I started two weeks ago and I know so many start this week, so I thought I'd share a few tips that may help you! :)
Study the Yearbook
If you don't know all of your students in your new class get your hands on last year's yearbook. What a nice welcome to those who enter your room if you call them by name! They will think you have secret powers or know magic! LOL
When students enter your room they can take out their supplies and place them in labeled bins. I also have two trays for paperwork that was passed out at Meet the Teacher to be returned. This system needs little direction and all of your supplies will already be organized for you!
*If you don't have tubs, use cardboard boxes or label areas on the table.
Have Everything Ready to Go!
Everything has to be at your fingertips that first week, especially that first day of school! (You can't turn your back on them!) On my table I have materials, important paperwork, read alouds, and manipulatives ready to go. When they are finished putting away their school supplies, they can start on their It's All About Me Poster. This poster will be a great getting to know you activity and make for a great hallway display. This will be the "thing" they do if they have any free time for the next couple of days.
I can't stress the importance of having classroom procedures. This is your chance to set up the routines you want for your classroom. You can grab a copy of my Class Procedures (written in a positive format) in my TPT store for FREE. :)
Things to discuss/think about: signals for bathroom, water, broken pencil. What do students do if they complete an assignment early (early finishers)? What materials are they able to use in your classroom? How many books should they have at their desk? Where do they turn in papers (classwork, homework, tests)?
What are you going to use to get your students' attention? Have a poster/sign or something ready so there's no confusion or forgetting. Some teachers clap and students copy, "give me five", class/class, yes/yes, cute phrases students finish, a bell, chimes...everyone has a favorite, just tell them what it is when you discuss procedures.
Have those read alouds ready for the first day. I always have a few picture books for lessons and a chapter book in case I have an extra five minutes or need a filler. We can't have any downtime, it must be very structured until we train them! I was so excited to finally compile so many of my reading and writing activities for back to school a few weeks ago. I have used so many of these tried and true activities since my first year teaching! This resource will build community in your classroom starting on day one!! It sparks great discussion and offers wonderful teachable moments. Even if you don't own all of the books for this product, I've included a video link for every book! The meaningful activities are print and go and will make lasting memories! Click here to read more about this pack.
Notice That Great Behavior!
Do you have a reward system in place? Whether it be points, fuzzy poofers, stickers, tickets, marbles, or even a compliment, have something ready to notice ALL THE GREAT things you want to see continued all year with your students. For example, students sharing with each other, complimenting each other, following procedures, participating, waiting their turn, volunteering to help, etc. This is the "honeymoon period" so we need to take advantage of this time so others will copy the behavior you're rewarding.
How Do They Get Home?
Find out IMMEDIATELY how your students get home if you don't already know. If you don't do it right away, you may forget with the craziness of the first day! This will also give you time to call home during your lunch or planning if your students don't know how they are going home. Use your class list to write their mode of transportation next to their name if you don't have a form. The first day of school is when most students end up at the wrong location for after school dismissal.
I hope you can use at least one of these tips, sometimes it's hard to remember everything that first day! Even as teachers we get nervous! Good luck if you haven't started school!
Here's to a GREAT school year!