Need help with first day of first year!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by kiddiekat, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. kiddiekat

    kiddiekat New Member

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    Aug 14, 2007

    This is my first year teaching and I will be in 7th grade LA. We begin school in 7:eek: days and we just- today -had our first "induction" meeting. I am so overwhelmed I want to cry. Could someone help me with what I need to be doing? I've read a lot of these posts, which are sooo helpful :) and they all say to get procedures down. Is there a list of procedures I need to be sure to cover? What do I need to plan for the first day? What should be up on the walls? And someone, please, tell me what I should include in my parent letter. I know everyone says to include a grading policy, but if I have no idea yet of what I am even doing, how do I come up with a grading policy? :help:

    In addition to all this, today we were told we have all this extra work that will have to be done for the "induction" classes that will be graded on a pass/fail basis. I told my husband I may have made a mistake. I mean, I can't figure out what to do the first day, let alone a long range plan! I know it probably sounds like I learned nothing in school, and I almost feel that way. I do know that I am not prepared for the first day to hit in 1 week!:eek:hmy:
     
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  3. aautismj

    aautismj Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2007

    Take a deep breath! Everything will be fine! There are a lot of us feeling the same way! Sit down tonight and start drafting ideas:
    what is your discipline policy?
    how will homework be handled? will it be graded or just checked?
    how will you work your grading for the semester? Is it going to be on a point basis or a percentage basis?
    what will you do if a student misses a class?
    what should a student do if they finish an in class assignment early?
    Those are just a couple but will give you a good start! For the first day you can do an introductory activity. It can something written or verbal. There are a ton of good ideas on this site about first day activities. You could give out a list of expectations to the students and go over it. Include in this all of your policies. It is best for the students to know exactly what they are supposed to be doing in your class. I hope this helps! Good luck!!
     
  4. jaruby

    jaruby Companion

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    Aug 15, 2007

    Everything will be ok:) dont stress out. The first thing you need to do is get together with another teacher in your school and discuss what they do/are doing. TRUST ME this will greatly ease your stress. Second (along with aautismj's suggestions), Get the big stuff taken care of first, (the things that will happen almost everyday) like bathroom breaks, what they should do when they come in and leave the room, how do you get their attention when they are talking too much/loud or when you want to start/talk etc... Discipline strategy be very assertive and strict to start off. If you find it is too rough deal with it later it is easy to "reward" them with easier rules but it is very hard to "punish" them with new harder rules.
     
  5. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Aug 15, 2007

    I asked one of my students (after she graduated) why she was close to some teachers and gave others a hard time. She said kids can tell on the first day of school - She said teachers who did some warm up and getting to know you activities obviously cared about the students and wanted to get to know them. Those are the teachers the kids respect. She said the ones that just slam kids with the syllabus, rules, and procedures clearly don't care about the students and just want to do things their own way.

    I don't necessarily think this is true but I think it is interesting that this is how the kids perceive it. I go over some of the main points of my class, but I also try to incorporate some beginning activities that help me get to know the kids and help them get to know me.
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Aug 15, 2007

    Things to cover:
    -Required Supplies
    -How often do you quiz or test and what are they on.
    -Mak-up Work Policy
    -Late Work Policy
    -How are you going to collect work.
    -Are you going to base your grades on weighted (by percentage) catergories or total points.
    -If percentages you need to come up with your catergories and their weights. Also, is each assignment within each catergory going to be graded out of 100 points or different point values per assignment.
    -What will the homework be and when will it be assigned
    -How will you grade homework.
    -Procedure for returning graded papers.
    -Will you grade participation. , if so how?
    -What do you wan tyour kids to do during special activites.
    -Any pet peeves you have, you might want to include those.
     
  7. kiddiekat

    kiddiekat New Member

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    Aug 16, 2007

    Thank you all so much for your help:2up: ! I really have a lot to do before school starts in 5 days:eek: . I don't know if I could do it without this site, all of you, and your advice. :wub: Thanks again & if you think of anything else I'd love to know.

    One other quick question, on the first day, should I have a lesson or just procedures and introductory activity? We have 90 minute classes everyday.
     
  8. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Aug 16, 2007

    On the first day, I plan to go over procedures like when to sharpen pencils and how to get started with class. I'll hand out a syllabus and explain grading procedure. I will be doing a get to know you activity and have the students make a nametag to use for the first week or so. Passing out books is time consuming and since my classes are 60 min, I'll wait for day 2 for that. I always haave a textbook scavenger hunt to do in pairs. Now, relax and don't forget to breathe a little.:)
     
  9. sasafras1000

    sasafras1000 Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2007

    I feel the same way as you. I am a new 4th grade teacher. I just had 3 days of orientation and a lot was thrown at me. I saw my classroom yesterday and learned a lot about the school. I have to write a parent letter and meet with them and such. I am also in the process of getting my room ready. I am pretty overwhelmed. Did you get a teacher handbook? That is really helpful because it tells you all the school policies and procedures right there (even grading, and homework etc). Do you have a mentor? If you do ask him or her everything. I asked mine every single little thing I could think of and she was only too happy to answer my questions so I feel better about that. Also, ask you grade level team. I haven't met anyone yet, but when I do I will ask them for a copy of their parent letter and advice on anything I need to include.

    As for what to to put on the walls ask about that (at my school only 20 percent of the walls can be covered and there are certain places where nothing can go). I guess since you teach Language Arts put up posters about reading or that tell the different genres of books. Put up proofreading/editing posters, or posters that tell the writing process. I have a lot of motivational posters and quotes for my walls. I also covered my bulletin boards with paper; one is for student of the week, and one is for my calendar and announcements. I will also post a daily schedule somewhere so the student know exactly what is going on.

    Don't freak out yet. Things will fall into place if you work hard. Just let the students know you care about them and are excited to have them in your room. Let them know what you expect and I think everything will be fine. Good luck.
     
  10. jaruby

    jaruby Companion

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    Aug 20, 2007

    I also teach middle school (47 minute classes) First, I tell them about myself, wife, hobbies, sports, pets etc... then I go over procedures turning in assignments, grading, bathroom, entering leaving room, supplies, how I get their attention etc... Then I give them a quick overview of the year, books, activities "no homework Fridays," late work policy etc... Then I tell them the things that really tick me off, disrespecting anyone in anyway, taking/touching other people or their things, touching any of my stuff without permission (Im a science teacher so some equipment could be dangerous. I just make it "hands off everythingl" so their is no question what I meant) Touching anything on my desk etc... When I make it very clear "what really ticks me off" they seem to always remember and not do them. They will still test me like all kids do but they seem to stay away from the "really ticks me off" list:lol:. Finally, I give them a few minutes to talk and I will stop them to see if they remember the "getting their attention procedure" if they do it lots of praise and I excuse them at the bell. If they already forgot, I get "upset" and explain how important it is blah blah blah and make them wait a minute or two until I excuse them after the bell.
     
  11. brookemraven

    brookemraven Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2007


    Thanks for the tips. How do you conduct your textbook scavenger hunt?
     
  12. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Aug 23, 2007

    I have a simple worksheet that guides them through the different units of the book, index, contents, glossary, etc. What is the title of Investigation 1 in Unit 3? That type of question.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 23, 2007

    I'm not a big fan of getting to know you games. Instead, I dive right into the material.

    I give a 15 minute spiel on my class: my basic rules, how I assign and grade homework, things I will NOT tolerate (cheating and talking during fire drills... most other things I'll be reasonable about) and so on.

    Then I ask them to take out a pen and paper, supply some for those who haven't brought any, and start to teach. I teach for the remainder of the class period and assign homework. On day 2, I let them know that on day 3 they'll be taking a quiz on yesterday's material.

    As far as the decorations go, you have some options. If there's a teacher supply store near you, they'll carry background paper. Otherwise, consider using wallpaper remnants. Put up that, some border (available everywhere-- Staples, Office Max...) to cover the rough edges, and a poster or two. Some people I know use quotes-- just print up a bunch of them on white paper and put them on a contrasting background.

    Brendan covered a lot of the major issues.

    Above all, try to relax. Like the rest of us, you'll find your own style. You haven't made a mistake... you're going to end up loving this!!
     
  14. mstemple05

    mstemple05 Cohort

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    Aug 23, 2007

    I agree. Sit back, relax. Take a deep breath before you do ANYTHING! Then, recall what you learned. What you're going to find like with most jobs, a lot of things you learn on-the-job. I've taken a few education classes (after working as a teacher) and a lot of things I've learned, are things I already was implementing in the classroom. So most times, you can just use common sense. Draw on maybe what your teachers did that stood out to you and that you liked and don't do what you didn't like. Talk to teacher friends if you have any. Talk to the other teachers-old and new. But above all, remain calm. Children are like dogs, they smell fear and disorganization. Trust me, i've had a section of 10th graders tell me about myself in the end of the year-strange how it was just that class. So you are in the beginning, you have a better advantage than I did. Now is the time when you assess, get to know you and basically set your rules. The first couple weeks to a month is when you tell them what you expect and really you just have to do a lot of repetition of the rules. Because doing it a lot now, will save you behavior and academic problems later down the line. Trust me. As far as the parent letter, you don't HAVE to put your grading policy in there, that can go on your syllabus where you cover the year at a glance. The parent letter is for you to introduce yourself, tell them how happy you are to be working with their child, you look forward to a great year, you are excited about what's to come and are looking forward to enjoying a successful & rewarding year. Tell them that you will be calling them just to make their acquaintance (cuz you don't want their first phone call from you to just be a bad one), give them your contact info in case they want to keep close communication with you. Ummm, just basically the letter is an introduction of yourself and the class. Leave the technical stuff for the syllabus. I have 2 documents (that i copied and pasted from another school's website & class page) that may help you. One is called "10 ways to help at home" which would def be good to give the parents and the other is called "classroom procedures" where i believe (haven't read it in a while) it is primarily for the students, like class rules that they will need to follow. I think it's for like a 4th grade class, but you can tweak it. I can email that to you, just private msg me with that if you don't wanna publicly post your email address. That should help you as well. And as i'm seeing, these forums and posts are GREAT. I mean, everyone replies to EVERYTHING!! and are sooooooo extra supportive!
     
  15. brookemraven

    brookemraven Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2007

    Thanks!! This sounds like a fun activity that helps them dive right into the content. Course goals and objectives could easily follow this activity.
     

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