Ahhh… the first day of kindergarten! It’s such an exciting day! An exhausting day! But what do you plan for that day? So many things you are excited to do with your students, but you have to remember it’s the first day and keep it all in perspective!
Get the complete list of teacher tips for a great and realistic first day of Kindergarten below!
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First Day Tips:
Remember, your new kindergarten students:
– may have never been in a school setting before
– may have never been away from their parents before
– may not know how to use a pencil, scissors, and glue (a good portion won’t)
– may have never been asked to sit in a seat and do an activity before
For me, I actually plan my first day very loosely and I focus most of my day on learning to walk in a line, go to recess and lunch, and how to go home. If those 3 things don’t happen smoothly that day, you will have issues. So about 5 years ago, I ditched my formal lesson plans on the first day and decided to just focus on learning the procedures to get through the day.
First Day Realistic Schedule:
The first day of kindergarten looks a little like this:
8:00 – 8:30 Activity at tables while I welcome students, show them their seats, make a new name tag or two for new students, and help parents separate.
8:30 – 9:00 Carpet or circle time. Introduction of myself and our classroom. Talk about how to sit on the carpet and how to raise hand if you have a question or need help.
9:00-9:15 Practice going in a line. We walk around the room in a line. We practice going from our seats to our line. Oh, we also talk about the bathroom here too. I do this now because the moment you say bathroom, they will all have to!
9:15-9:45 Talk about playground rules. We go outside and I literally go down the slide. I let them play for a few minutes and then we practice lining up 3-4 times so that way when the REAL recess happens they know what to do.
9:45 – 10:00 We will go inside and do a quick story and then talk about lunch. I will show an actual tray and a milk carton and go over what is going to happen at lunch. We will go practice or just tour the lunchroom.
10:00 – 10:30 We will do an exploring manipulatives activity. This gives me time to make sure everyone has their lunches and lunch cards ready. Kids really want to play and explore what looks like toys to them in the class so I feel like it’s important to have some of this time carved out.
10:30 – 11:15 Lunch. Even though we have practiced, it will still take most of your lunch to get them all settled.
11:15 – 11:30 We will do some sort of unwinding activity. A coloring page at their seats is great during this time.
11:30 – 12:00 Math manipulative rotations at their seats. Talk about math manipulatives and let the kids explore the different options you have. Rotate the manipulatives, not the students.
12:00 – 12:15 Pack up. We do this in the middle of the day because I don’t like a crazy rush out the door on the first day! I explain to the kids we are not going home but this is how you pack up and what you do. (I actually even start during those math rotations, showing the kids a couple at a time what to do.)
12:15 – 12:45 Talk about dismissal. Review and practice going to the actual places!
12:45 – 1:15 Write in our journals. I like to get a good writing sample on the first day with no instruction. These are fun to keep so you can see the growth! They are also fun for their end of year memory books!
1:15 – 2:00 Specials (my prep). During this time you will want to really look at dismissal again and make sure you are ready! This time, of course, is just thrown in so you will just adjust it to wherever your special time is if you have it.
2:00-2:30 Thoughts and feelings about school. Reminders about dismissal and a story.
There you have it, my day in a nutshell. No formal lessons and no big projects or activities.
Other First Day of School Activities
Communication with families and building home/school connections is so important for student growth. Start the year by sending home a flipbook that shares important information about your class, schedule, expectations, contact information, and more! Check it out here!
You can also send home parent handouts to help parents support learning. These cover a variety of topics from What is the Science of Reading, phonemic awareness, shoe tying, learning names, number sense, and much more! Check them out here!
Start a student portfolio with a first day of school drawing & name writing activity. Then track progress monthly, quarterly, or on the last day of school! Learn more here.
2nd Day of School Activities
You made it! Now on to day two!
…On day 2 we start our School Rules Interactive Book!
This is a great book that page by page goes over small things like following directions, lining up, not picking your nose, going down the slide, and TONS more! Each page has an interactive activity to reinforce the concept! Kids really love it!
First Weeks of School
Continue to practice routines, procedures, and expectations. Get to know your students and help them get to know each other and you! It’s all about relationships!
Be sure to check out 7 more tips for a smooth day 1st day of Kindergarten!