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    First day ideas
    By Debbie

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    Hi Robin,
    I usually try to assess all my incoming children a week or so before school begins 1:1 for about an hour. I do an informal interview then assess their reading, writing and problem solving. This gives me a chance to meet their families, and makes the first day MUCH easier. So if that's at all possible, you might try it.
    When the children first come in, I usually have lots of books, writing/drawing papers, strategy games (Checkers, Chess, etc.) out, as well as some type of interactive science/social studies display out so they are able to check out the room while I'm answering the last parent questions. We clean up then gather together in a circle in the meeting area for some getting to know you activities...Tribes (published by ASCD) has lots of neat interactive ideas for community building activities. We discuss the most important procedures, such as signing out to use the bathroom...We take a school tour, so they know things like how to get thru the lunch line (before the crowds), where to meet after lunch, say a brief Hello to the special area classroom teachers, computer lab tech and IMC specialist, plus the office staff and administration. We usually take a break on the playground after they brainstorm several ideas for safety there. I try to get a writing sample on that first day, and read LOTS of good books as well. We discuss initial expectations...expectations they have of me, I have of them and expectations they have of each other. By adding to this list through the week or so, we end the second week by categorizing all these expectations, and come up with a set of expectations (think rules) for our classroom. In addition, each day I'm modeling two or three routines-preliminaries for draft book writing, using the reading corner and book baskets, how to work the tape recorder in the listening center, what a literature response might look like, etc. and most important what the noise level should sound like in each area of the room. We learn songs for transitioning, and getting their attention...Hope this is helpful, post again or email if you need anything.
    Debbie ;-D

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