First Day Am I Ready? Tried and True Ideas, Activities and Tips

You've relaxed all summer...well...NOT REALLY because after all you are a teacher and everyone thinks you get to relax ALL summer, but let's face HAVE NOT been relaxing all summer stuffing your face with Choco Tacos, Hershey Kisses, Tootsie Rolls or, my favorite, Kit Kats!
YOU HAVE NOT been burying your feet in the sand with a glass of your favorite beverage by your side leisurely watching your kids surf the waves.  Instead you have been planning for this day all summer...since the doors of the school have closed last school year and the halls have have been planning for...Yes, you guessed it... THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!  

It is the night before your first day and you can't sleep worrying over what the year will be like...what will the kiddos be like this year, what will the new teachers, new superintendent, new principal, new curriculum and there is ALWAYS new curriculum or new something to worry about, what will the new something be this year!!!?  You feel that churning in your stomach...YES THE NIGHT BEFORE JITTERS! ( I mean I am retired and I STILL feel this in the beginning of only stops when I remember that I don't HAVE to go back this September or any September!) 

Never fear...Here's my MOTTO:  Be Organized and have lots of choices in your toolbox to use that first day...Just like shoes: If one pair doesn't work, try another and another until the shoe fits and the idea works...choices, choices, choices and organization, those piles of ideas that are cluttering your brain like shoes cluttering your closet...organize the ideas and get them ready to pull from the shelf and try on for size. 

So many ideas cluttering my brain...HELP!

Now that's have all your ideas stacked, 

filed, prepared and ready to go!
AHHHHH heaven...ready to choose 
which pair will work best for each outfit!

You are calm, cool and collected and have a list compiled of what to do on the first day of school.

Here are some tried and true ideas I have used over the years, but remember even the best ideas need a "little help from your friends." First off I always try to only plan the first day ( always made me feel a bit anxious,but I forced myself to do it) and forget the rest of the have no idea what surprises await you and it is better to plan more than less and see where it goes. Then you can plan for the rest of the week after this important day!

Tip #1:  Being a teacher = getting parents on your side.  So, before school even starts maybe a few days before those little cherubs walk through the door of your classroom or even the night before(yes, you read that correctly) give each family a call to welcome their child to your classroom...just a simple "Hi, this is _________________I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.  Don't forget to bring your smile!"  You will be surprised how many kiddos walk through the door on the first day and say "You called my house," and they DO bring their smile...well first graders sometimes bring a jittery smile! It also implants a great impression with the families of the students you will be teaching!

Tip #2:  Great each child at the door with a smile and compliment. As I was told 30+ years ago from a college professor: Find something you like everyday about each child and give them that compliment even if is as little as, "I love the polka dots on your shirt!"

Tip #3:  Have each child's name written on a name plate by a seat or if you have an "Open House," let each child place their Name Plate at a seat. This way they will know where to go on the first day. You can always change it and let's face it you will because most likely they have choose a seat next to their BFF.  This way as each child walks into your classroom they can be directed to find their name and sit down with everything they have with them.

Tip #4:  Have a blank paper by each child's seat so as you greet them, you can say, within your greeting,"Find your seat, keep everything with you on the floor beside your seat and draw a picture of something you enjoyed doing this summer!"  Then once everyone is in the classroom, you can grab their attention and unload those backpacks to see what surprises await you!

Tip #5: Build Community from the very first day with a Morning Meeting: Some tried and true ideas for a Morning Meeting Greeting might be: 

2 ideas for Sharing Time for the first day for Morning Meeting might be:

4 ideas for an activity or game during your first day Morning Meeting might be:


An idea for  2 first day Morning Meeting Messages that you might want to use is:

Tip #6:  Get them up and moving:  Partner Classroom Scavenger Hunt Fun:


Tip #7:  Share a book:  A great book to share the first day or week of school is First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg and here is a response page to go with it:

Tip#8:   Send home a First Day Newsletter: Here is a link to and editable First Day News that I have used: 

Editable First Day Newsletter

Tip #9:  Be prepared for surprises!  They always seem to happen on the first day. So, if you are will be able to handle whatever comes your way and it WILL!!!

This Freebie packet can be found on my 

TpT Sunshine and Lollipops shop.

You may also like these First Day Activities in my TPT shop to add to the ideas mentioned!

Let's Make Some Memories

Back to School An activity for the First Day of School

Good Luck and I would LOVE to hear how these ideas worked or some of you own special First Day of School Ideas!


your photo name


  1. You had me at chocotacos!!! I LOVE THOSE!!! I love your building community ideas here! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    The Whimsical Teacher

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of your summer!
      Kathy Sunshine and Lollipops

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the rest of your summer!
      I am very big on sending Newsletters!
      Kathy Sunshine and Lollipops

  3. Tip 1 rocks! Our school encourages postcards before school starts. I do that and make the "Sunshine Phone Calls". These are timely but so great to make that early connection! Thank you for sharing.
    Tricia from "Tricia's Terrific Teaching Trinkets"

    1. I LOVE how you called them "Sunshine Phone Calls!"
      Thanks for stopping by...I am still browsing all the posts!

  4. Oh Kathy! I really enjoyed reading your post! The shoe analogy was GREAT! After reading all these posts, my thoughts are getting all cluttered (with super ideas) like your first picture. I need to get the ideas organized like your second picture! That shoe organization is amazing by the way! I only have about ten pairs of shoes, but I still need you at my house. Ha ha! Thanks for linking up!
    Undercover Classroom

    1. Thank you, Chrissie for reading, helping and inviting!!!!
      I love to organize,but after about a month I have to reorganize...just like all those great don't know where to begin and just keep changing and reorganizing! LOL

  5. Great post! I absolutely loved your shoe analogy! I wish my shoes were that organized! My husband doesn't understand why I have so many shoes. I really like your ideas on community building. That is key for a successful year! Thanks for sharing!

    Education Electrification

    1. Well...actually the shoes stay organized for a while and then as I keep wearing different pairs, they need to be reorganized again....somewhat like teaching and the activities, ideas and lessons we use and then don't take the time to put back where they were!!
      Thank you for your comments. Have a great year!