4 Things you HAVE to Do the 1st Day of School

Your room is ready, perhaps you have had a Back to School or Meet the Teacher night, the stage is set, it's go time! But wait what do you do on the first day? Wether it's your first day of teaching or your first day in a new grade the first day is important. It sets the tone for the year. There's so much paperwork and boring stuff but what do you really NEED to do the first day? Having taught for years and years I have learned what you HAVE to do the first day and what can wait.

4 things you simply must do (in my humble opinion).

Greet Your Students and Make them Feel Welcome

Any grade you teach this is essential! When students walk in your classroom on the first day of school you want to be at the door to greet them! I KNOW there are a million things to collect from them and other things to do but this is SOOOOOOO important! Have something grade appropriate for them to do at their seats to keep them busy while you greet each one at the door and let them know how happy you are to have them in your class! I also like to hand out a little token the first day like these "smarties". I constantly tell my kids they are smarties and hand them out for different reasons!


 Begin Teaching Routines and Procedures

I know this seems strict but routines and procedures are key to classroom management and a smooth running classroom! I don't teach every procedure the first day but ones we need the first day are definitely taught! These include, how to come in the room, morning procedures, attendance and lunch count procedures, lining up, bathrooms, coming to and sitting on the carpet, cafeteria, recess and dismissal. I am a strong believer that children will try to do things the right way but how do they know if we do not explicitly tell them and model it for them. Even in upper grades, just because a student is in 4th grade doesn't mean they know how YOU want them to line up, what if their teacher last year didn't care if they pushed in their chairs, or didn't have flexible seating. New Year, New Teacher, New Classroom, NEW Procedures and Routines! Teach them how you want it done or don't expect them to know.


 Read to Them

This might seem like a given but I think it is SOOOO important in elementary to read to them from the very first day. It sets the tone that reading is super important! I think every teacher can agree with that not just me and my literacy loving self.
Check out THIS post for 7 of my favorite back to school read alouds.

Get to Know Each Other 

This might seem like another given but sometimes the first day or few days can be so hectic with paperwork and everything else that slips to the wayside when it should be front and center! Getting to know your students and beginning to build relationships with them should be your top priority. One activity I like is Jitter Beans which is in my First Day Jitters Reader Response Activities.
Wether you use this activity or something else start getting to know your students! Those relationships are everything. Whew,  glad we shared that! 

3 Things You COULD do the First Day

Now here are 3 things you could do to really make their first day amazing! Beyond fabulous the best first day ever! And Really I did these things almost every year!

Take their picture!


Your students (and their parents) will love having a picture of them! The pieces to make this frame are in my First Grade Back to School Activities

 Make Memories or Goals

A great way to start the year is by starting a memory book to keep track of all the memories you make this year or data notebook where they can track data and write down goals. I did memory books in K-2 and Data Notebooks with Goals in 4,5,6.

Engage Them!

Have fun with your students! I know the beginning of the year can be stressful with all of the paperwork and lack of sleep but capturing their hearts and engaging them in a variety of ways the first day is a surefire way to set a wonderful tone for the year. Play music, do GoNoodle, paint or do a STEM activity give them something to go home and tell their parents that today was the Best First Day of School ever and this year is going to be THE BEST ONE YET!

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