What to do on the First Day of School

The first day of school brings SO much excitement, but it can also be very overwhelming to know exactly what you want to do.  I am always worried that I will forget something important.  Here are some of things that I make sure to do on the first day of school.

Ideas of what to do on the first day of school.

  1. I ALWAYS make sure that I have something EASY for the students to do when they come into the classroom on the first day of school.  I like to use a coloring sheet (You can find the one I use in my First Days of First Grade Packet) or a Play-Doh mat.  Download the Play-Doh mat for FREE here.  This gives me a chance to help students as they come into the room and organize their supplies.  The most important thing is to make this activity something that they can do independently.
  2. Procedures, procedures, procedures.  Throughout the day, I make sure to teach procedures for EVERYTHING.  Lining up, getting out supplies, walking throughout the classroom, sharpening pencils, what to do when finished, etc.  You can never go over too many procedures.  You cannot just assume that the students will know what you expect from them.
  3. Morning Meeting – Since this is something that we will do every single day in our classroom, I want to start right away on the first day.  It is also a great time to learn more about each other.  I start by holding a ball or a stuffed animal.  I tell something about myself.  Then, I pass the ball to a student to do the same thing.  We continue this until everyone has had a turn.
  4. I read quite a few books to the students throughout the day.  There are so many amazing books for the first weeks of school.  (See my list of my favorite back to school books.)  Kids love listening to their teacher read.
  5. I take the students on a tour of the school.  You can make this more fun by turning it into a scavenger hunt.
  6. I make sure to include some type of structured play time into our first day.  I personally use Morning Tubs in my classroom every morning, so I introduce these on the first day.  I explain the expectations and procedures.  Then, we “practice” these procedures.  You can also give them time during the first day to explore some of the math manipulatives that you may be using this school year.
  7. Take pictures!!!  I always take a First Day of School picture of each child.  I like to print these off and mail them along with a letter to the parents, but you could definitely just send them digitally to each parent.  They LOVE to see pictures of their child in your classroom.
  8. Give the students the opportunity to get to know you.  Let them ask questions, tell them some fun facts about yourself, etc.  You want to build as much classroom community as you can.  This Digital Back to School is also a fun activity for the first day.
  9. If you have time…try and do some quick observations and assessments of your students.  Definitely don’t do anything formal or overwhelming for them on that first day, but you can definitely walk around and jot some notes about strengths and weaknesses that you may notice as they work.  You can save the more formal assessments for later on in the week.  (Easy Back to School Assessments)
  10. Make sure that you practice and plan for dismissal BEFORE dismissal.  Dismissal is one of the most stressful times of the entire first day of school.  You have to know how every child is expected to get home before that final bell rings.  (Dismissal tags and sheet are from my First Days of First Grade packet.)

Everything you need for the first days of first grade.

I hope that you have a WONDERFUL first day of school!

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