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Monday 26 January 2015

First Days

Happy Australia Day to all my Aussie friends!  I hope you are celebrating with family and friends. We will be having a family lunch and a relax.  Down here we still have another week of holidays before we head back to the classroom but I know there are many teachers who will be going back to school tomorrow.
As we think about all those kiddos feeling nervous about their first day of school, I like to keep in my mind all of those teachers who also feel equally anxious and butterflies in their tummy.  I am one of those who always thinks their first day is going to be a disaster, even though I have been doing this for 16 years now.

So I thought I would put together my top 5 ways to make sure your morning runs smoothly.

1.  Class lists

Make several class lists with the ability to check off.  These can be used for a number of reasons, to check off items students have brought in, check off notes that needed to be returned on the first day, and to make notes that you need to remember.  I often have parents tell my little tidbits about their child that they didn't put on enrollment forms and I know if I don't write it down it will go out the window.  I also make a note of parents names as I meet them for future reference ( I know I can look it up on the school files) I like to have it close by for those times when you need to make a quick call or they pop in and you have forgotten their name.

2. Name tags

I like to have 2 large copies of names (for lockers, tubs etc) and 3 small copies of names on card and laminated.  We use these when we are making graphs or when answering questions among other things.  I also have blank templates for those surprise new enrollments that show up on the first day, these can be written on with a marker and then transferred to a digital copy later on when you have time to breathe.  Don't forget to make a name tag for yourself as well :)

3. Take pictures!

This is something I nearly always forget to do!  I like to take photos of my kiddos on the first day to use throughout the year on things like, roll call on the IWB, data and graphing, gift making, art and craft.  Some teachers like to make special photos with frames and props for the first day as part of a memory book or gift.  If you do not have help in your classroom and you would like to be able to take photos on the first day make sure you have planned an activity that will keep the kiddos engaged while you pull students to take the photos. Think about the backdrop and the lighting prior to the first day (speaking from experience).  I once had a classroom that had lots of windows and was lovely and bright but very few places for a decent photo to be taken without the backlight, subsequently all my photos came out looking dark.

4.  Busy work

Have some activities out on tables and the carpet.  I usually put out puzzles, drawing, a construction/building (lego), books and playdough. Of course these activities need to be altered to suit your grade level, the important thing is to always make sure these activities are not messy and can be quickly packed up.   Having something for the students to come in and immediately engage with means you are free to talk to parents and or kids as they turn up and it gives parents an opportunity to engage with their children in their new classroom in a positive way.

5. Bulletin Boards

Some people like to have their bulletin boards empty waiting for their new class to fill it with their amazing learning.  Personally I like to have some encouraging messages put on some boards as well as posters with classroom routines and rules.  One special thing I have started to do is to get my students from the previous year to write a letter to the incoming students letting them know what they can expect for the coming year.  This is also a great end of year activity for your students to reflect on their learning.  If you have a very young class you could get them to draw what their favorite subject, memory, activity for that year was.  If you would like a copy just click on the pic below or right click save as image.

This last one is not in my list but just a little reminder.  Remember to smile and breathe :)

I hope for all my friends heading back to the classroom in the next couple of weeks you are feeling excited and happy to be going back....and if you are just a little bit nervous, (or a lot nervous)

PS Don't forget you still have a chance to win a $10 TpT voucher by entering the Rafflecopter in out Back To School Bounty Giveaway. Just click on the pic below :)

1 comment:

  1. Great tips, Tania!! I'm one of those people who tends to decide on the day that I want to take photos, then I can't find the camera or a place to photograph and I get frazzled. Not this year!!

    Jem's Bright Buttons