10 Tips for the First Day of School

10 tips for back to school

Are you worried about the first day of school? Do you have back-to-school jitters?  Are you a new teacher or new to kindergarten?  Are you wondering how will I survive the first day of kindergarten?  

Don't worry I have 10 tips and tricks to help you get through your first day of school. 

The first day of school is filled with excitement and worries not just for the teacher, but for the students too.

These tips for setting up your first day of school will help you get through your first day of school with a smile.

1: Overplan the First Day of School

It is ok to over-plan.  Be flexible with your curriculum the first few days.  It will take time for you and your students to get into a rhythm and routine. 

2: Teach Procedures on the First Dayof school

From the first day of school, teach procedures. Make a list of all the procedures you will want your class to know and follow. Work them into your day when appropriate.  Then practice those procedures.  Remember, chances are your students have no idea of how to line up.  You will need to demonstrate this, then have a few students try it as a model, then the whole class. Also don't expect them to have it perfected the first day.  Procedures need to be taught and reinforced frequently in the first few weeks.

3. Read Back to School Books

Make sure you have books planned to read throughout your first day of school.  It is never too early to start building their love for books.  Also, these storytimes, give your students the opportunity to practice sitting and listening. If you need Back to School Books ideas this blog post has them the Best Back to School Read Alouds

4. Label Everything

Make sure your student's belongings are labeled.  I leave a note outside the door with a cup of Sharpie Markers and ask parents to label their child's backpack, lunch box, and jackets.  Often these items are brand new and the student doesn't even know what it looks like when they try to find it.

5. Count Your Kids

Yes, count, count every time you leave one room and arrive at another.  Somehow, someone always gets in the wrong line and you end up with one too many or not enough students. I keep a class roster on my lanyard so that I can double-check each time we line up.

6. Get to Know Your Students

On the first day of school, I do my best to get to know my students and for them to get to know me. I have an All About Me book that I created so that my students can know who I am as their teacher.   While reading my book, I ask questions. For example, after sharing that I have pets, I ask my students to raise their hands if they have a dog, a cat, and so forth.  

7. Take Pictures on the First Day of School

I take photos of my students on their first day of kindergarten.  I have a sign that I made and students hold it up while I take their photos.  Often I can get a friend or family member to come in to help with this.
First Day of School photo with photo board sign

8. Assess of the First Day of School

Yes, assess on the first day of school if you can or at least the first week. I use ESGI for all of my assessments.  On the first few days of school, we have extra support for kindergarten.  I have the support staff help with the assessments.  I assess for letter identification, number ID, counting orally, one-to-one correspondence counting, and writing their name. These assessments help me to guide my instruction for the coming weeks. Try ESGI FREE for 60 Days

9. First Day of School Self Portrait

Have your students draw a self-portrait on the very first day of school.  The self-portrait can tell you a lot about your students.  Observing their pictures can tell you how much exposure your students' have had using crayons.  This first day of school portraits can also be saved as a precious memento to use in a class portfolio book.  In my class, we do a self-portrait every month.  Students love to compare their First day of kindergarten picture with the picture they drew in May. Try Self Portraits

10. Going Home

Know how each and every one of your students will be going home.  Class departure can be hectic on the first few days of school, especially in kindergarten.  The kids are anxious to see their families and you have no clue which child belongs to which adult.  I ask my parents to fill out a form for going home.  Then during lunch, I quickly go through the forms.  I place them in piles, going home with parent/daycare/YMCA.  When it is time to leave, I line my students up into their proper groups and then dismiss each child one at a time. For students being picked up at the classroom, I make them point to their adults before I release them.  By the end of the week, I am able to recognize most families and daycare providers for each student. FREE Student Information Card

For more back-to-school tips, you might be interested in these blog posts.
10 back to school tips for teachers- 10 tips to help you start your first day of school with ease

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