August 13, 2016

First Day of School - Back to School Teacher Tips #5

Back to School Tip #5
The First Day of School

Well, we are finally here.  The last in my series of blog posts for Back to School Teacher Tips. Today, I want to share some advice about the first day of school.  You want to  make a good impression on students the first day of school.  The key to this is to plan ahead and be prepared.  Then, when that first day comes you are ready to greet those bright shiny faces as they walk into your classroom. Here are some suggestions to help your day go more smoothly:

Greeting Students: Smile, shake hands and greet your students as they walk in your classroom.  This makes them feel welcome and helps them feel more at ease.  

Introductory Activity: Have an activity on their desks waiting for them or some instructions posted on the board/Smartboard for them to follow while they wait for all students to arrive and class to start.  You don't want them to just be sitting around feeling nervous. This is an activity I have had waiting for them on their desks. This page gives them something they can complete that will give you some information about them to begin building a relationship.  This activity is part of my 1st Day of School Packet that I sell on TPT.  (Click on the picture below.)

Icebreaker Activity: Help your students get to know you and each other.  Have an icebreaker activity prepared and ready.  One activity you might try is called Tangled Web.  Have students sit in a large circle.  You start by holding a ball of yarn, introducing yourself and telling the class one fact about you.  Then, hold on to the end of the yarn and throw or roll the yarn ball to another student across the circle from you. They say their name and a fact, hold a part of the yarn and roll the ball to the next person.  This continues until all students have shared and the yarn makes a tangled web figure. 

Classroom Rules, Expectations and Procedures: You want to begin to teach students these important expectations that I have discussed in my previous blog posts.  But, you don't want to just start going down the list on the first day telling them what to do.  You want to teach and model your expectations as they come up in your daily activities the first days and week of school. Start with your classroom environment. Briefly point out areas of your room, let them explore, but don't go into too many details until you are ready to use an area. Classroom rules are important for the first day, be sure to model and reinforce as much as you can this first week.

Read Aloud: Read-Alouds are important for the entire school year, but I think especially so on the first day of school.  Whether your students are in first or fifth grade, they love to hear their teacher read.  I always bring my students to the carpet, so they are close and can see the pictures in the book.  Some of my favorite picture book titles that can be read aloud on the first day are:

Grades K-2nd:
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
David Goes to School by David Shannon
Tomorrow is the First Day of School by Maureen MacDowell
Amelia Bedilia's First Day of School by Herman Parrish

Grades 3rd-5th:
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess
Thank you Mr. Falker by Patricia Pollaco
Homework by Arthur Yorinks
This is the Way We Go to School by Edith Baer

On the first day of school, you want to set the tone for your class for the rest of the year.  Above all, relax, smile, have a great time and get to  know your students.  This should be a day to begin learning about your students and for them to learn about you.

For other back to school Teacher Tips, click on the links below:

Until Next Time.......

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