Set the Stage to Engage on the First Day: Week 6

It is officially time for the back to school flow. School supplies is everywhere. It's teacher mayhem in Target stores across the nation. The back to school nightmares are becoming all night motion pictures! Do ya feel me? So let's talk back to school and get excited about what is sure to be our best year yet! 

Now let's get ready...and pumped up about creating an engaging atmosphere that will set your students on fire for learning in just the first week of school! How do you set the stage to engage your students? 

Check out my most recent video on Periscope about how I celebrate the new year! 

At RCA, we are all about planning first day celebrations that will have our students giddy to run through the doors on the first day back. Be sure to watch the video to find out how we keep a balance of fun/energy/enthusiasm and rigor/manners/respect on the first day. It's all about that balance! 

Here are a few pictures from last year's first day at RCA. It was all about identity. We challenged the students to think about what legacy they would leave to future generations of RCA students. 

Every year, the faculty of RCA runs out hand-in-hand to greet our students. We hug them, cheer, throw them over our shoulders, and get them pumped up for the year ahead. This is a great way to begin building relationships from that very first moment. Your emotions are contagious. Think about that on your first day! :) 

Last year, we began our year with a dance party in our gym. The key to the success of the event? The teachers were sold out to showing the students how to have a good time. Again...emotions are contagious. {Let's be thankful that dance moves are not. Mine are definitely not the best! Don't judge me! ;) }

Engergy. Passion. Enthusiasm. JOY! Aren't those the feelings and emotions that we want for our students to associate with school? As teachers, we have to find a way to make that happen! 

My first year at RCA, we threw a "New Years" celebration. The kids received New Years hats, noise makers, and necklaces. Then we had music and danced the hour away in our library. We ended the celebration with a count down to the new year, of course! When we all screamed "Happy New Year", we dropped balloons from the ceiling. This idea can be easily replicated in any school! 

Before my years at RCA, I had always celebrated the first day back with my students. I would always choose a theme for the year and have at it. The year that we celebrated superhero style, I had a blue carpet (instead of red) that my kids walked down to enter the classroom. Of course I didn't forget the music. Kids love walking into an environment filled with energy. Music makes that happen. 

Then first day pictures are always the best. I always had a first day photo booth. I would have a volunteer come in to take pictures. The kids would go crazy over it as they were making new friends and transforming into superheroes in the booth. Here's a look at some of the props! 

Every super hero must ignite their super powers. Superhero treats always did the trick!  

While the students took pictures and enjoyed their treats, we would spend time getting to know one another and building relationships. As soon as the celebration ended (about 30-45 minutes)...BOOM!!! It was all about that content. Check out my video above to see how I made this first day happen, and how I used my celebration to motivate my learners! 

Here are some examples of the lessons that took place during day one! 

If you are interested in any of these resources, you can purchase them in my TPT shop by clicking the picture below! :) 

As you think about your first day of school, think on these words: 

Make it happen! :) Wishing you the very best for this school year! 

If you missed any previous posts in my Set the Stage to Engage series, you can check them out below! 



  1. I love that, and especially after seeing Dave in person last week!!!! Awesomeness!

  2. Do you sell the headbandz game separately in your TpT store? School starts tomorrow so I was just checking.

  3. Thank you for sharing all these Set the Stage to Engage ideas... I've been binge watching the youtube channel all day!! I'm so excited to try some of your ideas this year!!