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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day Checklist

First Day Checklist Source:
1.  Have 3 copies of your class roster with the child's home phone number listed.  Keep one on your desk, one on the wall for emergency drills, and one in your take home bag (I keep mine in a monthly planner in my bag) for reference.
2. Have a name tag for each student to wear for the first 3-5 days that includes
* His/her Complete Name
*Bus number (or walker, car rider)
*School name and phone number
*Your name
(I laminate my students tags hole punch them and string them as necklaces with a note ***(laminated) on the back of each one that tells parents to send the tag back to school every day for the first week until we have established our dismissal routine.)  ***Tip--Use Avery Address labels and your printer to quickly print up 20+ copies of the return tag request.  Then you can easily peel them off and stick them on the back of your name tags before laminating them!  I use these same tags for field trips except I use the shipping labels)  E-mail me (below) if you need more info.! 

3.  Have your first week planned, and ALL materials prepared~~but always over plan!  I never get to half of what I had planned the first week of school due to first week changes and interruptions, but I feel better knowing I am ready and over prepared if necessary!  I suggest keeping a monthly planner and an ongoing "to do list",  "to buy list", and "materials to prepare list." This keeps me on track and it's also a helpful resource when I have parents who want to volunteer or help out in some way.  4.  Have a copy of your lesson plans on your desk and one in your take home bag (in case the first gets lost in the shuffle of madness the first few days!) I staple a copy to my monthly planner so I will always have one for reference if I need it.)

5.  Have a signed form from each parent regarding HOW their child is to go home from school.  I have parents fill out a special form that tells me how their child is to go to and from school, and how their child is to go home in case of an early release day due to bad weather.  I keep the original copy of this with my sub folder in the office, and make an extra copy that stays in my desk until the last day of school.

6.  Have 1 sharpened pencil ready for each student on their desk.  This saves you the headache of everyone wanting to visit the pencil sharpener first thing on the first day and it's also a nice little gift for kids to find on their desk the first day!
7.  Have stations prepared as to where you want the children to put their supplies.  Decide what you want and don't want to have the kids have at their desks!  Ex. "Girls, bring all tissues to the round table."   Bring all paint shirts to the yellow basket.  Bring all markers to the square table, etc.   This keeps you organized while trying to gather student supplies.  Have 2-3 volunteers to help you check items for student names, with permanent markers in hand to quickly write names if needed.  If parents bring their children, which they almost all do on the first day of Kindergarten ~have them double check their child's name on all supplies before leaving and have permanent markers on the table available for the parents.  To make a long story short ~have a place in mind to put all of these new supplies!  :o) 8.  After all supplies are put away I show the kids where their backpacks and coats will go.  Have all individual desks, cubbies, hooks and spaces labeled, ready and waiting for the children and their supplies.  9.  Be prepared for 'new' students not on your roster due to late enrollment.  Have blank name and desk tags, and cubby tags ready for them and prepare extra materials "just in case!"  You want these children to feel just as welcome as those who enrolled early.
10. Remember--That the first days, weeks and months of kindergarten (or any grade!) are ALWAYS the hardest for the kids and teachers!
Remember~~ your class WILL establish a routine and things will begin to flow.  It just takes time!  After several years of teaching, I still have to remind myself of this through the months of September and October!

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