Are you gearing up for back to school? Have the first day jitters started to set in? Don’t worry! I’m going to walk you through 4 must dos for the first day of school.
First and foremost, start that relationship building. Relationships are the name of the game in teaching, especially in special education. You want to make yourself the most reinforcing thing to your students. As you build trust and respect with your students, you’ll be able to accomplish more and more within your classroom. It is all about the relationships. Some tips for relationship building early in the year:
- Observe your student play, note their interests
- Complete preference assessments (FREE)
- Do preferred activities during centers the first few days
- Provide frequent and consistent reinforcement
- Play with your students in the way they prefer
This may seem easier said than done, but don’t over think it. Your next must do is to establish a routine. Things may change a hundred times before you perfect your routine, but before the first day come up with how you want your day to run. Build a rough draft schedule, plug in your non negotiables (lunches, recesses, specials, etc.), then plug in the rest of your schedule (morning meeting, centers, play, etc.) Make at least one routine activity you’ll do each day that will remain the same. I do this with Morning Meeting. It is a great routine activity where we can work on tons of skills plus structure and expectations. Try to follow your schedule on day 1. This doesn’t mean teach all your content on day 1, but begin teaching the routine of your schedule.
Grab The First 10 Days to help establish routines.
Explore the Classroom and School
Your third must do for the first day of school is to explore your classroom and the school with your students. Let them explore the areas of your classroom and get comfortable in this space. You want you and your classroom to be a safe place for your students. Also, explore the school with them. Show them the cafeteria, playground, gym, specials classes, general ed classes, etc. Make them as comfortable as you can in their environment where they will spend a lot of their time.
Communicate with Families
Your last must do is to communicate with your students’ families. Families get the first day jitters too. They are anxious about how their child’s day has gone, so make sure to communicate it with them! Whatever method you choose, just be consistent. I use ClassDojo and daily communication logs. There are tons of different methods, so choose what works best for you! Communicate with families and build relationships with them too. They are all apart of the team!
What are other must dos for the first day of school? Share them in the comments! If you’re looking for more back to school tips, check out Alyssa’s blog post about the first 10 days of school!