Sunday, August 4, 2013

First Day of School

So the big day arrived on Thursday, August 1st - The First Day of School!   It began early, with me taping balloons to each student desk and setting out gift bags.  For a fun and exciting First Day activity to get to know each other, I typed up questions, rolled them up and stuffed each one inside a balloon.  This is a great activity to break the mundane "rules and procedures discussion" when you see that you're losing their attention.  Throughout the day, I called on 2 or 3 students to pop their balloon and read and answer their question that was inside.  They were so excited that morning to see them on their desk, and the anticipation to pop their balloon continued all day.   When they became overly talkative, I told them that the next people to pop their balloon would be those listening and paying attention well. 

Its a great incentive for the behavior you need on the first day of school! 
I mentioned that I set out a gift bag on each desk as  well. Every year I gather white lunch bags, colorful ribbon, 20 to 25 shiny new pennies, Smarties, Starbursts, colorful erasers, a snack and a new pencil.  I like the pencils that say something like "3rd Graders Are #1!"  I pick those up at a nearby teacher supply store.  I print a message that explains what each item inside the bag is for. Then I attach it to the bag with ribbon.  This message is one of the many things included in my Beginning Days of School packet.

1.  Here are the "eatable" items that go inside.
2.Here are all of the items that go inside and the white lunch bag.
I just had to include a picture of my kitty, Mrs. Meow Meow, as she is attempting to steal the penny.  This was after several attempts at "pouncing" on all of the items as I was trying to photograph them.  She gets so interested in whatever project I am attempting!

3. I fold down the bag, line up the printed message, use a hole punch to punch two holes in the message and bag, then run a ribbon through the holes and tie it into a bow (about 2 foot of ribbon for each bag).

Seeing these items on the their desk the first day, helps entice those shy students inside the door.  My parents are grateful that they don't have to force their child from their clutches, but instead, they are forgotten about as the student can think of little else, except "What's inside this bag?" and "I want to touch that balloon."

The top picture above shows their new student agendas and a word search on the desk along with their gift bag and balloon.  (You can read about everything I include in my student agendas in an earlier post.)

I also have two other items on each desk that you may recognize if you follow my blog or my TPT store; the FREE Back to School Bookmarks and another FREEBIE, my "Me Bag".  You can get each of these at my TPT store and I have featured my Back to School Bookmarks in a recent blog post.  There are three different styles.  It has been a while since I mentioned my "Me Bag", so I'll fill you in here. 

In addition to popping the balloons a couple at a time, throughout the day, we share our Me Bags, a couple at a time, throughout the day also.  On the night before the first day of school, our school always has "Meet and Greet" night for the students and parents to come by and have a quick look at the classroom, their new teacher and see a few of the students that will be with them for the new year.  For those that attend, they can also take home a folder filled with informational papers (homework for the parents) and their "Me Bag" (homework for them).  I tell them that if they want to be one of the first students to share, then go home and fill their bag with items they can show, as they tell their classmates a little bit about themselves on the first and second day of school.  (I can never get these all done on the first day, and neither can I get all of the procedures fully taught and practiced in just one day.) This year I received a brand new document camera, so on the first day, I put my students "on camera".  They were able to stand in front of the document camera, and their classmates were able to see them on the smart board as they spoke and showed their precious items.  Some things they brought included, favorite toys, pictures, awards and medals. Click on the picture below to grab your FREE copy of My "Me Bag".

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below. 

In the next blog post scheduled for Friday, I'll share two of the first day activities we did.  Hint:  If you decide you want to do it too, you'll need the book, The First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg.

Good luck, and enjoy your last days of summer.  In those last few days, I made sure I got to eat out at my favorite restaurants for lunch (especially those only open M-F), since we never get to do that during the year! Ha! Ha! 

Classroom DIY


  1. Thanks for sharing the balloon idea. I wonder if 5th graders would like it?!

    1. Hi Courtney, I believe 5th graders and even older students would love a chance to do anything unorthodox like popping a balloon in class. I think the suspense of what question they will get inside, would also be welcomed. If you try it, stop back by and tell me how it went. Have a great first day of school!

  2. I LOVE the balloon idea!!! Going over rules and procedures is important but it can be so b-o-r-i-n-g. What a great way to get the new year popping.

    Hooty's Homeroom

  3. HANDS-ON and Interactive-2 wonderful ways to meet students' needs!

  4. Cute classroom!! I am your newest follower. I hope you can stop by my blog when you get the chance :)

    Mrs. B

  5. Love your ideas! I'd like to be a student in your class! You obviously love what you're doing and have a huge heart. Hope you have a great year with your students!

  6. What kinds of question did you put in the balloons?


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