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First Day of School!

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

I can't believe the start of a new school year is upon us already. I know the first day of school is a "mystery" for many of us. We just don't know where to start. I remember my first day teaching like it was yesterday. I walked into my Grade 2 classroom with so many expectations. I decided that my students first task was to write out cute sentences on a sunshine. So I came into the classroom, introduced myself and got right to work. I told them to pull out their pencil and write down sentences about themselves. HA! How naive I was. They could not yet write sentences. I quickly realized that I needed to take a step back and reassess my expectations for the year.

5 years later, I feel more confident with the first day of school (although the nerves are ALWAYS there).

I wanted to share EXACTLY what I do on the first day of School with my 6th grade class. Our schedule works on a 5 day basis, with a total of 240 minutes of prep time. This schedule would work well for students from Grade 4-6. Please note that as a French Immersion teacher, I teach 2 groups the same subjects. So at half day, I switch groups and restart my day.

8:45-9:15 Welcome! Objective: Welcome to 6th Grade As students walk in, ask them to find their desks with their name tag. Place their things at their spot and go sit on the carpet. Let them chat until everyone has arrived (they are always so excited to see each other after a long summer).

Once everyone has arrived, sit down and ask them if anyone knows who you are (if this is a new school for you, obviously they won't know). Tell them that you will go over a few routines before having a chance to do some work.

Tomorrow, as they enter the classroom, they will write their homework in their agenda (reading is usually the only homework they have) and they will continue with silent reading (they can take a book of their own or get a book from my classroom Library).

Every single day (or almost), there will be a question on the white board. They will need to read the question and answer using a dry erase marker on the board (they must answer in sentences). The question on the first day of school is: "C'est la première journée d'école, Comment te sens-tu?". For today, students will answer the question when they come in from recess since they won't have time to answer it now.

9:15-9:30 Writing Objective : Get to know your students & Writing

I always find students are eager to get to work on the first day. I don't like having them sit and listen too long because it becomes overwhelming very quickly. I hand them the Bienvenue en ______ sheet, go over it with them and then allow them to fill it out. This sheet is great because I get to check on my students writing skills while I get to know their feelings & preferences about school. Here's an example:

9:30-10:15 Classroom Rules Objective : Establishing Groups

I like to use class dojo to make up groups for my students. They start by spinning my wheel of groups and then get placed in a group on class dojo. I use class dojo to give them points and rewards throughout the year. This makes them work as a team to earn points.

Objective: Group work, Writing & Speaking

Once groups are made, they work together to discuss what the classroom rules should be for the year. They will write on chart paper using markers. I like to give them about 20 minutes.

After the allotted time, we meet back up on the carpet and students share what they have come up with for class rules. Together, we group these up together to make the official rules. I also like to tell them about some specific rules that I have in place (no more than 4 people in reading corner at a time, silent reading MEANS silent reading, etc.).

10:15-10:45 Oral Communication Objective: Speaking: This or That Print the three circles. Cut and tape them to a wall. You'll want yellow on one side, pink in the middle and purple on the other side. Play the slide show, allow students to read the question (or you can read it) and then they will go to the side they prefer (matching colour) or in the middle if they have no preference. Allow students time to explain their reasoning for the side they chose.

10:45-11:25 Nutrition Break & Recess

Before break, go over rules with your class

During lunch expectations are: no throwing food, wrappers in the garbage, keep the classroom clean, you can chat quietly

Indoor Recess rules: what can they use and not use?

11:25-11:55 KAHOOT – How well do you know your teacher?

Objective: Reading & Writing

When they come in from break, they now answer the question on the board (they answer anonymously, no name). I get them all to sit and we reread the questions together. I use this as a diagnostic assessment (where are they at with their spelling, grammar, writing in general?). I don't correct their sentences on day 1, as I don't want to overwhelm them too soon.

My last activity of the day with the first group is usually a KAHOOT! all about me. I put many questions to get them to learn more about me. They love getting to play KAHOOT! on the first day and it's a great way to end the morning. Here is an example as a paper copy, if you prefer this instead of the KAHOOT! game.

11:55 Start over with your new group

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