I used to work at a school with a high transient level. Kids would move every year and many came from unstable homes. It can be difficult for children to start a new school every year or two. Even if students aren’t new to the area, they can still about feel nervous about a new class and teacher. Here are 5 ways to help students feel welcome on the first day of school.
A Note and a Treat
Writing a short letter to each student can make them feel welcome. A simple I’m so glad you are in my class and am excited to start the school year is a nice message. Attaching the note to a pencil or bookmark adds a special touch. You can also fill a small bag with goldfish and put a cute saying on a post-it like “You’re a great catch!” Another fun idea is to give students some star stickers with a note attached saying, “Super Star Student.”
Learn About Them
Knowing your students names as quickly as possible will help them feel welcomed. When students come into your class, give them a blank name card and let the students write down their name or nickname. Give them an interest survey to learn about their likes and dislikes.
Everybody likes a surprise. For instance, you could tape a small bag of pretzels or a silly straw under the child’s chair. For physical education, make a P.E. wheel where kids can spin to decide what activity they are going to participate in.
I have found that a smile goes a long way with kids. Some teachers feel that they need to be stern all the time. However, this doesn’t foster any sort of relationship with the students. Smiling, laughing and telling jokes makes you approachable. When you have a positive relationship with your students, future disciplining is easier.
An Inviting Atmosphere
On the first day of school, I used to take a picture of each student and put it on my wall. These pictures were always on my wall. I used them to assign classroom jobs. In addition to displaying your students’ pictures, have a blank bulletin board to put up first day of school work. If you have English Language Learners, make sure to label classroom items in both languages.
A successful first day of school can set the tempo for the rest of the year.
Five Ways Teachers Can Get Free Back-To-School Supplies
First Day of Class Ideas for Elementary School Teachers
Back to School Stress Relieving Tips for Teachers