First Day Survival Tip #1 Be Over-Prepared
I am starting my 7th year of teaching this fall and the one thing I have learned is BE over prepared for the first day. Have extra sheets, icebreakers, desks etc You will need them. I have had 6 first days of school plus 3 first days of summer school. It is a given that something will go wrong. Having some extra sheets, an extra desk or extra games/lessons planned ensures that you are prepared for just about anything. Keep extras of all the forms and handouts from the first day, because inevitably you will get a new student that day, week, month or year.
The first day of school in my 2nd year of teaching, I had just finished roll call and a student said to me “you forgot to call me”. I searched up and down the class list for their name. They assured me the principal told them I was their teacher. I immediately paged the office, and the principal (who did not tell them I was their teacher) took the student around to check all the other homeroom classes. Sure enough, I was not their teacher. Now I feel really silly about calling the principal instead of checking with the other teachers, but hey I was still a newbie.
First Day Survival Tip #2: Alphabetical Seating Plan
I usually have to learn between 90 – 120 students name the first week of school (more for some of you middle school rotary teachers) and I want to know all their names by the end of the first week. So I seat all the students alphabetically by last name. I write their names on the desk with dry erase markers so they can easily find their seat.
First Day Survival Tip #3: Wear Comfortable Shoes
The first day of school is not the best time to try out your new sky-high heels, dress shoes or combat boots. You will be standing all day, which you have not been doing most likely in the summer, and I guarantee there will be a fire drill, timetable mix up or an expected field trip. If you want to be in great shape for day 2 – wear comfortable shoes or break in your new shoes the week before.
First Day Survival Tip #4: Spice Up Your Ice Breaker Games
I plan on using the game 2 Truths and a Lie and combining it with a Snowball icebreaker. Each student will write 2 truths and 1 lie about themselves on a piece of paper. They will crumple it up and throw it into a bucket and mixed around. Then the bucket will get passed around and everyone will have a new snowball to read. They then have to mingle around the classroom and ask other classmates to help them figure out who their snowball might belong to. We will meet back up as a group to read the 2 truths and a lie and see if the person guessed right. These minor changes make these tried and true games more fun.
Instructions for Welcome Back Bingo
Have students wander around the class and find classmates who fit the description in the box. Once they find the student who matches the description in the box, the student who matches must sign their initials in the box as proof. Have prizes for the first student to make a bingo, the first student to fill the whole card, the first student to come see you. Get creative!
After not talking all summer, your body will need to stay hydrated to keep up with the demands on the first day. Make sure to pack an extra bottle of water and drink it regularly throughout the day.