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The First Days

Getting Yourself Ready

The First Days is a collection of tips and ideas. These pages are not geared for any specific grade level. Please pick and choose what works for you. Feel free to copy and use the sample activities, and to copy these pages to share with others.


  • Create a calendar to pass out to the students with important dates for each month of the school year.
  • Get a current school calendar and set up your plan book for the year. Also, prepare your gradebook with class names and dates.
  • ONE calendar for yourself which includes BOTH school and personal obligations. This will help keep you coordinated and prevent conflicts.
  • Gather books, poems, and songs about the first days of school and place them in a large basket or box. (Making new friends, cooperation, sharing, good manners...) These books can be read to the students as a read aloud or chosen by the children to read or look at upon entering the room.
  • Think about your classroom or subject procedures which will stay in place throughout the year. What materials can your students prepare? (Decorate folders, write their names on labels for their supplies...) Letting them participate in creating their environment is a good idea.
  • Plan activities for the first days which help the students get to know each other. See the "Opening Activity Ideas" section of these web pages for some suggestions.
  • Pick-up a copy of the Teacher's Handbook for your school and read through it. Special attention should be paid to fire drill and cafeteria procedures so that you can plan for your first day. Try to get the "big picture" of your school.
  • Always have the school address and phone number handy. Also, be sure to keep a copy of the staff and student phone lists at work and at home.
  • Know the mission of your school.
  • Review the district curriculum focus of your grade level. In our county we have a Program of Studies which guides our curriculum. On a state and national level, review the standards in your grade or subject area. Most states now have Standards of Learning, and the National standards have become an important guideline. The internet is a good resource for reviewing standards.
  • Keep a running list in a small notebook of "Things To Do."
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions or for help from your colleagues. You can't know everything! Open communication keeps the stress level down, and provides a solid foundation for all that you do at school.
  • Be creative and open-minded. Don't be afraid to try new things. Innovation is a wonderful aspect of teaching. It will take time to discover what works best for you and your students. You will spend your entire career searching for those answers!


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