It’s what every teacher carefully plans for, slaves over, dreams about, has nightmares about, and sweats about: The first day of school. Cue horror film violin sound effects! No, but really, the first day of school is a huge project that takes many, many hours of classroom preparation, student file reading, and activity planning. Oh, and lots and lots of Pinteresting. If Pinteresting isn’t a verb, it needs to become one right now because thousands upon thousands of teachers spend one half of their lives in the classroom and the other half on Pinterest.

Anyway, let’s just get into it. I arrived in Newhalen on August 10th and literally went into my classroom that evening. Thus the prep began. The great thing about my classroom was that there were tons and tons of resources. The bad thing about my classroom is that there were tons and tons of resources. I spent many hours sorting, sifting, and shifting to make the room my own. Here are a few photos of some of my classroom displays:

Let me preface by saying that several days before school started, it was decided that I would be teaching only kindergarten instead of teaching kindergarten through second grade. Not only that, but I found out I would have only have nine students in my class! Yes, I was doing a happy dance. Nevertheless, planning and prepping before school began still took a lot of time. When the evening of August 19th came, I had done all that I could to ensure a successful first day. Below is a photo of first day of school coloring pages that were waiting for students when they first walked into class.
At about 8:20 a.m. on August 20th, my students began to show up at my door. They were all a little bit scared and nervous… It was their first day of kindergarten, after all! But they finished their coloring pages and called me over every couple of minutes to show me how they could color in the lines. Can you handle the preciousness?
At 8:45 a.m., we all walked into the school gym for the morning meeting. Everyone in the school (a whopping fifty-something student body!) gathered around the volleyball square and listened to announcements. Then, we all said The Pledge of Allegiance and saluted the Alaska state flag. Even though my kindergarteners didn’t know what to do or say, they were troopers and stayed quiet and still throughout the entire meeting!
Our morning was filled with learning classroom rules, practicing procedures, and reading some of my favorite picture books. By the time lunchtime came around, everyone was ready to eat! We all gathered in the gym/cafeteria and ate lunch together as a whole school. It’s really great to be able to mingle with all teachers and students during this time.
Later in the afternoon, we did my favorite project of the day. First, I read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. The story is about a little raccoon who is afraid to go to school on the first day. His mother gives him a kiss on the hand and tells him that her love will stay with him all day long. First, we discussed the story and talked about how everyone was feeling when they first came to school in the morning.
Next, we all completed a fun art project about The Kissing Hand and the first day of school. Students pasted poems about the story on a piece of construction paper, stamped a print of their hand next to the poem, glued a little red heart in the middle of their handprint, and finally attached a polaroid of themselves to complete the picture.
Finally, the end of the day had arrived. I gave all students a welcome packet to take home, congratulated them on the completion of their first elementary school day, and walked them out the door. Sorry for the blurry quality, another teacher snapped this photo of us as we were walking!
I am so overjoyed to be teaching my nine little kindergarteners this year. They’re all as sweet as can be and are thrilled to be at school. I am confident that this year will rejuvenate me as a teacher and give me all of the joys that come with taking precious lives into your hands and molding them into confident little human beings. I’m really excited for what’s to come.

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