Updated: Jun 27
The first day of school with your new class is so exciting but it can also be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you are in a new school or are teaching a new age group! Being prepared for your first few days with your new class is a great way to alleviate some of those first day jitters.
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In this blog post I talk about some of the things you should do during your first week or two with your new class. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are the things I have personally found useful to focus on during the beginning of the new school year.
So, no matter if you are a newly qualified teacher or have been teaching for years, I really do hope you find some of these tips useful. I know even though I have been teaching for several years now I still get butterflies in my tummy just before my new students enter our classroom for the first time!
Establish and embed routines
Introducing and practising daily routines is one of the first things I teach my new students. I make sure and explain clearly what the routines are for things such as lining up, transitioning from the carpet to seats, distributing resources, etc. Try and allow lots of opportunities for your kids to practise these routines in the first few days so they become second nature. Make sure and give your kids lots of praise when they get the routines right too! By introducing daily routines right from the start your kids know what is expected of them and this will allow them to settle into their new learning environment quickly. If you would like to read some more about the importance of routines check out my blog post “How Do Teachers Stay Organised?” here!
Get to know your kids
Spending some time getting to know your new students is another area I focus my time on in the first few days of the new school year. How you do this is up to you! You can choose to learn more about your kids through “Getting to know you” activities or you can simply make time during the school day to go around all your kids and have a little informal chat with them. You will know what suits you and your class best! Check out this blog post from theprintableprincess.com for some fun "Getting to Know You" games and activities that are perfect for younger kids! If you would like to read about some more tips for the first day of school, you can check out my blog post “First Day of School Tips for Teachers” here!
Assessment of Literacy Knowledge and Skills
Spending some time during your first few days of school assessing your student’s Literacy skills will be extremely valuable. This can be done through a general assessment covering the knowledge and skills they should know from the previous year as well as some skills that you plan on covering over the next few weeks. If asking your kids to complete a one of assessment is not for you, another option would be to ask your kids to complete a number of smaller activities that cover the same skills over a few days. This may be less overwhelming and will allow them to learn daily routines related to completing tasks in class. My Back to School pack features a number of Literacy activities suitable for Kindergarten-2nd Grade students that are ideal for completing during the first two weeks of school. These fun activities will help you assess your kid’s skills related to phonics, grammar, reading, etc. To buy this pack just click here!
Assessment of Numeracy Knowledge and Skills
Spending some time assessing your student's Numeracy/Math skills will be as equally important during the first week or so of school. As I mentioned above you can do this by creating an assessment that will cover skills you would expect your students to know from the previous year. Or you can assess these skills through shorter activities and games that you incorporate into your first two weeks of school. My Back to School pack also includes a variety of Numeracy activities that explore children’s number sense skills including counting, sequencing, addition, and subtraction. Just click here if you would like to purchase this pack.
Develop Social and Emotional Skills
Creating a positive learning environment and making meaningful connections with your kids is another important thing to focus on during your first few weeks of school. There are so many “Get to Know You” activities out there to choose from, you are truly spoiled for choice. Make sure you set aside time to develop self-awareness among your kids as it will help your students grow into confident members of your new classroom community. My Back to School pack includes a number of engaging Social-Emotional activities that will allow your students to learn about each other as well as develop their social and emotional skills. Just click here to buy.