I think it's important to review the expectations of the course and begin to establish any routines that will be important throughout the year. I always teach an engaging mini-lesson on the first day too. Although routine building is important, you also want to set the expectation that learning will be the most important aspect of your class.
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My first day of activities is built around developing a strong classroom community. I start by shaking hands and welcoming each student. I begin the routine of a Morning Meeting right away to develop a secure start to each day. We usually read a book that emphasizes our uniqueness (Chrysanthemum is a favorite!). I'll include some interactive modeling of general routines like using the bathroom, storing lunch bags, etc. Last, I begin the discussion that will end up with our collective list of Class Norms, generated by the children.
Oh, and we laugh and play too!
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I agree with Katie and would like to add that relationship building is also important. I always try to start the year with some sort of ice breaker then lead the students into a community building activity.
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