Friday, July 20, 2012

The First Day of School

The above graphic is

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.

click here to link up



  1. First Day Jitters is a great book! I can't imagine having parent teacher conferences so early in the year when you are still getting to know your students. Thank you for linking up!
    :) Michelle

  2. Joell,

    Your post got me to thinking about the first day of school and how stressful it can be for both the teacher and the students. We're changing from 25 students to 30 students this coming year, so it will be a bigger challenge to get everyone situated with procedures, lunch, and dismissal. What a great idea for a link party. I'll need to check it out.

    First Grade Schoolhouse

  3. Mona,

    I've had 30 students before. It was not fun. Here in Utah we often have larger classes than everywhere else. I think it's sad to see other places have to deal with the class sizes we've had to all along. Still, we managed to survive it. I just do the best I can with what I'm given.

    Hang in there!


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