These forms are a companion resource to the Sanity-Saving School Year Starter Kit, a free, three-day email series meant to help you cut through information overload and focus on the few, basic things that will most help you prepare for the first day of teaching. There is some overlap between the advice you’ll find in the Starter Kit and what you’ll find in this resource, but as a rule, the Starter Kit contains advice about preparing for the first day of school, organized so you can find it when you need it and ignore it if you don’t.
This resource, on the other hand, contains all the documents I developed over eleven years’ worth of first days of school in my own classroom. Each year, I opened the file marked First Day, edited and printed these documents as needed, then tucked them back into their computer file to use again the following year.
These documents are not 100% ready-to-use in your classroom. Rather, they are the type of documents you might be able to ask a mentor teacher to share so you can use them as a starting point and not have to reinventing the wheel. These are documents I would have loved to have my first year, especially if someone had offered them to me in one giant Microsoft Word document so I could have quickly changed, cut-and-pasted, or printed a classroom set as needed.
There are also short explanations explaining the thinking behind each item, how you can most easily adapt it to your needs as quickly as possible.
The goal of all of this is to keep you from doing what I did my first year: sinking hours of panicked perfectionism into creating materials that ended up not being exactly what I needed anyway because I didn’t have enough experience to know what would be crucial from the first minute and what would prove to be completely useless within hours.
These materials won’t keep you from accidentally writing on your dry-erase marker board with a sharpie or shakily trying to unlock your classroom door with what turns out to be the keys to your house, but I do hope they’ll save you many hours and serve as a starting point as you plan your first day of teaching.
Here's what you'll find in the packet, along with notes on how best to customize and use each resource.
- A sample first-day lesson plan for a 90-minute block of high school English.
- A blank class schedule divided into five-minute increments.
- A detailed, step-by-step guide to the first five minutes of the first day of class.
- A student contact information sheet.
- A generic blank form to use as a seating list or signup form.
- A two-page student interest survey.
- A student reading habit survey that can be used as both a pre-test and post-test.
- A list of essay topics that are not about what kids did over the summer.
- An early-in-the-year homework assignment that can also help you decorate your classroom bulletin boards.
- Sample daily procedures.
- Sample class syllabus.