3 helpful first grade teacher tips for teachers starting the school year, including welcome activities, preparation tips, and classroom management.
First Grade Teacher Tips
The beginning of the year is an extremely important and special time for teachers and students. It is a time to develop a classroom community, set expectations for the year, and build relationships. These three first grade teacher tips will help you start the year off right.
First Grade Teaching Tip #1: BE PREPARED
Have your classroom organized and have supplies prepared.
Before the first day of school, spend some time organizing school supplies into desks or bins that are labeled. Have workbooks, folders, and anything else students will be using regularly, prepared ahead of time. If you can photocopy something now, do it! Doing these things before will save you so much time when you feel exhausted after the first few days.
Have personal things and places in the classroom labeled with student names.
Whether you use desks or tables, cubbies or lockers, or book bins or bags, try to label them for your students ahead of time. This will make them feel special and extra excited to see that they have places to call their own in the classroom.
Have a bulletin board ready with spots on the wall to hang students’ BEST work. I use a pre-made “Wow Work” bulletin board that has frames or colored cardstock and student names.
Help your students feel like you’ve been excited and waiting for them!
First Grade Teaching Tip #2: WELCOME ACTIVITIES
Plan and have welcome activities ready for the first week.
Plan some fun icebreaker games and welcome activities to help you, the teacher, and your students learn each other’s names and get to know one another. Fun games will break the ice and make everyone feel excited and welcome in your class. It’s a great way to take away anxiety and worries in students. Even if you don’t use all the planned activities, it’s better to have extra activities than to run out.
It is important to give children time to get to know each other through play. Encourage them to explore the classroom and the new exciting materials they can use. They will begin to build relationships with new people who share similar interests. Playtime is also a great way to start building their problem-solving abilities.
School usually starts when it is nice and sunny outside. Take them outside to read and play before the weather changes and there are more inside days. If you can manage it, go on a beginning of the year field trip. Create an environment for learning, but at the same time organize activities to have fun together. This will help students build and strengthen friendships, make connections, and bond with each other.
Create name art to decorate the classroom.
A creative idea for a back-to-school bulletin board is to have students make rainbow name art. Creating a bulletin board like this is another way to make students feel special. They will see their names posted for all to see, and they will feel important.
It is important to make students feel special because starting a new grade, with a new teacher and students, and a new environment can be a scary thing for many.
First Grade Teaching Tip #3: CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
Choose some management strategies that fit who you are.
It is important to understand your classroom management strategies before school begins. If you are a new teacher just starting out, try to have a few classroom management tools you are ready and willing to implement. Research the many management techniques out there and choose what fits your philosophy and reflects who you are as an educator. Then have some materials ready to implement those strategies.
- How will I handle good and bad behavior?
- Will I use rewards? If yes, which type?
- How will I handle supplies? books? attendance? a schedule?
- Do I want a positive classroom management system?
- How can I get and keep my students’ attention?
No matter what, developing a classroom management plan will help elevate stress and make the classroom run more smoothly.
More First Grade Teacher Tips