Visit the links to my other resource books:
(sublinks break the books into smaller sections available for purchase)
Organizing and Planning for the First Days of School
- Getting Ready for the School Year
- The First Days of School
- Icebreakers and Games
- Planning for a Substitute Teacher
- Student Reflection and Goal Setting
- Discipline Forms and Parent Communication
In this file:
Page 5 – Yourself as a Student
Find a picture of yourself when you were as old as the children you teach. Paste that picture on this page and hang it somewhere that your students will see. Fill in the blanks with your information. Example: “Mrs. Smith in 8th grade”
Pages 6-7 – Student Center
If you have an area in your room set up for students to borrow pencils, scissors, glue, markers, calculators, or any other classroom supplies, it is essential to have a system to keep track of who is borrowing items. Label all of the items in your student center and place a basket for IDs in the student center. If your students don’t have IDs, you can leave a clipboard with a log to keep track of borrowed items.
Pages 8-10 – Hallway Passes
Whenever students leave your classroom, it is a good idea for them to have a pass with them so that any adult who sees them will know they are allowed in the hall at that time. You can use this in conjunction with the Classroom Sign-Out Log on page 23. First, photocopy, laminate, and cut out each pass. Then affix the soft side of Velcro (or a magnet) to the back of each pass and the rough side of Velcro (or a magnet) to the wall. Now your passes are easy to access and organize. If you want the passes to be more firm, you can mount the photocopied passes on cardstock or chipboard before affixing the Velcro (or magnet) on the back.
Pages 11-12 – Classroom Library
It is helpful to have a clear system for students to follow when they borrow books from your classroom library. Place a stack of notecards on one of the shelves near the example check-out card (found on page 12). When students borrow a book, hold on to that card. If the book gets lost, you can have them replace the book easily by looking up the ISBN number. Keep the completed cards in a safe place that you can easily access when a student returns a book they have borrowed.
Page 13 – Colored Feedback Key Rings
These little key rings are a great classroom management tool. You can use them to guide discussion and assess student understanding. You may even find other uses on your own!
Page 14-19 – Classroom Quotes
Enlarge these quotes to poster-size, mount them on colored paper, then hang them around your room. Talk to your students about the meaning behind each one. You may find yourself pointing to these quotes on the wall all year long!
Pages 20-21– Classroom Guidelines Activity
You can have your students help create your classroom guidelines using this activity. Or, if you would rather create them yourself, you can write on and draw ideas from this template.
Page 22 – Locker Log
Use this form to keep track of student lockers and locker combinations.
Page 23 – Classroom Sign-Out
When students need to leave the room for any reason, have them use this log to sign out. This will help you keep track of who leaves, where they go, and how often they leave your class. Hang this sheet on a clipboard next to your door so students can access it easily after they have obtained your permission to leave the room.
Page 24– Late Log Sign-In
Hang this sign-in sheet on a clipboard near your door. If students arrive late to class (excused or unexcused) have them fill in the log. This is an easy way to keep track of tardies without the need to interrupt what you are doing with the rest of the class when students arrive late.
Page 25 – Preparedness and Behavior Logs
Sometimes teachers have a need to track certain behaviors or attributes. This log can be used as a full sheet (separate sections for different classes) or can be cut out and clipped at the top of a clipboard, always on top of whatever else is on the clipboard so it’s easily accessible to the teacher. Often times in order to correct behaviors in our students we need to first identify that there is an issue, and tracking that issue is made easier with a log such as this one. Adapt it to meet your needs—use a new “code” if you’d like. There is a blank rectangle at the top of each section so you can label each section with the class period or a single student’s name.
Page 26 – Lucky Ducky
Use these for whatever will motivate your students. Copy and cut them out. Give them out to students for doing something remarkable or obtaining a goal that you set. Write the student’s name in the box under the duck. Let students turn in any they have earned to receive a one-day extension on a homework assignment, to choose a prize from your prize bin, or anything else you would like!
Pages 27-30 – Absent Station
Having a plan to keep track of what students missed when they were out will not only help them, but it will save you a great deal of time when the students return. The provided material can help you stay organized if you follow this basic plan:
1. Set up an “Absent Station” that has a file folder and binder for each one of your classes. Tape a class roster on the front of each folder or binder for students to use to determine who is absent. This folder will be used to keep track of papers for students who were absent. The binder will be made into an “Absent Notebook” by photocopying and hole-punching as many of page 27 as you need and placing them inside. You can use one binder per class (recommended) or use one larger binder with tabs for each class. Hang the signs on pages 24-26 in the Absent Station.
2. Assign two students per class period to be the “Absent Notetakers”. (This should switch every two weeks or so.)
3. Those students should work together to ensure all handouts are collected for absent students. They should also gather any work that was passed back for absent students.
4. Throughout the class period, they should fill out the Absent Notebook.
5. At the end of class, they should return Absent Notebook and place any handouts or returned work in the class folder for the students who were absent to retrieve when they return.
Pages 33-34 – Autobiography
Have your students fill this out soon after you meet them (or send it home before you meet them in a summer mailing). You will quickly learn about your students and their academic lives through this short writing assignment.
Pages 35-47 – Fun-Fill-In Classroom Guidelines
Use this activity as a fun way to tell your students the basics about your class. Have students fill in Part A first. Give them Part B after they are done and have them write their responses directly in the blank spaces on Part B, matching the numbers for their responses. Let them share their funny stories with each other! When you are ready, give them Part C, which is the handout you should fill in with the correct information (there is an example included). Since this activity only covers the basic guidelines in a class, you might want to add a second sheet with more specific school or class guidelines to let your students know everything they need to know.
Page 38 – Tessellating Hexagons
Choose a prompt such as “Why do we learn math?” or “What do you hope to learn about this year?” Let the students brainstorm responses. After discussion, hand out the hexagon worksheet. When you receive all of the students’ work, you can display their responses as a fun tessellation!
Write the prompt on a few hexagons and scatter them within the student responses.
Try photocopying the worksheet on colored paper to add a little more spunk.
Pages 39-42 – Puzzle Pieces that Fit Together
Use these puzzle pieces for anything you want. There is one activity provided on the first page. The following pages have different sizes of the same puzzle piece to accommodate any size bulletin board you might want to use to display the puzzle. You will have to turn half of the pieces you use 90 degrees, so be sure to instruct half of your students to turn their piece sideways when working on them. They will fit together when you cut them out.
Page 43 – Parent Homework Assignment
Sign the bottom of this page and photocopy it. Send it home to parents in a before-school-starts summer mailing or send it home with the students on the first day of school. You will learn so much about your students through this assignment!
Page 44– Letter to Myself
Have your students write letters to themselves. Brainstorm goals beforehand, and then give them a chance to write a formal letter. Collect the letters and place them in envelopes. Mail the letters to the students after school lets out in the summer, or hand them back on the last day of school. If you can, take a picture of each child on the first day of school and include it in the envelope as a surprise!
Page 45-47 – Classroom Scavenger Hunt
This scavenger hunt can be used “as is” or can be modified to fit your classroom better. Since your classroom is your students’ place to feel safe at school, you want to make sure that they understand where to find items and what your boundaries are. This is a fun way to ensure everyone knows how your classroom is run. You wouldn’t want to do this activity before explaining some of the rules of you classroom. The idea is that the students should know all of the answers already and the scavenger hunt is for them to review.
Page 48 – Textbook Condition Form
Use this form to keep track of the state of the textbooks you loan to students. You can assess the books yourself before handing them out or have the students assess the books themselves. If you have the students assess the damages, it is suggested that you show students examples of books that are considered in excellent, good, fair, poor, or bad condition. Then file away this form and pull it out again at the end of the year to determine any book fines.
Page 50 – Alpha Order Line-Up
For fire drills or fast attendance while on a field trip, it might be helpful to have your students be able to arrange themselves in alphabetical order in a jiffy. Use this activity to get them to find their alphabetical order, and then practice it a few times throughout the first few weeks. You will thank yourself later!
Page 51 – Two Truths and a Lie – School Version
Students love to learn about their teachers. A fun way to get the kids to know each other and to know you a little bit is to play the childhood game “Two Truths and a Lie” but tweak it to be fit for a classroom setting. This page explains how to play the game in a classroom environment.
Page 52 – Fun Facts
When you are a little short on time, this is a fun way to get to know your students and have them get to know you. They’ll be asking you to elaborate on your stories all year long after this game!
Page 53 – Classroom Guidelines Skit
Simply posting the class guidelines and expecting your students to follow them only works sometimes. If you really want your students to know your rules, spend time playing this game during the first few days. You’ll be happy you did later!
Page 54 – Strike a Pose!
Students love to see pictures, especially pictures that they are in. Do this activity to keep them entertained all year long!