We learn about Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and students learn the many different ways they are smart. This helps each child realize that they ARE smart in different ways. We color code pie charts which shows the top four ways each child is smart. This makes all students feel as if they belong, and set them up for a successful year in second grade.
Students have the opportunity to write about their Wish for Second Grade and we post that in the classroom as well, as the first writing activity. These are all hanging up as classroom displays that make the classroom very inviting for both the students, and parents as they come in for Open House.
Here is the example of my Wordle I showed to help my students:
Remember the key to a great school year is helping each child feel comfortable in the classroom, aware of routines, a lot of time to practice, and build a positive rapport between you, the students, and the parents. A successful year comes from a blending of a positive classroom community, highly engaging academic activities, and an understanding of each child for the unique person that they are, in order to differentiate instruction appropriately throughout the school year!