Sunday, July 29, 2012

First day of kindergarten linky party


All you fabulous Kindergarten teachers out there!! You are not going to want to miss this Linky party hosted by:


Teaching With Z
I am joining in on the fun and adding my 2 cents about the First Day of Kindergarten! Just click the picture to head over and link up as well!

If you are new to Kindergarten.. Welcome!! You are going to love it!! If you have taught Kindergarten before it is always nice to see the way other people do things! Here are a few of my “must dos” on the first day of K!

*Know how the child is going home! I think this is the most important one of them all!! During parent orientation, I always have the parents fill out a form that has their child’s name, parents name, phone numbers and how they are going home the FIRST day of school. In a different spot I also put on there how they will be going home the rest of the week as well. (In my school we do a phase-in for Kindergarten so it can get confusing.) I then have the parents SIGN the paper. I always send the child home the way it says on the paper they fill out. If there is any confusion I can always show the parent the paper that they signed telling me how the student was to go home.

*Take pictures! I always take one of each student so that I am able to go ahead and print out their pictures to put around the classroom. I always like to see the difference between the first day of school and the last day of school. Some years (if I am not too busy answering parents questions) I try to take a picture of the student with his/her parent for their memory book at the end of the year.

*Remember, this is most likely the first school experience for a lot of your students. Do not be surprised when they want to run down the hallway and touch EVERYTHING! (Breathe!) They will learn. It will take patience and it may drive you crazy  make you feel like you have no control, but you will! Those sweet kiddos are just super excited to be there and soon they will listen to everything you say!

*Get to school early that first day. (or the whole first week) There is nothing worse than feeling rushed especially on the first day of school. Get up early, get some coffee (if you drink it or even if you don’t!) and eat a good breakfast. You are going to need the energy.

*Over plan- It is better to have too much planned than too little. I always write out my first day plans and then the rest of the week follows based on what we got done. It is going to take a LONG time to do certain activities so don’t worry if you don’t get to everything.  (Check back soon because I will be posting about my first week plans)

*Procedures, Procedures, Procedures!! Everything you do will need to be explained! Yes, this includes walking in a line, getting a drink, going to the bathroom (that one is always fun to explain), cutting, gluing etc… you get the idea. Do not rush through these things! You will thank yourself later for taking your time and thoroughly explaining everything! It may seem like all you do that first week is procedures and if it is, pat yourself on the back!

*Lunch Money/Snack- Depending on if you have a whole day or half day- make sure you know who is buying lunch or needs to give you money for lunch/snack. We always have a half day the first three days where we only have 1/3 of our class for the phase-in but we still take them up to the cafeteria to practice lunch procedures. It is important to know who is supposed to eat just incase someone forgot their money. You do not want to send them home without lunch on a half day  thinking their mom/dad did not want them to have anything when in reality, they did. I also always bring a snack up to the cafeteria for those students whose parents said no to the lunch because they will eat after school. Now I know we are eating “lunch” at 9:30 in the morning just to practice but I still feel bad for those sweet kiddos who have nothing.

*Sing and Dance :) Make sure you plan for LOTS of movement activities!

*Practice transitions and attention grabbers

*Have something for them to do when they get to the classroom. I always put out a sign in sheet for each student. (I use the one without lines first)

sign in sheet 2sign in sheet

When the students arrive in my room they find their seat and then get started writing their name. This tells me right away who can write their name and who cannot. I always have name tags out so they can copy their name if the need to. I will of course write their name for them to trace if they need me to. This is also good because the parents walk down with my students the first day (if they want) and they can help them too. We continue with sign in sheets for at least the first  month to practice writing our names correctly. Students can then move on to last names and lines if they are ready. Click here to get your copy!

Once students sign in I always have a red tub for students to put their sign in sheet in (This becomes a daily routine for them). They then get a coloring sheet from the green tub. (They are the ones from the Target dollar spot.) This is a great way to introduce them to our morning routine. Plus, giving them the coloring sheet gives me some time to get things together.

*Set a timer or have a way to tell parents that you are so happy to have their child and that you will take good care of them and then kindly tell them that you will see them at dismissal!

*Have a name tag ready for each child. I prefer ones that last all year rather than having to make new ones all the time. I keep the name tag on them all day, with my name on it just incase they need redirected back to my room. Plus this is good for when students go through the lunch line and to Related Arts.

*Take a tour of the school. We always go on a tour of the school so that students can learn their way around. I also like to introduce them to the wonderful staff at my school including the principal and office staff.

*Now we all know that if you have fun centers like housekeeping and blocks set up around your room, the students will not be able to focus until they at least touch it. I usually let them play for a FEW minutes but this is mostly because on that first day I only have about 6-7 kids. I always like to fully introduce these centers SLOWLY. If you have a full class and you let them all go to a center, your room will most likely be a disaster at the end of the day. I highly recommend not doing that. Maybe open one or two with some math tubs or something.

*Most importantly, have fun!! Remember, it is not only your first day, but their first day as well! Make it fun and one that they (and you) will remember! Good luck!!


Jackie Abeyta said...

Kindergarten teachers are AMAZING. 1st graders seems so dependent to me at the beginning of the year...I can't even imagine what they are like at the beginning of Kindergarten! You all are miracle workers.

I am excited to tell you that you have an award!! Head over to my blog to pick it up!
Crazy Daze in First Grade

Mrs. Ziegler said...

Thank you so much for linking up Ms. Mentzer!! I love your ideas AND your advice especially bullet #3, I will definitely need to do a lot of "breathing" to keep calm on that first day!:) I have a quick techy question...I love the way your favorite blogs are displayed on the much neater and cleaner than how it looks on my do I get mine to look like yours?

Teaching with Z

Kindergarten Stars said...

Thank you both for your sweet comments!! Rachel, when I added Configure Blog List, I checked all of the boxes! I wonder if this had anything to do with it? I hope this helps!! :) If not let me know and I will try to figure it out for you!

Kimberlee :) said...

making it FUN is the key - as we want this to be a time they will always remember; plus it sets the tone for the rest of the year - great reminders - thanks!

~ Kimberlee ~

Two Fulbright Hugs

Ms. M said...

Thank you for sharing! I LOVE the idea of a sign in sheet! That's great practice for writing their names! You definitely have a good routine down! I'll be adding a few of your plans to my own first day plan- thank you! :)

Sandi Purdell-Lewis said...

Love your first bullet - find out how each child is going home. The parents will tell me in detail how their little dear will eat snack/lunch, that they have 4 mosquito bites that are bothering them, that there are extra socks in the backpack incase they get sand in their socks at lunch time, and to make sure that they drink enough water during the day -- but don't let me know how their child is going home. I have a clipboard with each child's name on it, and don't let the parent out the door until I know how the child goes home. (at least that is the theory - usually dealing with a crying child, a crying parent and 3-4 kids who figure that the classroom is their personal Disneyland and are dumping all the toys out all over the room) But I wouldn't trade my chaos for anyone else's.
I am a long winded new follower.

rubber boots and elf shoes

ThinkWonder Teach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ThinkWonder Teach said...

Love the idea of including the teacher's name on the name tag! Thanks!!

Think, Wonder, & Teach

Just Wild About Teaching said...

first days are always so much your newest follower...drop by =)

Just Wild About Teaching

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