The first day of school is right around the corner. Can you believe it?! For both students and teachers, the first day can be a mix of emotions – but take a deep breath because we’ve got you covered.
It’s never too early to start preparing for the new year. So, before your classroom is full of kids and excitement, try using some of these tips and tricks to start your school year off on the right foot. Remember, the first couple of days can set the stage for the rest of the year, and we want this to be your best year yet!
We asked educators on social media to share their best practices for embarking on their first day of school, and with those answers, we crafted simple yet practical tips for you. So, let’s jump in!
Build Relationships Early
A recurring theme we saw was, when starting the school year, constantly remember that relationships DO MATTER and making them early in the year can be super helpful in the long run. Start learning the names of students, custodians, teachers, and anyone else that’s essential during the year.
The first day of school you can play icebreakers or All About Me activities to get to know your students fast; plus, they’re a great way to get everyone engaged. Learning your students’ names will help you grow a personal relationship with each of them, and being connected with staff around the school will improve communication whenever assistance is needed later. Everyone plays a role in student success!
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it can be intimidating – I mean, can you ever really be prepared for a classroom full of kids you’ve never met? However, this year is a new year, and it’s important to focus on the NOW with a fresh and ready mind-set. While there are so many different things to start putting together (such as the desks, decorations, and calendar), it’s important to prepare yourself and your students for success.
This might look different for everyone, but don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try various teaching techniques to positively affect your learners. Routine is also a way to come and stay prepared. Figure out a custom practice for yourself and even a schedule for your students each day to keep everyone in line and moving efficiently.
ALWAYS Remember to Have Fun
This is a chance to make an impact on your students’ lives, but the experience shouldn’t be a stressful one. So, why not make it fun? Have an enjoyable working environment to encourage students to be creative, to be engaged, and to take risks. Combining learning with fun enables students to retain information better with a memorable process. Try new hands-on projects that are enjoyable and fun for students to learn.
You know the drill – pens, markers, stapler, paper clips, seating charts, sticky notes, and coffee. Anything and everything that will get you through the year and help keep you going. Before school starts, make a list of all the things you need and start prepping them before the first day.
Make your classroom feel like home. Providing inspiration and encouragement in your classroom environment can be a great way to keep your students cheerful. Use color, add learning aids, and let in all the natural light you can. Your classroom should be a place where students feel welcome. Snag some awesome organization hacks and DIY ideas for your class from our Pinterest board!
Let’s boogie! Integrating music into your classroom can be beneficial to students. Tunes help reduce stress, improve concentration, and can keep everyone alert. While punk rock might not be the best genre for the classroom, playing high-energy music in the morning and soothing tunes when students are focused can be great for your class – sounds like music to my ears. And what a powerful tool! Be consistent in the melodies you play and the students will begin to understand the music serves a specific purpose.
If you’re one that writes lists (even after you have completed projects) and then crosses items off, a planner might be your go-to organizer. A planner is a perfect book that holds all your planned lessons and what you must accomplish each day. The best thing about it is that you can personalize the pages however you want. Washi tape, stickers, colored markers – you can go all out.
Planners help you lay out your entire week and see it all at once. A monthly calendar is also a way for you and your students to be prepared. Having a large, visible calendar for everyone to see lets students anticipate the next assignment or activity or even upcoming birthdays. Not only will it keep you to your schedule, but your students will also be attentive and know when to move on to the next exercise.
Some people, like me, don’t do well with planners and need something to constantly remind them to stay productive. Your phone and computer can be the solution! Some have built-in calendars for you to add reminders and to-do lists. There are many apps out there for you to download to keep you productive and organized. Todoist is a planner that can help you tackle all your tasks, big or small. You can set goals for the week, create reminders, and color-code each project.
Another great app is Trello. This gives you a view over all the assignments that need to be done, and you can invite other teachers to add to or edit your list. You can also add documents, links, comments, and checklists to all your jobs in progress. There is an assortment of apps for you to choose from – you’re sure to find one that works well for you.
There you have it! With a well-managed, energy driven, and encouraging classroom, your school year will flow smoothly from the first day of school to the last. Good luck and have a great year. We’ll be cheering you on!
Is there anything we missed? Add a comment about the best ways to equip yourself for the school year!