School assemblies are a part of every school’s culture, especially as part of your school’s first day of school activities. Their purpose is to bring the entire school population together to provide important information, increase school spirit, and foster a sense of community within the school. They are an easy way to impart information to the entire school at one time.
However, sometimes due fire regulations or limited space, school assemblies as part of your first day of school activities have to be divided up. This is when it is appropriate to hold an assembly twice in one day; one assembly for one half of the school, and another for the other half of the school. Here are a few suggestions to help make conducting a school assembly less intimidating.
First Day of School Activities: Plan an Assembly Ahead of Time
The importance of planning a school assembly cannot be undervalued. It takes time and patience, and waiting to the last minute to plan will not create a meaningful assembly. Here are some key tips when planning an assembly as part of your first day of school activities.
- Sit down with your head teachers and make an agenda. Think about the topics that you want to cover during the assembly. Is it a pep assembly, fundraiser, holiday, or special event assembly? If you are going to have a guest speaker then now is the time to call them and find out a little bit about their presentation. Find out how interactive they are with the audience and how long their presentation is. This information will help you determine how the structure the event; how long it will last, and the equipment that is needed, and so on. You can then pass this information on to your classroom teachers so they can adjust their schedule accordingly.
- Create a memo with the assembly’s agenda and give it to all of the classrooms who are attending the presentation. This will give teachers the opportunity to review the agenda and discuss the purpose of it with their students. It also give teachers time to review the rules and expectations they have for when students are in the assembly. Most of the time schools have a universal signal to get student’s attention, so this is the time teachers can go over that signal with their class.
- On the memo be sure to advise teachers to wait until their classroom is called before going to the assembly. This will ensure that the hallways are not crowed, and there will be no fire hazards. It’s best to call one grade at a time, and then stagger the times the other classrooms are called to help maintain order.
- Request that the youngest grade sits on the front of the gymnasium or auditorium first, followed by the second youngest, and so on. This will help the young children who have a hard time sitting still stay patient.
The day of the assembly will be quite exciting and hectic. Here are some tips to help you make it run smoothly.
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- If you are having a guest speaker then invite them to come in early and set up. Take the time to thank them for their services and instruct them of the time that you have allotted for them.
- Use the overhead speaker to call classrooms one grade at a time, starting with the youngest grade. If you are holding the assembly in a space where students have to sit on the floor, then make sure that you have already set out chairs around the outer edges for the teachers to sit.
- Assign students from the older grades to hold the doors or situate any chairs or props in the auditorium.
- As soon as all students are seated use your universal attention signal to get students to notice you, and welcome them to the assembly. Then, remind students of the emergency exists, and how they need to listen carefully to the presentation. If you are having a guest speaker now is the time where you would introduce them to the audience.
- After the assembly is finished, thank your guest speaker and dismiss students the same way that they entered.
Amazing assemblies, where students can take away meaningful concepts, occur when they are planned and well executed. Take the time to plan an amazing event, and you will see your school will benefit greatly.
Do you have any tips for holding a school-wide assembly? Please share your ideas below, we would love to hear them.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.
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