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First Days
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Teacher-Tested Tips:

First Day Gift
Submitted by: Beth, 2nd Grade
Just to get the children excited about the year, I like to give them a special pencil and an eraser at the end of the first day. I put it in a ziploc bag and type the following saying on a label and attach it to the bag: Second Graders Try their Best, Take Chances, and Make Mistakes! This is a great way for children and parents to catch a glimpse of your teaching philosophy and makes the children feel comfortable.
Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5

First Day Pencils
Submitted by: Deirdre O Brien, K-5
I always place a newly sharpened pencil in each students desk. That way we don't have to worry about sharping all those new pencils the first day. The students love getting a new fun and colorful the first day. This would work with all grade levels.
Grade Level(s): K , 1-2, 3-5, 6-8

First Day Treats
Submitted by: Lee Young
I buy the back to school cups from Hobby Lobby. They sell them 5 for $1.00. I fill them with a new pencil, eraser, candy, trinkets, and a small book. I take tissue paper (the kind you would use to wrap a gift with) and wrap the cups. Then I tie them with ribbon, make a name tag using a small star die-cut and write "You are an all star kid" on the tag.
Grade Level(s): 1-2, 3-5

First Day Welcome Bag
Submitted by: C. Lopez, Grade 2
At the beginning of the school year, I make up a packet using a plastic zip lock bag. In the bag I put a pencil, a small piece of candy, a word search using basic vocabulary the kids will need such as room, name, address, street, school, teacher, parents, notes, date, pencils, erasers, dates, the school name, my name and the town. I also include a simple crossword puzzle using similar basic words. In addition, I add a book mark and a name tag. This packet helps keep the class busy while I take care of the first day clerical work. Next, I have a sheet of paper ready with a space on the top for a drawing and lines below for writing. I ask the children to write their name neatly on the bottom and draw a picture about the best part of their summer vacation. Underneath the picture, I ask that they tell about this picture. I ask them to do their best as we will be sharing these with each other.
Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5

For last year's students
Submitted by: A. Vasquez, 2nd Bilingual
At the beginning of the year, the students I had last year always come to see me. Because I truly do miss them and want them to have a successful year, I prepare a "goodie bag" of sorts for them. I use a regular brown sack lunch and spruce it up with labels (about the size of a shipping label) that I make on the computer. The labels have school graphics like a school bus or desk and they say "Ms. Vasquez misses me." Inside I put a fun pencil, an individual packet of tissue, a small juice drink (I don't give soda), maybe some crackers for snack, and other various things they may need for the first few days of school. I know not all students have all their supplies right away, so this helps them be a little prepared and also reminds them of how much I appreciate them.
Grade Level(s): 1-2, 3-5

Help Young Ones Feel Closer to Home
Submitted by: Linette, Toddlers - Preschool - PreK
I am a Director for a childcare facility and I have talked to my staff about collecting family photos from all of the children. These photos will be contact papered to a cardboard box. These boxes will be our family boxes to remind children of their families when they feel sad or lonely. Our NAEYC coordinator shared this idea with me and I think that children would really love to feel close to their families when they are in a new environment with new faces... this will help them feel less alone for the first few weeks of school. It's also a great "naptime" box for kids who have naptime anxiety. Hope this helps someone out there!
Grade Level(s): Preschool, K

Warm First Day Greetings
Submitted by: Mytzi Brown, 1st Grade
I read about two cute ideas to welcome the kids back to school. The first idea is to get balloons and stuff them with a pencil, eraser, or whatever then blow them up. Next, hang the balloons from the ceiling and the students will get to pop them with to get their back to school goodies. You could also make this some type of ice breaker like numbering the balloons and use it as a game. The other idea is to die-cut a bunch of different letters and glue them together to form the names of the students in your class. Also hang these from the ceiling so when the students walk into class they can see their name hanging!
Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5

Welcoming Students to School - All Year
Submitted by: Rita, 1st Grade
Having been in situations where student mobility is a concern, I was frustrated by new students entering after I had everyone else settled and supplied with class information. This year, when making your "Welcome Back" letter, do not date the letter and simply title it "Welcome to Room...." Include homework info, special class days, a supply list, and an invitation to meet with parents to answer concerns. These may be given to the class during opening week, but be sure to have extra copies. When a new student comes to your class, simply send home the "Welcome" letter...and the letter will be usable in November, March or whenever!
Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5

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