1. Is your room ready?
You should have up a few things on bulletin boards, but save lots of space for student work to be added the first day or two, to personalize the room.
2. Do you have nametags for the students and for their desks?
Be sure to have extras, because some kids on your list probably won't show up, and you'll get new students enrolling for the first week or two.
3. Do you have soft music to play in the background?
4. Do you have a sign-in sheet for the parents who come with their children the first day, where they can leave you personal notes if they don't have time to talk?
5. Do you have a paper for parents to indicate how their child gets home from school?
This is *very* important, because the first week is very hectic and you have to be sure kids go where they're supposed to go. Few things in life are as scary as "losing" someone's child, especially before you've even matched faces to all the names.
6. Do you have some games, puzzles, books and magazines, math manipulatives, etc., out and ready for the students to use as they arrive in class?
You'll need these ready so that you're free to talk with parents and handle paperwork.
7. Do you have a Beary Good Work folder made up for each child?
This folder will have coloring pages, games, mazes, blank writing paper, and other fun learning activities to use during quiet times the first week or two of school. Mine is about 20 pages long, run on the ditto machine to save my copies for later in the year. Make 5 extra folders, and don't put names on any of them until a child begins using them.
8. Do you have stickers, Skittles or M&M's, or some other form of reward to give out several times each day for the first week or two?
Reinforcing good behavior is extremely important. Decide what your reward system will be and be generous with it while getting classroom routines established.
9. Do you have a project or two for your students to complete and take home the first day?
10. Have you selected what stories and poems you will read? Do you have follow up activities ready to go?
11. Do you have a packet of materials to send home about yourself, your rules and expectations, and your classroom routine and schedule? I'll be adding my first day packet to the website sometime soon.
12. Do you have the following items on your desk? * a picture of your family or pets * a daily inspiritional calendar of some sort * notepaper, pens, and pencils * hall passes, if your school uses them * referral forms, if your school uses them * a jar of colored markers * your reward/candy/sticker jar
OK, that's quite a bit already :o) Here are a few more things to think about before the first day of school.
1. How and where do your students spend their time before school? If they come directly to the classroom, what activities/procedures will you use until the bell rings and it's time for class to begin?
2. What will you use as your signal to get the children's attention? Flashing the lights, ringing a bell, singing a song, raising your hand and expecting them to do the same, etc.?
3. How will you choose a student helper the first day of school, to do things like lead the flag salute, take the attendance and lunch count folders to the office, help pass out papers, etc.?
4. What is your policy about excusing children to go to the restroom during instructional time? (5 and 6 year olds *all* need to go to the bathroom as soon as you let the first child leave, so be sure you've decided how to handle this :)
5. What activities have you chosen for the first week of school, when teachers are often busy with tons of paperwork and are frequently interrupted by the arrival of new students, parents, and notes/phone calls from the office?
8. What type of behavior reinforcement/positive discipline plan are you going to use? You will probably need a pocket chart to keep track of color changes if you are going to use that type of system (I use a calendar pocket chart with 4 colors of apples).
9. What other class rules and procedures are you going to have? Be sure to have them in writing before the first day of school, and spend time the first day explaining them to your students. Realistically, you'll have to go over class rules and procedures every day for at least a week, to help your students learn your expectations.
10. What type of letter will you send home with students the first day of school? Your letter should introduce you, tell them a bit about you and your goals for the year, and explain your rules, procedures, and behavior management plan.