9 Tips for Teachers to Have a "SUN"sational First Day Back to School

The summer has been so relaxing and now it is time to go back to school...well maybe you are still relaxing, but before you know it, the time will be here and the first day will also be here...so why not check out these 9 Tips to have a

You've relaxed all summer...well...NOT REALLY because after all you are a teacher and everyone thinks you get to relax ALL summer, but let's face it...you HAVE NOT been relaxing all summer stuffing your face with Choco Tacos, Hershey Kisses, Tootsie Rolls or, my favorite, Kit Kats!

YOU HAVE NOT been burying your feet in the sand with a glass of your favorite beverage by your side leisurely watching your kids surf the waves. Instead you have been planning for this day all summer...since the doors of the school have closed last school year and the halls have emptied...you have been planning for...Yes, you guessed it... THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! The floors are sparkling clean, your classroom is ready and it is the night before your first day and you can't sleep worrying over what the year will be like...what will the kiddos be like this year, what will the new teachers, new superintendent, new principal, new curriculum and there is ALWAYS new curriculum or new something to worry about, what will the new something be this year!!!? You feel that churning in your stomach...YES THE NIGHT BEFORE JITTERS! ( I mean I am retired and I STILL feel this in the beginning of September...it only stops when I remember that I don't HAVE to go back this September or any September!)

Never fear...Here's my MOTTO: Be Organized and have lots of choices in your toolbox to use that first day...Just like shoes: If one pair doesn't work, try another and another until the shoe fits and the idea works...choices, choices, choices and organization, those piles of ideas that are cluttering your brain like shoes cluttering your closet...organize the ideas and get them ready to pull from the shelf and try on for size.

So many ideas cluttering my brain...HELP! Now that's better...you have all your ideas stacked, filed, prepared and ready to go! AHHHHH heaven...ready to choose which pair will work best for each outfit!

You are calm, cool and collected and have a list compiled of what to do on the first day of school. ( Just for the record...my closet is a mess again and I need to clear the clutter...it is kinda like when you unpack your classroom for the first day..yep, needs to be organized once again!).

Here are some tried and true ideas and tips that I have used over the years, but remember even the best ideas need a "little help from your friends."

First off I always try to only plan the first day (always made me feel a bit anxious, but I forced myself to do it) and forget the rest of the week...you have no idea what surprises await you that first day, but it is still better to plan more than less and see where it goes. Then you can plan for the rest of the week after this important day!

Tip #1: Being a teacher = getting parents on your side. 

So, before school even starts maybe a few days before those little cherubs walk through the door of your classroom or even the night before (yes, you read that correctly) give each family a call to welcome their child to your classroom...just a simple "Hi, this is _________________I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Don't forget to bring your smile!"  You will be surprised how many kiddos walk through the door on the first day and say "You called my house last night or you left a message for me last night" and they DO bring their smiles...well first graders sometimes bring a jittery smile, but none the less, it is a SMILE! It also implants a great impression with the families of the students you will be teaching!

Tip #2: Great each child at the door with a smile and compliment. 

As I was told 30+ years ago from a college professor: Find something you like everyday about each child and give them that compliment even if is as little as, "I love the polka dots on your shirt!" I know there is sometimes some controversy about compliments, but I still think a little positive remark means the world to a little one and sometimes a big one, too! I mean let's face it...I love compliments, it makes me work harder and feel GRRRRRRReaT!

Tip #3: Have each child's name written on a name plate by a seat or if you have an "Open House," let each child place their Name Plate at a seat. 

This way they will know where to go on the first day. You can always change it and let's face it you will because most likely they have choose a seat next to their BFF or perhaps they have a nickname you did not know about....so have plenty of name plates and be ready to think of a positive way to change a seat sometime after the first day.  Something like, "I am thinking this might be a better place for you to sit. You can see better here!"
If you are prepared, then as the children walk into your classroom and it WILL be hectic especially if you teach kindergarten or first grade, the children can be directed to find their name and sit down with everything they have with them.

Tip #4: Have a blank paper by each child's seat so as you greet them, you can say, within your greeting,"Find your seat, keep everything with you on the floor beside your seat and draw a picture of something you enjoyed doing this summer!" 

Then once everyone is in the classroom, you can grab their attention and unload those backpacks to see what surprises await you!

Tip #5: Build Community from the very first day with a Morning Meeting: 

2 ideas for an greeting during Morning Meeting:

2 ideas for sharing during Morning Meeting:

2 ideas for an Activity during Morning Meeting:

2 ideas for first day Morning Meeting Messages:


Tip #6: Get them up and moving: Partner Classroom Scavenger Hunt Fun:

Tip #7: Share a book: A great book to share the first day or week of school is First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg and here is a response page to go with it:

Tip #8: Send home a First Day Newsletter Check my shop for some great resources. Here are some editable newsletters you might want to use: 

Editable Newsletters for the Entire Year
Editable September Tidbits
Free Back to School Getting to Know you activity

This complete FREEBIE packet can be found on my TpT Sunshine and Lollipops shop.

You may also like these First Day Activities in my TPT shop to add to the ideas mentioned!

Back to School an Activity for the First Day of School or Any day
Back to School Happy Birthday Differentiated Math & Writing Common Core
Back to School: I Can Make Good Choices
Desk Name Plates
Home and School Communication
Back to School Brochure
Getting to Know You: Let's Make Some Memories
A Few Quick Communication Checklists

I hope your first day back, whenever it is, is motivating, filled with sweetness and sunshine...one that you will remember forever!

I would LOVE to hear how these ideas worked or some of you own special First Day of School Ideas!