I've had a lot of first days of school as a teacher and have learned a few things along the way.
It's important to start the year on a positive note. Here is a collection of my tried and true tips for the first day of school.
- Reach out to the students and their families before the first day of school. Give them a call to introduce yourself and ask how the child will be going home on the first day. This is especially true with the littlest learners.
- Send them a note (good old fashion snail mail or an email if you have the address) letting them know what to expect on the first day of school. Tell them where you will meet them and what will happen as soon as they enter the classroom (see below). This will not only cut down on nerves, but will also help your day run smoothly.
- Have a plan for what you will do with all those supplies they bring in. You can read about my system for organizing student school supplies in the classroom and grab your free printable here.
- Establish a signal IMMEDIATELY for how you will get their attention. Practice this several times.
- Have a plan for what the kids will do as soon as they walk in the door. The perfect activity regardless of their grade level is play dough. I have THE BEST Playdough recipe. You can read more about how I use play dough as a first day of school activity and grab printables for the recipe here.
- Have an activity that will last several days and can be done independently so if a situation comes up and your attention is needed it can be their go to project for the week. I have had great success with these "I am a ____ Grader" activity books. You can read about them here: Back to School Activity Booklets for All Grade Levels
- Take pictures. I like taking a photo of each student to document their first day in that grade to send home with a hand-written note at the end of the first week. It helps to create a connection with the parents and makes a great bulletin board.
- Get to school early. Allow plenty of extra time so you are not worried about traffic, coffee spills, last minute students added to your roster or any other unplanned distractions. You want to be calm, cool and collected when the littles arrive.
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