Top 3 – A First Day of School Post for Upper Elementary

How to have the best first day and set the tone for the rest of the year!
Obviously setting clear expectations from the start is essential!  I have an awesome 3rd grade teacher (I jokingly call her my job security) because the students really are beautiful when they get to me. Yes I teach in a school with only 1 section per grade…
I want to set a fun but somewhat serious tone our first day. They were all pretty confused by our raft.  I had on a life jacket and went through a short presentation I prepared about how our class works which leads into our rules.
  
I had notes that went with each slide that related to this metaphor.  We can refer to this throughout the year and use our cheap (>$20 raft) as a great reading spot)
I also wanted to have clear signals and LESS downtime in between transitions! I have been stalking the Amazing Elizabeth Raff  and even used Whole Brain Teaching to model expectations for different parts of school! Really loving it so far!  If you click the videos at the top there are some great ones to watch! It only takes a little practice to get kids started!
I have some new awesome ways we are building our community from the start!
1.  We did a teamwork challenge which you can read the details about here – it involves hidden scratch off letters and solving a puzzle!!
We also already starting handing out Positive Notes at our Morning Meetings!!
You can find these in my store by clicking the picture below!
They fit perfectly in the adhesive pockets from Target and are already being displayed on student desk!!!! Makes my teacher heart happy!!

Because parents are an ESSENTIAL part of our community too. I made sure to start sending home positive emails from Day 2!  I’ve heard back from them all and it truly is one of the best things ever!  Credit: thehungryteacher5th (below!!!)

The third and maybe most important goal I have for the first day is to orient students with our classroom library. Some might not have read over summer and are anxious to get back in the swing of things.  I heard Colby Sharp talk this summer and made a big deal about how much I love to read just like he does the first day of school.

We had these packages awaiting us:

A photo posted by Amber Nicole (@sssteaching) on

We were too busy to take any pictures of opening but they were new books! I explained different genres (briefly) to students and split them into groups to help shelve books.  They used our color coded labels and we reorganized the library (to be honest – this took until day 2)

The thrill of NEW BOOKS and excitement really overwhelmed the room!!   I quickly previewed each one before they set to work.

They worked together, talking about books, discussing characteristics, ID’ing genres, and organizing.  The best part was the ownership! They knew where almost all the books were from day 1 – ones they want to read or want to find later.

EVERYONE went home with a book on day 1 – and they were so excited to read! I’ll show more of how I’m keeping track of their reading with a new system later.

Reflecting back on the day – it truly was magical! 4th year in and this might be my best first day!

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