Back To School Tip {First Day Jitters}

Building relationships is number one in my classroom.

There are several ways I promote building relationships, but the activity that I am going to share today is a TOP favorite. Think about your first day of 5th grade; were you nervous? Did you hope to have one friend in your class? Let me tell you about my 5th grade experience. I was the only friend who got the male teacher. As a 10 year old, that is heartbreaking not to be with your friends. My nerves were in full swing as I stood in line awaiting for the door to open. I did not know what to expect. I did have a male teacher in 3rd grade, but still I was NERVOUS. I am sure all of our students feel the same way even if we are the person they hoped to call teacher. Long story short, it ended up to be a glorious school year, and I have so many fond memories of 5th grade at Green Valley Elementary in Danville, California. Why? Because of the relationships Mr. Lucas made with his students. I can picture him now in his plaid dress shirt, khaki pants, and his ability to make almost any lesson come to life.

Building a solid relationship base with students can change their life. Did you know I reunited with my 5th grade math teacher, and she came to my classroom- like LAST YEAR? After retiring, she is the award winning author behind Quickly The Magic Spatula. You can read about her books here. Want to see a picture of our 21 year reunion--open the magic here.

See? Building relationships can create special moments for your whole life.

Now on to my top favorite book and activity to use on the first day of school.

I open the conversation by saying, "I am sure everyone in this room including me is nervous!" The unknown can be different and sometimes it makes us feel a little funky. Today I am going to read First Day Jitters. The ending is the BEST part. Even the kids who have heard this story still get a big kick out of it. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend going to Amazon now. :) 

After reading the story, I explain how it is important to build trust with our classmates. Then, we do the post-it note activity.
I make sure they understand their peers will be reading the anonymous note so to make sure whatever they write, they are ok with the class seeing. Most students write about making friends, test scores, or if their teacher is nice. The last one is my favorite because after this activity we always have a dance party. #seeimnicebutstrict 

I pass out one post-it note to each student. They write down one worry and then crumple up the post-it only 3 times. When I say 3, I mean three. This is a great way to see who follows the rules and who needs some redirection. This takes about 5-7 minutes. 

Then we go outside and get in a big circle.  We have a snowball fight where the students all throw their paper in the air. Lastly, each student grabs a note, and we take turns reading them out loud in a circle. 

I close with, "Today you learned something personal about each student in the classroom. We are a family, and I  hope that you will take this news and become a friend to someone new in this class." Always be kind because everyone deserves a standing ovation. We are all the same, we laugh, cry,  and all hope to be accepted.

The Deets:
First Day Jitters
3x3 Post-it Notes
Ticonderoga #2 Pencils

Amazon Affiliate links were used in this post


  1. Thank you! I'm going into my first year teaching and I DEFINITELY have the first day jitters. I can't wait to do this activity with my class.


Hello! I love when you comment. It makes my day! I like to comment back to you through email. Make sure you have that setting enabled! Have a wonderful day!!!!

Back to Top