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September 1, 2017

Welcoming Students on the First Day Of School

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Theeeeeeeey’re back — those first day of school jitters. The ones where you are consumed with such thoughts as: What kind of class am I going to have? Will I connect with teachers in my new school? How will I greet my students? And of course, the most important: Where can I find the copier??

    Everyone has first-day nerves, from brand new teachers to the most experienced educators. My jitters peak during those first few moments of anticipation before students arrive. I look around my classroom making sure that everything is in place and, of course, I notice that there’s one more thing that I could have done. But once I see the sea of students in the hallways heading towards my classroom, I take a deep breath and the year begins.

    Even as a seasoned teacher, I look for ways to make the start of the school year one to remember (in a good way). I go through the usual steps of figuring out my class theme and colors, seating plan, class routines and procedures, and a welcome letter. It is rare that I start the year using the same theme as the previous year, but this year is the exception. Last year, using my Twitter theme, my students took pictures using hashtag bubbles.

    I wanted to build on that first day picture tradition with a little something extra. In addition to using the hashtag speech bubbles, my students will also have their picture taken using a photo booth frame. I created two versions: one using a template that I purchased from Etsy, and one I created using simple items found at my local dollar store.

     

    Setting Up the Photo Frames 

    The template was easy to use, but the process was a little expensive. After ordering the template for a nominal fee, I had to go to an office supply store to print the image. Printing the image to poster size was an ouch! (Thankfully I used a teacher discount.) I also purchased foam board from a crafts store to use as backing for the poster template. The rest was easy: adhere the poster to the foam board and cut out the center for the photos! (Thanks RJ for being my beta tester and helping me with the photos!)

    For the second photo frame, I used dollar store items. I would recommend not using foam board from a dollar store. It did not hold up as well as the one that I purchased from the arts and craft store. It would crumble and tear as I cut out the center with an X-Acto knife. Getting the board from the crafts store was worth the extra few dollars for a more polished look. After cutting the center, I glued my welcome hashtags! Voilà: photo board option two!

    In addition to the photo frames, I decided to do a twist on an idea in a post from fellow blogger Mary Blow, "End the Year on a Positive Note." In Mary’s post, she wrote end-of-school-year notes on her student’s desks (with dry erase markers). What a great way to end the year by letting students know how much they mattered. I wanted to set that tone at the beginning of the year by creating welcome notes using Scholastic’s Word Workshop. The notes will be placed on the desk to welcome my students. Instead of creating 25 different notes, I am creating a few and will use them for grouping students. The welcome notes will give students either a question or an idea to think about. I will be able to laminate them and use them for next year.

      Pearls of Wisdom — Create a vision statement for yourself as to what you want your teaching to reflect. Write it down so that when you have moments where you are questioning what you're doing, you will be able to center yourself. My vision statement for this year is, "Every day is an opportunity to do and be better!"

    For those of you who have already started the school year, I hope that your first day was FABULOUS! For those of you who start right after Labor Day, have a marvelous first day!

    Do you have any special ideas for the first day of school? Please share! I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

    For more ideas for getting ready for the first day of school, check out some of my previous posts:

    "New Teachers: Getting Started"

    "Calming First Day of School Jitters"

    "Middle School Back-to-School Night"

     

    Theeeeeeeey’re back — those first day of school jitters. The ones where you are consumed with such thoughts as: What kind of class am I going to have? Will I connect with teachers in my new school? How will I greet my students? And of course, the most important: Where can I find the copier??

    Everyone has first-day nerves, from brand new teachers to the most experienced educators. My jitters peak during those first few moments of anticipation before students arrive. I look around my classroom making sure that everything is in place and, of course, I notice that there’s one more thing that I could have done. But once I see the sea of students in the hallways heading towards my classroom, I take a deep breath and the year begins.

    Even as a seasoned teacher, I look for ways to make the start of the school year one to remember (in a good way). I go through the usual steps of figuring out my class theme and colors, seating plan, class routines and procedures, and a welcome letter. It is rare that I start the year using the same theme as the previous year, but this year is the exception. Last year, using my Twitter theme, my students took pictures using hashtag bubbles.

    I wanted to build on that first day picture tradition with a little something extra. In addition to using the hashtag speech bubbles, my students will also have their picture taken using a photo booth frame. I created two versions: one using a template that I purchased from Etsy, and one I created using simple items found at my local dollar store.

     

    Setting Up the Photo Frames 

    The template was easy to use, but the process was a little expensive. After ordering the template for a nominal fee, I had to go to an office supply store to print the image. Printing the image to poster size was an ouch! (Thankfully I used a teacher discount.) I also purchased foam board from a crafts store to use as backing for the poster template. The rest was easy: adhere the poster to the foam board and cut out the center for the photos! (Thanks RJ for being my beta tester and helping me with the photos!)

    For the second photo frame, I used dollar store items. I would recommend not using foam board from a dollar store. It did not hold up as well as the one that I purchased from the arts and craft store. It would crumble and tear as I cut out the center with an X-Acto knife. Getting the board from the crafts store was worth the extra few dollars for a more polished look. After cutting the center, I glued my welcome hashtags! Voilà: photo board option two!

    In addition to the photo frames, I decided to do a twist on an idea in a post from fellow blogger Mary Blow, "End the Year on a Positive Note." In Mary’s post, she wrote end-of-school-year notes on her student’s desks (with dry erase markers). What a great way to end the year by letting students know how much they mattered. I wanted to set that tone at the beginning of the year by creating welcome notes using Scholastic’s Word Workshop. The notes will be placed on the desk to welcome my students. Instead of creating 25 different notes, I am creating a few and will use them for grouping students. The welcome notes will give students either a question or an idea to think about. I will be able to laminate them and use them for next year.

      Pearls of Wisdom — Create a vision statement for yourself as to what you want your teaching to reflect. Write it down so that when you have moments where you are questioning what you're doing, you will be able to center yourself. My vision statement for this year is, "Every day is an opportunity to do and be better!"

    For those of you who have already started the school year, I hope that your first day was FABULOUS! For those of you who start right after Labor Day, have a marvelous first day!

    Do you have any special ideas for the first day of school? Please share! I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

    For more ideas for getting ready for the first day of school, check out some of my previous posts:

    "New Teachers: Getting Started"

    "Calming First Day of School Jitters"

    "Middle School Back-to-School Night"

     

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