How to Prepare for the First Day that Drives the Whole Year

It’s August, which means only one thing. . . it’s back to school time!
I have had a wonderful summer of vacationing, relaxing, and rejuvenating for the new school year. I hope your summers were just as wonderful!

How do you prepare for the first day of school? I am getting ready for my 8th first day of school as a teacher, and I have found every year to be a bit different. However, there are some activities that I do on the first day that set the tone for the rest of the year.

*Establish, model, and practice routines and procedures starting on huge very first day when students first enter the room. My expectation is for students to go directly to their seats and begin bell work. I then dismiss groups of students to lockers. This procedure is expected every day and the first day is no exception. What are your procedures for lining up, using the bathroom, moving about the classroom, etc.? Think about these procedures NOW and teach them the first day and reinforce and practice them for weeks and then as needed.

*Allow for some student expression on the first day. I have typically set up most of my classroom myself and put my posters up and arranged the desks and bookshelves and bulletin boards. Therefore, I always make sure that on the first day I have an opportunity for students to leave their mark in my classroom. I’ve always had students make their own locker name tags (our lockers are in the classroom) and last year each student made a personal crest representing themselves that stayed up all year long. These are two activities that I will repeat again this year.

*Allow for some breaks and catch-up time with the students to just talk and ease back into the structure of school!

What do you do on the first day to set the tone for the year?
Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

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