5 Ideas for the First Day of School

Summer is quickly coming to an end, which means the school year is about to begin! My first day of school is just around the corner (August 24) and I want to make sure I have a fun day planned for my first graders. Here are 5 quick ideas for the First Day of School!

1. Create a photo booth! 

I made this easy background using plastic table cloths in the hallway. I just taped a large white tablecloth up for a background and made a circus tent with a red and white striped tablecloth. My classroom is circus themed. ; ) I bought a little wooden sign at Hobby Lobby and printed a sign with our classroom information to go in the middle. Parents really appreciated this cute back drop for their pictures too. 

I even added props and printed out the pictures to go on my Class Clowns door. These pictures were also precious in my end-of-the-year photo albums.

2. Introduce yourself!
No matter their age, students want to feel a connection with you and find some common ground. I made my All About Me Book back in college and it's a hit every year! You can read all about it HERE. I need to update the cover with my married name and add a few pages, but it still does the trick! If you don't have the time to make an autobiography to read, print out a few pictures to share. 

Students especially love seeing pictures of you in school.

 Last year, my students loved hearing about my dogs AKA my children. They even wanted to write about them in the writing center.

They even got end of the year presents!

From Day 1, take the time to get to know your students and let them get to know you too! Building those relationships is essential!

3. Create a fun keepsake journal! 

I was inspired to create this journal because I have a journal like this I made in first grade. I also think it's so helpful to have a few independent activities for that first day (and first week) of school. I have versions available from Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade in my TPT store. The Kindergarten version is a picture journal that requires students only to write their name. They will draw pictures to match each prompt!

4. Arrange for some visitors.

I think it's so important for students to see the school as a community.Students should know all of the adults at the school and their jobs. Ask some of these people to pop their heads in on the first day and say hello. If that's just not possible, make a book of the important people to share with your students. I created this book last year and it was a popular class book!

It would also be really meaningful if you took a picture with the students and the person. It always helps your memory to connect a real experience to a picture.

I think it's always a good idea to introduce all of the other teachers in your grade level too. Sweet Kindergarteners don't usually understand that you don't go everywhere with them. I always have panic break out when they can't find me on the playground because I don't have recess duty. Make sure they know the other teachers and that they are there to help too!  

In special circumstances, a special visitor could even be a parent. The second year I taught, I had a precious boy in my classroom with special needs and he had some trouble communicating. His mom, a former teacher, asked if she could come and read a book she made about her son on the first day of school. Typically, I try not to have parents around the first week or two because it often creates tears, but I happily agreed. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and it really answered my student's questions and made the child feel so good! 

5. Tour the school. 

I always love having teachers kids because they know their way around the school. It's so helpful to have little friends who know where to take the lunch count or where the nurse's office is. I try really hard to teach ALL of students the way around the school.  In Kindergarten we always did a big gingerbread hunt and we chased the gingerbread man around the school with clues. This year I created a passport to use on our classroom tour. It includes stops at the library, the computer lab, the cafeteria, the playground, the office and the gym. You can check it out HERE. 

What are your favorite first day of school activities?

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