5 Tips For a Successful First Day of School

The first day of school can be chaotic for your kindergarteners, their parents and for you, especially if you are a brand new teacher. I have 5 tips that can help you have a successful first day of school. 
Have a successful first day of school and start the year off with a bang!!!
Different teachers have different feelings about this… Here is how we do it at our school.  Parents do not enter the classroom on the first day. We found that we couldn’t get them to leave, children started to cling to parents then it created a chain reaction one would start crying and others would think oh they are crying I should be crying too.  We tell the kids to turn and wave goodbye to their parents as they enter. We invite parents into the room at pick-up time. 

Tip # 1 Name-Tags
Place name tags outside your classroom door for parents to place on students before they enter the classroom.
Have your name-tags ready and placed outside your classroom door.  Don’t wait and try to put them on inside the classroom.  Let the parents do the work for you.  I place a pocket chart outside my door holding all of my name-tag lanyards.  There is a note that explains exactly what to do.    This way when the students enter my classroom I am able to greet each student by their first name.  “Good morning Mary, Welcome, it’s so nice to meet you”.  Being able to “know” their names also helps to calm some of their fears.
***Have extra blank name-tags for last minute student enrollments

Tip #2 Starting Your Day
Have math manipulatives on the tables first thing- this creates a welcoming environment for students who may be hesitant or afraid.
Start the day with table activities. I always start out with math manipulatives such as pattern blocks, linking cubes, bear counters and puzzles.  Students see these as fun activities and may feel more comfortable entering the classroom. 

Tip #3 Snacks
Be prepared to have extra snacks on hand for those who may not bring one the first few days of school
Have extra snacks. Believe it or not, not all parents know to send food to school with their children.  I buy a box of Ritz crackers or have Goldfish crackers already to go in ziplock baggies.  I keep them aside and them hand out once I see who needs food. 

Tip #4 Over Plan
Over plan- its better to have too much then not enough
Plan too much. It is too hard to guess how much you will need those first few days. Sometimes you have too much, but what you never want is to not have enough.  It's ok if you don't get to everything, you can just push it to the next day.  Books, songs,  and movement activities are great time fillers for the first day of school.  Also have all of your materials ready to go in the order you need them and easily accessible.  Kindergarteners can't wait for you to run back to your desk to grab materials.

Tip #5 Establish Rules From Day One
Begin your class rules form the first day.  Whole Brain Teaching Rules are simple and these posters are Free
Don't be afraid to establish rules and boundaries from the start.  From the moment you invite students to the carpet to sit, let them know the expectations for sitting.  They won't know unless you tell them.  I actually have a poster that I use to show my students just how I want them to sit.  Then I invite my students to see if they can sit like the students in the poster.  I try to make it a game.  1-2-3 sit  great!!! let's try again  I also use many of the techniques from Whole Brain Teaching such as Eyes and Hands.    These are really the only classroom rules I have and use.  You can grab my Free WBT posters in my TpT store. 

Whole Brain Teaching Free Posters available for Download at Teachers Pay Teachers

Back to School Rules create your classroom rules with this poster set

I asked the members of my Teacher Facebook Group to share their tips for New Teachers and here is what they said.  If you would like to join our group click the picture
Join the Teacher Facebook Group share ideas, ask questions and connect globally with other teachers
Jen Jarvis To make a list of things to accomplish- bathroom, lining up, sitting at the carpet, introduce yourself (I always make a PowerPoint with pictures- golf ball, book, my dogs, football, me and my husband, a tent, etc) so they can guess what I like and learn about me, let them introduce themselves, learn how to "play at recess," read a few stories, and plan a few activities- which may very well get pushed back to day 2

Rosey Aldana Krauel Don't take any routine, no matter how small it may seem to us, for granted. Some will come in with preschool experiences but for many others, this is the first time in a school setting.

Katie Griswold Cafeteria routines and procedures!! A make or break.... how to hold a tray with two hands... how to open milk... I get a tray from the cafe and set up a pretend lunch line with food from my kitchen Center and we practice.... usually I can snag a real milk and spoon pack and ketchup packets from the cafeteria for our pretend lunch line.

Sandy Johnson Procedures procedures, procedures and more procedures. Be waaaaay over planned. Expect to be exhausted beyond belief for the first month. Welcome to the BEST calling ever.

Kelli Hadley Mccarver In between learning all the procedures Etc have something memorable planned. Fun activity that they won't forget. Our teachers go on a school hunt looking for "who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?" The office, lunchroom, nurse station etc all participate as they learn the school.

Sabrina Terry BEFORE the first day talk with parent or guardian about how their child will get HOME FROM school. Have tags pre made (laminated) and put them on their backpacks and tell parents you are doing this so please DON'T remove them. On these tags (Google get home tags) put how they get home bus#--, car, walker (terrifies me), etc ALSO add their name and teachers name. This way anyone in your school knows where that child belongs after school or before school. And when you leave your room you can look at each child's backpack and know where they go. If a child has a change from that tag I tape a sticky note to it with the date on it. This lets me and anyone else in the school know what that child is doing. I am terrified of misplacing a kid because of changes. 

Marcy Pollinger Di Eduardo Take it slow... Don't plan for more than you all can handle. Your pace will be slower those first few days... Don't stress yourself out by trying to jam too much in. Have a morning and afternoon playtime.. If you're full day.  Model model model your expectations... Don't just tell them... SHOW THEM!
Oh yeah... Have fun!

Tamara Morrison Patience, parents have lots of concerns of leaving their child. Make things simple and don't expect miracles. Be stern kids need to know you have rules from day one. It's the best job in the world you will love it.

Join the Teacher Facebook Group share ideas, ask questions and connect globally with other teachers
Join the group, and share ideas, ask questions and make new friends.

Keep checking back I have several other back to school Freebies to share and tips to help get your year started off smoothly.

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