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The first day of school is approaching faster than I'd like this year. This is always a very stressful day for teachers, students and parents alike. This year will be different for me, because we're meeting the parents and teachers before school starts, so I'm hoping I can lay down some ground rules for the first day of school including the parents saying goodbye outside. I don't have any idea if it will work, or if the kids and parents will even show up for these before-school conferences.
In past years, the beginning of the first day has been chaotic. Here's the procedures that I've used the last few years.
- Students enter the room (with or without parents). They choose their name tag which is placed on a table inside the door. They're directed to hang up their back packs and put their lunches away. Then to find a desk with crayons on it. I hand them a hidden object picture and send them to their desks.
- We used to have parent-teacher conferences the 2nd or 3rd week of September, so I'd hand parents a clip board with a schedule on it so they can sign up for a time.
- I have a clip board with student names and check in information. This includes what kind of lunch the kid is having, and how the student is to get home.
- In the craziness, I always fear I'll forget to tell a parent something important--like where to pick up their child, or what time school gets out, etc. So I always prepare a short note with information about the end of the first day, and what to do at the beginning of the next day.
- Once I get the parents out the door, I call the students over to the floor and we talk about first day feelings. I usually read a book, either First day Jitters, or Morris Goes to School.
- After that, there's the usual stuff: tours, getting to know you stuff, setting up rules/expectations, and yes, I do some informal assessments (Write all the letters you know. If you have time and know some words, write those too>)
- One other favorite activity is reading The Kissing Hand. Afterward, I have the students trace their own hands, cut out their hand print, and then I give them a heart sticker to put on it. This is a really interesting pre-assessment, too.
Do you have special activities you do the first day of school? How do you deal with the beginning of the day chaos? Teach123 is having a linky party, so please link up and share your thoughts.