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 the book, 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!
You’re Finally Here Activities
Our first day of school finally arrived. We read our book the very first thing, before anything else…. Then I asked, “What took you so long?”
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!
First Day of School Getting to Know You Activities
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!
Get the Book, You’re Finally Here!
The book is back on Amazon and it’s now in paperback! Get You’re Finally Here on Amazon.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to get the book, I’ll read it to your class on YouTube! I made an adorable, animated read aloud video that your students will love!
OR CLICK HERE to watch the You’re Finally Here! video
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!
Thanks for these great activities which I have purchased – especially love that you included Australian class years! Quick question- how do you copy onto black paper? Can you see it? I haven’t tried this before.
Also the linked youtube story is no longer available but the trailer is- found it by another video so all good- just wanted to let you know 🙂
Thanks from Australia,
You are so welcome! Believe it or not, you can actually see the lines when you copy onto black construction paper. YouTube videos seem to come and go but the trailer is adorable! Have a wonderful new school year and I hope your students enjoy the book!
I’ve never even heard of this book! But it looks so much fun and so do your lesson plans.
Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome Barb! It’s the most perfect book for the first day of school!
I love “You’re Finally Here”!! Fabulous plan that I’d love to purchase. I checked Amazon to purchase the book. It’s priced between $150.00 and over $700.00!! Is it out of print and that valuable???? Please advise.
Yes, the book is still in print. The publisher did a reprint in December and it sold out immediately on Amazon. It is still available on Amazon Canada and Indigo Books though. If you scroll to the bottom of this post I have links to both online stores where you can find the book. Both are in Canada and the Canadian Dollar to US Dollar exchange rate works in our favor! I recently ordered some additional copies and the shipping took about 8 days, so not too bad. Thanks so much for asking!
The easy button is a big red button from Staples that, when you push it, says "That was easy!" I have it sitting next to my computers in the classroom and when students get a 100% on an AR quiz, they push the easy button and the class calls out, "Way to go!". My class loves it!
Your class will love this book!
Just curious, what is the easy button?
OMG….I love it. Thank you for all the ideas. I am going to try some this year.
I hope to adapt activities for fifth graders. Thank you for the great ideas!
I was just looking for first day / week activities. I am teaching Grade 5 for the first time and was wondering if this is an acceptable book for the grade? I don’t know how often picture books are used in Junior grades?
I think the book and the activities are a bit young for 5th grade. Picture books are used almost daily in the primary grades, but I’m afraid I have never taught 5th so I don’t want to steer you wrong.
Thank you for stopping by and best of luck in 5th grade!
I absolutely love this! Oh I need to get my hands on that book!
Hi Melissa! Yes, the book is available in Canada from Amazon Canada and IndigoBooks.com. I'm glad you found a copy at your library!
Melanie Watt is a favorite! I'm glad I found the book at my public library as it appears to be out of print/stock here in the United States.
What a fantastic unit! This looks adorable! I will have to look for the book and get your unit!