When times are busy, and chaotic, my natural reaction is to make a list, get down to business, and start striking things off the list.
Busy and chaotic sounds like the first day of school, doesn't it? On the first day of school however, I think that focus on tasks and efficiency is the absolute LAST approach to take to making it through the day. There is an old saying that suggests you only get one chance to make a first impression. The first day of school is when the relationships that teachers will have with their students for the year begin to be formed. It is important to take the time to get to know them, to begin making deposits into the relationship bank account, and to focus for the day on the social and emotional needs of the people in the building, and not the curriculum, and the rules, and the needs of the system.
To that end, here is a GREAT list of tips for attending to social emotional needs on the first days of school by engaging kids as important stakeholders in the learning process. I love the first one, about making the atmosphere one of festivity:
Have a great year everyone!