First Day Tips
Great 1st Day of School Tips from the DEN!
The Discovery Educator Network
Tips for the First Day of School
The First Day
I try to keep the first day of school fairly light since we're all a bit nervous (me included). But before the day even begins I try to calm myself by doing some breathing exercises. I spend just a few minutes sitting in my classroom alone, taking some slow, deep breaths, and repeating my mantra for the day to myself, "Today is a great day."
"Hand out a ""student information sheet"" that asks for the basics including parent contact info, and some info about the student (preferred name, hobbies, etc.)
This allows you to get to know your students a bit, and get ideas on making lessons more relevant to them."
The first day of school I strive to learn my student's names. I play an adjective game. They need to use an adjective to describe themselves and it must start with the same sound as the first letter in their name. The second student goes, they must say the first students name and their own. This continues until it is my turn and I must recite all of the names.
Relax and be flexible! You are beginning a new story with you students. Hook them! Be prepared but have a plan b and c and d. My plan for the first day is to put iPads in their hands and have then take photos of things that inspire them or hold meaning for them. The items must spell out their first and /or last names. They are not only looking for inspiration but also the letters of their names within these items. This will tie into our first unit of belonging and community as well as observations in science. Remember to laugh and relax...this is their first impression and sets the tone for the rest of the year:)
Do something silly! Students will become more comfortable with you if they see that you are human and can goof. Not only does it break the ice but it allows you to communicate in the language of laughter which every student will appreciate.
Have FUN with the kids!!! Play lots of games and don't be afraid to act like one of the kids. Let them know that you can get down on their level and really connect with them. I always play lots of just crazy team building games that have nothing to do what actual skills I'll be teaching that year.
Give kids cameras and let them video 30 seconds of their expectation for the school year or what they are excited about learning.
I always take pictures of each student in the media center with the first book they check out for the year and loop them as screen savers on the media center computers. It is a great way to showcase library books and the kids love to see their friends and themselves onscreen!
" I give each student a special composition book the first day (the ones I found on sale). I ask them to take the compositon books home and decorate with photos, magazine pictures or special words. I always have a collection of magazines for all students to use as well.
I meet with each student to discuss the items used to decorate the notebooks. These will be used throughout the year to collect new learning, stories, graphic organizers and notes. They become cherished items."
Have photos and things ready to share with students about MYSELF. This helps to connect with the kids immediately and to let them get to know me. Then they each get to do the same. The students get to bring in photos and artifacts to share about themselves. This helps to build a long lasting class community.
"checking the new technology, has everyone a email address.
Make a dropbox account for every student
Make an evernote account for every student"
I have my students (high schoolers) make "cootie catchers." They have four categories... something they're looking forward to this year, something they're nervous about, something they did over summer vacation, one random fact. Then they get partnered up and do one round with their partner. After each person takes a turn, then they switch partners again. I like to do this for 10 minutes or so. It's a great way to get the students talking.
Have a newsletter telling parents and students about yourself and your classroom rules, philosophy, contact information and what their student will require for you classroom.
I made sure since it was Kindergarten that I sent home a photo and a personalized note to each parent letting them know how their child's first day of Kindergarten was.
Begin right off with technology - interview each student, my name is .. in 2nd grade I want to learn ... my favorite subject is . then once a month ask 2 -3 more questions of each child ( i have met a new friend named...) and build a video yearbook of each student. at the end of the school year present it to each parent. before long the students will takeover doing most of the work as far as interviewing and recording. turn it over to them!!
"Avoid the awkward ""where do I sit"" by putting names on index cards so students can quickly find seats. I use a corresponding seating chart to visually check roll. I ask students to introduce themselves making notes on my seating chart so I don't make pronunciation mistakes or assumptions ex. Francis is a male and goes by FT!
Sample Card. Row 1 Seat 1
1st period Able, John
2nd period Beedle, Amy
3rd period Cole, Francis Tillman
4th period Alton, Sue"
I love sitting down on the floor with my students in the middle of the first day and having a "snack and chat" time together. I do not do this all year but the first week our tummies are always grumbling and off for trying to fit into the school schedule. It is also a great time just to talk with the students about them. I feel it is a great bonding time for our group.
On the first day of school, I always arrange for another teacher to visit my 4th Grade classroom and take several group photos of the class. Some are more "formal" some candid. We choose the best one right away and then I have it blown up into a 20 by 30 inch poster which we display right outside our door for all to see all year long. After the year passes, I display them all around my classroom in areas that are too high for everyday use. Students, teachers and parents love it! I have been doing it for over 18 years now. When the students get ready to graduate from 12th Grade, I sent the poster over to the High School for display at Senior Events. The high-schoolers LOVE seeing their 4th grade poster again and they send me comments via school email.
Before the day starts I pray for wisdom for myself and the students.
On the first day I have students participate in community and team building activities to help them get to know one another and to begin setting up a safe risk taking learning environment.
The students and I work together to set up learning and behavior expectations. These are written down, signed by all students and myself, and posted in the classroom to remind all of us throughout the year of our agreement.
To introduce myself to the kids we play a true or false game. I say sentences about myself and the kids have to determine if it is true or false. The kids really like playing along especially if you have them do true/false corners or standup/sit down.
Always read your favorite picture book to the kids.
A new tradition, starting this year, I will take a photo of each child. The children will decorate and hold a sign that says First day of second grade and the date. After all the pictures are taken, they will be compiled into Photo Peach presentation for the parents on open house.
I like to take either folders or name tent cards. Have students put their name and then draw things about themselves. Student can then use the item with share with partners. I like then that their partner introduces the other partners and using the drawings introduces them and shares what they learned.
The first few days of school we do a LOT of community building and establishing procedures.
On the first day of school, I have students bring in a plain white t-shirt that is at least one size bigger than what they currently wear. We choose a class color for the year and then I have students use rubber bands to prep their shirts for tie-dye (be sure to write initials or numbers on the tags first). We dye their shirts in the first week and use fabric markers to go ahead and write their first names where you would normally put a name tag. We keep these finished shirts in the room all year to wear to field trips, group photos, assemblies and other special school events. We look awesome, and my students are easy to spot in a crowd. On the last day, everyone signs each others' shirts and takes them home as a fun keepsake!
My favorite thing is the fact that I get to see past third-graders who have moved up to fourth or fifth grade. This may not seem like much, but in the past I taught fifth-grade and those students moved to middle school. It is such a fun thing that first morning to see how my former students have grown. We also do lots of team building that first day and practice routines, routines, routines.
First show the students a video clip from Discovery on democracy. The students help creat the classroom goals, rules, expectations, rewards and consequences. All students sign the classroom declaration.
I have each of my students fill out a card with their name, address, parents names (first included) and phone numbers. On the other side of the card they write something they want to tell me about how they learn, or concerns they have for the year. This helps me get to know them better! I am thinking about making this a poll everywhere question this year - just to update the process!
On the first day of sixth grade we have a scavenger hunt around the school. For the students, this is a quick and fun way to learn about their new building. We give them a sheet with questions that lead them to prominent locations in the building like the office, library, cafeteria, locker room, etc... The students then have a task they have to complete at each location. In the cafeteria they have to find the mailbox were they turn in their lunch money. At the office they have to find where the sign-up sheet is for after school activities. At the library they have to check out a biography. In the locker room they have to use a combination to open up a locker.
The first library class I ask the students a question: What rules do we need to follow in library class to ensure learning and safety? We list the student generated rules on chart paper and they sign their names to them. This year, I am going to do it differently. Students need experience asking good questions ad discovering answers. So I will post a question focus statement to the group such as: Schools do not need rules. Next I will ask them to generate questions on that statement. Their questions will lead them to discussing why we need rules and then they will generate the rules. I hope this process leads to greater ownership of the rules. I learned this technique through the Right Question Institute.
This year I will use QR codes for a 'Getting to Know the Campus' Scavenger Hunt. The office, cafeteria, gym, auditorium, grade specific hallways, etc. will all have QR codes and clues that lead them to the next stop. Students are grouped and must take a picture of themselves at each stop.
I always read the picture book, First Day Jitters. I explain to the students that even though I'm a grown-up I still get nervous on the first day, too!
I had 600 students per year so knowing their names was quite an undertaking. I had students design and print a three sides nameplate that could sit on top of the monitor so that I could always see their face and name at the same time. It sure helped me learn the names more quickly, was a loe pressure activity for the first day, and gave me some idea of individual interests all at the same time.
"Have a pile of posters or wall decorations ready for students to choose from to decorate the classroom so they feel it is their classroom
Start routines from day 1: For example, I ask students to come in calmly, gather what they need from a posted sign on wall and place their backpacks on a shelf near the door. Lesson goal and schedule are always posted and I have a brain game or puzzle waiting for them to think about while the rest of the students get ready.
What ever you do plan, PLAN, PlAn, pLaN, pLAn for more than you think you'll need.
"""Assigned Seat Search""
I am borrowing this from another teacher and plan to use it this year for making a seating chart to get to know the students and they ""pick"" their seats based on birthdates. I allows for some interaction the first day of class and allows for you to have a seating chart. Place cards are made from folded paper, strips of paper or even sticky notes with the month and day on it and attached to desk with small piece of tape (to prevent the pieces blowing of desk). This brings out dialogue between students and allows them to possibly gain some connectedness with others in their class. Some comments might be: I am older, we have the same birthday, I know someone else with that birthday, or we have the same astrological sign.
A spreadsheet with the birthdays cut and pasted from a student information system program allows for record keeping and possibly a way to create the place cards.
Have a great year!!
Every year I start the first day with a PowerPoint. It seems boring, but it is the only way I've found to keep my excitement in check and on schedule. As we come to different items in the PowerPoint such as the school tour, lunch, etc..., we step away from it, but we always return to the PowerPoint to make sure all of the "important stuff" gets taken care of!
The first day of school can be intimidating to 7th graders. Students are coming from several different buildings. After I go over the required classroom expectations I am going to have the students do a "Getting to Know You Activity"....They will fill out their own blank "Edmodo" profile page. I will show them what my classroom Edmodo looks like. (Tying in their knowledge of Facebook will help!) This will also help them familiarize them with Edmodo for our science class. On their page they will have to include post to help me learn about them! Each student will receive a handout to complete this on.
Start with an exciting lesson which actively involves the students, piquing their curiosity and interest. I use an engaging lesson where students will actively participate throughout the week... I NEVER discus class rules and expectations the first week. The first week is thhe one time I can garuntee All my students want to be in my class...no one is going to screw up in the first 3 days. Save your class discussion on rules and handing out books for the end of the week / start of week 2! The great bonus is, when you finally do discuss expectations, they will listen because you have that exclusive opportunity separate from all the teachers who did that the first day!
I would say plan plenty for the first day and make it active. I teach middle school and how boring would it be to listen to classroom rules from 7:30-2:30. So, I try really hard to keep that to the bare minimum and plan activities that will allow me to get to know my students and see how they interact with one another. Also, greet your students will a smile and hello (good tip for every day not just the first day).
Get to know you game. On the first day we take the students pictures and make two copies. Put one on the board for every one to learn names and put the other away to compare with the pictures we take at the end of the year. The kids are always so glad to compare them at the end of the year.
One: Smile. I want my students to feel comfortable. Two: Only cover the absolute basics. At the secondary level, students hear too many sets of rules and procedures. I like for students to start creating to learn more about them.
"As a team, we put together information packets to share with the 6th grade students and families. When we have our ""Parent Night"" (during the first two weeks of school), we share that packet with the family members, and turn it all into a big Q and A session. It helps break the ice and the parents know what to expect from us.
At Lackland Elementary, 6th grade is still part of elementary school and our focus is leadership development and decision-making skills. Our First Day packets address issues that students may be reluctant to share. "
The first day with my students I like to use the Smart Responders. Students answer questions about themselves, and prior knowledge. It is a great way to get to know my students and they love using the technology.
"Share information about yourself with your students. Read your favorite book to them, if you're an elementary teacher.
Be FLEXIBLE!! Go with the flow and don't let last minute changes get to you. Just know they make for funny stories with your colleagues at the end of the day.
Be over prepared! I am always ready to explain everything the first day. I get all the info and stuff out on day one, so we can start teaching day two. I also always have a team building activity to preform on the first day.
I believe that the year will run more smoothly if you build community immediately. My students and teachers participate in a week-long teambuilding and cooperative group work activity based on SURVIVOR. Their goal is to keep everyone ON the island. Cooperative group activities are found online and by the end of week one- students are creating their own activities. Each day ends with a class meeting and reflections time. Learning is happening and minds are engaged. Try it- It really works!
Find a community building activity to do with class. My personal favorite is a "you cube". (using a site such as Readwritethink for an interactive biocube, or just creating it with a combination of images/drawings and text about self.
Using LiveScribe Sound Stickers I create a personal greeting for each one of my students. In small groups, I send them on a scavenger hunt around our classroom and hallway to locate their Sound Sticker and listen to the greeting.
Start with a fun activity that gets them learning right away .. Make a video of your rules for them to look at later.
Copy thepictures out of last year's yearbook of incoming student. Laminate them. Cut them out and attach velcro to the back. Voila, a seating chart the can be easily changed and wil help you remember student names quickly. For incoming new students be sure to get their pic on the first day.
"My principal always says our goal is to make sure everyone gets lunch and gets home. Stand outside the school and welcome students as they get off the bus."
Each year my class chooses a unique name. On the first day I show my class a slideshow of classes that came before them. I tell them each class's name and explain the community service project they worked on. The last slide is dedicated to the new school year. It contains a picture and text for "under construction." I then ask the students what their name will be and how will they try to make the world a better place.
We always do team building and expectations with the entire middle school. We line them up outside and do a walk and talk where every couple minutes one line moves up one person so they all can introduce themselves if they are new or just catch up if they are returning students.
I have ny students make a movie on our iPad to introduce themselves to the rest of the class. Then, I put them together for a longer movie to be used at back-to-school night. We add an update for the end of the year, again to demonstrate growth both in maturity and technological skills.
"On the first day I like to have it be a relaxing, creative day. We begin sitting at carpet and just chatting. They get to ask me questions about the classroom and I ask them questions as well. Then I go over our school rules and expectations plus the students add their own as well. Also, the students make artwork for the classroom. My classroom has a pond theme so they decorate frogs and lily pads to hang around the room. "
Be organized. You need to start off organized, it is hard to get organized along the way. kids know if you have it all together and things run much better when you do. Less behavior problems.
I have a Media Center Orientation presentation ready to go.
I teach high school Math students. I greet students as they enter my classroom and post the assigned seats on the board, so the students know where to sit. I talk about myself - background, interests, brief highlights of my teaching career. I think that the kids will relate better to teachers if they know that we may have some things in common with them (favorite sports team, etc.) I usually have a brief Power Point presentation, or video to catch students' attention.Then, the students and I have a discussion about classroom management procedures and course expectations (Geometry Honors, AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC). I think that if the students have a clear understanding of how we work in my classroom, then they will do their part to make sure that the year runs smoothly for all of us.
Think positive. Be positive. Stay positive.
In order to reach students, you must get to know your students. This is a simple activity to identify students who are leaders, followers, creative thinkers, shy, etc. You tell the first student who arrives to the class that they have the responsibility of telling everyone how they can find their seat. In order to sit, students must sit from shortest to tallest. No one can talk but the first student. You as the teacher observe and take pictures of the interaction among the students. Students who are leaders will still try to tell other students what to do even while not talking (a lot of hand motions). Students who are followers will always look to see what others are doing. Once all students are seated, you ask them how can we verify that they are seating shortest to tallest. Creative students will show themselves at this moment. It is the best activity I have done for the first day of school to date :).
Take a deep breath.. One of our nurses always speaks to the entire school audience as part of our opening day ritual (for the entire district) and she always has us practice deep breathing :)
I make a funny introduction video to set the stage and make the students feel at ease.
Take a digital head shot picture of each of your students. Then, use those pictures to create "picture seating chart". Laminate the seating chart for long term use. This allows your substitute to be able to better know which student(s) they are working with.
Sit on the floor with your students and some giant piles of books. Don't worry that your book shelves are neat and organized. Let the kids sort through the books and talk about what they like and don't like. Generate conversation but listen as they talk to each other. This will help you decide how to arrange the books and will also help you get you know your new readers. Soon, everyone will be settled in with a book and you can observe or join in the reading fun!
Doing a few activities that allow student self expression like decorating their science notebooks or creating something for our bulletin board
1.: Activity to foster team work: students get in pairs and interview each other about comfortable topics such as favorite breakfast food, favorite noon time activity, something they are good at, etc. Then teams present the interview info as if in "their shoes". The interviewee sits in a chair and the interviewer stands behind with notes. The interviewer speaks in first person as if they are the interviewee. This activity encourages students to work together, builds confidence, and builds peer bonds.
My teacher tip is for the first week of school. This is the time to lay down the foundation for the entire year. Routines, rules and procedures can be boring, but remain a must!! Make your procedures into a game! Role play class scenarios such as "sharpening a pencil" or "passing out notes" and make sure to show the incorrect way and the proper way. Students love this! Choose the most difficult student to show the "proper" way- that way you can remind them individually that they know the routine! Once you've taught all the rules and procedures, practice, practice, practice!! Review using a jeopardy SMART game to check for understanding. Have fun!
"Dress comfortably! DO NOT wear those new shoes on the first day of school, or if you absolutely must, BE SURE TO HAVE A BACKUP pair of comfy shoes!
Remember to SMILE! Nothing says welcome and ""things will be fine"" like a smiling teacher."
I relax and focus on making the classroom environment non-intimidating for myself and the students.
The first day goes smoothly with organization. If you get to school at the last possible minute, or walk in when the kids walk it, that not only delivers a bad example, but sets the tone to stress you out.
Instead of separating each child's supplies, I store them all together and we share throughout the year. Each student keeps his/her own markers, but we share things like glue, pencils, erasers - some kids bring ten of an item while others only bring two. It teaches the importance of sharing and allows all students to have supplies on hand.
"The first day of school can be exciting and stressful all at the same time. To make things run smoothly, in addition to lesson plans, write every activity on the board so the kids can see what’s coming next…and you can stay on track.
1. Have assigned seating the first day so students will feel a sense of belonging. At their seat, make sure there’s something they can work on, whether it’s a puzzle, student questionnaire or just something to color.
2. Take attendance, and try a “Getting to Know You” activitiy
3. Introduce yourself with a creative powerpoint with lots of pictures. Kids LOVE this. They really enjoy seeing their teachers being “real” people. I like to have the students play a True/False game about me BEFORE I show them the ppt. I make up statements about me and they have to guess true or false. Put in some silly statments, too.
4. Collect Supplies, Create Notebooks/Folders for specific subjects
5. Assign lockers/cubbies
6. Rules and Procedures — and Practice a LOT!
Enjoy the first day, and your students will, too!!
I don't go over my rules and syllabus -- I do something fun. I get fake mustaches (the kind on sticks) and take two pictures of each student. One is a silly one with the mustache. The other is just a head shot. That night I get prints of them. The next day in school I have the kids write their name on the regular picture -- so that I can study them a learn their names. The funny ones are posted on a bulletin board and we have a caption contest (school-appropriate cations that is).
This may not seem like a first day tip but with all the stress that goes along with the start of school one of the things I do for myself is schedule an after school massage. If it is not on the first day it is on one of the first few days! It helps!
My beginning of the year team building activity will be, "What Superheroes Do During Summer Vacation". I will have students submit photos or take pictures of objects that represent how they spend their summer vacation. I will then make these into a PhotoPeach slideshow. I will add a quiz to go along with the photos that will let students have fun guessing the location of the trip or who took the trip. This is a great way to break the ice and let students learn new and interesting facts about their classmates.
Get their early and greet everyone at the door! Have plan in place for where kids sit and things they need.
I use Tumblebooks version of Peter Reynolds' book The Dot with my students. I see everyone from kindergarten through 6th grade. I use white craft paper and make a dot that is about 3 feet at it's circumference. Each student write's his or he name on the dot and then decorates their space. Faculty also participates. The dot then spends the year decorating a special spot on my wall. This is a fun team building activity.
A first day tip I have is to let the students get to know each other. Working together cooperatively is the easiest way for this to happen. Divide the students into 3-4 in a group. Give each group a bowl of miniature marshmallows and 10 pieces of dry spaghetti noodles. They have to work together to make the tallest tower. While doing so, they are brainstorming, working together, talking, and problem solving.
I make sure that I am well rested, I have had a good breakfast, and this helps me be on my best for my students. I LOVE the first day of school. It is hard work, but the memories are great. I make sure I have selected my read aloud's for year so that we can get started on that.
There are two things that I do EVERY year on the first day. One is NAME-O which is a variation on bingo where I use pictures on the kids that I had them take at sneak peek. The kids glue down tiny pictures of classmates without names and I do my version up on the Activboard. The other old standard is the "We're Back Snack" recipe that I got from a mailbox magazine years ago. In groups the kids work together to create the snack. They need to send representatives up to measure each ingredient, then estimate the weight of the bag and finally weigh it with a balance scale. They always enjoy eating up afterwards.
I begin the year by giving my English classes a personal essay I have written about who am I, what has shaped me into the teacher I am today, and what fears I have had to overcome in my life. I ask them to respond with an essay of their own in which they answer the same questions that I did. I always get insightful essays about fears they may have and how I might help them overcome them.
"I think it's really important to explain to childen the rules, expectations, and other procedures. My son's biggest concern was if he would be able to run on the playgrround!
I also like to do something fun with the kids.
Students should also be shown how to do something new. This could be a math skill or some new technology, but they should go away with new skills or knowledge. This will make them excited about learrning!"
Make a first day of school script. I always do this. It not only ensures that I cover everything, but it makes me feel confident and I ensure myself a great first day. For more information, see Dr. Wong's book, First day of school. I reread this book every year. The first day of school is like a wedding. It takes a lot of planning, but if done right will be well worth the price.
I take a lot of pictures of the students and then submit them in an Animoto on our webpage.
On the first day with my students, they make up the rules - we call them "norms". You can find out how to do this at http://teachersnetwork.org/NTNY/nychelp/mentorship/norms.htm
"As a Responsive Classroom© trained teacher, on the first day of school I ask, “What are your hopes for this year?”. Since they are 5 year olds, their responses include learning to read, making new friends, playing outside, learning math, making, painting and building things and having fun. Sharing our hopes creates a meaningful context for establishing classroom rules. After we know each others hopes, we have discussions about the rules we need to help everyone’s hopes come true. The rule building takes several days. First we brainstorm what we need to do so that everyone can have their hopes come true. Then we sort our list according to self, others, and school. Lastly we make 3-4 general rules that cover each of the categories, such as Take care of myself, Take care of others, Take care of the school, Do my best work.
We practice what it looks like and sounds like if we follow our rules and we refer/revisit them through the year.
More information can be found at
On the first day of school, I usually read the Shel Silverstein book The Giving Tree and talk to my students about how our classroom is going to become a community and we are all contributors.
"Getting to know the students I let the students know that I will celebrate their creativity and differences as we work together to reach our goals--individually and collectively. I have them set a goal for the class--the grade they want to earn. Once that is done, we talk about the plan to achieve that goal. I like doing that on day one so they start out on the right pathway."
I like to share a bit about myself with my students. A prezi presentation with "10 Things About Me" usually gets the kids excited to learn more about me. One of my favorites items to share is that "I don't look my age." Students start guessing and the fun begins. This will lead into having the students share 5 or 10 things about themselves.
To help the students feel more comfortable on the first day of school, I give them a welcome bag. In each paper bag I include fun word searches, math sheets, word puzzles, sharpened pencil, eraser, treat and note pad. I also write a welcome note and attach it to the outside of the bag for each student. This allows you to have the time to spend on new and reluctant students and gives the rest of the class something to do in the first 30 to 45 minutes of the day.
On the first day of school, while getting the paper work together to verify information I have the kids play the "COMMON" game. The kids have to walk around & find out what they have in common with their classmates, like, has a dog, has a sister, etc. This is a great break the ice activity and helps to develop a bond in the class, I also add my common features. Great fun.
"To introduce the SMART Board as part of the classroom, teachers can introduce classroom rules and procedures using the reveal feature tools. This is an interactive activity where students can get used to using the board and its features. Sample notebook files and examples are available for download can be found at the SMART Exchange:
"Have the students get in pairs and do the following:
1. Cut a piece of yarn that is as tall as their partner.
2. Trace their partner's foot (shoe on is fine) on construction paper.
3. Trace their partner's hand on construction paper.
Take a class photo and have it printed.
Put these items in a file along with an interest inventory and keep them until the last week of school. Take another class photo near the end of school and have it printed. The kids have a great time getting the items out and comparing these measurements to themselves at the end of the year to see how they've grown and changed!"
On the first day of school I am at my door to greet the students coming back in. We go over classroom rules by practicing some of the rules with roll play techniques and do team building activities like writing a personal poem describing yourself or just having each student tell about an exciting summer event.
"For elementary students stand in the door way and give the child something with their name on it to match it to their name on their new desk. The item could be a new bookmark they could use or a nice welcome note on the other side for them to take home. For older students - have them write something down and trade it with someone else. One student will introduce another student. ""This is Charles Smith and he is going to be a wider receiver on our school's football team this year."" ""This is Alicia Silverstone and she plans to be actress when she graduates.
Create QR codes for around theclassroom. Have students learn about important areas of the classroom and school. Can include QR codes outside the building to show where the paper recycling dumpster or outdoor classroom is.
"My favorite tip for the first day of school is ""keep them moving"" and laughing. It is hard for kids to return to school and sit in their seats all day and be told procedure after procedure. I break the day up into fun activities as much as possible such as school wide scavenger hunts, an easy art and/or science activities, etc. Take pictures of students walking through the procedures you want them to learn as much as possible. You can use these in a slideshow review/power point or any presentation program you like. Put students in charge of being ""camera girls/boys"" or videographers for each procedures. Use these slideshows to review procedures during the week with your students as the ""starts"".
Keep it fun, keep them moving, and keep them laughing!"
I like to overplan for the first day of school so that I know that the students will have plenty to occupy their time. I also like to include a variety of activities, so that they are not seated the entire time. Almost all classrooms will have students filling out paperwork and forms, so it's nice to offer a variety of activities so that they get a break from the routine stuff.
I start my classes with procedure and structures but always end with about 10 minutes just about me. I like to let my students know that mine will be a classroom that has high expectations, but also that I am a human which means I have a family, friends, personal interests and a life outside of school that makes me a better teacher.
I intoduce Discovery Ed using Ipods. I have students explore the site to choose something that will tell the class about them. I have them partner share and then do a qucik share with the entire class. This activity gets them engaged right away and takes away first day jitters.
Get to school early so you will not be rushed. You will start your day on a positive note.
On the first day of school I use a powerpoint to introduce the policies and procedures throughout the day. We read several stories to reinforce what type of behavior we should have and model the right and wrong way to act in the classroom.
We do activities to get to know each other.
I love to start the year with a story. This is a short story of triumph and perseverance. Main themes come from that story that the kids remember for the year.
The priority should be your syllabus... Students and parents will not slight you for bare bulletin boards and stacked chairs, but if you do not have a written plan the first day, it will not make a good first impression...
Always have student desks labeled with student names, so students can easily find a place to sit.
We share our pictures about Michigan. We create a classroom bulletin board and they have all contributed. It's a great way to include all of the students and gives them a prop for the students who are comfortable sharing with their classmates.
"I introduce Six Word Memoirs by showing the video from YouTube. I assign students a Six Word Memoir for the next class day. The are then shared as an ice breaker.
I also postpone a seating chart until day two. That way, I can see where the students would choose for themselves. It gives me a bit of insight to their friends, personalities, etc. I allow them (10th graders) to select their own seats Day 2 filling front to back of 3 desk deep arch configuration announcing that they are adult enough to select seats in which they can be both socially and academically successful. I also announce that I reserve the right to make changes if their choices don't work out. To this end, I enter names on the seating chart using sticky notes. That facilitates any changes that I may have to make later in the year."
I create a library orientation video each year that matches the theme of my school. I use students in this as much as possible to make it more interesting and to make library "rules & procedures" less boring! :)
Two very important things for the first day. First, greet all of the students at the door. Smiling and speaking to the students sets a great tone for the school year. The other important thing is to have work for students to do out on their desks. It matters. Students get the idea that they will have to work in your class from the time they walk in until they leave and it gives them something productive to do with their time. Just make sure it is something you will put on the wall later, or discuss as a group or use as part of an activity during class.
I found a "getting to know you" game. I put some Skittles and M&M's in a two different containers. I go around the room and have each student pick a Skittle or M&M. Each color has a different "getting to know you" question. An example of a good question, "what is your favorite book?"
My classroom is the computer lab so we tend to discuss roles and responsibilities (mine and theirs) in our special room as to how we treat equipment, each other, our digital selves, and our work. We establish mutual goals and talk about what we hope to learn during the year. (I use WallWisher to get feedback).
"My best tip for the first day of school is to have a stash of candy on hand... Seriously! I keep a stash in my top right desk drawer. It's such a busy/long day at the beginning of the year, and having that little sugar boost to grab is a great pick me up!
For my students, we do lots of ice-breaker games... QR code scavenger hunts, etc. We build our community on the first day!
For parents, I create a business card that has my website, email, etc on it. Then I put a magnet on it, and give it to parents on meet the teacher day. It's a wonderful way for parents to quickly be able to find me. :)"
I get up earlier than usual just to make sure I will be ready. Before students arrive I make certain I have set up papers,forms and books. I have information on the board and have directions displayed upon studnet entry.
Try all computers and every student login that I have so that I know they will be able to log in and do the activities for the day.
1st day I like to show my students our class website and how we will digitally record our year, activities, and projects and display them on the website, like the previous year class.
Use Photo peach to have students introduce themselves in 5 slides or less.
(Or they can make up a quiz about themselves for their classmates.)"
Plan something fun. At my middle school, a lot of student schedules will change within the first two days of school so the first day I don't worry about trying to talk about my class policies.
Take a picture of the students and have them write a brief statement about themselves. Make it into an epub or ibook and add to it every quarter or during special events. What a great scrapbook at the end of the year. The parent's will love it.
I love creating ways for my students to get to know me! One of the ways I use is Photopeach. Check out this link, "Getting to Know Mrs.Mims!" http://photopeach.com/album/12sykpm
I like to give my students a chance to learn about me. Last year, I created a "Getting to Know Mrs.Mims" Photopeach "quiz". The kids had a great time, and learned a lot about me in the process. This year, I am going to let the students create one as well. Here is the link to the quiz. http://photopeach.com/album/12sykpm
I hand out an envelope to each of my freshman students. I have them address it "To the Parents Of" and their name and address. Mid semester, I send a note home telling the parents what I like about having their child in my class. It feels great to send positive thoughts home to the parents, and many parents have shared that they really love hearing from me.
I suggest a quick unedited movie that students make about themselves. Give them some questions and guidelines and let them tell you about their summer and their lives. They can set up a blog that day to post the video on and use the rest of the school year.
I know it may be a small gesture, but I love standing at the door and welcoming the students in with a handshake as they arrive for their first day of school. I can tell by the smile on their face what a big difference this first connection makes with each one of them.
As students enter classroom I have the take some sheets of toliet paper. For each sheet they take they have to tell the class something about themselves.
"Lay out everything the night before!
Get up early & EXERCISE!
Have a parent volunteer come help the morning of the first day.
The first day is all about introductions and organization. Students share their "All About Me" sheets that were mailed out in August, I take their picture in the early morning, and we put together a "3rd Grade All Stars" bulletin board. As the day moves on I introduce the classroom centers one by one, in between going to "specials" (such as Art or PE) that day. I always begin our first reading book that ties in with our character education curriculum.
I bring a big bag of popsicles- for the teachers! After the first day when teachers tend to talk a lot and throats aren't used to it, I take popsicles around to the teachers in their rooms right after school. It is a nice way to meet the new teachers who may be a bit overwhelmed at that point, and veteran teachers like it too! Soothes the throat and gives an excuse for some relaxed minutes after the bell. I repeat it a few times in the first weeks.
Get in a circle and play the "my favorites" memory game. The first student says their name and then the second student has to say the name of the person/s that went before them and say the name of their favorite food. you eliminate players if they good up, then you move on to adding a hand gesture with their food to up the difficulty. It is a great ice breaker and a good way for kids to start remembering each other's names.
Right away, on the first day of school, I like to ask the students how they are getting home that day and make a poster or chart on Smartboard. A lot of students aren't sure and they can feel nervous all day if they aren't sure. If you wait until the end of the day, things can be hectic and not a good way to start the year.
Smile, Smile, Smile to all my students to make them feel welcome. I teach ESL students so I try to learn how to greet them in their own language that is very powerful. I make them feel special.
I give my students a true/false quiz about me during the first hour of class. You should see how shocked they are when I tell them I'm giving them a quiz. Of course it isn't for a grade, but we go over it together and they learn so much about me. It's a great way to ease the tension and introduce myself to the class.
I read the book ""The Kissing Hand"" by Audrey Penn. The children meet ""Chester Racoon"" and make connections as they hear his experience about going off to school & leaving his mom. Then we take a tour of our school & search for Chester Racoon. I place ""clues"" throughout the school which lead us to meet the special teachers & find places that are important to know. I have a stuffed racoon, which is hidden in the coatroom. When we return back to the classroom Chester is there to greet us."
This year we made "Fifth Grade Bucket Lists" and hung them in the hallway. It was a great goal setting activity and it motivated me to make sure I try new things this year too.
After putting supplies away, we make name tags that take at least half an hour to complete, usually closer to an hour. I make one too, I put as much effort in as I expect from the students and I sit with them and share their crayons. They tell me about their summers and I listen without interrupting.
Pretty sure I'll be doing a QR Code scavenger hunt this year as an icebreaker.
Students from last year's class wrote letters to this year's class. On the first day of school, I hand out the letters to each student randomly. After the students are done reading their letters, we make a video, saying hello to their future selves and save watching it until the last week of June.
I give each student a pencil and then have them choose an eraser top from a bag. The erasers are various colors. Then I ask who has yellow, all of the students with yellow share with the class their favorite food. Then blue-favorite music, purple-favorite place to visit, pink-past time/hobby. This lets us learn a little about each other.
Take time to breathe or meditate before students enter the room.
I take a picture of each student, they write an introduction of theirself, by the end of the day I have made a video@ prezi to share with the class. Assessed writing skills, helps students and the teacher to learn more about each other, and exposes students to prezi.
"Give your students the change to introduce themselves to you with an age appropriate sheet with basics, then add quesitons like: My favorite food, place to visit, when I am sad I like to, When I am happy I like to. My favorite place to study. I am go at. I have to work hard to do well at. This will help you get to know your students."
If possible, call, email, or send home a postcard welcoming students prior to the start of the school year. This is usually more practical and influential with elementary students.
I play icebreaker games. I read encouraging stories.
"I want to get students excited about using Web 2.0 tools this year so the first day of school we will be create a class Wordle. When the students enter the classroom I will have a Wordle up using words from our first unit. I will ask students to think of words that have to do with computers, technology and Web 2.0 and words that describe how they use comuters. We will use these words to create a class room Wordle which we will print out for the classroom. Each period will create their own."
"I want to make sure that students get to know each other and feel comfortable in their new environment. We first gather around in a circle and talk about our name and some of our favorites - e.g. favorite color, food, movie and then we graph. I also like to have them complete a project within the first few weeks. I like to have students create an acrostic poem with their first name so they can get to know each other. The great thing is this can be done in digital format using either PowerPoint, PhotoStory or PhotoPeach. One slide per letter."
We do a paper sack greeting. Every child ( notified through a letter I send home weeks before school starts) brings in a bag with 5 little items that help to describe him/her and the things he or she likes. It makes introductions easy since the students are pulling their favorite items out of the bag and talking about them with their new classmates.
Book the lab or a cart of laptops and introduce the kids to their DE accounts of course. Show them hot to search and set them off to explore!
"Nametags are on all the desks, and as the children begin filtering in, Gail greets each one and leads them to the desks. There is a task for each child to start in on as they arrive -- a page to color. This is one of the favorite times of the whole year for Gail -- seeing each of these children pass the classroom threshold for the first time, and anticipating getting to know them all year long. Once everyone has arrived, Gail launches into a lesson about supplies. She explains where they go, and the importance of putting everything back in its place. Then it is time to explain what is on each bulletin board, a ""tease"" for all the fun learning all year long. During the first day children are mostly quiet, even though the explanation takes almost an hour. The first day students are often a little shy, feeling their way. Amanda has her hands folded, silently taking it all in. Travis will bear some watching -- after ten minutes he is on his knees at his desk, rocking back and forth, fiddling with his box of markers and making faces at his friend. The class begins to get fidgety, but Gail is happy at how well they attend to her talk. It was only last year that Dustin had the whole class in an uproar the first day within five minutes. Somehow he had snuck three snakes to school in his pocket, and released them at his pod as his personal introduction to the class. There is no drama yet with this group.
Because the students are beginning to get restless, it's time for the school tour. This will get everyone moving. Gail first takes five minutes to explain proper hall and line behavior, repeating the key points a few times. Even so, it's clear as students walk down the hallway that many missed the main points. This is expected for the first day, and even the first week -- Gail knows she will have to repeat the expectations at least 8-10 times before most students know the proper way to walk down the hall.
Back in the classroom, it's time to set up the pod or table groups. Gail tells each group they need to pick a name they want to identify their group. As expected, there is a Transformers Group, and more surprisingly, the Guinea Pigs group, though there is a heated argument before the name is chosen. Once again, Gail can breath a sigh of relief that every group has picked an appropriate moniker. Three years ago ""The Farting Bandits"" not only had to retitle their group, but upended the first day schedule because of the need for an impromptu lesson on what the word ""appropriate"" means.
It's already nearly time for lunch and recess. In the last 30 minutes before preparing for lunch, students begin work on self-portraits that will line the walls. Gail talks at length about how to fill the page with bold, bright colors and shows a couple examples from last year's class. Even though many of the bulletin boards are full, the first week is mostly given over to art projects that will build community, beautify the room, and keep the students busy.
Gail's Day 1 Schedule
Color During Arrival
Explain Classroom Displays
Lesson about Supplies
School Tour (Hall Behavior Discussion
Selection of Table Group Names
Self Portrait Art Project
Read Aloud + Art Project
Explanation of Class Reward Point System
I Like People Who"" Game
Preparation for Dismissal