First day/ week activities for seventh graders?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by msb0913, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. msb0913

    msb0913 Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2008

    Hi all,

    I am going to be teaching 7th grade next year for the first time. (Last year was my first year teaching and I had 6th.) Our middle schools here go 6th-8th, so the 7th graders are somewhat "seasoned" when they arrive.

    What should I do the first few days of the year? Honestly, last year's first week is basically a blur. I know I reviewed my syllabus, expecations, etc, and we played some get-to-know-you games, but this year they will all mostly know each other when they arrive.

    What to do? Also, what procedures/ policies take priority in being taught first? Discipline policy/ rules, then. . .?

    Eeek! I really would have preferred 6th grade again. Help!

    Thanks,

    Ms. B
     
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  3. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Jul 12, 2008

    I think no matter what grade you are teaching emphasizing your expecatations is key. Also maybe having the kids help develop the rules with you in order to take more ownership of them... of course mine are usually skewed toward what I want them to be but they really do help with the wording etc. I also think that whether the kids know each other or not, you could come up with some sort of get re-acquainted type activities (a person scavenger hunt where they look for commanalities and differences?). Hope that helps. I haven't taught middle school so I am not sure but it seems like across the board, rules and expectations and feeling comfortable with each other are most important... :)
     
  4. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Jul 12, 2008

    :2up:By the way- WELCOME to the best teacher message board there is!
     
  5. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jul 12, 2008

    I teach seventh grade, and I pretty much hit the ground running. The first day I introduce myself, go over my rules, expectations, class set-up, show them my website, etc. Then we have our first lesson; usually it is one of my workshop procedures. Homework the first night is to make a list of their Top 5 Best Ever Books. I use that the next day to compile an anchor chart for my classroom of Recommended Reading so the kids can get ideas for books to read. Then we are off and running!
     
  6. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Jul 12, 2008

    I do much like Mrs. R.

    Day 1 - This is usually Wednesday in my district

    • Assign seating / required housekeeping duties
    • Pass out parent letters / Safety contracts
    • Pass out handbook
    • Go over class rules (I only have 3)
    • Do a mini-lab on observation: Use the mini-lab to introduce procedures for getting & returning lab materials, working in groups, lab work
    • Introduce procedure for dismissal & exiting the classroom

    Homework for Day 1 is to get letter & contract signed, get a composition book to use a a journal and memorize our three rules

    Day 2 -

    • Introduce start of class procedure
    • Return signed forms & introduce turning in papers procedure
    • Give a tour of my website
    • Do another mini-lab; this one focused on teamwork to review & reinforce procedures for getting & returning lab materials, working in groups, lab work

    Homework for Day 2 is to get letter & contract signed, get a composition book to use a a journal and to read the classroom policies in our handbook


    Day 3 - this is usually Friday in my district

    • Review & reinforce start of class procedures
    • Return signed forms & review & reinforce turning papers procedure
    • Review classroom policies (pretty routine stuff)
    • Do another mini-activity focusing on reviewing & reinforcing procedures

    Homework for Day 3 is to have the journal by Monday

    Day 4 -

    • Set up journals - introduce journal procedure
    • Review rules, policies, procedures
    • Begin first unit of study

    I continue to introduce new procedures as the need arises, although all of them are written on our class handbook.
    We review them every time they are used for at least a month, sometimes 6 weeks. It depends on the class.
     
  7. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    Jul 13, 2008

    In my 7th grade math class on day one I always review the class expectations for behavior, class procedures, syllabus, play a brief "get acquainted" game (we have a lot of summer transition of students due to the military) and then we do an engaging problem of the week.

    Day two is a regular class day with warm up, lesson, activity, and closing.

    I try to set the tone on day one that we will be working hard and having fun along the way.
     
  8. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jul 13, 2008

    I don't even bother with rules until day 3 and then only for 10 minutes in a comical powerpoint presentation. My kids start working day 1 and they truly appreciate it. They hate listening to rules six times in a row.

    Day 2 I step back a bit and tell them all about me and my life story (I teach history so this serves to model why storytelling matters). Day 3, as I said, I do a very brief rules review. Day 4 we read Dr. Suesse's Butter Battle Book.

    That ends our first week and the following week we're into lecture notes.
     
  9. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    Jul 16, 2008

    I start with the most important procedures (thank you Harry Wong!) and do a team-building activity. Everyone gets into random teams. They get the same number of index cards (8 I think) and the same amount of tape. I then challenge the groups to construct a structure to hold the most encyclopedias without crumbling. Highest so far is a complete set and 4 dictionaries.
     
  10. texasbelle76

    texasbelle76 New Member

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    Aug 4, 2008

    MrL,

    Could you share where I could find some explicit directions for that team-building activity? I like the sound of that one!
     
  11. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    Aug 4, 2008

    Literally, I improvised it one day when I had nothing to do on the first day. Eight index cards, limited tape. After that, I pile on encyclopedias on one at a time while the class counts off the number. It was from my skeletal structure lessons, showing how cylindrical bones distribute the weight. The cylindrical constructions hold a load of encyclopedias. Everything else crumbles.
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Aug 5, 2008

    I also hit the ground running. This will be my first full year in the secondary environment, but the whole school already knows me as "sarge". I think they'd be dissapointed if I didn't expect them to work the first day. I come from a community college backgroud where my first day went something like this: Good morning/afternoon/evening. My name is Professor mmswm, this is <insert name of class>. You can find my contact information and expectations on the syllabus. Then I would turn around and start teaching. I know I need to spend a little more time than that with this age group, but I'd like to be as consice as possible.

    The general plan is this (we have 110 minute blocks):

    Introduction and brief get to know you activity
    Pass out books and supplies (I provide binders, paper, pencils and journal notebooks)
    Brief outline of expectations and assignment schedule
    Diagnostic pre-test
    Review of basic skills
    Introduction of "Real-life Math" journal.

    Homework for the first day is their first journal entry.

    The second day is the first real lesson and reminder to write the second journal entry and Friday is my typical friday...I have all my classes on fridays for a 50 minute period, so we go discuss the journal and either review the weeks lessons or I teach a short lesson on a relatively simple concept.
     
  13. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Aug 5, 2008

    My school was a small K-8 school, so I didn't need to go over the rules - most of the kids have been there for several years. We also started school on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend.

    What I did is:
    I told them about myself (basic stuff) and asked if they had any questions. When they didn't ask, I said "Great! We're having a quiz later." The quiz was on me (how well did they pay attention) and they started asking questions - and some asked really good questions!

    I told them I wanted to learn about them, so we were going to play a game. I passed around toilet paper rolls and they had to take as many squares as they think they needed (I didn't tell them what it was for). My 7th graders took 2-3 squares; my 8th graders took 20! I told them that on each square they needed to write something about themselves. This was hard to do since the toilet paper kept ripping. Then they had to share what they wrote (speaking skills).

    I had them write about how they felt coming into 7th/8th grade, their expectations for the class and for me, what they hoped they would learn by the end of the year (writing skills).

    They also filled out a "time capsule" paper. It was a bunch of questions about them that they filled out, sealed in an envelope, and saved until the last day of school. They loved looking back at it on the last day!

    Then they took the quiz.
     
  14. Lareigna

    Lareigna Companion

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    Aug 5, 2008

    Carlea- can you share yout "time capsule" paper? I am intereted in seeing what it looks like.
     

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