Take first day pictures!!!
Don’t forget your camera on the first day. I take 1 picture for the memory book. I make copies of that picture and use it for our lunch count board. You can use other pictures for a variety of things.
Be Careful with your Words:
Before school starts I purchase a travel size toothpaste and bring it into school the first week. I ask the kids if anyone thinks they can squeeze the entire tube out and put it back into the tube. No one thinks they can…I proceed to squeeze out the entire tube onto a paper plate and show how it cannot be put back into the tube. I then compare it to our words and how we treat one another. They get the visual of how once we say unkind words we can’t take them back. We can apologize but it’s still out there and has hurt our friends. This is a wonderful visual and the kids refer back to it throughout the year.
Back to School Night:
We always have our back to school night within the first week or 2 of school starting. Here are a few ideas to make it more successful:
**Make a quiz for the parents to take. It is an icebreaker and they will get a kick out of it. Make it short 5 questions or so and have them answer questions about you or your principal.
**Put a cellophane wrapped apple at each desk for them, tie this poem to it wrapped with raffia.
An apple for the teacher is really nothing new, except when you remember parents are teachers too!!
Hold a raffle that night, have a new pencil or eraser set to show the parents and for those that came they can fill out a raffle ticket. At the end of the evening pick one, that child will receive the gift the next day!!
Copies of your class list:
As soon as you receive your finalized class list, print out a new one in a cute font, make several copies of it. Paste them on construction paper and laminate. If you assign student #’s make sure the #’s are on this list as well. These lists are so wonderful to have. I always leave one in my parent helper bucket. This keeps them organized and they can use a vis-a –vis marker to check off who they have worked with on a project. You can easily see who was absent or who they didn’t get to and leave it for the next helper.
I also keep one on a magnet on my white board. When field trip money or permission slips come in, I check off who has returned their slips and who hasn’t. You can use these for so many other reasons, they are handy to have!
My wonderful mother taught me this idea. She was a teacher for 25+ years and was amazing. She would layer her bulletin board paper at the beginning of the year. She might start with pink for spring, then layer blue for winter, and green on top for back to school. That way when she was ready for her next board, she would carefully take down the first layer and the next layer is already up.
Another wonderful idea is to use sheets, table cloths, etc. I usually spend a bit more money to get the fadless paper found at the teacher supply store. We have sunroofs in our hallway and this paper just won’t fade, it’s amazing. Check out my bulletin board ideas and pictures on my site.
Have each child bring in what I call a me bag. Send a note home the first day asking children to bring in 3 items that describe themselves. They have to fit into a paper bag or plastic grocery bag. This gives the class time to get to know one another and me as I bring in 5 items too. It takes a little while but during that first week it is well worth it.
Send that postcard!!
I feel it is so important to send a postcard to your students before the year begins. It eases any fears if they haven’t met you yet and if they have it just gives them even more confidence in their new school year. I know as a mom I love when my kids receive them from their teachers, just do it!! :0)
Decorate with a bang!!:
It is very important to me that my students and families feel very welcome. I usually buy helium balloons ( most of the time a bee since that is my theme ).*see below* I also hang paper that I have written welcome on and slice vertical line through it so the kids have to walk through that as they enter the room. It just adds excitement to the new year!!! ( you can see a picture of this in my slides shows )
Some kids will be new to your school and offering a school tour can be very reassuring for them. Put time in your day to allow for a tour before your first recess. Walk your class to the office, the restrooms, ball room, PE room, etc. This way they will have more confidence. It also allows for you to establish your hallway expectations and rules early on.
Rules, Rules, Rules:
There’s really nothing more important than establishing your procedures, expectations and rules with your students the first few weeks. Spend a lot of time early on so the rest of your year will be successful!!!
Think of everything…be sure to ask parents when they drop off if their child rides the bus. Have extra activities prepared for the first few weeks. Have tubs, turn in trays, etc. established and ready. Have a cute, comfy, inviting library for your kids too. ( Pictures of my library in my slide shows ).