When you begin planning for the first day or the first week of a new school year, you will probably focus your efforts on classroom management and instructional activities. Although these are crucial to the success of your students, making your students feel welcomed in your classroom is just as important. When students feel that they are valued and included, they will find it easier to cooperate, to work, and to learn. Fortunately, there are many ways to make students of all ages feel that they welcomed at school.
· Make sure there is a large sign in the hallway so that students can find your classroom. Make it easy for them to feel confident that they are in the right place at the right time.
· Don’t make a fuss about students who may enter late. Just quickly settle them to work on the activities that other students are working on.
· Check attendance quickly so that any student who is not in the right room can quickly leave with as little commotion as possible.
· Play music as they enter the room. An excellent source for music for your classroom is Pandora Internet Radio (https://www.pandora.com). At Pandora’s Web site, you will be able to browse musical genres that will appeal to students. You can use instrumental or classical music or even music with lyrics suitable for school.
· Make sure that every student is quickly seated in the right spot with as little confusion as possible.
· Smile at individuals and smile at the entire group.
· When students enter the room, have an interesting activity for them to do right away.
· If students do not have school supplies, lend them what they need without fuss.
· Make sure students know the names of several of their classmates by the end of class.
· Having students interact with classmates on the first day sends a positive message about the importance of teamwork in your class.
· If you need transitions between activities, consider showing a motivational or intriguing power point or movie clip.
· Talk to your students about how you are nervous and that you predict that they are as well. Discuss your shared anxieties.
· If students will be moving to other classrooms, make sure everyone knows where to go. Passing out school maps and assigning buddies to find other classrooms are both good ideas.
· Wear a name tag. If appropriate, ask students to wear name tags as well for at least part of class.
· Ask for their advice in solving a classroom problem such as how to store materials or remember the schedule for the next day.
· Make sure you are organized and prepared for class so that you can focus on helping your students.
· If you have students who misbehave, be as low key as possible in your response. It may take a while for students to learn to trust you enough to behave well and cooperate with you and their classmates.
· Assign buddies to students who may be new to the school.
· If students have a written assignment, provide the paper. Odd shapes and colors are always more fun for students than lined paper.
· Compliment the group throughout class and especially at the end.