Back to School Survival Guide Lesson Plan

Academic Standards


Reading Objective:

Children will examine and apply several strategies for practicing good work habits.


SEL Focus:

responsible decision making


ELA Skills:

key details, vocabulary, writing


Page 4 Skill:

RI.2.7 read a chart



responsible, routine



SL.2.3, RI.2.1, RI.2.4, RI.2.10, L.2.1


Guided Reading Level: 



Lexile Level:


Provide students with some background on responsibility.

Build background knowledge (10 min.)

Watch our video “You Can Be Responsible.” After children have finished watching the video, discuss the following question:

  • What is one way you help out at home?

Preview vocabulary (3 min.)

Next, play the online vocabulary slideshow. This issue’s featured words are responsible and routine.

Set a purpose for reading (5 min.)

  • Pass out the issue, and discuss the cover. Invite children to share their feelings about entering second grade. Explain that now you will read some tips on how they can manage their schoolwork.
  • Next, read the As You Read prompt on page 3: “Think about how you can use these tips in your own work.” Encourage children to think about this prompt as they read.

Read together (20 min.)

Pass out the Read and Think printable. Use it to check comprehension as you read the issue together, pausing to ask the questions. 

Assessment: Reading Quiz

Pass out the Reading Quiz to review key concepts from the issue and assess students’ proficiency on key nonfiction reading skills.

  • The “Give Up or Get Better” game helps children practice the growth mindset. Students are given several sample situations and asked to choose the best response.

You can use our printable worksheets to focus on important SEL and ELA skills. Here’s how.

ELA Focus: Vocabulary (15 min.)

  • Use the Word Work printable to deepen students’ understanding of the words responsible and routine.

Editor’s Pick: Staying Focused (15 min.)

  • The Back on Track skill sheets invite children to use a combination of writing and drawing to create their own strategies on staying focused. On the first sheet, children articulate what it feels like when they are focused and what it feels like when they are not.
  • On the second sheet, children create an action plan to help them refocus.

SEL Focus: Time Management (15 min.)

  • The My Morning Routine skill sheet is a fun way for children to help themselves start each day on the right track. Students can cut and paste each morning routine to show the order in which they’d like to do it.
  • Next, children draw themselves doing each step. Kids can keep the sheet at home to remind themselves.

 Here are two past issues you can use to extend your lesson on good work habits:

  • “You Can Do It!,” September 2018. This issue inspires children to do their best by helping them develop a growth mindset.
  • “Mo Doesn’t Give Up!,” September 2019. In this issue, author and illustrator Mo Willems shares his good work habits, providing a model for students.

You can find a higher-Lexile-level and a lower-Lexile-level version of the article online here:

  • Higher-Lexile level: 570L
  • Lower-Lexile level: 470L