I love to start the first day with First Day Jittersby Julie Danneberg. It’s a great way to introduce the idea to kids that everyone (kid or grown-up) get nervous sometimes. As the story unfolds, many of the stereotypical reasons a kids wouldn’t want to go to school are used. Eventually the principal leads the nervous person to her new class (most students still think it is a new student) only to reveal on the last spread that it is the teacher that has been the nervous wreck. I’ve used it different ways, but last year we had a class discussion about things that they were nervous about at their new school (fourth graders are new to the intermediate school after being at the elementary for kgn through third for our district). We then can go back to that list at the end of the first week to see if the things they worried about have been resolved.
I also like to use The Relatives Cameby Cynthia Rylant the first day to introduce the ideas that things are different when you go to a relatives house compared to your own house, just like rules at school/classroom are different than the rules they might have had at home or at the elementary. Nice springboard into setting class guidelines. This book also makes a great starting point to inspire an introductory writing sample for students to write about a special time with a relative.