We all know that the first day of school can be insanely hectic and chaotic and exhausting. And we also know that the first day of school means we have to immediately start teaching procedures! Today I’m sharing 7 first day procedures that I believe set my students up for success for the entire school year!
How do I teach these first day procedures?
Tell. Give the students explicit instructions for every step.
Show. Model how I want them to complete the task.
Discuss. Ask the students to share what they noticed, what they heard and what I DID NOT DO!
Practice. Have students practice. A few students practice at a time.
Discuss. Students discuss what they see their friends doing.
I believe the modeling and the discussion are just as important as the practice. Our students need to SEE how to we want them to do the procedure and we need them to tell us what to do so we know they understand what to do.
Finally, practice! Model! Practice! Repeat. And remind! Yes. Just because they have a procedure down, don’t forget to constantly remind them and ASK the students how to do it. And this is huge: IF THEY DO IT WRONG, STOP!!!!!!! Do not let students do a procedure wrong. This will train them to do it wrong. Stop them. Discuss. Practice.
First Day Procedures 1: Backpacks
First Day Procedures 2: Sitting on the carpet!
My students can sit anywhere they like on the carpet. But they must sit criss cross applesauce with their hands in their lap and a quiet mouth. They know to look at the person who is talking and use their listening ears.
First Day Procedures 3: The Doorbell
We use a wireless doorbell as our attention getter/quiet signal! On day one I teach the kids what the doorbell sounds like and what to do when the doorbell rings!
First Day Procedures 4: The Bathroom!
In order to help keep our class bathroom clean, we use a toilet spider. This gives the boys a target which helps tremendously. On the first day of school, I take the boys to the bathroom and show them the spider. I tell them it’s their job to pee on the spider every time. Then I take the girls to the bathroom and show them the spider and tell them that the spider is so the boys don’t pee all over our bathroom. (Insert tons of giggles and a chorus of “GROSS!”
First Day Procedures 5: Pencils
In order to keep things flowing and honestly, to not have to hear that annoyingly horrifying pencil sharpener sound, I keep a drawer fully stocked with sharpened pencils. There is also a cup of sharpened pencils on our supply shelf. The students get a pencil from the cup when they need one. IF their pencil breaks they put the pencil in the broken drawer and get a pencil from sharpened pencils drawer. This keeps our pencil cup full and keeps me from sharpening pencils. I sharpen pencils on Friday afternoon only!
First Day Procedures 6: Hand Sanitizer
Better known in kindergarten social circles as hanitizer! People, place a rubberband around the hand sanitizer pump. This only allows 1 small squirt of the liquid gold known as hanitizer. No giant squirt. Less waste. Less mess. BAND THE HANITIZER!
First Day Procedures 7: Lining Up!
This one is my biggest pet peeve. In my humble opinion, the hallway is a sacred place. You see, our classroom can be noisy and fun and loud because that’s our space and we can do what we want. But when we step into the hallway we enter a space that belongs to all of our fellow students and learners. When we are in the hallway we are silent. Silent. Not quiet. Silent. We have no right to be noisy and disrupt the learning happening in our school. Yeah, this is a biggie for me. I cannot stand noisy hallways because it’s so disruptive to the classes who are learning. And here’s my last rant: Teachers do not walk in the front of the line with your back to the line. Walk in the middle of the line so you can see everyone and monitor everyone.
These are just seven of the first day procedures I teach my students on day one. Of course, there are a thousand other procedures being taught on day one and every day after that. My philosophy is this: if there is something I want my students do do by themselves, I must teach them HOW TO DO IT! If you want them to do it right, teach them how to do it right!
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