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 start teaching procedures immediately! In this post, I’m sharing 7 first-day procedures that I believe set my students up for success for the entire school year!
These are just the first-day procedures I teach my students on day one. Of course, there are a thousand other procedures being taught 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!
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 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
This is an area that becomes a safety issue in our classroom so we make sure the backpacks are on the hooks and not on the floor.
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. Here’s why: safety and space. When we’re criss-cross, there’s less chance of someone tripping and less chance of someone getting their fingers stepped on. Plus, with larger class sizes, we have to sit criss-cross so everyone fits on the carpet. That said, we obviously make exceptions and modifications as needed to fit the needs of the kids. 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 target. This gives the boys a target to aim for which helps tremendously. On the first day of school, I take the boys to the bathroom and show them the target. I tell them it’s their job to pee on the target every time. Then I take the girls to the bathroom and show them the target and tell them that the target 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 cup fully stocked with sharpened pencils. The students get a pencil from the cup when they need one. If the pencil breaks they put the pencil in the broken pencil cup and get a pencil from the sharpened pencil cup.
First-Day Procedures 6: Hand Sanitizer
Better known in kindergarten social circles as hanitizer! People, place a rubber band 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, 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 teachers. When we are in the hallway we are silent. 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.
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IThank you Mr. Greg! I agree with you about the hallway noise issue 100% and so I named any area outside of our classroom but near another classroom “The Learning Zone.” Here in Southern California, we have very few hallways as most of our school faces outdoors. This makes it much harder to convince small children not to use their outdoor voices and recess feet right away! Like you said, practice, practice, practice is essential! PS: I don’t have a bathroom connected to our classroom so I haven’t been able to get approval for the toilet spider. However, this year, I think I’m just going to go for it! Better to ask for forgiveness than permission, right?
OMG. Hanitizer cracked me up. I had second graders last year that would say that, and I thought it was an EL thing. Thank you for the tips.
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Thank you for always sharing your AWESOME ideas! Have blessed year!
First year Kindergarten teacher here and I’m soaking in everything from your blog! Thank you!!!!
Thank you for this and for also not forcing the kids to raise their hands in the air when they hear the bell, that is a police tacit tthat should be left out of the classroom
I love this! Thank you! FYI, the first poster has the letter r missing in the word ‘your’. It says ‘you’.
Hey Greg- when do you introduce the trampoline?
I will introduce it the 2nd week of school
Have you ever had a student or students who just refuse to follow your directions? Also, what are your consequences you have in place for not following directions?
Of course i’ve had this issue! First thing I do is ignore them! Many times they are wanting attention. Ignoring them removes the attention and a lot of times they will do what you want. You can also speak to the families, use incentives and just talk to them. Maybe there is a reason they won’t follow directions.
We are so similar in our teaching methods even though we are different generations. I am so with you on the hallway behavior and also on the position of the teacher. I worked with a 3 year old preschool teacher who would walk in front of the kids and had no clue that several of them were going astray. Same teacher also said to them, “You act like you’ve never been in school.” Love the toilet spider! Sanitizer has been called “hamitizer” in my room.
My colleagues and I love the doorbell idea so we bought them. However, we bought them separately and my controller rings the doorbell in the room next to mine as well as mine. Any ideas how to program it so it doesn’t do that? My colleagues bought a 2 pack and I bought mine separately. Theirs do not ring mine or each other’s. Thanks!
Oh my! Maybe try googling to see if there are some tips. I’m not sure.