|This is my beginning of the year attention signal. I say, "Give me |
your best monkey face!" and students respond by blowing out
their cheeks (can't talk!) and pulling on their ears (can't be
touching anything). Works like a charm!
No matter how many years I have been doing this teaching kindergarten thing, I STILL get nervous planning and making sure I have everything all set and ready to go for the first day of school I thought I'd share some tips to help make your planning easier and make your first day back to school as smooth as it possibly can be:
- Remember that this is likely the first real school experience for most of your students. They do not necessarily know how to "get in a line" or even how to "sit criss cross apple sauce". You need to take the time to TEACH them these itty bitty things and it will take a big chunk of your first day.
- Make sure students have a name tag that will stay on them all day that says their name, as well as YOUR name. Kindergarten children are easily "lost" on the first day of school.
- They do not understand the difference between cold and hot lunch. You are better off calling it home and school lunch.
- These children are going to be on OVERLOAD from the moment they get in line with you. They are going to need brain breaks frequently throughout the day. Plan in 10 minute increments and put in lots of tasks that do not involve lots of directions (movement breaks, math tubs, extra recess, etc.). These unstructured times will give you a chance to get to know the children you will be spending the rest of the year with.
- Over plan! It won't take much to over plan because you will not get to everything you want to. The great thing about being over planned for the first day is that you can choose which activities will work best for this group which you are meeting for the first time AND you will have activities ready to go for the second day, too.
- Know your attention signal and be ready to practice it A LOT during the first day. Make it a game throughout the day to see how quickly they can respond by listening.
- Have all supplies that you need for the day organized and ready to go.
- Be sure to have a personal conversation with each of your new darlings! This will make them feel special, allow you to get to "know" them a bit, AND make them excited to return the next day.
- Send home something to the parents letting them know how their child did on their first day of kindergarten. I have certificates that all say they had a great day in kindergarten on the first day, but I will add anything additional to the back (if necessary) like, "Davey only cried for a couple of minutes after you left and then smiled for the rest of day" or "Sylvia was very shy today!" etc...
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