Back to School
First Day Checklist

This checklist doesn't cover everything, but it's a good place to start.


 1.  Is your room ready?

You should have up a few things on bulletin boards, but save lots of space for student work to be added the first day or two, to personalize the room.

 2. Do you have nametags for the students and for their desks?

Be sure to have extras, because some kids on your list probably won't show up, and you'll get new students enrolling for the first week or two.

 3.  Do you have soft music to play in the background?

 4.  Do you have a sign-in sheet for the parents who come with their children the first day, where they can leave you personal notes if they don't have time to talk?

 5.  Do you have a paper for parents to indicate how their child gets home from school?

This is *very* important, because the first week is very hectic and you have to be sure kids go where they're supposed to go.  Few things in life are as scary as "losing" someone's child, especially before you've even matched faces to all the names.

 6.  Do you have some games, puzzles, books and magazines, math manipulatives, etc., out and ready for the students to use as they arrive in class?

You'll need these ready so that you're free to talk with parents and handle paperwork.

 7.  Do you have a Beary Good Work folder made up for each child?

This folder will have coloring pages, games, mazes, blank writing paper, and other fun learning activities to use during quiet times the first week or two of school.  Mine is about 20 pages long, run on the ditto machine to save my copies for later in the year.  Make 5 extra folders, and don't put names on any of them until a child begins using them.

 8.  Do you have stickers, Skittles or M&M's, or some other form of reward to give out several times each day for the first week or two?

Reinforcing good behavior is extremely important.  Decide what your reward system will be and be generous with it while getting classroom routines established.

 9.  Do you have a project or two for your students to complete and take home the first day?

10.  Have you selected what stories and poems you will read?  Do you have follow up activities ready to go?

11.  Do you have a packet of materials to send home about yourself, your rules and expectations, and your classroom routine and schedule?  I'll be adding my first day packet to the website sometime soon.

12. Do you have the following items tucked in a drawer or cabinet?
        * aspirin
        * deoderant, toothbrush and paste, cologne, hand lotion, cosmetics, etc.
        * anti-bacterial soap for washing your own hands
        * baby wipes for washing little hands (I don't let kids use my sink)
        * room freshener spray
        * a good supply of bottled water ... it's important to keep your throat from drying
          out from all the talking you do, which can cause laryngitis

13.  Do you have the following items on your desk?
        * a picture of your family or pets
        * a daily inspiritional calendar of some sort
        * notepaper, pens, and pencils
        * hall passes, if your school uses them
        * referral forms, if your school uses them
        * a jar of colored markers
        * your reward/candy/sticker jar

14.  Are the following items on student desks/tables?
        * Beary Good Work folder
        * Nametags
        * pencils, crayons, eraser, etc. -- I usually buy a pencil box or basket to hold
           these items so they stay together.  Empty videotape boxes work well, too.

15.  Are your desk, work tables, and counters straightened up and presentable?

This is the hardest part of teaching for me.  I keep two large photocopy paper boxes under my desk (I never have time to sit there anyhow), and I use them to stash things out of sight when we're expecting important guests or a substitute.

16.  Do you have at least THREE copies of your class list?  Keep one on a clipboard near the door, to take outside during Fire Drills, unless your school has a different procedure.

17.  Have you organized a warm and welcoming library area/reading corner?

18.  Do you have a paper where parents can sign up to help in the room or by doing work for you at home (stapling and collating papers, etc.)?


OK, that's quite a bit already :o)  Here are a few more things to think about before the first day of school.

 1.  How and where do your students spend their time before school?  If they come directly to the classroom, what activities/procedures will you use until the bell rings and it's time for class to begin?

 2.  What will you use as your signal to get the children's attention?  Flashing the lights, ringing a bell, singing a song, raising your hand and expecting them to do the same, etc.?

 3.  How will you choose a student helper the first day of school, to do things like lead the flag salute, take the attendance and lunch count folders to the office, help pass out papers, etc.?

 4.  Where will your students line up after recess and lunch?  Will you have one line or two?  Alphabetical order or whoever gets there first?  (ABC order really cuts down on pushing in line).

 5.  What is your policy about excusing children to go to the restroom during instructional time?  (5 and 6 year olds *all* need to go to the bathroom as soon as you let the first child leave, so be sure you've decided how to handle this :)

 6.  How often will you send homework and when will it be due?  What is your procedure going to be for collecting and recording homework?

 7.  What activities have you chosen for the first week of school, when teachers are often busy with tons of paperwork and are frequently interrupted by the arrival of new students, parents, and notes/phone calls from the office?

 8.  What type of behavior reinforcement/positive discipline plan are you going to use?  You will probably need a pocket chart to keep track of color changes if you are going to use that type of system (I use a calendar pocket chart with 4 colors of apples).

 9.  What other class rules and procedures are you going to have?  Be sure to have them in writing before the first day of school, and spend time the first day explaining them to your students.  Realistically, you'll have to go over class rules and procedures every day for at least a week, to help your students learn your expectations.

10.  What type of letter will you send home with students the first day of school?  Your letter should introduce you, tell them a bit about you and your goals for the year, and explain your rules, procedures, and behavior management plan.

11.  What will you do about students who consistently don't complete their work?

12.  What are your policies for allowing children out of their seat during worktime?  Will most of your work be assigned seatwork, or will your students spend most of their time out of their seats, doing individual and group learning activities?

13. What is your plan for making sure that students who are absent are able to catch up their work?  (I have the person next to them get a yellow "We Missed You" folder and put on the absent child's desk at the beginning of the day, so that any and all work papers can be put in the folder until the child returns to school).

14.  Do you have cubbies or mailboxes for your students?

15.  Where do you want your students to keep their jackets, backpacks, and lunchboxes?  (In my room, jackets and backpacks are kept on their chairs, which greatly reduces the spread of lice.  I use the area beneath the coat hooks as a work area for centers and independent work).

16.  What will your rule be about interrupting you when you are working with a student or a group?  (In my room, students may only interrupt me for B Emergencies ... blood, bathroom, and barf :)

17.  If a parent shows up unexpectedly and wants to conference with you during classtime, what will you do?  (I usually ask them to have a seat and let them know when I will be able to talk to them.  I also ask them if they'd like a job to do while they wait, and give them a tub of papers to collate and staple, or something similiar.  I *always* have work ready for helpers to do).

18.  What are your procedures for fire drills, etc.?  Be sure to go over these the first morning, and take your students on a walking tour of the campus, showing them where they meet and line up during a fire drill, if they aren't with you when the bell goes off.

Books to Help You Get Ready

The First Days of School
How to be an Effective Teacher
Author Harry Wong spoke at a conference I attended several years ago,
and I left completely re-energized.  This is an awesome book for setting up your room,
your expectations, your procedures and rules, and just about anything else you can think of to get off to a great start.  Highly recommended.  Save 20% ($5.99) by buying it here.

101 Surefire Ways to Start the School Year
Classroom Brighteners, Perfect First Week Picture Books,
Unity Builders, Ice Breakers, Getting to Know You activities
20% off Scholastic's price
Under $8

Go To

More Favorite School Stories

Back to School Page 2
for Pocket Charts, More Poems,
Activities, and Big Books

[ Back to School ]  [ The First Day of School ]  [ First Day of School Stories ]
[ More Favorite School Stories ]  [ Back to School Poems & Activities ]
[ My Daily Schedule ]  [ My Themes, Month by Month ]
[ Beginning of Year Assessment ]
[ Setting Up Your Room ]  [ First Day Checklist ]
[ Author Study - P.K. Hallinan ]

Visit the Kinder Korner Bookstore
for terrific teaching resources!

My bookstore pages have lots of information on how I use various materials in my classroom, and on activities you can do with your students.  The thematic pages are complete unit resources, with lots of poems, songs, and links on each page.  Make yourself comfortable and take a look around!

Choose from the categories below.
Underlined subjects are links, the other ones are coming soon!

Top 10
Must Have
Phonemic Awareness
Integrated Curriculum
Balanced Literacy
Mini Books
for Emergent
Pat Cunningham Books &
4 Blocks Books
Writer's Workshop
Guided Reading
How to
Trade Books
and others
Pocket Chart Resources
 Songs and
Back to School
Marvelous Math Books
Read It!
Draw It!
Solve It!
Math Centers
What's In A
Literature for Math
I Love
Monthly Themes
Their Way
Bears Everywhere
Down on the Farm
Rain Forest
Going Buggy!
Spring Has Sprung!
Come Into
A Camping We Will Go!
Under the Sea
A Rainbow of Colors
I Lost
Me & My
 Special Books for Special People
reading for pleasure
Coming Soon!