Tips for the First Day of School

The first day of school is always the best!  It is also the most stressful and hurried day of the year!  I should know I have lived through quite a few.  Different variables impact this day...the grade you teach, how much experience you have with the content etc.

If this is your first year EVER to teach or even if it is your first year in a content/grade level then you are likely in for a wild ride. Here are three tips to a successful first day.  (We will go with these three keeping in mind that your number one goal is to keep the tiny humans alive and get them home safely. lol)

1. Flexibility

My first goal is to tell you now that no matter how much you plan, your plan will change. If you aren't a flexible person this could throw you some.  So prepare yourself now.  It is important to have everything ready, but be equally prepared that you may have many things left that don't get done...and that is okay.  You may end up pushing them to another day or your you may decide to recycle them when no one is looking. It happens to the best of us.

2.  Variety

Have a variety of activities planned.  I try to start the day with a quiet activity that allows students to be creative no matter what their level. I teach elementary school and my go to activity for grades K-4 is the same.  PLAY DOH!  I give each student a party size play doh.  For the beginning of class while everyone is filing in and I'm getting them situated to say goodbye to parents I let them make things with it and whisper to classmates.  This allows them to calm their nerves some while being creative and my students of all learning levels don't feel intimidated by it.

I would then move from the play-doh activity into something that involves movement and talking.  From there we might move back into something with routines or procedures etc. Then back to movement.

In the first day it is easy to get caught up in all the things you need to share with kids, but it is important to mix it up and give them socialization.  Otherwise, you will find that they zone out or they just don't remember because you overload them.  Zone in on a couple of important things for day one and then move the rest to the next day.  It will all get done eventually.

3.  Build Relationships

Have you ever heard the saying "First impressions matter"? This is true with our kids and their parents.  Your first day with students is their first experience with your classroom and with you.  Showing them you care and that you want to get to know them and know what they are about will go a long way.  If students know you care and know you want what is best, then they will strive to attain the goals and expectations you set for them.  The more you care, the higher that bar can be. That all starts with day one.

There are so many activities available to you to do and they vary by grade level.  Here are a couple of my favorites...

When choosing activities.  Ask yourself these questions:

Will this build relationships with my students?
Is it engaging??
Does it support my classroom expectations?

If any of those things is missing, find a way to tweak the activity to fit those parameters and you will be headed to Relational Success in your classroom!

The first day is fast, but fun!  Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below.

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