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twin2's Message:

I can only speak as a para who has worked as a grade level para for several years before being moved to various other grades. There were four first grade classes each year. My duties were to go from class to class to do a reading program and to help as needed. I learned so much from each teacher over the years, both what I think works and what does not. The biggest thing, the teachers who started out focused on teaching routines and procedures usually had more success creating the more desired classroom environment. They eased into learning more slowly, but were able to pick up the pace while those who were not as focused on classroom management were still trying to get it together.

I also noticed that the teachers who revisited classroom expectations frequently, particularly after a long weekend or break, had far less behavior issues and more engaged learners.

The only suggestions I have about materials is to see what teacher websites the school subscribes too. There are also some really good free sites you can subscribe to. I love readwritethink.org. They have so much there that can help supplement your classroom.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
mhugs 08-17-2015 12:58 AM

I teach the children to observe the three B's when I am working with an individual or small group.

Bleeding-spurting blood all over the place,not a hang nail Bloody nose gab some tissues
Not Breathing
Barfing-head for the hall (bathroom if in classroom)

broomrider 08-16-2015 03:15 PM

Breathe. You and the kids will be just fine.

I see that you are new to ProTeacher and may not have noticed the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of many pages. It's a topic search for this site. Your request has come up many times over the years and has had a variety of answers. Most questions have been asked and answered over the years--but the answers do change some over time.

You might want to click on the icon and do a search for various first day/first weeks of first grade threads. You'll find things that match your teaching style (yep, you do have one. If a suggestion sounds odd or impossible that means it's not your style).

There's a request for first day of school activities above yours on this page that you might want to check out along with the search responses.

msc06 08-15-2015 01:49 PM

Congratulations on your new job! I know how you feel. Last year was my first year teaching (1st grade!) and I was hired in mid-October to take over for a long term sub. I was OVERWHELMED the minute I came into the classroom - didn't know where to begin, had hardly anything, and didn't know how to use the programs. Luckily you're starting on day 1. So you have time to do getting to know you and icebreakers and such with the kids. Plan fun getting to know you activities and such for the first days. TEACH ROUTINES AND PROCEDURES! Since I wasn't there from day 1 last year I KNOW this was my big downfall all year. I tried to keep what routines they had in place, may not have been consistent enough with them, and tried changing things on the kids. So this is my big goal for this year and I REALLY recommend it to you!

Reading The First Days of School by Harry Wong he states that seemingly "losing time" at the beginning of the year by practicing routines over and over will gain you time the rest of the year. So focus on simple lessons where you can have the kids practice routines (transitioning, turning in work, how to work independently, how to line up, how to ask for help, what to do when a pencil breaks, etc.).

Just take it a day at a time. I was given the advice of a friend to just think of yourself as a sub... get through one day at a time... (as we had both been subs prior to our first jobs). Just take it one day at a time, plan the next day and go from there. I know where I got overwhelmed was trying to figure out the big picture with the plans and programs.

Good luck!!!

twin2 08-14-2015 06:43 PM

I can only speak as a para who has worked as a grade level para for several years before being moved to various other grades. There were four first grade classes each year. My duties were to go from class to class to do a reading program and to help as needed. I learned so much from each teacher over the years, both what I think works and what does not. The biggest thing, the teachers who started out focused on teaching routines and procedures usually had more success creating the more desired classroom environment. They eased into learning more slowly, but were able to pick up the pace while those who were not as focused on classroom management were still trying to get it together.

I also noticed that the teachers who revisited classroom expectations frequently, particularly after a long weekend or break, had far less behavior issues and more engaged learners.

The only suggestions I have about materials is to see what teacher websites the school subscribes too. There are also some really good free sites you can subscribe to. I love readwritethink.org. They have so much there that can help supplement your classroom.

mamaduffyof3 08-12-2015 01:23 PM

I would say the best advice I got was to sit down and write out for myself HOW I wanted the kids to do stuff (i.e. procedures) so that I could be super clear with the kids.
For example, how do they enter the room in the a.m.? Where do they put their lunch box/backpack?
How will you collect homework and receive messages from home?
What if they have to go to the bathroom? what if their pencil breaks?
I tried to write out a classroom management plan that was well thought out, it took me a couple of days and some of my ideas flopped. ( putting the bathroom pass on purell that was placed on their desk and used when they returned- didn't work with last year's class. The boys went nuts and used 2 full big bottles by Halloween. Kids hands were drying out...)
Some of my ideas were good, but need tweaking. I am glad to just be able to edit the work I did last year.
This year I will spend the first week learning and practicing rules and procedures, lots of read alouds, focus on being a good friend and a good student.
We will learn about how to behave in the halls ( We use the rhyme "2,4,6,8, hurry up or we'll be late.
3,5,7,9 we won't talk cause we're in line!")
We will read "Recess Queen" and learn playground expectations.
We will practice, practice, practice all these things and then practice one more time!
We will get time to explore math manipulatives so that when we are using them as tools instead of toys we will use them correctly.
Friday of the first week we will read "The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School" and then tour our school to look for our missing gingerbread man ( a stuffed toy I bought last year at the dollar store) when we find him he will have a little treat for the kids to congratulate them on a great first week of first grade (not sure what the treat will be yet....)
Good luck! I found that I really liked teaching first though it was challenging for me. I feel much more confident going into this year!!

canteach 08-12-2015 09:18 AM

I retired from first grade and Reading Recovery in 2014. They were both very rewarding positions. I loved working with first graders!
I highly recommend the book, "The First Six Weeks of School." It was so helpful to reread each year. I taught for 35 years, but believe me, I always used it to get my mind ready for the start of a new school year. if you follow the ideas in the book, your year will go much more smoothly. Feel free to PM me if you need advice as the year goes along should you like. Hoping you have a fabulous year!

Teach-in-1st 08-12-2015 07:05 AM

Congratulations! Last year was my first year teaching first grade (and a first year teacher too). Believe it or not, I made it through, some days better than others, but we had fun. Yes, the other responses are so correct. Practice routines, rules, & procedures, but make it fun. I plan on doing what some one else suggested, read Chrysanthemum, then have them clap out the syllables in their name, then have them put their name card on the word wall, which leads in to discussing The Word Wall. We'll then do a name activity asking each child to name something they like beginning with their first letter. My name is Sally and I like sandwiches...

Not sure if you will do guided reading, but getting a binder and necessary record keeping is so important. I never got mine together until sometime in November, and then it made my life easier. All I can say is Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest are a life saver!

Good luck to you.

linda2671 08-11-2015 03:20 PM

You'll love first graders. It's so cool to see them learning something new every day. It's important to be flexible the first few weeks of school. I usually start the first day by taking them to the restroom and going over restroom routines. Be sure to practice walking quietly in the hall. Then we go over recess rules, lunchroom procedures, and classroom rules. The first few days, you'll need to keep everything short. It might go something like this: Talk about recess rules, then do a read aloud with an activity that goes with it. Then go over lunchroom procedures and do an easy art project. Talk about lunchroom procedures and do another read aloud.
It's also important to help them build stamina in reading to themselves. Start by talking about how to read a book: Read the pictures, read the words, and reread a story you've read before. Then let them read silently for about 3 minutes. Try to do this several times a day, increasing the amount of time they are reading by short intervals. Be sure to reinforce the rules of reading silently. Practice routines and procedures over and over the first few days. You won't regret it.
Good luck. I hope you enjoy teaching first grade.

gred1994 08-11-2015 11:26 AM

First week is A LOT of get to know yous...We play games and build community. We graph a lot of things...how we will get home, birthdays, letters in name (chrysanthemum). We are in week two of school and I still haven't taught much. Their stamina is not there. Two recesses a day are a must for the first week!

Justjo 08-11-2015 03:41 AM

Hi there! So bare with me as I freak out .. I was just hired a few weeks ago as a first grade teacher in a private school. I am the only first grade teacher in my building (small school, 80 students total k-5). I got to see my room yesterday and boy did I freak out. Not many leveled books .. and the room is a mess. I do have a smart board (thank goodness!). I went to Lakeshore yesterday and got all my stuff for my bulletin board (owl themed). I am now freaking out about plans!! I dont know where to start .. what do you do for the first week or two? We use singapore math and fundations (along with f&p). PLEASE PLEASE help .. my heart cant take this haha




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