I am a 2nd year teacher and I teach high school English. I was hired at the end of September last school year and therefore did not spend the first month with my students. This year will be my first, first day and week of school. I would like to do a short activity on the first day, but I am not too sure what I should do. I planned on briefly explaining my expectations, rules, and etc. in the beginning of the period and then I really don't know what to do next!!
Can you give them a learning assessment evaluation? You can find a bunch of them online. That way, you have an idea of your students' ability to learn and they are starting to think as students instead of kids dragged in from summer break.
The English teacher I co-teach with gave them a diagnostic quiz, listing the different authors/books/stories/subjects we would be learning about this year. They were to check whether or not they knew nothing about it, they heard of it, they know what it means, they are very familiar with it. Then at the end of the year, we'll give it back to them to see how their answers change.
'It is today we must create the world of the future.' Eleanor Roosevelt
My first day usually goes:
-seating chart if I'm using one for that class
-"do now" writing (always for me "How do you want to be treated in this class by other students/the teacher?"
-discuss the do now and make a list, discuss "respect"
-distribute personal info sheets and have them fill out (they can take it home if they need to)
-distribute syllabus and hit my most important points
-collect summer work and give test date
-if time remains, take a look at a poem
I have juniors so they pretty well know each other already. I am thinking of adding one more activity this year, having them tell me one thing about each person as I call names for attendance. It's not the most earth-shattering first day but it sets a good tone, IME.
I'm a first year English teacher. I included a "reading inventory" to give me a sense of what their reading interests are. They had to check off which genres they're most interested in, how much time they usually spend reading outside of school requirements, how many books they read a month, and then it had fill in the blank questions like The most recent book I read was blank and it was for pleasure/required. Things like that. I've found it really helpful so far to try and match student interests if they're having problems finding independent reading books.