How to Prepare for the Fantastic First Week: What Will You Do? (WWYD)

With the beginning of the new school year right around the corner, many new and veteran teachers alike are wondering about their new students.  I remember lying awake at night thinking about how I was going to set up my classroom, change my classroom management, wondering what the new families would be like and what they would bring to my classroom. I knew it was always about the children and what was best for them.  Was it better to have the library center by the art center, or the block center, or completely alone where it was quiet?  Did my classroom schedule have enough large group, small group, center/free choice, and one on one time included?  I can still remember this time of the year working in my classroom.  Cleaning tables, pulling out new bulletin boards, writing my students names on their cubbies, tables, the birthday calendar etc and I was always so excited!

Important Things to Know:

  • The teacher is expected to know the school policies.
  • Read the handbook and ask questions.
  • For the first day and every day for the next 30 years make sure you always over plan. This does not mean to run off more worksheets, it means to be creative, know your students, and understands things happen and you must change and adapt.
  • Know where to make copies, know bathroom, recess, lunch, and arrival and dismissal procedures.
  • Get to know the people you are working with including the custodians, librarians, principal, and secretary.
  • Make folders for each student with important forms and information in them, so you can quickly get to pertinent information you may need later.

Back To School Night

Send out invites or personally call your families.

This night can be made all about your students and their new classroom.

This is a time for you:

  • To introduce yourself, handout important papers/packets, speak with the families, allow the children to explore, and sit back, have fun, and observe.  For these things to happen, you must be organized.  You must be ready when the first group enters your classroom.
  • Your classroom must be set up with appropriate areas that belong to each student.  For example, there must be a cubby for their belongings, a place for their backpack and coat, an area (table, desk etc) that belongs to each child and is labeled with their name, and appropriate areas they will see on the first day of school such as centers, carpet area, the teachers desk, etc.
  • It is important for you to have the daily schedule posted for families to see also.
  • Many times families will bring supplies this night, so there must be an area for them to leave the supplies. Don’t forget this may be a child’s very first time at school so families and children may be a little nervous, so the teacher must be positive, warm and inviting.

First Day Of School

Everyone is excited. There are many emotions from the students and their families. Be kind and considerate as this may be the first time a child is away from their family.  Teachers should start and end the day just as you would for everyday for the rest of the year.

Today: (and everyday)

  • Greet each child as they enter the classroom
  • Teach Procedures
  • Get to know your students
  • Students get to know their new peers
  • Show students around school (important places)
  • Plan, Plan, Plan (organization)
  • Have activities for children to do as you are teaching about their new classroom

The first week of school is all about acclimating your students to their new environment.  It is about getting to know the students and their families, teaching procedures and introducing new ideas that will carry across into the entire school year. Begin creating an atmosphere of warm, loving, kind and welcoming individuals.  Build relationships, earn trust, and be organized. A amazing teacher learns to adapt from year to year and knows her classroom and students.


This guest post was written by Tisha Shipley. Tisha has a doctorate of education in Curriculum and Instruction and has taught multiple grade levels at Moore Public Schools, including pre–K and gifted 3rd–6th graders.

You can find Tisha online in these places:

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