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New Second Grade Teacher


Junior Member
I recently found out that I will have my very own classroom!!! I am SO excited and quite thankful to have found our before the end of August. Now I have trouble sleeping because of all things, i'm thinking about how the children should come in the very first day! Does anyone have suggestions as to how I can better prepare for the first day, or better yet the first month so I can get some sleep<!--yawn-->

Thanks in advance!!!


Full Member

SarahLou!--this could be lengthy!!--
I know how you feel. I just got a teaching job but in special education. I feel it is much harder to prepare for special education because it will be mostly inclusion (I will be rushing from classroom to classroom) and a variety of grade levels (2nd-5th). I will also be sharing a classroom with several other teachers. SO, I tend to think about it all the time--my mind will just not stop--even when I am at work! :)

Here are some of my tips:
I would get as organized as possible. Look over the curriculum standards to see what you will cover in 2nd grade (I also look at the standards before and after to see what they learned or will be learning)--see your state's department of education website. This is how I organized my files from student teaching. I made tabs for each subject then placed the more specific topic in a manila folder. For example: Earth Science: Rocks & Minerals. I have a ton of folders to keep myself organized. *Now, I just have to transfer all of these folders to school soon! This also helps when planning lessons.

I have been thinking about first day activities such as interest inventories/questionnaires. Since I will be teaching special education, I have made a list of assessments I will need to complete with each student. I simply looked at their IEP forms (ETR, Progress Reports, files, etc.).

Do you have access to files yet? Do you have any students with special needs? If you do, you will want to look in their file. At my school (and I am sure at most schools) each student has a cum folder with their previous report card, progress reports, kindergarten screening results, and anything else important. This is helpful when planning for instruction because you will want to know how each student scored in the past--if they went to preschool, how they did in kindergarten, and first grade, behaviors, parental involvement...you will find helpful information by reading their files--just remember to keep it confidential.

Do you have your class list yet?
I think it would be helpful to have name tags ready, mailboxes, names on index cards or Popsicle sticks (so you can pick partners or call on a student for answers).

Have you visited your classroom?
I visited mine last week and took inventory of what was there and a tape measure --I measured everything. This helped me visualize where I want things to go.

Will you have a mentor? Does your state require Praxis III or some other form of assessment for first year teachers?
I have started a binder for Praxis III--which is what I will take my first year. It is similar to student teaching where you are interviewed before the lesson, observed during the lesson, and then a post interview about the lesson--along with a lot of documentation! Here is the link if you are interested in what they ask for:


Also, my principal introduced me to my mentor so I have talked with her about quite a bit of this information--which helped. My principal also gave me schedules--visit the school website--there was a ton of information I got from there. --Calendars, Newsletters, Board of Education Minutes (interesting to read some)-Report Card, and more!

As for lesson planning--do you know what curriculum your school will be using? This will help you schedule because some curriculum require so many hours in reading or math. Your first month or so will probably be working on team building activities--getting to know you activities and teaching responsibility, respect, going over procedures, rules, routines. *Routines are important so make sure you establish structure (especially for some students with special needs).

Check to see if you have extra duties--breakfast, lunch, after school, etc. I have lunch duty. During student teaching, I had breakfast duty.

Can you tell I am still thinking about all of this?!! Ah!! SOOO many things to think about --this is just a few!

You will make a GREAT teacher!

Good luck and Best Wishes!! I hope I helped! You can Private Message (PM) me if you like and I can send you some of my files from when I taught 2nd or forms, ideas, anything. Just view my profile and click on "Send a Private Message".

Try to get some sleep :)


Full Member
Me too!

I'll be starting my first year teaching 2nd as well! I've received a lot of wonderful advice from PT here so far! I've also been linked to a wonderful website full of great ideas thanks to christina4062! This is a link to her website (I hope you dont mind I just found it VERY helpful)!


Good luck! And if your anything like me i'm trying my best to find my patience while waiting to get started!


Junior Member
Endless Thanks!

Thanks SO much for your kind words and advice!! I actually will teach an inclusion class too. I student taught in a fourth grade inclusion class and also had a permanent sub position in a second grade inclusion room. Luckily all of these positions were in the same district, so I am familiar with the curriculum!

I can't imagine working with students with so many varying levels. How do you work with the other faculty members in your room (team teach, pull out)?

I will get to see the classroom for the very first time next week!!! I am beyond excited!!! I will hopefully meet my mentor that day as well as receive the class list!

I LOVED the suggestion to organize lessons and align each plan to the standards ahead of time. Looking through each student's file was a great idea too!

I would love to see the forms you used in second grade! What do you feel like is the most effective way to teach language arts to second graders? I was thinking leveled centers.

Anyhow I look forward to hearing from you! I'm not quite sure how to private message you. I'm hoping this is it, though I am relatively new at this:p


Full Member

SarahLou, Congratulations and welcome to 2nd grade. You will absolutely love this grade. It is the greatest! This will be my 3rd year...however, I am looking forward to a "first full year". When I started 2 years ago I wasn't hired until the 4th week of school so that was absolutely crazy. And, last year I was diagnosed with cancer in September so I was out 6 weeks with surgery and radiation. Wow. What a mess. I am much better now and ready to get going again.

Have you read The First Days of School by Harry Wong? It is amazing and a wonderful, easy read. What you really need to remember is that you will NOT be perfect and "have it all exactly like you want it" this first year. It takes time and you will think you have something figured out, but once things get rolling you will want to tweak it a little, or a lot. So, don't panic. Focus on what you MUST have ready for the beginning and remember to breathe.

I know it is hard to stop and rest because you may feel "behind" already, but think through one thing at a time and that will help. I already have butterflies in my stomach about this upcoming year! Some things you will want to focus on are:

1. procedures for everything (when will students go to the restroom, sharpen pencils, get drinks?; How will they turn in papers?; How will you get them to quickly transition from one activity to the next?) Come up with a plan and practice it over and over the first several days of school. You will be amazed how easy this will make things down the road.

2. What type of bulletin board space do you have and how will you use it? Interactive? Cutesy? Informational? I personally don't care for just cute to look at. I want anything hanging up in my room to be something the children have made or can learn from, not just look at.

3. What will your discipline plan be? Some schools have a school wide system, others don't. Find out as soon as you can.

4. What will students do when they finish an assignment or project and time is not up or you have many more who are still working? This WILL happen. It may be easier to come up with a few ideas and post them so that when students finish they know where to look to see what to do instead of interrupting you if you are working with someone who needs additional help.

Sorry this is so long. I could keep on going, but will stop for now. Good luck!!


Junior Member
Wonderful Ideas!

First off, I am so happy to hear that your health is better. I can't imagine what you went through.

It is funny that you brought up The First Days of School because I just reserved it at the local library!!! Your suggestion has made me want to read it immediately, so thank you.

Procedures weigh on me at night the most. I'm definitely going to make that my priority. I thought that I would pass this along: I use ketchup, mustard and relish files for the students when they are finished with their work. When a student completes her work she is to check her ketchup folder first, to see if there is anything she needs to "catch-up" on. Then she will make sure that there isn't anything her "must do" file before she can work on her relish papers. These are the fun assignments that she can relish in pleasure with!!! The students absolutely <!--lovestruck-->love<!--lovestruck--> getting to the relish folder.

Thanks for all of the advice!

Terri in NC

Senior Member
Sarah Lou

If you want to send me your e-mail I can send you some second grade stuff I have accumulated from PT. The posters are right, second grade really is the best. I have taught from K-4 and 2nd is my favorite!! Debbie Diller books are very informative for workstations too.

Terri :)


Senior Member
Sarah Lou

Congratulations! 2nd grade is awesome!

Have you met any other 2nd grade teachers yet? Hopefully your partner teacher(s) will share with you too. If your school has any school-wide practices they can let you know.

Harry Wong and Debbie Diller are great reads for getting started....also Fred Jones, Tools for Teaching is an easy read and great for classroom discipline.

Don't try to do too much!! It's easy to get caught up in so many great ideas....but pace yourself. Pick and choose and some ideas file away to try another time.

GREAT idea for ketchup/mustard/relish!! LOL

Here's the best advice: check back here often!!! <!--sing-->


Junior Member
First Six Weeks

Congratulations!! Second graders are awesome! I personally like the book, The First Six Weeks of School, which is part of the Responsive Classroom approach. This book actually plans out everyday for the first six weeks!


New Member
I will be new to second grade this coming year as well...I've only taught fifth, sixth, and jr. high. Also, thanks to PT, I am less nervous about this change! I am still not so sure how what the schedule will be like and what things I need to put up in the room, but hopefully the teachers at the site will help guide me...my main goal for this summer is to get the year plan out. I am going to the open court and saxon math curriculum to get a scope and sequence/curriculum plan lay out just so I have a clue what to expect throughout the year. Haven't done much yet though...


Senior Member

I would love to see what kind of 2nd grade stuff you may have. I worry every year that I am not doing all of the wonderful things that other teachers are. I love to research and am working on finding my own groove. This is my 4th year in 2nd and I am still working on mastering, or as close as possible, my reading time with my students. I would love any help that you could pass on to me as well:)


Full Member
Files, Forms and Ideas...

Hi! I am also new to second grade and would truly appreciate any information you are will to share with me. Thank you for being so helpful. My email is etollerup@yahoo.com I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks a Million!


New Member
Please email me anything

that you have for 2nd grade. This will be my first year teaching and I will 2nd grade. I'm really nervous b/c this summer is going by so fast and I haven't had time to get anything organized. Please help me!!! My email is makiyc@yahoo.com. Thanks!!!