The first day of school brings about many butterflies for me, regardless of how many years I teach. Each August as the summer winds down, I get antsy about that first day because it is such a brief moment in the timeline of our school year when I want to squeeze in love, excitement, routines, expectations, and the first building blocks of community.
Goals for our First Day of School
As I plan my first day each year, I always bring myself back to this list of the MOST important goals for the first day of school in my classroom:
- Make sure every student feels welcome, seen, and safe
- Teach students how to navigate/move safely within their new learning environment
- Show students that our classroom is a shared space where they will take ownership
- Help students begin to feel that our classroom is their home away from home
I also want my new students to know that everyone around them will be held to a high standard of respect. Establishing that high level of respect from the first seconds is the key to building the trust required for growing the deep relationships I need in order to truly teach my students. Weaving all this into one school day is like crafting a complicated new recipe. To help ensure the first day runs smoothly, I always type out a detailed lesson plan of exactly what’s going to happen at each point during the day.
FIRST DAY LESSON PLAN FORMAT
During my first year, these lesson plans were a detailed script written in a narrative format with a column of notes that listed what each narrative paragraph was focused on, which progressed to what it is today… a detailed schedule with notes about which routines I want to introduce. Both formats have helped me visualize each moment of the first day.
As we know, visualization alone leads to more confidence and success…and we need all the confidence and success we can get when we’ve got 25+ new personalities making a debut in our lives.
A DOWNLOAD TO GET YOU STARTED
Although planning for the first day is a process that must be very customized to your unique teaching style, classroom, school, and students, I am giving you a peek at my first day plans in hopes that they might help you in some way.
If you are interested in an editable version of my first day schedule, submit the form below to get your free download. I look forward to hearing what you think about this format in the comments below. How do you like to approach planning for your first day of school each year?