The excitement of the first month of school is over, and it’s time to move on and plan for the second month of school. Whether teaching in kindergarten or first grade, the second month is a great time to continue teaching expectations. Kindergarten expectations and first-grade expectations are relatively similar, but I’ll give you a few ideas to implement as the new month begins. Below you will find ideas to strengthen expectations, build social skills, and create a warm community in your classroom.
Strengthen Expectations with Positive Reinforcement in the Second Month of School
One of the most important things to focus on in the classroom is providing a warm and welcoming environment for all students who enter the doors. When you set up positive reinforcement and maintain a warm atmosphere in the room, they spend their days, and positive behavior will follow.
As students enter the kindergarten or first-grade classroom, their emotions are running high. They are experiencing new things, and it can be a lot to take in. Setting kindergarten expectations (and first-grade expectations, for that matter) sets the kids up for success. If you don’t lay down that foundation, they won’t know what to do, and failure will follow.
Take a positive approach to teach those expectations. Remind students of the positive things that come from their positive actions instead of reminding them of the negative. Kids are motivated more by good things, and as a result, your classroom will flourish.
Some examples of this include telling students what they SHOULD do instead of what they SHOULDN’T do. Kids often hear the last few words of a sentence, so if you tell them to “stop running”, they just hear “running.” Instead, say, “Use walking feet,” and they will hear a more positive message.
Focus on SEL Skills and Help Students Handle Their Big Emotions
Kids of ALL ages are learning to manage and regulate their emotions. They often have big emotions that confuse them, and it’s our job as adults to help them through those tough times. One way you can keep up the positive attitude in the classroom is by being a resource for your kids when they have big emotions (both good and bad).
A resource like Scholastic’s interactive magazine Let’s Find Out offers great tools for managing social and emotional situations. It also has great activities for you to do with your students inside the classroom and out. Kindergarten and first-grade students (and kids of all ages) will love these readers.
Set up a safe space in your classroom for students to calm down if needed. Teach them how to take deep breaths when they are worked up. Sometimes, giving themselves a little squeeze or hug helps regulate their body as they start to calm down.
Keep Building Community in the Second Month of School
Building community during kindergarten month two or first grade month two is a crucial thing. Students will be using the things they learned at the beginning of the year and applying them to the rest of the year. Having a sense of community will make the kids feel safe and welcome every day when they enter the building.
You can build community through the activities you do in the classroom. These can include whole group lessons, morning meetings, group bulletin boards, class games, a welcome or goodbye song, and so much more.
Read about some amazing games and activities you can use in the classroom to boost community and get kids motivated to behave positively with one another all year long.
- Get to Know You Activities
- Team Building
- Goal Setting and Growth Mindset
- Speaking and Listening
- Encouraging Individuality
- and more!
More Ideas for Kindergarten or First Grade the Second Month of School
Try getting your kids in on the fun but designating a child or two to pass out “Caught Being Good” certificates. These holiday cards let kids know they have been caught doing something great, and it always puts a smile on their faces. Click on the image below to grab your FREE Holiday-Themed Caught Being Good Cards.
Stuck on lesson planning? Try a few Babbling Abby downloads to give you more time to focus on improving your classroom!
- The Best Halloween Activity for K-2
- Round-Up of Exciting November and Thanksgiving Activities
- Realistic Holiday Expectations for Kids