No matter how many years you’ve been teaching, the first day of school is always chaotic! However, there’s always ways to make it less chaotic with simple tips and tricks. My favorite back to school trick is surprisingly simple…use playdough!
How To Use Playdough
I love to use playdough first thing on the first day of school. Before students come in, I place a laminated sheet, can of playdough, and a coloring sheet at each desk. Students come in and can work on building with their playdough. When they are finished, they can either color or free-build with the playdough.
Why on the First Day of School?
In the morning, you will be very busy. You will be talking to parents and caretakers as they drop children off. You will be helping students put school supplies away. Easing students fears and giving hugs when they miss their parents or are scared for the day is a big part of what you will be doing! You will be learning names. And don’t forget about taking attendance!
It’s a lot to balance! Giving your students playdough at their desk is the perfect activity on the first day because they all know what it is! You don’t have to worry about explaining what playdough is or giving complicated instructions. Plus, it provides a sense of familiarity and helps calm any nervous feelings your students might be having!
What they can make
When I set the playdough out on student desks, I also use a laminated sheet from my first week of first grade pack. I also make sure to put a list of other ideas up on the board for students who finish early or lose interest. You can have students build their names, shapes, letters, numbers, etc.
Playdough is a great tool to have around your classroom for many reasons. As you get ready for the first day of school, make sure to add playdough to your shopping cart to set yourself up for success on the first day! Your future self and your new students will thank you!
Are you looking for other back to school tips? Check out these posts for more ideas:
8 Picture Books to Read on the First Day of School
Replace Your Back to School Name Tags with Name Crowns