You oughta know about surviving the first day of school

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Summer is officially over for me! I have been working like crazy to get my room ready (pictures coming soon!) and I am almost ready to meet my new batch of first graders. Whether you are a new teacher or a veteran teacher, I think you oughta know about a few ways to survive the first day of school…

Let me begin by saying that I am NOT a teaching guru! I don’t know everything that there is to know about teaching, but I have done a few things over my 5 years of teaching that have really helped me conquer the first day.

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1. Create a first day script or an agenda/list: I got this idea from a Harry Wong workshop that I attended while student teaching. I have created one every year since I started teaching. The script is similar to a script that an actor reads. It contains everything you are going to say and do the first day. As a first year teacher, I was super nervous and I wanted to make sure all of my thoughts were together. I typed up my script and referenced it throughout the day. Each year my script turns into more of a bulleted list, but it is still helpful to reference. The picture above shows my agenda that I’m working on for the first day of school next week. Do you use something similar?

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2. Have something for your students to do when they walk in: I don’t know about your previous first days of school but mine are hectic in the morning. Students come early, students come on time, student come late. Students show up who weren’t on your original roster. You have to hug a few parents and students to calm them down. The office needs this and that. I have found that having something on my students’ desks for them to do when they walk in works very well. Usually I put together a packet that contains handwriting practice, letter practice, counting practice,and I also include a few coloring pages. I’m still working on it, but the picture above is my cover page. Why is this helpful? When chaos ensues and you are trying to use your two hands to handle a million tasks early that morning, you will want something that will keep your kiddos busy at their seats. While they are working, I am greeting parents and students, putting supplies away, and also walking around to see how my students are doing.

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3. Give the rules, explain the rules, model the rules, and ENFORCE the rules: I cannot tell you how important classroom management is! If you do not establish the rules and enforce them starting day one, you are going to have trouble with behavior for the rest of the school year. I use this clip chart here along with a recording sheet that goes home each day. I establish clear rules with clear consequences, but I also have rewards for good behavior. I have a monthly behavior party for students who fill out their punch cards.

4. Don’t stress: Last but not least, do not stress! Your kiddos will love their teacher no matter what. Say a prayer to start your day and let if flow!! Enjoy your new kids and have a great school year!

What is something that you do that helps you survive the first day of school? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section.

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17 comments

  1. Great advice! Thank you. I always create a first day script also. Thanks for the reminder to start the day with prayer. :)
    Jan
    Laughter and Consistency

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  2. Thank you for your reminders. Even though I have been teaching 15+ years, I also use a bulleted script the first day. I love the reminder to start the day with prayer. I'm working on what to have out for the morning as well. I come early the first day and so finding something for the Kindergartners to do for a little over an hour is quite challenging.

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  3. These are great tips for the first day of school, Jasmine! I think it is especially important to have a script for grades K-2nd. I sometimes lose my mind the first day of school. Have a fabulous year! Best wishes! Jen :)

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  4. Do you have an example first day agenda that I can look at? I'm a second year teacher and I am always looking to improve myself, so anything I see I want to try.

    Btw, I love your advice for starting a day with a prayer.

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  5. Great advice! I love having an independent activity for students to do when they walk in the door. It gives them direction and a sense of what to do (the first day can be overwhelming or scary for some students and a clear purpose can help greatly), plus it gives you freedom to great students and parents, walk around the room to check on students, etc. Great ideas!

    -Margaret
    iHeartLiteracy

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  6. Great ideas Jasmine! Love the idea of having a script - there's always something you forget and this will help you do everything you planned!

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  7. Great tips! I love that you give them a packet of work to work on when they come in! Some of my students finished their work early and they had to get books out of my library (the library hadn't even been introduced yet!). Yikes! Thanks for the great ideas!!

    Stephanie
    Mrs. Cain's Creations

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  8. Thank you for organizing the You Oughta Know Blog Hop, your post needs to be given to every new teacher! I wrote a script out for the first day every year with the most important items I had to discuss at the very top....there is never enough time to get everything done and with your script items from day one left over, day two is almost written too!
    I've pinned this great post!
    ~Fern
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

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  9. Such a great idea to have a script for the first day! I always do this for the whole first week. With kinders that are so lost themselves it's nice to have something to go back to to keep me on track (although I often end up not having time for half of what I've planned!)
    TMrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

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  10. These are great tips for getting started with a new class. I love how positive you are. You are right! The students will love you! Teaching Science With Lynda

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  11. I still keep my original agenda in my Back to School folder. I have tweaked it over the years, but it is a great reminder of where this journey began. Thank you for hosting this blog hop!!

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  12. Thank for hosting this fun blog hop! I am learning so much!
    Kelly
    MyFabulousClass

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  13. What great advice! Thanks for sharing. I don't think you can ever be too prepared for the first days of school!

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  15. Thanks for the tips and for the blog hop opportunity. I have learned so much this being my first.
    You are super sweet!
    Lori

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