Rituals and routines for looping classes are reviewed. New classes are taught these for the first few weeks - how to go to the bathroom, Fire drill, how to line up, lunch room expectations, dismissal expectations, how to sit in hallway in the morning, how to come into class in the morning, what is expected when a visitor is in the classroom, jobs list, etc. Visit the lunch room and the table before lunch and talk about lunch room manners.
Debbie Harbour (1st grade) says, "The day goes by faster than you think. Do some type of game to get to know the kids. I read a book about the first day of school pretty early in the day. I always do some type of scavenger hunt. For kindergarten we have clues to follow from Chester Raccoon to learn all the different places around the school. Then at the end they find a treat. For first grade we will use clues for each place but we will leave the teachers small treats to say welcome back and then find treats waiting for us. (ice pops work well since it is hot outside). Make sure you take time for recess as well. Don’t forget the important things like bathroom and dismissal discussions. Above all, remember things always take longer that first day than expected."
Denise Evanko (2nd grade) says, "On the first day have a cart with a label that says, "SCHOOL SUPPLIES". I was amazed at how much stuff I got. Have a place in your room to store it all because it will come in all week long. Also, let them know where you want papers to be turned in. Have a checklist of all the forms that need to come back. Providing incentives really helps getting all the papers back quickly! Talk to your team and run through your first day with an experienced teacher. They can help tremendously!
Christy Constande (4th grade) suggests, "I would try to run the first day of school as close to your daily routine as possible. Of course you want to include creating your list of behavioral expectations for the classroom, the special 'first day' activities that we will have, and any theme related or team building activities you have up your sleeve, but I would also include a Readers' Workshop, Writers' Workshop, at least one read aloud, and a math lesson. Establishing the rituals and routines from the minute the students walk in the door has helped me tremendously.
You will be receiving " loads" of supplies and paperwork. Ask around. Many teachers have a system for collecting the goodies and important paperwork. My teaching partners and I don't take teaching time that first day to collect. We set up areas for the students to deposit their supplies, and then we organize it after they leave.
Students will also be bringing back lots of paperwork from the first day packet that is sent home. Just ask, many teachers have set up a spreadsheet for the paperwork that is collected. That way you can keep track of who has brought it in and who hasn't.
Vicki Groves (1st grade) says, "Day 1 must-do activities: How to use the restroom and where it is... Tour of school... (practicing lining up and walking in a line as a class)... Where to sit in the Dining Room and how to get lunch... How to go home... Where to come and what to do on day 2... Most important...How do you get home today? I fill in the rest of day with recess, at least one read aloud, a few "getting to know you" games/activities, a Readers' Workshop and a Math Workshop.
Tom Ruark (5th grade) suggests, If I had any advice for a new teacher, it would be as follows: However you can (write it on the board, call on the phone, send a note, wear a sticker...) let the students and parents know that you will take care of these children as if they were your own! In fact, they will be yours before you know it.
I will probably say the following affirmations many times on the first day:
You guys seem so bright. I am so lucky!
Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the planet!
We are going to have a great year!
Collectively, we are going to break some IQ records!
You guys are so bright I need shades!
I can't wait to get to know you guys better.
If you ever feel a little lost, that's a good thing. If you knew everything, you'd be bored, and I wouldn't have a job!
My goal is to create a classroom where everybody feels safe to participate. Any ideas on how we can do that?
Confusion is a sign of great learning!
IT'S ALWAYS SAFE TO BE WRONG, BUT IT'S NOT OK TO NOT PARTICIPATE!
Let's have a golf clap and a princess wave for Mr./Miss_______."