Off to school
We go together
In September's
Sunny weather
September is an exciting time of year for kids, parents and teachers!  This is a time of hopes and dreams for a happy and successful school year.  Below you will find a first day checklist,  activities and book suggestions to help the first few weeks of school go smoothly.  Best Wishes for a Wonderful school year!  Denise :o)
First Day Checklist
1.  Have 3 copies of your class roster with the child's home phone number listed.  Keep one on your desk, one on the wall for emergency drills, and one in your take home bag (I keep mine in a monthly planner in my bag) for reference.


2.Have a name tag for each student to wear for the first 3-5 days that includes
* His/her Complete Name
*Address
*Bus number (or walker, car rider)
*School name and phone number
*Your name
(I laminate my students tags hole punch them and string them as necklaces with a note ***(laminated) on the back of each one that tells parents to send the tag back to school every day for the first week until we have established our dismissal routine.)  ***Tip--Use Avery Address labels and your printer to quickly print up 20+ copies of the return tag request.  Then you can easily peel them off and stick them on the back of your name tags before laminating them!  I use these same tags for field trips except I use the shipping labels)  E-mail me (below) if you need more info.! 



3.  Have your first week planned, and ALL materials prepared~~but always over plan!  I never get to half of what I had planned the first week of school due to first week changes and interruptions, but I feel better knowing I am ready and over prepared if necessary!  I suggest keeping a monthly planner and an ongoing "to do list",  "to buy list", and "materials to prepare list."
This keeps me on track and it's also a helpful resource when I have parents who want to volunteer or help out in some way. 


4.  Have a copy of your lesson plans on your desk and one in your take home bag (in case the first gets lost in the shuffle of madness the first few days!) I staple a copy to my monthly planner so I will always have one for reference if I need it.)


5.  Have a signed form from each parent regarding HOW their child is to go home from school.  I have parents fill out a special form that tells me how their child is to go to and from school, and how their child is to go home in case of an early release day due to bad weather.  I keep the original copy of this with my sub folder in the office, and make an extra copy that stays in my desk until the last day of school.
To print a copy of my Transportation / Emergency Contact Form
CLICK HERE.


6.  Have 1 sharpened pencil ready for each student on their desk.  This saves you the headache of everyone wanting to visit the pencil sharpener first thing on the first day and it's also a nice little gift for kids to find on their desk the first day!


7.  Have stations prepared as to where you want the children to put their supplies.  Decide what you want and don't want to have the kids have at their desks!  Ex. "Girls, bring all tissues to the round table."   Bring all paint shirts to the yellow basket.  Bring all markers to the square table, etc.   This keeps you organized while trying to gather student supplies.  Have 2-3 volunteers to help you check items for student names, with permanent markers in hand to quickly write names if needed.  If parents bring their children, which they almost all do on the first day of Kindergarten~have them double check their child's name on all supplies before leaving and have permanent markers on the table available for the parents.  To make a long story short~have a place in mind to put all of these new supplies!  :o)


8.  After all supplies are put away I show the kids where their backpacks and coats will go.  Have all individual desks, cubbies, hooks and spaces labeled, ready and waiting for the children and their supplies. 


9.  Be prepared for 'new' students not on your roster due to late enrollment.  Have blank name and desk tags, and cubby tags ready for them and prepare extra materials "just in case!"  You want these children to feel just as welcome as those who enrolled early.


10. Remember--That the first days, weeks and months of kindergarten (or any grade!) are ALWAYS the hardest for the kids and teachers!
Remember~~ your class WILL establish a routine and things will begin to flow.  It just takes time!  After several years of teaching, I still have to remind myself of this through the months of September and October!
First Day Activities
The Kissing Hand is an Excellent first day book to share with your class.  Click here to visit my Kissing Hand Page for activities and ideas!
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Besides helping the children learn the routines and

The Name Game

Besides helping the children learn the routines and their way around the school,

I make sure they learn each other’s name. I play a game with a ball and when the ball is rolled to you, you say your name,something your like, your favorite color, etc..

After the class gets comfortable with that, you say somebody's name and roll them the ball. This is a very simple activity but it works and helps the children to get to know each other and start talking to each other. We always make our first class book the first few days. Each child draws a self-portrait and the page says,

"This is me. My name is __________."

This book is a favorite pick from our classroom library.

Sit the kids in a circle. Have them start a pattern of
clapping hands, patting knees, just going back and forth.
Say the following poem to the beat of claps and pats:
_______________(child's name) ______________ (child's name)
How do you do?
Who's that sitting next to you?
Child says name of person sitting beside them.

Chant new child's name:
David, David how do you do?
David would name the person beside him.
Go around the circle until everyone has had a turn.

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About 3 weeks before school begins I send a letter to each new child with a

The Gingerbread Man

About 3 weeks before school begins I send a letter to each new child with a
picture of Gingerbread man. In the letter I tell them how excited I
am to see them on the first day and tell them they can color or decorate the
Gingerbread person. Then I tell them that there will be a surprise for them
on their first day of school.

On the first day of school I read the Gingerbread story.

However, I do not read the ending of the story. Before school that day, I hide clues
around the school for the children to go on a hunt for the Gingerbread
man. (This is a great way to give the kids a tour of the building!)

I hide a clue in the oven, library, etc. When they return from the hunt
to the classroom there is a Gingerbread cookie and milk waiting for them and
a note from the gingerbread person welcoming the children to school.
We then enjoy hearing the rest of the story while we eat out Gingerbread cookies.
*Tip~You can buy Little Debbie Gingerbread cakes at the grocery store if you
do not want to bake the cookies.

The children LOVE this and when we reminisce about our favorite
activities at the end of the year this is the first thing they remember
about our Kindergarten year.





These Gingerbread Hunt Clues are really cute and were posted on the chatboard at www.teachers.net!

Poem Left in the Classroom
I've left my friends for you to snack,
But I'll bet you'll never get me back!
Look for me where there are lots of books!

Media Center
I've read lots of books,
But I'm gone, can't you see?
I'm a gingerbread man and you can't catch me!
Look for me by a friendly face who answers phones in a busy place.

Office
The secretaries have a friendly face,
And answer phones in a busy place.
Find me by the leader(s) of our school.

Principal's Office
These are the principal's offices.
They're nice, you know.
They told me not to run anymore,
But to walk, wherever I go.
Go find me where we eat together.

Cafeteria
This is the lunchroom.
These friends like us a bunch,
And always make sure we have a good lunch.
I'm getting a bit tired as you can see,
Room ___ is where I'll be!

Classroom
I've run and run and I need some rest.
I think this room is the best!

Three great versions of the Gingerbread Tale.
Click on a book to preview or purchase.

If you want to purchase more than one book,
just add the item to your shopping cart, click your back
button and you can return to this page to make another selection. 
Items will stay in your cart until you are ready to check out.
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Click here to preview more great
Back To School Books
at the
September Library
Books
Begin the year with these great T-Shirts!
At my school, a fellow kindergarten teacher and I have come up with the idea of making name shirts

At my school, a fellow kindergarten teacher and I have come up with the idea of making name shirts. I buy boys extra large t-shirts at Walmart/Kmart when on sale and ask parents to donate the cost for 1. Then I put the student's name on the front (in middle of chest) and on back (real large). I color with permanent fabric marker our school mascot (a dragon) below their name. We wear these shirts everywhere--PE, Music, etc., whenever a sub is there for me, for messy projects. At the end of kindergarten when everyone can sign their name semi nicely, we have a name party and everyone signs each other's shirt. It's a terrific way to remember their kindergarten year and I love the ease of putting on a shirt and not having kids play with badges/nametags. (Special Note: Several people have suggested NOT TO ALLOW children to wear these shirts on field trips as it is not safe for strangers (the possibility of pedophiles) to know the names of the children.)

Idea by Becky Heldings

~*~Ideas, Poems and Gifts for Parents
on the First Day of School~*~
Jamie Solley wrote this wonderful poem to give to

Jamie Solley wrote this wonderful poem to give to

Parents on the First Day of School. This poem means so

much to me now that I am the mother of a five month

old son. I will print it on decorative school paper and

give it to parents as they leave their child with me on the first day of school.

 

The First Day
I gave you a little wink and smile
As you entered my room today.
For I know how hard it is to leave
And know your child must stay.
You've been with him for five years now
And have been a loving guide,
But now, alas, the time has come
To leave him at my side.
Just know that as you drive away
And tears down your cheeks may flow
I'll love him as I would my own
And help him learn and grow.
For as a parent, I too know
How quickly the years do pass
And that one day soon it will be my turn
To take my child to class.
So please put your mind at ease
And cry those tears no more
For I will love him and take him in
When you leave him at my door.

Click Here to visit Jamie Solley's Excellent Kindergarten Web Site
An Apple for the teacher
Is really nothing new
Except when you remember
Parents are teachers too!
(Have a gift bag with an apple in it for each parent.  Attach this poem.  I also include a list of our sight words for the year, a copy of the alphabet that shows how we teach letter formation, and a sample of the report card.
You may also want to include a list of ways you'd like parents to help their child in school.)
Parent Care Package
Dearest Kindergarten Parents,

Dearest Kindergarten Parents,
Here is a little "gift" for you as you leave your precious one with me on the first day of school. As you hold this cotton ball in your hand, the softness will help you to
remember the gentle spirit of your child. After you've gone home and dried
your tears, make yourself a hot cup of tea . Put up your feet and
relax. Remember that together you and I will work for your child to be the
best they can be.
Thank you for entrusting your child to me for the coming school year. I will
do my very best every day to be your child's guide in learning and exploring
this bright, new world they've just stepped into.
Sincerely,
(your signature)

(Put poem in a ziplock bag with the following items: a cotton ball, a Kleenex and a tea bag)

 

This idea was shared on a teacher bulletin board.  Author Unknown
You are a star in my class-starburst

Care Packages For Students

(I send these home at the end of the first day. I also

read a sample of the poem and show them what they will

find in their bag when they get home.)

Dear _______________

You are a star in my class (Starburst)
It's ok to make mistakes… thats how we learn
(Eraser)
I’m nuts about you
(Peanut in shell)
You are going to learn so much this year
(Smarties)
Everyone needs a hug-let me know if you need one
(Hersey’s hug)
I am so happy to have you in class!
Love,

____________

 

First Day Pictures! 
Don't Forget!
I always take a picture of each child in front of our classroom door on the first day of school.  I save the  pictures to use at the end of the year for a Kindergarten Keepsake for the students and parents.  The Keepsake is a special poem that I print on "school themed" computer paper. I glue their first day picture under the poem and then laminate the gift.  Click HERE to view the end of year poem.

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Friendship Salad
This is a great lesson to teach during the first week of school when the kids are learning about
room rules and manners!

Items Needed:
Very Large Bowl
Large Mixing Spoon
paper plates or bowls
plastic spoons
Several cans of fruit (a variety is good)
Marshmallows
Yogurt
1 very old and rotten banana


I explain to the kids that the big bowl is like our classroom and that there are many important things that our room needs..especially good friends and happy days at school.

Add one can of fruit...."These are the kind kids in our room."(You can elaborate....they help each other at school, and wait their turn in line...)

Add another can of fruit..."These are the hard workers in our room" (..they get their work done and always try their best, even when work gets hard!)

Add another can of fruit..."These are the kids who share"  (...they know how to share their supplies, and they share the toys at center time....)

Add some marshmallows..."These are the kind words being said in our room."  (...words like please and thank you, and I'm sorry, when someone gets hurt...)

Add the yogurt...."This is the happiness we feel when we are at school."  (...when we laugh, when we learn, when we have treats, and when we get to play at recess....)

Talk about the yummy friendship salad, how good it will tasted and then pretend to begin to peel the rotten banana.  The kids have always yelled "Stop!!!" before I even get the banana peeled.  I tell them that this is the Rotten Banana that could cause trouble in our happy classroom.  This might be a banana that calls names, does not share, refuses to do school work, etc...  We all vote NOT to put the rotten banana in our Friendship Salad.

This is your opportunity to talk with the children about why the children do not want this banana in their friendship salad AND how to make the connection with them about the importance of following rules and having good manners.  It is fun to hear the children say throughout the year, "We don't want any rotten bananas in here!" or "Don't act like that or you'll be like a Rotten Banana!" 
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Time Saver! This worked so well for me last spring~I had to share!

While planning my maternity leave last spring I created a folder for each week that I would be gone and ordered them by date in a square storage box.   I filled the folders with a dated blank lesson plan page, special notes to go home, birthday crowns for birthdays each week, field trip notes, star of the week notes, snack request notes and book order notes, etc.  This worked so well and kept me and my sub organized!  I have decided to begin the year with a pre-dated folder for each week of the upcoming school year.  I will fill them in September with the same things listed above and anything else that I can plan ahead for and place in the folders.
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