Social Studies Activities for Kindergarten or First Grade

Planning a fun and engaging social studies lesson for kindergarten or first grade doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. Finding the right resources that are fun for your students, low prep, and easy for teachers can be a game changer. 

That is why I created this year long social studies curriculum bundle to help make your life a little easier. It can be used in school or at home for distance learning. It is made up of four nine week long units to engage and excite your students to learn more about social studies. 

Here are the subjects included in the social studies curriculum bundle

American History: In this unit, you can set up the lesson plan activities as an American History Journal or hand them out individually. This unit covers past, present, holidays, presidents, American symbols, and more. 

Geography: This unit includes a fun Geography Journal. Some of the lessons included cover positional words, personal information, landforms, bodies of water, and cardinal directions. An interactive notebook is included along with a write the room activity where students can label the classroom using cardinal directions. 

Civics and Government: This 9 week lesson plan includes a Civics and Government Journal and interactive notebook pages for each day of the week. Topics cover primary source, chronology, citizenship, rules, laws, conflict, and fair decisions. 

Community Helpers: This unit includes detailed plans for nine weeks. You’ll get a Community Helpers Journal, interactive notebook pages, 12 posters, songs, crafts, and more. Activities to keep your students interested include cut and label poems, hat or headband crafts, and handprint gifts. It even includes an invitation for parents to be guest speakers in class!

Bonus Content

Along with a full year of social studies curriculum for kindergarten and first grade, you also get some bonus content too. These bonuses are designed to supplement your lessons and increase student success.

Money: One week plan for teaching students all about money. Includes a Money Journal, lesson plans, posters, and a rubric. 

Needs & Wants: A one week plan to teach your students about the difference between needs and wants. Included are posters, interactive notebook pages, and a Needs and Wants Journal. 

This year’s long social studies bundle was designed to take the stress out of lesson planning for you. Check it out here! 

What are your favorite ways for engaging students during their social studies lessons? Let me know in the comments below!

social studies activities

 

Check out some first day of school icebreaker ideas here! 

 

 

First Day Of School Activities

The first day of school is exciting for both teachers and students. The anticipation of starting a brand new school year is so fun but let’s admit it, it can be a little nerve-racking sometimes! It can feel like planning for a huge event for a room full of elementary aged kids. It is so important to make a good impression on your students and get started off on the right foot, so you want to plan it out just right. You want your students to really get to know you and your personality so they can trust you and enjoy learning in your class. However, you also want to establish rules and guidelines so your expectations are clear. Laying it all out at the beginning will set you all up for success from the very start. 

 

Your perfect first day of school should include a couple of crucial components.

 

  •  Start the day by introducing yourself and getting to know your students. You can try a fun ice breaker game or activity to help get your students relaxed and comfortable. It can be hard for some students to come to school on the first day in an environment that they are not familiar with. Get to know you activities will help them feel comfortable in their new classroom. 
  • Explain your rules and expectations clearly. It is so important for students to know what is expected of them, what is acceptable behavior in class, and what isn’t. Come up with a way that you will reinforce good classroom behavior and what methods you will use when there is misbehavior. 
  • Share a schedule. It helps students to know what to expect each day. Establishing a routine can help greatly increase their comfort and confidence level. 
  • Create a classroom community. Helping your students feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in your classroom will be so important to their success. Along with helping them academically, it can also help them when it comes to developing their social skills and making new friends. 

 

To help you make a good first impression on your students and make the first day of school a memorable one, I created this fun back to school resource that is perfect for kindergarten teachers.

 

I included a FULL day of detailed lesson plans with printables, links, editable plans, suggested plans, ideas and activities to make prepping as easy as possible. 

First day

 

What do you do to make your first day of school special for your students? Let me know in the comments!

Want more information on getting ready for kindergarten? Click here!

 

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Learning to read is a huge accomplishment for students. Going from needing help with books to being able to read it by themselves is a big deal! Sometimes, however, actually comprehending what they are reading can be a little more challenging. 

It is important to know how to read, but it is even more important for them to understand what they are reading. It is not only an absolutely necessary  life skill, but it can open up a whole new world and encourage a love of reading. 

Here are some strategies that you can use to help your students achieve reading comprehension and fluency. 

  • Find books your students will love. Finding the right book can make all the difference when students are learning to read. Books that they will enjoy will inspire them to put in the work and understand the words they are reading. 
  • Read aloud. Encouraging students to read out loud can get them plenty of practice reading and it can also help you identify where they might be struggling. 
  • Use metacognitive strategies. These can be great for increasing reading comprehension. For instance, pausing while reading aloud to ask the student to vocalize their thoughts can help them to understand what they are trying to comprehend. 
  • Reread sections that are confusing. Making sure to revisit difficult sections until they understand is important. It can help better identify where they are struggling and work together to understand. 
  • Use a ruler or finger to follow along. Helping students stay on track while reading can help them follow along with the story and decrease the risk of confusion. 
  • Write down words you don’t know. Writing it down and working on it will help them better remember it in the future. 
  • Discuss what the child has just read. Having a discussion can help the student think through what they just read and also help you point out areas they might be struggling in. 
  • Recap and summarize the main points. This will be great practice for students working on their comprehension. 
  • Reading passages and answering questions. Find some fun and engaging reading comprehension activities for your students to practice with. 

Great news, I created some fun activities to help with this!

These reading comprehension activities are perfect for helping students get more practice and achieve fluency. They are set up through Google Classroom so they are distance learning friendly. These include written instructions, listening options, drag to complete the sentence activities, word families, and 20 reading comprehension passages and questions. 

This option is perfect for Kindergarten and 1st grade. 

This option is perfect for 1st and 2nd grade.

 

Reading Comprehension Activities

 

Want more information on reading comprehension? Check out my post here to learn more about my strategies. 

 

Do you have any strategies for helping your students with reading comprehension? I would love to hear in the comments!

 

Classroom Themes and Transformations the Students Will LOVE

Pick a theme or color scheme that you will love all year!

Themed Classroom Decor

Camping Reading Area
Nicole Woody’s Camping Reading Area

Picking a theme that not only you love, but inspires your students to learn is one of the most important decisions for a teacher! Your classroom decor sets the tone for your students all year. Teacher’s want it to be warm, inviting, and materials to be easily accessible to the students. Keep your theme calm, yet fun. Nicole Woody’s camping reading area is warm and inviting! What student wouldn’t want to curl up with a good book in a tent next to a camp fire?

Create a STEM Area

If you love a particular subject, make sure you incorporate your favorite subjects in a way to make you feel happy and inspired. Not only will you walk in to your classroom with an instant feeling of happiness, your students will see your passion and follow suit! Check out Lisa Taylor’s STEM area for ideas in your classroom. She also creates amazing STEM products in her TpT store! It is bright, happy and screams “MAKE SOMETHING GREAT” with the way she organizes using accessible bins with various items. This also makes clean up a snap for students to easily put materials away.

Imagination

Amazing Classroom Decor
The Fairy Tale Teacher – Kirstian Bryant

Check out The Fairy Tale Teacher’s classroom where imagination meets blooms of color to engage her students and set a happy tone to the school day! Using your imagination to design your room is a great way to model for your students how they should use their imagination. Not sure what theme to pick? Consider leaving the room a blank canvas and let the students choose a theme and maybe even a class name. You can invite the students help create the decorations or help write a grant to obtain materials they want for their room.

Flexible Seating Board

Rikki Heyman
@MissHeymaninThird
Objectives in the Classroom

Rikki Heyman
@MissHeymaninThird

Bulletin Boards are the best way to spruce up a classroom! Rikki Heyman has utilized hers to make a “Smart Spot” and another to place her learning objectives, so students can clearly see the targets they should be aiming for during lessons. She said, “Creating a learning environment is a lot of work, but well worth the community I get to share it with…” Do you have a spot in your classroom for placing learning objectives? Her “Smart Spot” board is used for students to be able to locate flexible seating choices. What child wouldn’t want to be in this class?

Add Some Color

Michael Behrens

Michael Behrens

Sometimes all you need is some great colors to brighten up the walls of a dull classroom! I love the way this room utilizes colorful pompoms, blue hanging paper lanterns, various forms of lighting, and the cute chalkboard table stands. Adding pennants and lanterns are fantastic ways to transform a classroom into a positive environment for learning.

Don’t forget about your doors. They are the first thing your students will look at in the morning! Either decorate your door, or for younger students, have a choice for them to pick for a MORNING GREETING (Grab the freebie!) or GOOD BYE. If you don’t have time to greet the students in the morning, let that be a student’s job. It can change the mood of a student who had a rough start at home.

Travel the World

Tropical Classroom Decor
Teacher’s Brain -Cindy Martin Tropical Themed Classroom

Want to bring Hawaii with you into the classroom for the year? Use this tropical themed classroom decor set that includes watercolors and real photos of Hawaii. Decorate some palm trees for holidays. Create a warm environment by using bamboo, beach colors and tropical decor in your classroom. Students can relax in beach chairs in the reading nook.

Colors make a Difference

Paint Cans as Table Markers and Pencil Holders
Paint Cans as Table Markers and Pencil Holders
Paint Cans as Pencil Holders
Paint Cans as Pencil Holders

Find you local home improvement store to find paint color sample strips. This will help you pick some colors that really go together, if you want to transform you classroom without having a particular themed room. You can find empty new paint cans there also. Use the paint cans as pencil holders, flower pots, spray on some chalk paint to easily use chalk to write table numbers, and use the lids for students to practice tracing circles. You can spray the lids with the same black chalk paint, add a magnet to the back and write your class schedule on the lids. So many possibilities! Whatever you decide, make it feel like your second home, because that is really what your classroom is to you and your students.

$1000 Teacher Giveaway

The MEGA Labor Day Giveaway is here! We have teamed up with some AMAZING TpT authors to bring you 5 SHOPPING SPREES just for TEACHERS! We KNOW your job is a LABOR of LOVE  and want to THANK YOU for your dedication to your students!

We will raffle off:
 5 $200 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Cards ($1000 in TpT gift cards)

Enter the raffle here: http://gvwy.io/ycgbefy

Refer your teacher friends to increase your chances to win daily! Raffle Ends at 11:59 PM EST on 9/7/18. The lucky winners will be announced by 9/9/18. #LABORDAYLOVE

💚 Good Luck to you and all your Teacher Friends!

You must be a teacher to win and provide proof by providing your school name and grade level within 48 hours after contacted or a new random winner will be selected. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Teachers Pay Teachers. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this page and not to Facebook or Teachers Pay Teachers. No Purchase Required.

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Primary Teacher Challenge

Do you like free resources?  Do you love to see what other teachers are doing in their classroom, but can’t because you are busy teaching?  Well, I have something fun for you! Go check out my Facebook Page.  Pinned at the top is the video (same video as below) of me explaining how to win free resources by simply sharing one of your fantastic lessons with the rest of us by snapping a quick picture and adding it to comment section with a sentence.  Go check it out to discover the criteria I’m looking for, and hopefully see some other teacher’s lessons for inspiration.  I can’t wait to see what you all are doing with the kiddos!

Surviving the School Year

My job is to help make planning a SNAP!

I know a lot of you have been busy with hurricane clean up, fires, flooding, and more.  It has been a crazy start to the school year for a lot of you.  I personally just finished cleaning up from Irma. Now is the time to show students how we bounce back quickly from disasters and/or help others in need who were less fortunate.  To help you with your year, I have a few resources I made free for a limited time, and a SURVIVAL KIT for KINDERGARTEN teachers for  a super low price to help your year run smooth. BE SURE to scroll down to get the FREEBIES.

If you want to know when products are 1/2 off, please follow my store by clicking the green follow button found HERE. 

Free Happy Birthday Hat

What kid doesn’t want to feel special on their birthday?  Treat them with this birthday hat. (Free for 48 Hours)

One last thing…

This is good for any teacher who is having trouble with tattling in their classroom.  The best part is that I made it FREE for 48 hours.  Hurry and get yours, so your year with be smooth with teaching students the difference between tattling and telling! #lifesaver

NEW RESOURCES to check out:
Author’s Purpose FLIP BOOK
OCTOBER Writing Prompts (JOURNAL)
Constitution Day Flip Book/Activity
3 Week Lesson Plans – ENERGY K-1

3 Week Lesson Plans – What is a Scientist, The Scientific Method, Science TOOLS K-1
Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions Assessment – YEARLONG K-3

 

Happy to help.

If you need help, have a request, or find any errors in products you have purchased, I am here for you!  Unlike big textbook publishers, I can tailor products to meet your needs in most cases. Contact me at cindy@teachersbrain.com

 

Kindergarten Teachers Ready

I’ve taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade and 3rd grade in my 20 years of teaching.  The most rewarding, yet CHALLENGING grade level in my opinion, is Kindergarten.  You know you are a kindergarten teacher if you can’t pass up the $ bins at Target, find yourself in love with the Dollar General, answer to “Teacher, Teacher!” or if you are unfazed by people tapping you in inappropriate places to get your attention.  Great kindergarten teachers also know how precious time is when it comes to teaching students the rigorous requirements needed in today’s classrooms.  We have to be flexible to be there when they have accidents, need help tying a shoe or having that unexpected meeting with a parent who didn’t read the newsletter.  Kindergarten teachers have to multitask.  So with that in mind, I decided to bundle ten of my MUST HAVE Back to School Resources into one cheap bundle to help my kindersisters (or kinderbros) out.

Check it out!

I picked 10 of my BEST resources for getting started BACK TO SCHOOL in Kindergarten! Some of these I swear, I could not survive without the past couple of years. This will save you TIME and MONEY!!!! Thank you for being a kindergarten teacher! You are the foundation of the future!

What will YOU get in this ZIP Download?

541 PAGES of MUST HAVES…

YEARLONG Morning Work for Kindergarten with Sight Word Practice

Vocabulary Kindergarten – 3rd YEARLONG Reading Blocks Program

Kindergarten HOMEWORK for the YEAR

Mini Me OPEN HOUSE CRAFTivity for BOYS and GIRLS

TOOL KIT for the Beginning of the YEAR (name tags, sign in sheets, passes and more)

Word Wall Printables – Laminate and use with Dry Erase Markers

Numbers and Cardinality with Numbers 1-10

Campus SCAVENGER HUNT

The Kissing Hand HOME CONNECTION Project

Rules for the CLASSROOM Posters and Behavior Contract

LOOK AT EACH LINK to see more details of what you will get!

I want to help you feel FREE in your FREE time!

Woman, Happiness, Sunrise, Silhouette, Dress, Beach

 

Back To School NEW Kindergarten Teacher SURVIVAL PACK

 

Mastering Sight Words

Previously, when I taught kindergarten, 34 sight words were standard for students to master before they went into first grade.  So when the standard went from 34 to 86, I was stressed about how to teach these words to kids who continue to struggle with retention and application.  Sight words are important to being successful at reading.  The goal put a lot of pressure of me to find new ways to help my students learn these words.   Here are some strategies I tried successfully.  I put 5 to 10 sight words on the class Word Wall each week.  Students learned how to use them in sentences, practiced writing with them and are encouraged to use the Word Wall Words during all writing activities.  The most effective way I found to get them to remember sight words is to make the activities fun.  During centers, students use paint dabbers to create sight words, play sight word games and sing sight word songs found on You Tube.  The Sight Word Necklace has been a huge hit with motivating students to learn the words in class and at home.  Start the students sight-word-necklace-coverout with a few words on their necklace.  By the next week see what they know.  If they know it, they keep it.  If not, the word goes off the necklace and home for practice with the parents.  For every 20 they master, they get a special card that rewards them with a treasure box treat in our room (you can use anything… a certificate, a hug).  When they reach all the words they get to eat lunch with the teacher and a friend.  Another game they like is the Fly Swatter Game.  Two groups of students a picked, the teacher calls out a word and whoever swats the word on the word wall first get a point for the team.

You can get the Sight Word Necklace printable for ONLY $1.00 for 24 hours.  A group of teacher authors are also having a hashtag sale #2017DollarDeals .  Just type it into the Teachers Pay Teachers search box to find the deals.  Happy New YEAR!

flash-sale

Counting and Cardinality in Kindergarten

Primary students learn when best using all their senses.  I always like to provide a hook for each math lesson.  The hook can be a simple two minute video, a short puppet show, a physical object that connects the learner to the lesson and much more.  Then, I like to get them moving before they have to sit and do an activity.  Counting jumping jacks or hops supports the skill of counting while getting their blood pumping.  In kindergarten, it is so important for students to have a strong foundation of numbers in order to prepare them for many life skills and their school future.  Here are some fun and cute printables to help guide your students to understanding counting and cardinality.numbers-1-10-chicken-egg-square

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