Gear Up for the First Week of School

Posted by Jen Langley on July 19, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-07-19 at 2.22.46 PMWe know that the first week of the school year is a crucial time for teachers to get to know their students, and to establish welcoming and inclusive classroom communities. To support teachers as they lay the foundation for a reflective and courageous community, we are pleased to launch the “Back-to-School Toolkit: Building a Student-Centered Learning Community for the First Days of School.”

The Toolkit contains five lessons for the first days of the school year, centered around the essential question: “How can we work together to create an open, supportive, and reflective learning community?” 

Although designed for an 8th - 10th grade US History classroom, the lessons and their handouts can be easily modified to support any middle school, high school social studies, or ELA classroom. 

Each of the five lessons feature:

    • Detailed plans with activities and assessments
    • A “SEL Competencies and Pedagogical Moves” section that offers a rationale for classroom routines, strategies, and activities 
    • “Teacher Reflection Questions” to help you reflect on the lesson and assessment data, and to plan for the next class
    • Editable handouts and PowerPoint slide decks
    • Editable “Plan on a Page” - an abridged version of each detailed lesson plan - for teachers to refer to in class as needed

There is also a live webinar, Beyond Day One: The Importance of the First Week of School, on  August 6th (3 - 4pm EST) where we will explore the social-emotional learning competencies and pedagogical moves that are the foundation of the lessons in the Facing History Back-to-School Toolkit. 

Get the Toolkit

Topics: Teachers, Lesson Plans

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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