The first hour of the first day

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It's the first day of your new school year.

The first hour in fact.

If you're new to teaching you're going to be filled with excitement and apprehension about what the day will hold.

If you're an experienced teacher you will undoubtedly have your own special bag of tricks to delve into and some teachers hold hard and fast to what activities they will do within the first hour.

There are definitely some 'must do' activities for the first hour, such as introducing yourself and packing boxes of goods away. Lots of 'get to know you' games are fun, as are team building activities.

However, experience as taught me that the first hour on the first day is possibly THE most messy and fiddly time to try and do any introductions or group games. Last year I had at least 3 students enter, set up at their desk and then realise they were in the wrong classroom and moved again. I had lots of new students to the school who were lost and so arrived a little late and many, many, many parents that wanted to have a 'quick chat' with their child's new teacher.

I'd like to share with you a little something that I found worked perfectly for the last few years that is easy for students to follow and independent tasks to work on whilst you set up the room, talk to parents and arrange/rearrange confused students into the correct spot.

Before students arrive I place a template on each desk so students can create their own name plate. This gets things moving nice and quickly and nervous/anxious students can start work on something right away.

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Students just LOVE personalising something to go on their desk early in the year and this is going to help you enormously with behaviour management (nothing gets a student's attention quicker than using their name!).

I also get students to complete a get-to-know-you sheet which we immediately hang on the wall in the classroom. Students like to work on these all week so I let them work at their own pace, complete and hang on a spot on the wall when they are ready.

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In addition to being fabulous and constructive 'busy work', these activities allow you to see student's skills first hand within minutes of them starting work. Do they rush? Do they need time to perfect their work? What type of learner are they? Last year I had a perfectionist who simply would not be rushed. I also had a student with a 'messy nature' who struggled with hand writing all year long. It's great to get to grips with your students early on, so this year - why not give these activities a go and let me know in the comments below how you went?

You can find these activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, where you can also find this fantastic freebie for Goal Setting!

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