7 First Day Of School Procedures

These are the first-day-of-school procedures that I must teach on day 1! We all know that the first day of school can be insanely hectic, chaotic, and exhausting. And we also know that the first day of school means we have to start teaching procedures immediately!

These are just the first-day procedures I teach my students on day one.  Of course, a thousand other procedures are being taught every day after that.  My philosophy is this:  if there is something I want my students to 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!

First Day Of School Procedures:  How To Teach Them

  • 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, remind them constantly 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 Of School Procedures 1:  Backpacks

This area becomes a safety issue in our classroom, so we make sure the backpacks are on the hooks and not on the floor.

first day of school procedures for backpacks

First Day Of School 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 kids’ needs.  They know to look at the person who is talking and use their listening ears.

first day of kindergarten procedures

carpet procedures for kids

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!

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. I 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 of school classroom management

classroom managment on the first day of school

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 it in the broken pencil cup and get a pencil from the sharpened pencil cup.

first day of school procedures for pencils

First-Day Of School 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 of school procedures for hand sanitizer

First Day Of School Procedures 7:  Lining Up!

This one is my biggest pet peeve.  In my humble opinion, the hallway is a sacred place.  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 they are so disruptive to the learning and working classes.  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 to see and monitor everyone.

first day of school procedures for lining up

BONUS PROCEDURE: Teach them your name

Please teach the kids your name on day 1.  Like no one leaves without being able to say my name.  Here’s why…one year, I had a little guy spend the second day of school in Pre-K because he got off the bus and couldn’t tell anyone my name.  Or his name.  And because he was so TINY, they assumed he was in Pre-K.  So he hung out in PreK and loved it!  I saw them in the hallway and was like, “HEY!  It’s Hector!”  After that, I made sure no one left on day 1 without knowing my name.  Trust me on this.   I make them repeat my name hundreds of times on day 1!

Grab some first-day-of-school resources:

School Supply Research Project!

Read It Up! The King & Queen Of Kindergarten Bundle

For more ideas and resources, check out these posts:


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