2. Label your students! I personally invest each year in some nice name tags... the kids from those big office supply stores. I place a cheap small name tag in them (and usually write their lunch number on the back) and then TAPE THEM CLOSED! The tape helps them to not get water in them, etc. We use these until I get used to the kids names AND for specials the first few weeks and for subs. They do not go home and they stay in a bucket by my door. I will have these name tags out and on the tables for parents to put on their children when they arrive. I suggest not putting dismissal information on these as this information often changes with kinders as parents get into a routine!
A fun activity I do at the Meet the Teacher night sometimes is to make Name Tag Hats. I will write the students name on a sentence strip, staple it, and allow the families to decorate it. We leave them at school on their desks for them to wear the first day. Now, I love hats, but they can become a management thing so be prepared with those other name tags as well for when they have to put them in their backpacks or cubbies.
3. Know how your kids go home before your parent leave - even if you checked with them at Meet the Teacher! This is so important. The last thing you want to do is lose a child at dismissal and this is your chance to check again! You can even write it on those hats shown above! Here is a copy of my Go Home Chart. I literally use a generic poster that most of you have... but what I do is use those little sticky tabs so when they change 4 times within the first week I can change my chart with no hassle!
4. Wait until you have control to start. This last year that took about 40 minutes! My principal literally came in and asked if I needed help... no I don't need help but I am not going to start until I am confident that I won't have to stop and leave kids on the carpet with nothing to do! Kindergartners with nothing to do on the first day roam around your room and can get scared... so they are just fine at their tables working until I am confident everything is calm enough to start.
5. Don't make crazy lesson plans! The fact of the matter is that before lunch or recess you will do nothing but talk about lunch or recess. Talk about the rules... raising your hand... being kind... following directions. My favorite conversation is essentially playing Simon Says. It goes a little something like this... "I am the teacher and I plan lots of fun things for us to do but you have to follow directions... one of those directions is (inevitably someone will have interrupted you 4 times by now) raising your hand to talk." We will make a good listening chart as a class and continue to add to it all week and keep it through the whole year! Here is a copy of last year's good listening chart! Have books to pull from to stick between things.. you always have to read to kinders! Also... sing, sing, sing! Or pick one simply poem to teach the kids they can go home and share with their families!
6. Practice, Practice, Practice! Practice going to your seat, walking in line, playing on the playground, going to the cafeteria. Don't assume that you can show the kids how to play on the playground during or right before recess. That can be a disaster as other kids will be out there to distract the important messages!
7. Send a note home with your students! Parents are going to want to know how they did. Have these (or similar pages) already completed so all you have do is write students' names on them. Say things like "I wrote my name very well today" or "I shared with a new friend today." Find something nice to say about each student so you start off on the right foot with each family!
Head on over to PreK and K Sharing to see how to survive the whole day - from how to handle runners and criers to how to not lose kids on the playground!!
Stop by Teaching with Z for other first day of kinder ideas as well!