Hi friends! I am here today to share with you my favorite tip for surviving the first day of school whether you teach Kindergarten or 1st grade: having a CHECKLIST!
Before I officially start talking about back to school, I wanted to “flashback” to my FAVORITE part of summer for just a quick second! I got to meet some of my blogger besties at the TPT Conference in Vegas!!
My first day of school checklist is what I like to call a “working” checklist. I keep it saved on my computer and add to it/tweak it every school year! Many of the activities on there I have used in both kindergarten and first grade.
I have to tell you that I was shocked to learn that people wanted to see a copy of my checklist!! I posted this picture on Instagram on Friday as I was getting ready for the first day (which is tomorrow!!) and I had no idea that it would get such a huge response from people wanting a copy:
My first day checklist is obviously in line with my school specifics for times, drop off procedures, lunch and recess procedures, etc… but I hope that you are able to take it and tweak it to meet your needs at your own school! And yes, we really do have a brief assembly on the first day.. it’s not that bad!!
Click on the picture above to download my complete first day checklist… it’s pretty brief, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what I do!! I also like to write on it and take notes as I actually “live” the first day so that I remember how much I actually got done. 🙂
** Please make sure to download the document to your computer first so that you can edit it! **
Here are some of the things that I feel are essential and are “life savers” for the first day:
- Start with something easy!! It’s ok to let them color or “play” a little bit. I let my kiddos use snap cubes, magnets, manipulatives, puzzles, and all that good stuff on the first day. It helps them to ease back into the routine of school. I love to start off with a coloring page on their table for them:
- Make sure to give your students bathroom breaks as a whole class!! I like to walk my class over to the bathrooms a couple of times during the first day. They are going to need to use the bathroom more than just at recess and lunch time for the first few days or even weeks. This also gives me a chance to talk about bathroom rules and etiquette, and it gives us a chance to walk around and take a break from the classroom.
- Do a tour of your school and practice walking in a line!
- Do a tour of your classroom throughout the first week… don’t be afraid to introduce things slowly and more than one time!
- Do BRAIN BREAKS or sing a song!! Try GoNoodle with your students.. it is the perfect way to give your students a chance to get their wiggles out during the first day of school.
- Play plenty of name games and take pictures of your students. I like to take individual and class pictures over the first couple of days.
I use my “first day” frame to capture pictures, (Don’t mind my silly self in the picture above!) but I also like to take a class picture on the first day.
This is my seasonal timeline. I plan to take a picture of my whole class on the first day of each season this school year, and I want to start that tradition on day 1!
- I also plan to put my kiddo’s pictures on our word wall next to their names. This is another new thing that I am trying this year. Before I add sight words to the word wall, I decided to start off by just having everyone’s names up there!
- I like to have plenty of “extras” prepared for the first day: extra books, worksheets, etc… I know that my first graders will be able to handle these alphabet review pages.. so I have them prepped and ready to go in case we need something extra to do during the first week!
- Two of my favorite “first day” stories to read are: “First Day Jitters” and “Miss Bindergarten.”
- On my first day checklist you will also see “introduce class bear.” I LOVE to have a class stuffed animal as a mascot. You can read all about what I did with my class bear when I taught kindergarten here.