Sometimes you may
have to be creative as we were here by hanging a curtain over the power
grid on the wall.
Parent Communication Bulletin Board
Coats, lunch boxes and back
packs Pocket charts are organizational tools.
Plants and animals bring life to a
Children enjoy having a classroom
library or reading corner where they can sit back and enjoy a great book.
The First Day
Organization is key to success. Make sure
that every student has a clearly labeled
desk, cubby, and all that they need to begin working. In kindergarten the
children are usually not ready to begin independent work right away, and
need a great deal of step by step directions and modeling. Your very first
priority is to get the students comfortable, on task and establish a
classroom routine. Most of this first day, or even the first week, will be
devoted to establishing routines, rules and procedures. This is critical
for a successful year. We are sure that you have heard the old saying: “It
is easier to loosen the reins later on than it is to tighten them.” The
number one problem that new teachers face is not a lack of discipline, but
a lack of well-ordered procedures and routines. New teachers want to be
well-liked and are apprehensive about discipline. They seldom have any
support in establishing procedures or routines and feel overwhelmed. We
hope you will find this web page helpful in establishing a successful
classroom, beginning on that very first day of school.
· On that first day assign each child a seat,
but use a post-it to write their name on, as the seating arrangement will
change many times over the first week. Later you may use permanent name
plates on desks,
· Have a packet or activity out for the
students to get right to work on. In kindergarten you may choose to make
this a simple color page or have a tub of books on the
table for students to read.
Have a special treat waiting to welcome each
of your students. We place special treats in a lunch bag and a letter on
the front of the bag. This year it read:
Welcome to Room 2.
This is a little
gift from me to you to make your first day special. Inside you will find:
1. A name tag so everyone knows just who you
2. A bear sticker
to welcome you to the bear den.
3. A new pencil so
you can write amazing stories.
4. A snack (trail
mix or granola bar) so you can keep up your energy.
5. A hug & a kiss
(Hershey’s) because I care about you and I am glad you are in my class.
Name Tags - We make name tags for the students to wear the entire first
week of school. You may consider making these into necklaces by writing
the each name on a tag strip, laminating the strip (Kinko's heavy weight
laminate is best), punch a hole at either end, and string yarn through the
holes to make a necklace. You could also simply pin the name tags on the
students as well. Name tags are not only helpful to you the teacher, but
for other teachers, assistants and recess/lunch duty personnel. These name
tags may be kept and used when substitute teachers visit your classroom.
If you anticipate being out of the classroom a great deal for trainings,
you may consider creating name T-shirts. These are easy to store and they
last the entire year even with continual use.
We dedicate the entire first day to getting to know one another and the
classroom rules and procedures. If you are interested in our activities,
they are available in the “Back to School” packet available in our store.
Every classroom must have rules. Rules are clearly defined student
expectations. You will need to find out what your school site and/or
district behavior/discipline plan is and then incorporate that into your
classroom plan. At the primary level you will want all the expectations to
be clear and concise. Most teachers post between 3 and 5 behavioral
expectations and they may look something like this:
1. Be in class on time, prepared to learn.
2. Respect others.
3. Take good care of school and personal materials.
4. Raise your hand to speak.
5. Walk quietly in the halls.
6. Keep your hands, feet and objects to yourself.
7. Follow directions the first time they are given.
8. Stay in your seat unless you have permission to do otherwise.
9. No cursing, teasing or tattling.
10. Always do your best.
You may choose to begin the year with 3 rules and create more as the need
arises. This allows the children some ownership in rule formation and
gives them time to learn the rules without being overwhelmed. These rules
are necessary as your classroom must be a safe and protected environment,
where all students can learn without fear or interruption. The children
will respond to an authoritative teacher who is in control and responsible
for not only setting, but maintaining behavioral limits and expectations.
Be sure to post the rules throughout the
classroom for students to see.
You will spend most of your first day and, probably the first week
discussing procedures. Procedures are important because students need to
know how they are expected to behave and work from the very first day of
school. Procedures are for the students’ benefit. They help them to do
their work effectively and without confusion. Procedures allow students to
succeed. Some of the procedures you will need to discuss include:
What to do when the bell rings.
What to do when you need to use the restroom.
How to enter the classroom.
What to do if your pencil breaks.
Where to put completed work and incomplete work.
What to do if you finish work early.
What to do if you have a question.
When you teach procedures you must first explain each procedure
thoroughly. Then you must model or demonstrate the procedure. Ask students
to rehearse the procedure as you watch. Finally, reinforce this procedure
until it becomes habit. Remember that when you reinforce a procedure you
compliment the action, not necessarily the student. A poor reinforcement
would be to say: “Good job Mike.” What did Mike do? What was the correct
action? Try to be specific in your praise. “Thank you Mike. You followed
the correct procedure and walked quietly to line.”
You will also need to establish a system of rewards and consequences. Some
of the more common incentives include the use of card chart in which
students may flip different color cards to signify that a warning has
been issued or a consequence has been issued. The use of a class marble
jar is effective as well in that every time the class is on task a marble
is dropped in the jar and once it is full the class has earned a special
privilege. Table points may be awarded for tables who remain on task and
at the end of the day, week or month that table with the most points may
receive a special privileged or award.