Monday, September 2, 2013

First Day of School #34

I think I’m ready! That’s right – most of you have had a week with children already, and I start tomorrow.  Even though I have had 33 “First Day of School” experiences I am always excited and a little nervous about beginning a new school year. Do I have everything ready? Is the classroom arranged to meet the needs of this group of children? Do I have a Plan B? This is the first time we’re letting the parents walk in with their children so they can take first day pictures. Was this the right decision? We’ve always waved them off and sent them to the Boo Hoo/Woo Hoo Breakfast to commiserate or celebrate. Hopefully every thing will “snap” smoothly.

BUT no matter what – I’ve learned to to take a deep breath and I don’t let beginning of the day upsets set the tone for the rest of the day. I also have a few tried and true tips that helps my year begin on a successful note.   

You gotta feel good – so to feel good you gotta look good!  I always have a new first day of school outfit.  Here’s mine! 
                (Big decision: Do I go with the safari or the German Drindl?)

Be prepared for the little things!  We often address the obvious things but it’s those little duties that can set the tone for the day!  Since we are required to do home visits the week before – I pick up most of their supplies (that’s if they didn’t bring them to orientation).  This allows us the opportunity to put things away, mark items that need to be labeled.  It’s one less thing to feel exhausted about AND it gives us more time to focus on the kids.  For those parents who are less prepared and want to ask a ton of questions – I have a cart I roll out. 
 On this cart – I have crates labeled for any late supplies, clipboard of questions, reminders….. I also have folders so that they can place any late forms I’ll need asap.  I’ll also have the lunch basket for placing boxed lunches.  Believe me, when I say DO NOT wait until the students walk into the room to do all these small things when you can get the parents to help out!  Trying to deal with the little – but important things can set the tone for utter chaos when you are dealing with 17+ children who are experiencing school for the first time!

Recruit help!  Even though we have our fabulous assistants who run around trying to get the attendance submitted on the computer, lunch count…..(the list goes on) – it’s great to have another pair of eyes, ears, hands!  What I do is recruit a former parent volunteer who knows your room and routine.  They’re great to have on the first day – especially in the lunch room to assist in directing little ones to their tables, opening milk cartons, walking them to the bathroom…… 

Make sure your plan includes a temporary seating chart – although by now you may have already figured out who has to be separated….   I also have a carpet seating chart with names penciled in so that I can make last minute changes.  I love my carpet!  It’s been a wonderful management tool for me! After you’ve gone over the rules and have shared your classroom management routines – go over them again and again and again.  Role play, act it out, line up again, and again!  Believe me it will be worth your time! They have to know your expectations!  Remember, if it doesn’t go well by the end of the first day you still have the rest of the year to improve! 

Last but not least, don’t forget to smile!  I simply don’t believe in waiting until Christmas to smile and laugh!  Let them know you are human.  I even bring in my “Woogies” for the class to meet!

More random pics of my classroom: 



Buzzing off for some extra needed Zzzz!
Random:  Moving Art

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