This day 2 weeks I will be back in school! It’s scary how quickly the summer has gone and how fast September is approaching. I’m feeling a bit nervous as I’ve been working mainly with 3rd class for the last few years and its a bit of a jump to 5th class but overall very excited! I taught 5th class once before during my DIP year and really enjoyed it! I’ve received lots of messages asking what I plan to do on the first day or the first few days so I’m sharing some of my top things to do during the first few days in this blogpost.
These are the most important things to get right in the first few days as they determine how things will go for the rest of the year. I spend a considerable amount of time going through each of our class procedures to ensure that the children know exactly how to do something and these procedures become second nature after a few days.
Here’s a list of some procedures that I have used with 3rd class
Some procedures to think of;
- Lining up on the yard
- Walking into the school
- Walking up the stairs (We’re on the third floor this year!)
- Entering the classroom
- Where do bags/coats go?
- Using the bathroom
- Drinking water in class (I think children should be able to drink water throughout the school day but sometimes water bottles can be a distraction so where will the water bottles be stored?)
- Sharing an idea/asking a question
- Getting the children’s attention (Hand in the air, 123 eyes on me – of course you can have more than one but the children need to know what to do if you do one of the attention getters)
- Lunch time
- Walking around the room
- If another adult comes into the room to speak to the teacher – what do the children do?
- Leaving the classroom
- Walking down the stairs
- What should be on tables?
- Where do children store belongings?
- What do the children do when they come into the classroom in the morning/after lunch?
- How to use the class library
For class rules/expectations – I get the children to work in groups of 4 where they brainstorm an effective teacher and an effective student. This is a great starting point for classroom rules. We then discuss the lists and create a list of 4/5 expectations for our classroom.
The classroom management strategy can be introduced at this stage too. Some teachers like to use a group points/whole class behaviour management, others like to use programs such as Class Dojo!
Books and Copies
This is another area that if you get right at the beginning of the year – you never need to worry about again! I often do a ‘Perfect Page‘ at the beginning of each copy – which clearly shows how to rule the copy, where the title goes, where the date goes etc.
There may be a different layout between school copy and homework copies. There will also be a different layout for maths copies! (I try to get the children to stick to one numeral one box – this means that the work isn’t cramped and much easier for children to work through a tricky problem!)
A place for everything and everything in its place
I have cubby holes in my classroom – I use these for storing the rental books. I have also bought some boxes (mainly from IKEA) where I store the children’s folders/refill pads/scrap books etc. Maths materials are kept in one area, while the literacy box is in another – I teach the children where everything is so they can easily get the things they need for lessons or for station teaching.
All About Me Work
There are tons of worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers and other sites for the beginning of the year. I love these bunting versions (One for English and one as Gaeilge from Ms. Forde’s Classroom!)
Beginning of the year assessment
It’s good to get an idea of where the children are at. I usually get the children to do a short writing activity about something familiar to them e.g. My Family, My Favourite Place, All About Me, My Summer Holidays etc.
Most of the Maths programmes have a beginning of year assessment which is very helpful as a guide to how best to pitch the Maths lessons and which areas of the curriculum need more support!