First Day Checklist

Key elements of first-day planning.

Organization of the physical environment (see classroom layout)

Positive relationships- build relationships between students, teacher, and parents.

Behavioral expectations- communicate and reinforce behavioral expectations and general classroom guidelines about respect, cooperation, achievement, and safety.

Classroom procedures- establish your expectations for specific classroom activities

Effective instruction- plan and implement engaging, interesting lessons that motivate students and meet their learning needs (see sample lesson plan)

Intervention- problem-solving interventions, individual responses (see intervention strategies)


Positive Relationships- for the first day of the school year, it is so important to begin building a strong relationship with students and parents. One of the main goals to have accomplished by the first day of school is to memorize as many names as possible. When opening the door for the first time, greeting the class with a smile and saying an individual students name will allow the student to feel more comfortable with the teacher and will provide a solid foundation for the year. For parents and students alike, sending home or emailing a classroom letter prior to the first day of school is also an excellent way to start making connections. Additionally, making a positive phone call home during the first week makes the biggest difference of portraying professionalism and personal touch.

Behavioral Expectations– Behavior plays a huge role in classroom management and ensuring a positive learning environment. Some of the expectations I will always have in my classrooms is to be respectful, responsible, and safe. In any classroom, respectful behavior should always be expected of students. Not only does this apply to being respectful to the teacher, but also to classmates and themselves. By teaching students to listen and learn from each other, it is then that one can have an effective learning environment.  Being responsible simply means I expect my students to know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. It is right to show up to class on time, it is wrong to come to class without the proper school supplies. And lastly, safety. All the rules in the classroom correlate with the idea of keeping children safe; whether that’s from harming themselves or others, I expect my students to follow directions and encourage expectations between themselves and their peers.

Classroom procedures- most classroom management lies in communicating procedures and following through every day of what to expect of the students.

  • Entering the room in the morning: students will enter the room quietly without interrupting other students. They will put their backpacks, coats and other materials in their designated areas and sit at their desk with their homework folder on top. Turn in homework assignments during times of the day that are appropriate.
  • Homework policy: students will have times throughout the day to turn in homework assignments to the corresponding bins. A separate bin will be available for unfinished homework to be redone later. If missing homework completely, students will write a note explaining why their homework was late, what they can do to prevent it from happening again, and the missing homework assignment will be completed and turned in by the following day.
  • Assignment help: instead of immediately raising your hand for the teacher’s assistance, students will 1. Stop – think through the problem independently, ask – their neighbor for help (when appropriate) and then raise – their hand for the teacher’s help, prepared with question(s).
  • Leaving the room (for activities, lunch, and/or recess): students will be expected to line up when the teacher calls on groups of students who have followed directions and will line up at the designated areas in the classroom.
  • Attention grabbers: when the teacher claps or another form of call and response, students are expected to respond immediately to the attention grabber and listen to further instruction.
  • Dismissal at the end of the day: five minutes before the bell rings, students will put necessary materials (such as progress reports, homework, books, reading logs, etc.) into their backpacks and wait to be dismissed.


Roscoe, Keith, and Kimm Orr. “Frontloading Classroom Management.” How to Plan for the First Class (n.d.): n. pag. National Science Teachers Association. Web.