The first day of school is always hard. It’s lots of fun. And hard. And exhausting. Knowing what to do on that first day can be overwhelming and stressful. This blog post will show you what we do on the first day of school and the order in which we do them. Note: our first day is a half-day so keep that in mind as read the information!
First Day Of School: Arrival
We typically open the doors at 7:30 on the first day. We should begin our day at 8:00 but we usually begin around 8:15 on the first day. As families arrive, our classroom is prepared. On the floor are carpets, clipboards, coloring sheets, and crayons.
As families arrive I greet the child first and explain that in our classroom we do everything on the floor and that they can choose any carpet they want and start coloring. Then I make sure they find a carpet and get started. Then I speak to the families. I have them sign in and include 2 phone numbers, how the child gets home the first two days and how they get home after that, and their name. For those who bring supplies, I simply pile them on the floor for now.
Note: Our informational packets are mailed home prior to the school year! Families are encouraged to return them on day 1. This started when we had virtual school. The packets include information, forms, and pictures of myself and my family so the kids will know me on day 1.
If they finish their coloring sheets, they can read a book on their rug until we start our morning meeting.
And this is where you get the runners and the criers. It’s ok. We all have them every year. We are lucky to have some extra bodies in the kindergarten hallway so we can catch the runners and comfort the criers! Just wear sensible shoes…because you will be chasing a runner or three…and you will have a crier who cries so hard they throw up. All normal. And all will be Ok.
First Day Morning Meeting
When it’s time to begin the morning meeting on the first day of school we introduce several procedures: the doorbell as a quiet signal, our cleanup song, putting away the carpets, walking to the carpet, and sitting on the carpet. For each procedure, I explain it, model it and we practice it. As we’re doing each procedure I am reminding them over and over again what to do.
Doorbell=freeze, hands down, quiet mouth, look at Mr. Greg
Cleanup Song=stop working, clean up everything and put it back where it goes, and walk to the carpet.
Put away carpets=roll the carpet up on the floor, carry it with two hands, and lay it in the basket (don’t drop or throw it).
Sitting On The Carpet=bottom on an animal, criss-cross applause, hands in your lap.
We start our first day with a morning meeting. For our greeting, we go around the circle and say our names. Then I share about myself and my family and talk about all the fun we will have in our classroom. Then we do read our first-morning message!
For more morning meeting message ideas and greetings, check out these resources:
Following the morning meeting, we learn our morning songs. These are the songs we sing every morning until about October or November when we replace the alphabet songs with sight word songs. We sing each song two or three times so we can practice.
A Beautiful Day By Jack Hartmann
Alphardy by Dr. Jean
First Day Of School Read Alouds
Our first day of school read-aloud is The King Of Kindergarten and The Queen Of Kindergarten. I love these books on the first day because they’re so easy for the kids to connect to. As we read, we discuss getting ready for the day, how we feel, what we’re thinking and connect with the story. Then we make our first graphic organizers together!
We use the story for the entire first week as we talk about emotions, learning how to do school, our classroom, etc.
For more first day of school activities, check out this Read It Up! creations:
First-Day Name Writing
Next, we get to write our names on the big board. The big board is just chart paper. But when you give it a fancy name it gets the kids excited! And it’s easy to remember! Everyone, including Mr. Greg, comes to the big board and writes their name. Everyone does it. And we cheer for everyone when they write their name. We hold onto this chart until the end of the year when we write our names again and compare the two!
Then the students do independent name-writing. I give them blank paper and a pencil and have them write their names over and over again. This provides me with a baseline sample! As well as giving me valuable information on fine motor skills, pencil grasp, and name writing!
We have brunch at this time of the morning so we learn the following procedures:
Line up-walk, face forward, safe hands (behind your back, in your pockets or at your side)
Walking in the hall-face forward, quiet feet, safe hands, keep up
Stairs-one hand on the rail, face forward, touch every step, quiet feet
How To Use Crayons
After brunch, we learn to use crayons. And we make our first anchor chart! The students tell me how we can use crayons and how we cannot use crayons. We discuss each one and add them to our anchor chart! We use this anchor chart model for each new supply we use!
After our discussion on how to use crayons, Mr. Greg models coloring using a soccer ball. I use a soccer ball because it has so many different sections, it’s a great way to model using different colors and staying in the lines. Now, as I’m modeling this I first do it poorly. I scribble. And break crayons. And eat crayons. Of course, the kids freak out and tell me how to do it the right way. Then I model the right way. After I model, they color their own soccer balls.
Grab our School Supply Research Project for everything you need to make the school supply anchor charts!
First Day Hats
Finally, we end our first day together by getting our First Day Of Kindergarten Hats! I already have these assembled so all I have to do is staple them on the kids’ heads. Then we take pictures that will be used for the classroom name chart, cubbies, etc. And yes, you must wear a first-day hat too!
Pure. insanity. Horrifying. That’s what the first-day dismissal is like. Our school has almost 700 students so there are lots of moving bodies. We have each dismissal type (car rider, walker, bus, etc) assigned a color and a location. Each child’s backpack is tagged with a zip tie that lets any adult know where they belong for dismissal. Very visual so we hopefully don’t lose anyone. Each teacher is assigned a dismissal duty so kindergarten moves their kids to the dismissal location early to avoid the big kids. Then we dismiss those areas.