First Day of School

by Kelli Lewis, M. Ed.

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It’s that time of the year again…the time when you begin to think about how you’re going to start off the school year with your new set of students. Possibly you’ve been doing this for several years and have everything pretty much decided, but you’d like a fresh idea or two. Perhaps you’re starting your first year as a brand new teacher and don’t have much of a clue as to where to start. Whatever your experiences and reasoning for needing some worry-free tips, there is no need in worrying any longer. Here are some suggestions that are sure to be the perfect prescription to relieve those first-day-of-school worries.

1. Be sure to greet each and every one of your students at the door when they come in.

2. Have a fun activity on their desks for them to do.

3. Make nametags for students to wear for first week or so, until you feel that you’ve got their names down pat (and to help them learn each others’ names, too).

4. Have a meeting on the reading rug to hold some “get to know me” discussions, so that the students know who their teacher is. Be sure to include pictures of you, your family, pets, etc.

5. Read The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

This charming book is about a young raccoon who is reluctant to go to school…until he gets some wisdom from his mother.

6. Take students on a school tour and hunt for “Chester.” You can use any name for any stuffed animal of some type. Have clues along the way so that students get acquainted with their school while having fun searching for the little critter you hid ahead of time!

7. Discuss expectations, behavior, and create class rules/norms together as a class family. Allow students to work together with you to create the rules, allowing them a say-so in how their classroom will run.

8. Allow students to make something for their parents. “What did you think/learn on your first day of ___ grade?”

9. Send students home with labels that indicate their transportation, bus #, etc.

10. Send home a letter to parents…welcoming them, and letting them know what a wonderful first day you had meeting their student. Be sure to share with them what you did on their first day and their agreement to the classroom rules/norms, as well as your expectations of their student and of them.

Kelli Lewis, M. Ed. recently received her masters degree from The University of Georgia and is currently staying busy setting up her third-grade classroom!



Filed under Behavior Management, Classroom Community, Discipline

8 responses to “First Day of School

  1. I love your ideas and pointers for beginning the school year with a positve start. I especially like the activity, looking for “Chester”. I am planning to begin the year with Clifford (the big red dog) and love the idea that the students will look for “Clifford”. Thank you again!

  2. Leigh Ann

    I also love the idea of having a classroom “pet” to look for and that it doesn’t have to be a real animal. Students can also take turns taking the pet home on the weekend to care for it. They love this!

  3. Pingback: Late for School | Ahgoo Review

  4. Jennifer Nuss

    I like the classroom rules. I create a class covenant with my students. Sort of like a mission statement for my classroom. After we are done with it, the students sign it and we post it in the room.

  5. Joey Byrd

    Having students wear name tags is a really good idea. With so many students, I know I will struggle with their names for the first week. I do not want to discourage the students by calling them the wrong name or not remembering it (I know how I feel when that happens to me). Thank you for the good ideas!

  6. Paula Whitfield

    These are some neat ideas,especially for new teachers. I like the idea of the students helping with rules and expectations. Be sure to display the rules in the classroom. Reviewing the rules from time to time is helpful. The rules could be numbered. When a student breaks a rule, have them write the rule and number several times according to what is appropriate for their age. Later, you could ask them what is rule#1,etc.

  7. Dar

    I enjoyed reading the article. I make nametags for the first week, but remind students to also wear them to their “specials” classes. This is beneficial for the specials teachers as they are learning student names for the first few weeks. Now to get out my plan book and write down all of these ideas!

  8. egghead96

    I’m not familiar with the book “The Kissing Hand”, I wish you would have given some significance about why teachers should read it the first week of school.