Things to have ready for day 1:

The first day of school can be highly stressful. If you already know how to handle these situations before kids show up, you will be better prepared for dealing with the incredible amount of responsibility that will land on your shoulders before you realize it. Note, these suggestions are from a science teacher's perspective and refer to a high school setting. That is not to say that it is not applicable to people who teach middle school, another discipline, or not in CA. If you have suggestions you want to see added here, email me with your ideas and I will add them. Please tell me who you are so I can credit you appropriately.

Connect to day 1 part 2

Stuff to consider before students show up

In no particular order:

A. Where will the students sit?

There are three decisions for seating:

  1. You decide where they will sit.

If you know your students' names before they show up, then you can make seating charts before they come in. You can decide if it will be alphabetical to make it easier to learn their names, or if it will be random.

Advantages to you making the chart:

It sets the teacher as the authority figure before the students show up.

Disadvantages to you making the seating chart:

Students not on your roster will have to be assigned a seat on the spot, which can be overwhelming on the first day of school.

Disadvantages to alphabetical order:

These students have probably been sitting in alphabetical order for much of their school days. Students already know the person whose name comes before or after theirs very well and are either already good friends or good enemies. You may be setting up a sceanario that is inviting management problems because their friendship is much stronger than you setting the authority figure stance.


  1. They decide where they will sit with your assistance

This is what I used to do and am therefore a fan of this method. If I am not clear about why I like this method or how to execute it, just send me an email or post a question on the message board. I taught chemistry, physical science, biotechnology and a few variances of those classes so I used element symbols and their names to help the kids figure out where to sit. Before the students come to class, I tape the name card to a seat and hand out the symbol to them at the door. I tell them to use this to help them find their seat. It is great! They walk around the classroom looking for the name that matches the symbol, admit to me that they don't remember anything from middle school, and find the periodic table on the wall and refamiliarize themselves with it.

Click here to see an example of cards.

Click here to see another example of cards.

Click here to see a set of cards you can print and cut out. Suggestion: if you don't want to cut these out, use index cards. Write the name on one half, the symbol on the other half. Cover with clear contact paper or laminate, then cut in half.

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Advantages to this method:
Disadvantages to this method:


  1. They decide where they will sit.

    • You don't have to do a thing to set it up.
    • You find out who is friends with whom
    • You find out who tends to want to sit in the back and who wants to sit in the front

B. Now that 3 minutes have passed for the students to find what?

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