Updated: Jul 26
Whether you are a seasoned teacher or a first year (and first day!) teacher, most of us will get butterflies in our tummies on the first day of school! Our heads are buzzing with all the things we want to do, must remember to talk about and feeling like we forgot something.
The best piece of advice for the first week of school was given to me by a beautiful mentor who has since retired. She told me to lean in. That's right. Enjoy it, and learn a lot in the process. Here are 3 of my favorite tips for the first week of school:
Go slow. So slow. The slowest. Remember, these students are not last year's end of the school year students who were rock stars at following routines. These students need to learn your expectations and routines. The morning is the best time to establish classroom rules. CLICK HERE for your FREE "Class Rules" brainstorming sheet.
This is the perfect time to review partner talks too! Throughout the year, students will have many, many opportunities to work with a partner but nothing can be more painful than watching one or two students struggle to find a partner or group. Recently, I solved that problem with "Partner Cards for Pairing or Groups." There are options for pairs, groups of three or groups of four. The themes are simple: Word Pairs, Three of a Kind and Specific Groups. Click here to check this resource in greater detail.
2. Model EVERYTHING. Don't assume your students know how to do things. For each new activity, model the right way and the wrong way to do everything. Demonstrate how to take and return classroom materials. Act out lining up. This is an opportunity for you to be silly too! Students will likely relax when they watch their teacher hop like a bunny rabbit to line up!
Moving around the classroom is a very important routine to model. If every human in your classroom is hurrying to do something, that can be chaotic, not to mention dangerous. Rather than group bins, all classroom supplies are kept in labeled bins on shelves at the back of my classroom. Student leaders retrieve the necessary materials for an activity from the bins. I love using numbers and different icons to name groups throughout the year and use these numbers or icons to address table groups. Check out my FREE table numbers and icons for the first month of school here. If you would like a set for the full year, you can click here to see this growing bundle in greater detail.
3. LEAN IN. It is understandable that you are rushing to tackle your to do list but perhaps it is even more important to enjoy it! Be positive. Reinforce good choices made by your new students. Take a moment to sit down and breathe. While you are sitting, watch your students. You can learn a lot about their personalities and work habits while you observe them and see how they interact with each other.
Wishing you a calm (it is possible!) and smooth transition back to school for you and your students!