Congratulations! You made it to the end of the school year (or almost). And what a year it’s been! It’s likely that you are experiencing a mixed bag of feelings. Perhaps you’re feeling ecstatic, exhausted, jubilant, sad, relieved, excited, satisfied, dissatisfied, proud or disappointed. It’s totally normal to have any or all of these feelings. I promise you will feel better after a break.
But before you check out for the holidays, there are a few quick and easy things that you can do to get ready for next year. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself on the first day of school.
Prioritise for the First Day of School
Before we get into it, let’s take a moment to consider what’s really important on the first day of school. Figuring out what’s urgent and important helps us to prioritise.
It’s tempting to believe that labelling every non-living thing in your classroom and making things look pretty is a top priority. But consider that decorating your classroom can wait and that other things are more important.
The most important thing to plan for the first day of school is ways to connect with your students, being to create a classroom community and to build relationships.
Choose a Children’s Book
Having a good children’s book up your sleeve for the first day of school is essential. Select a book now, and leave it on your desk.
Reading a good book to your class on the first day of school is a bit like sharing a pot of tea – it brings everyone together.
Looking for inspiration? Why not read Fergus and Delilah written by Erin Knutt and Illustrated by Misa Alexander. This picture book delivers an important message for children about friendship and inclusion. For more information on this wonderful book read our blog Autism | Inclusion in the Classroom.
For more book choice ideas and a list of some of the best ‘starting school’ books around, read our blog 10 Picture Books and Activities About Starting School.
Write a Meet the Teacher Letter
Get organised now and prepare a simple Meet the Teacher Letter to introduce yourself on the first day of school. Either create a personalised letter for each student or display a large whole-class letter on your classroom door or notice board.
Letter writing is a great way to build a connection with your students and to show that you care. So, download our time-saving Meet The Teacher Letter – Editable Word Version and prep it before you clock off for the holidays. Make the first day of school easier by following these simple steps:
- Customise the content of your letter and add a photo.
- Print off multiple copies (1 for every student).
- Seal the letters in individual envelopes for each student.
- Place the letters on student desks on the first day of school.
Plan a Joke or Two!
Give yourself a head start for the first day of school now, by downloading our Jokes for Kids PowerPoint. The jokes included in this teaching presentation are kid-friendly, relatable and the perfect teaching tool to ease any nerves.
Sharing a joke with your class on the first day helps to build relationships and to make a connection with your students. What’s more, showing your funny side is hugely reassuring for your students.
Choose an Active Game
Next, be sure to plan an active game for the first day of school. After a long active holiday, it’s going to be a challenge for students to sit down for long periods of time. So head to our Brain Break Active Game Resource Pack.
Choose an ‘All About Me Activity’
Most teachers plan an All About Me Activity for the first day of school. So, head to our All About Collection where you’ll find a variety of teaching resources to choose from for all year levels. I love our All About Me Numbers Concertina for Early Years because as well as being fun, it will give you insight into your students’ level of ability.
This template comes in all school fonts and different boy/girl designs to best fit the little people in your class.
Or, why not create All About Me Bunting which will double up as an awesome classroom display!
You can make your first homework assignment fun and easy by asking your students to bring in a small photograph of themselves from home.
Plan a Fun Desk Activity
If you do nothing else, select and prepare a simple desk activity that will engage your students on the first day of school. An independent desk activity that requires minimal teacher instruction, will give you a chance to catch your breath and give your students clear direction.
Students and parents alike love a take-home activity on the first day of school. Take the time to download a homework activity now, so that you don’t have to think about it during the holidays. Be smart and choose an activity that is easy for your students to complete independently and without much teacher instruction.
With early years in mind, we have created this brand new Starting School Chatterbox.
- learn how to spell their teacher’s name
- get their school uniform ready the night before school
- pack their bag the night before school
- learn the names of two people in their new class
- read to an adult at home
- introduce themselves to a classmate
- draw a map of their classroom
- show an adult how to hold their pencil.
As you can see, if you manage to do one or two of these quick and easy ideas before you check out for the holiday, you’ll thank yourself on the first day of school. And now, it’s well and truly time for you to kick back, do nothing and enjoy the holidays. You deserve every minute of your holidays. Rest up and recharge.
For a comprehensive guide to making your first day of school seamless, read Holly’s brilliant blog The First Day of School: A Fail-Safe Guide for Teachers.
Share your school holiday happy selfies on Instagram #teachstarter
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