When you plan for the first day of class, make sure that you do more than review the syllabus and major requirements. Design a class activity or brief lecture that will give students a clear idea of what they can expect of the course, your teaching methods, and what they will be required to do in class all semester.
For example, if you want the students to be active learners--by participating in discussions, asking questions, or engaging in group work, you should conduct activities on that first day that encourage the students to be active-to discuss, to ask questions, or to work in groups. If you plan to use small-group discussions in the course, it is especially important that you do so on the first day. This strategy will help you prompt students to talk to each other and to practice collaborative learning from the start of the semester.
See this Teaching Center handout for more Tips for Teaching on the First Day of Class.