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.