Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tips for Planning the First Day of Kindergarten (freebie included!)


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!

I am linking up with Teaching With Z's sweet, kindergarten blog!  Head on over for more First Day of Kindergarten tips and ideas!  What a great idea to put all of these ideas in one place.


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...
Grab this freebie at my TpT Store!

I got thinking about how nervous I was about planning my first day of kindergarten back at the beginning of my career (WAY more nervous than I am now!) and I thought how nice it would have been if I had a guide to go by.  Of course, back then, there was nothing like that and I found in my research that there still isn't!  So, guess what? I created something for those newer kindergarten teachers who are feeling a bit uncertain about the start to their year.  I think you will find it very helpful and able to put your time and energy elsewhere (setting up your room, collaborating with colleagues, blog stalking, etc!) once you know that your first day of school is all planned and ready to go.   
Are you new to teaching kindergarten or are you just in need of some new ways to start your year? This kit includes everything you need to have a successful AND fun first day with your kinders. It is jam packed with activities, as well as detailed directions and ideas to keep the day moving along smoothly. I have also given book, finger plays, and movement video suggestions to go with the Monkeying Around in Kindergarten theme that includes a coloring assessment, a simple cut and paste project, two math activities, and a simple art project to end the day with AND decorate your classroom. It even includes the headings for bulletin boards you can create with the projects the children do AND 1st day of school certificates to give the children at the end of the day. Ease your mind and let a veteran kindergarten share her classroom-tested (for years!) lesson plans with you. You will have them for years to come! And there is enough here to likely spill into the 2nd day of kindergarten, so actually 2 days could very well be planned for you! You DO NOT have to have any special books or unique materials to easily implement this back to school lesson plan. Be sure to take a peek at the preview download to get a better picture of what is included!

Please add anything else that you think would help kindergarten teachers planning the first day in the comments!  Thank you!
Be sure to follow Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business or LIKE it on Facebook (both available in left sidebar) so you never miss another FREEBIE or informative article.

19 comments:

  1. Fun! What a great idea to take some stress off!! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Love your attention getter. I am going to use it this year. I will be new to kinder.

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  3. Thank you so very much for sharing! I have been teaching 4ever but even going into my 23rd year I got some good ideas from you! THANKS!

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  4. I wish I had this when I started! I was so lucky to have an amazing teammate who worked with me all summer to prepare for that first day of teaching kindergarten! You are doing such a great thing!!

    You get nervous...I get TERRIFIED. Every year. I hyperventilate and really want to cry. Pretty sad for a 33 year old man, I know. I can't help it. It terrifies me to see those new babies coming towards me...but then I get it together!

    Greg
    Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

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  5. Thanks!!! I took over in January in kindergarten this past year, so this is my first start up in August!!! I'm soooo nervous. You would think that being a Teaching Assistant for 10 years would prepare me, but being THE teacher... whew, a new experience!

    Stephanie

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  6. Thanks for Sharing this post... This will be my second start of a Kindergarten year! I learn a lot from the begininning of last year but you really helped me with this post! Thanks

    Karmen

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  7. I've been teaching K for 12 years and I have never seen anything so cute (and I'm sure effective) as the monkey-face! Can't wait to use it! And I think sharing first day tips was such a great idea. There is nothing like Kinder, especially the first days and weeks. I remember being completely shocked at how they didn't know how to do anything-- line up, sit criss-cross, get started working, turn on the faucet..... ay-yi-yi! But it's so fun and so rewarding. :)

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  8. Fantastic post! We are looking at a possible k/1 combo this year and great tips on how we need to "K things down". It's all about procedures and teaching them over and over again.

    Thank you for all the tidbits and tips. LOVE the sweet lil monkey face too=precious!

    ~Christy & Tammy

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  9. Great blog.I’m your newest follower. Please check out my blog if you get a chance. Calling Plays in 2nd Grade.
    Thanks, Shanell

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  10. I am new to your blog and I love it! I have gotten so many great idea's to add to the ones I already use. It is great to have a wonderful source of new inspiration! You can teach an old teacher new tricks!

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  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This is my first year of teaching Kindergarten and this helps to ease some of the first day worries I had!! Oh, and LOVE the monkey face...I will definitely "borrow" this one!!

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  12. What an AWESOME blog! I have a monkey theme going on in my room and I am crazy about your first day kit. Please, oh, please come link up to my First Day of Kindergarten Linky Party. This post would be an incredible link!

    ~Rachel
    Teaching with Z

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  13. One major tip I would add is... First thing you find out, HOW THEY GO HOME! Its never good to just trust what the kids say... So my first question to the parents is.. How are they going home..and I ask it more than once... I ask at Open House, then when they drop them off the first day to confirm it. Once you know how they are going home, you can relax more. Don't wait till the end of the day if you aren't sure. Not all kids will come to school with it written down, ask ask ask.

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  14. Oh my!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the money face! I am so going to use that and your coloring page. Both are brilliant!

    Misty
    Think, Wonder, & Teach

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  15. Thanks for sharing your great ideas. Two weeks until the first day for me! :)

    Nancy
    Joy of Kindergarten

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  16. I love this blog because it is user friendly with appreciative information.
    rsc solutions

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  18. This is my first year teaching Kindergarten. I wish I would have run across this earlier this year. I would have come in handy. My first few days of pre-planning were nerve wrecking. I was in a new school, with all new colleagues, and soon to be new students. I was a very nervous. Luckily, everyone was friendly and very inviting. After reading this post and seeing that I pretty much did most of the things on the list without help, I feel like my school year has gotten off to a great start. Thanks for the post!!

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