They’re finally here! My brand new class of second graders! I’ve been waiting…. and waiting…and WAITING for them to arrive! And they finally did! Here’s a little recap of all of our first day of school activities and how you can use You’re Finally Here! for best first week of school ever!
We read the MOST precious and perfect first day book, You’re Finally Here! by Melanie Watt, author of the lovable little Scaredy Squirrel. This little bunny of a book character is waiting and waiting for his readers to arrive. I convinced my class that, I too, I’ve been waiting… and waiting…. and WAITING for them to arrive!
We’ll use this book all week for my shiny new students to explain what took them so long to get to my class, to get to know each other, to get up and get moving, play games, give opinions, do some writing, and of course, have fun!
On meet the teacher night, as my new 2nd graders approached our classroom, they were greeted with this….
Every single child asked when we could read the book! (Mission accomplished!) I’ve recently made an adorable You’re Finally Here! read aloud video on YouTube to show your class if you don’t have the book, are teaching remotely, or just want to let students read it again!
I made a big fuss over how LONG I’d been waiting and how happy I was that they were finally here! I have to admit they had some pretty good reasons to keep me waiting!
As a getting to know you activity, my new friends turned to a neighbor and explained what took them so long to get to my class. Next they wrote about all the things they had to do before they could come to second grade.
Later that day, we talked about times they’ve had to wait. We talked about times in school they might have to wait, like waiting their waiting in line, or waiting for a friend at recess.
Students can also use the digital version on Google Slides or preloaded into Seesaw, for distance learning or to use as a partner activity on devices in the classroom.
Book activities source
Before dismissal we wrote about our day.
I wanted to check on everybody and give them an outlet to express their relief or concerns, and to generally get a sense of how my students were doing. I make a copy of these to save as a beginning of the year writing sample. Doing so gives me a writing baseline I can use to determine growth.
This digital version for distance learning or working on devices in the classroom, is another way to check on students socially and emotionally.
Book activities source
The next day, we talked about all the things my students wanted to learn and do now that they were in second grade.
We made this character craft and wrote some of our goals for the new school year.
My class had a lot of fun with those eyebrows! We had a whole conversation about placing the eyebrows to show different emotions.
I used our bulletin board as a backdrop to take first day pictures then later in the week to display our writing. The digital version, included in the unit, is an easy way to take a picture of each student and send it to their parents.
First Day Photos Source
On Wednesday, we got out our brand new writing journals! Our new friend the book character bunny scolded us and said how unfair it was for his readers to keep him waiting. “As unfair as having to go to bed when you’re not tired!” So to introduce our journal routine, I gave each student this prompt. Students wrote about a new one each day for the following week so students could practice our journal routine.
On Thursday, we got up and got moving with a How Long? hop. I love all of the references to time in the book, and I make sure to capitalize on that each year. I designed a lot of our activities to reference time and transition which is one of the themes of the book. Students worked with partners to roam the room and answer some time related questions on task cards.
How long does it take to brush your teeth?
How long does it take to find a needle in a haystack? Students can also play the game digitally.
On Friday, after a fun and full first week, I hung our book character crafts and sent everyone home with these keepsake cards!
You can see last year’s You’re Finally Here! fun with even more activities and additional bulletin board ideas!
A Note About the Book:
(July 2021) UPDATE: Recently, the Canadian publisher of You’re Finally Here did not renew the U.S. licensing agreement with Scholastic, so US bookstores and Amazon can no longer carry it. Do they not know how wildly popular this book is for the first day of school? What is happening now on Amazon is that 3rd party sellers are charging ridiculous prices for the copies they have. Amazon Canada does have the book, but I’m being told this year they aren’t shipping to US addresses. I was able to order copies last year in 2020, but this year, no. Fingers crossed it changes next year! CLICK HERE to see the book on Amazon Canada and HERE for the book on IndigoChapterBooks.com in Canada.
If you don’t have the book no worries! I’ll read it to your class on YouTube! I made an adorable, animated read aloud video that your students will love!
If you haven’t already, you’ll completely fall in love with this book and the video! As you can see, this little gem is the MOST perfect first week book ever!