Monday, 9 January 2012

First Day of School Ideas and another freebie

The first day of school draws nearer and I feel as though I have so much to do to get myself (and my classroom) ready to welcome my 25 new students.
Having moved classrooms and changing grades has meant more work, but it is exciting also.
At our school on the first day the first students always seem to arrive very early. School starts at 8.30 am but I will be there by 7.30 am and I expect to see the first students arriving not long after. The students and parents dribble in over an hour or so, which is nice because it gives me a chance to meet and greet each student.
I plan to have a welcome message as my Morning Message displayed on the IWB which will welcome students and give them instructions as to what to do (in case they all arrive at once and I can't get to all of them to give instructions).
I am making placemats for each student to mark their desk. I first got the idea from my sister because she had used them with her Year 1s a few years ago but I have adapted what is on them to reflect the needs of my Year 2 students and the new Australian Curriculum.
One side will have their name, in precursive font, a handwriting model of the alphabet and my "no excuses words" that I want students to spell correctly all the time and develop good habits.
The reverse side has math resources - a 100 board sized for counters, a tens frame, spelling models for number names, days of the week, and a copy of the poem "30 days has September...". Oh, and a numberline and pictures of some basic 2D and 3D shapes that they need to know according to the new Mathematics curiculum.
It sounds busy but it looks good. Well, they will once I put them together. ;-)
I use the placemats to mark where I want students to sit. If we are doing activities and I want to move them around for a particular purpose, I can simply swap the placemats without having to move the entire desk. (We have desks, not tables. I would prefer tables because I like to be able to mix the students up for different activities and not have them "stuck" at one desk that they "own".)
We are using pencil caddies instead of pencil cases so these will be out on tables ready for them to do the "busy activity" on the first morning. I have made a worksheet called "All About Me" (available for free at my TPT store: The Learning Curve). It should be simple enough for them to complete themselves and there are pictures to colour if they finish quickly. I will collect these sheets after the end of the session as I hope they will give my a bit of insight into the students, their ability to read/ write/ follow directions, as well as their likes, interests and friends and family.
Once the bell goes and there are still parents in the room, I ring a bell and invite the students to come to the floor space. Usually most parents get the hint that we are starting and say goodbye quickly. Hopefully there will be no tears - fingers crossed.

How do you start on your first day of school?

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