12 Beginning of the Year Activities For Second Grade
Your new second grade class has come to your classroom the first day of school ready and eager to learn. Exciting adventures await you and your students as you all embark on a new school year together.
Here are 12 activities that you can do with your students in the beginning of the school year.
1. Find-A-Friend Icebreaker Game
Any Find-A-Friend Icebreaker Game helps students get to know each other and start acquaintanceships that could turn into friendships later in the school year. You as the teacher can participate in this activity as well, so your students can get to know you as well.
Children are nervous on any first day of school. They may be in a classroom with no friends from the prior school year. There may be a new student that transferred from another school district and not know any of the students or teachers at all. This activity is a fun, relaxing activity for the first day of school so everyone feels more comfortable with each other.
2. What Comes Second? Number Activity
Since your group is in second grade, try this Seconds into Second Grade activity package on Teachers Pay Teachers.
One of the activities included is a What Comes Second? number activity sheet. Each problem has the second number missing that the students must fill in to complete the number series. For example, one of the number series is "14, blank, 16", so students would fill in 15 into the blank space.
3. Subtract by 2 Worksheet
Going with the number 2 theme, you can try this subtracting by 2s worksheet to see how your kids fare in their basic subtraction skills. This can be a good and simple exercise to get their brains sparked on one of the first few days of school.
To make the activity more fun, try using counting bears or other counting manipulatives. Show the students how to count to the number on top, take away two counting manipulatives, then count the new total to find their answer.
4. About Me Poster
You can customize this activity however you like. Tell your students the minimum amount of information you want to know about each of them such as name, age, how many people in their family at home, their favorite hobby, what career they want to pursue as an adult, and more. Remind your students to get creative by adding whatever information about themselves that they wish to tell the class.
Encourage students to use their resources to add pictures on their About Me posters. They can print pictures if they have computer and printer at home. They could draw pictures or cut out pictures from magazines or newspapers. The sky is the limit!
This would work as a great homework assignment to be assigned on the first day of school and due on the 3rd or 4th day based on your lesson plans. Get in on the fun and make an about poster, so your students can get to know you as well.
5. What is in a Pair?
Here's one more 2 related activity for your second graders. Here is a Counting Pairs that you can give your students to get started.
As your students complete this worksheet, ask them what other things can be considered a pair besides what is stated in the examples on the top of the paper. Any type of shoe (besides the roller skates on the worksheet), earrings, head phones, hand cuffs, cuff links, dice, and more are appropriate answers from students.
6. Beginning of the Year Measurements
Time to get your math on! Split students into pairs. One student can help another student measure their height using a tape measure. This can turn into a great follow-up activity to do at the end of the year, so students can compare how much they grew from the beginning of second grade to the end.
Before students measure one another, be sure tape measures are disinfected. Have all students wash their hands after the activity to lessen the spread of COVID-19.
After finishing the activity, do a follow-up science discussion of what helps kids to grow such as eating healthy with the proper vitamins and how your bone structure changes.
7. What Do You Want to Learn This Year?
Evaluate your students' current writing abilities by assigning a writing prompt about what the 3 things they want to learn this school year. Give them about 10-15 minutes to outline and another 20-30 minutes to write their prompt.
Encourage them to write a paragraph for the introduction, one paragraph for each reason, and a conclusion paragraph. According to Scholastic, second graders should be able to write 3-5 sentences per paragraph.
8. Second Grade Goals
Give your students a Second Grade Goals sheet as a follow-up activity for the What Do You Want To Learn This Year? writing prompt. Now that they know what they want to learn this year, they will have a clearer understanding on their personal and educational goals as a second grader.
There are three rectangle spaces at the top of the paper for students to write their goals. Students can write one sentence for each goal in the boxes provided. The 3 boxes underneath will be where students write about the things they need to do to reach their goals. For every goal, students can write 2-3 things he or she can do to help them reach that goal.
9. Start a Writer's Journal
Give each student a journal to use for writing prompts throughout the school. This can turn into a great memory as they enter future grades in school. Here are some morning writing prompt ideas that you can do for the beginning of the school year.
- What was your favorite memory from your summer vacation?
- What is your least favorite school subjects? How can you make learning about it more fun for you?
- What is one thing you want to know about your teacher?
- What is your favorite school subject?
- Why is so fun to learn about this subject?
- What is one of your biggest fears?
- What can help you get the courage to conquer this fear?
10. Self Portraits
Whether you have them draw with crayons or markers, or they tear up construction paper to make them, self portraits are a great way to help students embrace who they are and make them proud for their first project hung in the hallway next to your classroom door. This is a great after lunch or after recess activity since they will be too full and/or tired to truly focus on those worksheets in the beginning of the year.
11. Silent Ball
Weather Silent Ball or any other type of ball game that you think might be fun, everyone loves a good ball game in the classroom. This will encourage your students to tap in to their self discipline skills. If any of the students talk during the activity, they must sit down. It is natural to want to talk especially when the environment is so quiet. Remind your students but no matter what, they must stay silent while they throw the ball amongst their classmates.
Before playing the game, be sure the ball is disinfected. Have children wash their hands after the activity to lessen the spread of COVID-19.
12. Family Tree Activity
The Family Tree Activity is another fun exercise to help everyone learn about each other. Pass out this worksheet and have students complete it in class.
You can follow-up this assignment with a fun family tree poster project where they can paste pictures of their family members on to a poster board or they can create a PowerPoint presentation about their family tree.
There are so many activities that you can do with your second graders to break the ice and create a fun environment as they transition into the new school year.
To look for more inspirational activities, you can:
- Search Pinterest for worksheet and craft ideas.
- Visit Teachers Pay Teachers to support other educational instructors by purchasing their worksheets to use in your classroom.
- Conduct a Google search under the images section. You are bound to find an activity example or the worksheet you need to fit your lesson plans.
- Ask teachers in the second grade unit what ideas they have for activities to do for the beginning of the year with your second graders. Especially if you are a new teacher, consulting your senior co-workers would be a great resource.
Whatever you decide to do for your students, we have the confidence that you will make it fun, engaging, and interactive for them. Enjoy this school year and stay safe through this COVID-19 pandemic.