I know that a large portion of the morning will be occupied with collecting & organizing supplies. I already have my read aloud of the first day selected, and a writing activity to go with it that will serve as an informal writing assessment. I don't know my schedule yet, but do know that they will get at least an hour for lunch and recess, and between 2 and 3 specials/push-in classes that day that I will not be responsible for. I guess I'm really just worried about what to do during the math block. What are some typical first day of school activities, particularly for math?

You may not even have time to get to math. I would focus on establishing routines. How do we get our math supplies? How do we sit on the carpet for math? If you will use individual white boards, practice using them correctly doing very easy review work, like math facts, or even following directions to make some kind of design. If you are going to that many specials, you will likely spend much of the day practicing getting in and walking in line. Just stick to the routines for the first week, with some light curriculum (mostly review) mixed in, and you will be so glad you did in a few weeks when they have routines established and are rolling through curriculum.

I feel like such a ditz! I was so worried about not being able to plan for math since I don't have the teacher's guides for the new curriculum that I forgot all about establishing routines and the need for that. Good thing the first day is still about 7 weeks away! Thanks!

LMichele, For the first (or second) day of math, why not do a birthday graph? Give each student a postem note and have them write their name and date. Someplace on the wall (or in the hallway) have the months of the year labeled across the bottom of the wall, and have the students go up and stick their postem note above the appropriate month. Then students can answer questions, such as "Which month has the most birthdays?" "Which month has the fewest birthdays (or no birthdays at all?") and "Which months are a tie?" You could also ask "How many more birthdays are there in June than in December?" and questions like that. You can take a moment and jot down the birthdays for your own personal birthday chart, if you want. Call out the name of the month, and have all those students stand up quickly then sit down, then call another month, etc. You can do a whole math lesson just on birthdays. Don't forget the labels (months of the year, number of students) and the title of the graph. Just a suggestion. Hope you have a great first week of school!

During the first few math periods I put out all the bins of manipulatives and have students rotate to each bin and give them 'free time' with all the manipulatives. This gets all the play out of the way.

I would also suggest that you have all of your procedures and routines typed out, so you don't forget any. This way, you can check them off as you finish them, and you won't forget something important. I've been teaching for 13 years now, and I still type out my procedure list. It is 11 pages long. We go over it in small bursts so it isn't overwhelming.

My entire first day is procedures and community building. I really don't even hit the curriculum until day 3-4.

I write my routines down on post-its as a jot list. I stick each post-it in the area that the routine needs to be taught. That way I have reminders all throughout the room of what needs to be covered while we're in that area.

Yeah, the first day or so I'm focusing on routines, procedures, and community building. But because the CCSC really want kids to be able to have discussions across the curriculum, I do want to introduce certain things pretty early on, like asking groups/partners to come up with as many ways as they can to make the number 36 (for example). This will give us a chance to talk about/practice group routines and norms, as well as giving me a chance to do a little informal assessment. I also plan on doing some formal assessment early on to see how much review I'm going to need to do...

I am reading and planning on following the plans in The First Six Weeks (book). I highly recommend it. It has plans, able to be modified as much as needed, for the first 6 weeks of school. The idea above is included in it and the book focuses on community development, routine development, and interactive modeling for everything (partner talk, lining up, etc.). I don't know that I will follow it to a T, as I can't imagine that even being possible, but the general format is a great starting point.

I'd always start off by reading my two favorite first day stories: 1. Wemberly Worried 2. First Day Jitters After reading the first story, though, I'd do some sort of "Getting to Know You" activity with the kids. The first week was usually spent doing review from first grade (I taught second grade). However, the majority of the week was focused on rules and procedures! Practice, practice, and practice some more!!!

I try to start with curriculum right away but then again, keep in mind I have 5th graders and they have had first days of school MANY times by now so they know the routine. Many of our kids have been together since Pre-K so we're talking 6-7 years of first days of school. I review Daily 5's Read to Self and Work on Writing from Day 1 so we have those activities as go to independent work from the start. Students love that they can read what they want (at their level) and write what they want (school appropriate). In 5th grade, they can handle these learning activities independently. This gives me the quiet time I need to do individual fluency assessments as well as set up individual portfolios. Students will also complete interest surveys and goal setting sheets. These will be kept in their portfolios as well as any assessments. Did I mention I LOVE 5th grade?

Would you mind sharing your procedures? I know I don't have 11 pages worth, so I'm wondering if I'm missing somethings that should be covered on the first days of school that I haven't covered yet. I think each year I add to my list, but hearing other people's ideas is always helpful.