facts in their writing could be what the problem was, how they helped with the problem, and what happened after the problem got solved and close with how they felt after helping. For example:
Fact 1: My grandma needed the dishes put away and can’t bend over.
Fact 2: I can bend over so I handed her the dishes to put away.
Fact 3: The dishes got put away.
Closing: I felt happy after helping my grandma put away the dishes.
5. Tell me three reasons why you think school is important
Understanding the bigger picture as to why your students are in school will help them perform better throughout the year and the lesson will hopefully stick with them throughout the rest of their academic career.
This writing activity is a great opportunity to introduce brainstorming to your students. They may have never thought about why school is important in the past and can work together to come up with reasons why it is important. Since your students are so young, we suggest doing the brainstorming as a class to keep things on track and organized.
To help your students keep track of their ideas during the class brainstorm, write their ideas up on the board and have them put their favorite ones on this brainstorming worksheet so they have something to reference when they start writing.
The first week of school is the perfect time for you and your students to get to know one another and teach them important lessons that will help guide them through the rest of their lives.