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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
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!