First day jitters aren't just for kids! I think I get just as nervous as my students. I'm sure you do, too. You can plan, plan, and overplan, but there are always those last minute glitches that come up every year. What do you do with your students when they first arrive? You know those 15-30 minutes when parents want to talk to you, yet you need to supervise your students, and you are getting pulled in every which direction. I found it helpful to get my students engaged in some type of high interest activity. This makes it easier for them to say goodbye to Mom and Dad which makes the transition easier. When I taught kindergarten and first grade, I had playdough and cookie cutters on the students' tables waiting for them. HINT: new cans of playdough are hard for the students to open. Use koolaid playdough instead of playdough from the store. It is cheap to make and I love its texture. I store the playdough in these type of containers because students can easily open them:
Students will happily play with playdough and cookie cutters for a LONG time - or at least long enough to answer parents' questions. You can also gain some valuable insights with this activity such as who wants to take too many cookie cutters, who can share, who likes to collaborate, who adds an academic twist to the activity such as making patterns, who creates elaborate stories with the shapes, and many more skills.
Speaking of transitions, one of my former schools had the perfect solution for kindergarten parents. It was called a "Boo-hoo Breakfast". We gave parents a paper hand that had a tissue glued to it and a label with details about the Boo-hoo Breakfast. Parents were invited to go to the library for juice, coffee, and donuts. The administrators and counselors met with the parents to discuss common kindergarten adjustment issues.
Another one of my tried and true activities is having students draw themselves the first day of school and write a sentence or two about what they hope to learn this year. This makes a great picture to hang in the hallway. I also have my students draw themselves the last day of school so parents can see the progress their child has made this year. If you click on the pictures below, you can get a free copy of first day and last day for grades K-3.
You are invited to join my "First Day of School" Linky Party. To participate please:
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