Everyone has their own way of dealing with the first day of school. It’s always tough, but this is the routine that I have developed. I hope it gives you some ideas!
On the first day of school, I always teach my students Zoo-Phonics, and read a first day of school story (hopefully about first day jitters- I like the book, “Will I Have a Friend?”).
Then I get out my dog puppet and read Wiggles Learns the Rules at School. Wiggles, the dog, helps me read the story, and he acts it out as we go along. Of course, he breaks every rule, and the kids howl with laughter! Here's an example:
At the end, he always gets it right, and we clap for him, and then he gets a star to wear that I attach with velcro. The kids would listen to that story every day for a month, if we had time for it. There are other Wiggles stories, too. This is how I teach my rules, along with some songs from my Classroom Management CD and DVD. :)
Then of course, we sing some songs. I teach them my Number Jumble motions and songs. This is similar to Zoo-Phonics, in that there is a visual cue on the flashcard embedded into the numeral, and they respond physically to it. There is a song for each number, and shape. We can usually make it through zero-five on the first day, and then I add in the rest of the songs over the next week until they know them all.
Then we all settle down to color a page from the Wiggles book. There is a student sized book at the end of the Wiggles book, so I just copy off one of the pages and let them color it. Later, the kids can make their own if we have enough clicks available on the xerox machine! Unfortunately, it is only reduced by half, so it’s a lot of xeroxing. If copies are an issue, we just color one page.
After they finish coloring, I let them choose either unifix cubes or pattern blocks to play with, and I show them how to make a simple pattern. When everyone is done, it is usually recess time. We go outside, learn the rules for the playground, and then I give them a snack and they play. Don’t forget to show them what to do when the bell rings to come in, and where to line up!
When we come inside, we read another first day of school story (I like “Miss Bindergarten”) and then I teach them the procedures for playing with my toys and how to put them away. I let them play for a while, and then clean up. After that, we sing a song and get ready to go home. I make sure that I tell them what the arrival procedures are before releasing them.
We also role play what happens when they see their moms or dads, etc., coming to get them. We don’t run away to them without telling me that they are going! They have to wait until I release each of them by name to the correct person. I make sure that I tell the parents that as well in the morning when they drop off their kids, so that they don’t signal for them and expect them to come running immediately. I had a child disappear once the first week of school, and it is not an experience I want to repeat!
Here are some more blog posts on what to do at the beginning of the year in Kindergarten:
Kindergarten Lesson Plans, Week One! (This post is a bit more specific on what we do.)
Week One: Wiggles Learns the Rules at School, The Homework Bell, Calendar Book Updates, and More!
More Projects for the Beginning of the School Year
Morning Routines That Really Work for Pre-K and Kindergarten.
Kindergarten Schedules for Full Day K, Extended Day K, and Half Day K
What to Do When a Child Won’t Go to Time Out