First Day of School - A Day to Kickoff a Great Year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ku_alum, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 9, 2015

    A few summers ago, I was with some colleagues for lunch, and we started complaining about how the first week of school is difficult because the first 2 or 3 day are interrupted with things like class meetings, laptop checkout, yearbook photos ... it just made for a difficult launch to the year. You didn't see all of your classes, your plans are already botched because you don't know how long students will be away from your class. Bluh.

    We approached our P about getting all of those "housekeeping things" done on day 1 and then letting real classes start on day 2 and roll on with the rest of the year.

    Our P said, as long as the majority of teachers are on board and students are engaged in something 100% of the day, go for it.

    That was 3 years ago. It has been an AWESOME-AWESOME-AWESOME way to welcome students back to school. This summer, I've even had parents of incoming 9th graders ask me if we were doing the "fun" first day of school because it would really eliminate stress and gitters for first-time HSers.

    Anyway, I am meeting with the planning committee next week. We have the bulk of the day figured out, but I thought I'd come to you guys for any fresh ideas.

    Here is a snapshot of the day:

    - For most "activities" (except morning meeting, mini-classes, and lunch) students rotate with their class (e.g all 9th graders, all 10th graders, all 11th graders, and all 12th graders)

    - Morning Meeting in auditorium - short, fun and positive message from the P and the Student Council President. Students get their agendas for the day

    - Mini-classes - students run through their class schedule, 8 minute class periods to meet the teacher. Teachers cannot handout textbooks or assignments. Most teachers share about themselves, play an interactive quiz to learn about the students - something fun and engaging

    Rotations - Students rotate in class groups through the following - Yearbook photos, Class Meetings with the VP, Laptop checkout, Laptop reminders training, and Social hour. Lunch happens somewhere in there; lunch is all classes together.

    I was wondering if anyone had fresh ideas for the social hour. (It is actually about 45 minutes). Some students just want time to chat with friends, others need something to engage with.

    Things we've done in the social hour in the past:
    - Time to sign yearbooks (we get ours at the beginning of the year from the previous year)
    - Photo booth with props (hugely popular)
    - Interactive quizzes they answer with their phones (like those that you see on FB, but designed by our teachers - so things like "what kind of Tiger are you" (mascot)).
    - A goal-setting activity (making a goal for the year, posting it)
    - Motivational speech from our really engaging faculty about being good people, good friends, good leaders

    Of the activities listed above, I know we need to keep the first 2 (yearbook signing and photo booth). The rest are kinda "eh - okay." I'm wondering about some game opportunities - games like bean-bag toss (called Cornhole in these parts) ... I know it sounds kinda juvenile, but I can see some of our students getting into it.

    Ideas ?? ??

    (Oh, and if you're wondering - ALL teachers have duties for the day. No one gets to sneak off and work in his room while others run around busy all day - teacher duties include helping with supervising as students move through the day, laptop checkout team, photobooth photographer ...)
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2015

    This sounds like an amazing day!

    We did a group challenge activity with out grade 7 and 8s the last day of school (the kids liked it so much that we're going to repeat it the first week). The kids were divided into groups of about 10; we had 6 groups. We then presented challenges and each group needed to send the one member who they felt could win the challenge. Some of the challenges: jump the highest, say the alphabet the fastest, crab walk the quickest, fly a paper plane the farthest (they needed to build the plane), speak with the best Irish accent. Prep was super simple and the kids were really engaged.
     
  4. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Jul 9, 2015

    I love this idea! Our school did something similar last year. The kids liked it because they said they spent the whole summer apart from all of their friends, so it was hard to come back to school and sit and listen in a classroom all day when they were excited to see people again.

    Where does the social hour take place? I like the idea of cornhole or ping pong (if your gym has tables) or some other low movement physical activity. Classes could compete against each other.
     
  5. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Jul 9, 2015

    You could have yard olympics. Go to pinterest and you will find A LOT of things. It goes along with cornhole but you could add jinga, ping pong, sack races, horse shoes, etc. I would LOVE to have this just as a neighborhood event at my house and people rotate stations. Maybe the gym teachers could coordinate something that requires movement.

    This sounds SUPER fun! What a great way to start the year!
     
  6. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Jul 9, 2015

    My friend made outdoor Jenga with 2x4s for a party. He said it was pretty cheap - the blocks just need to be sanded down a lot. I've seen outdoor Twister on Pinterest too, but I feel like there would be some inappropriate on-purpose touching with high schoolers. There's also giant scrabble where you paint the letters on pieces of cardboard or plywood.

    Your first day sounds like so much fun. I wish I could teach in your school!
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 9, 2015

    What about some "minute to win it" games? Our kids LOVE those challenges, especially the one where you put a cookie on your forehead and have to get it in your mouth without using your hands?
     
  8. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Jul 9, 2015

    THIS IS GENIUS!!!!!!!!!
    ALL high schools should do this! I wish I taught high school just so I could bring up this idea. It would definitely help the freshmen/any new students!

    The only thing that's weird is that yearbooks from the previous year are passed out the beginning of the next year. Why is that?? What about all the graduating/transfer students? They don't get their yearbooks signed?
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 9, 2015

    I don't know why this happens. Graduates/transfers have to come back to get theirs or request it is mailed. When we gave them time to sign yearbooks, we had to "teach" them how to do that. They had never done it before. Strange.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 9, 2015

    Thanks, everyone!

    I knew you would all come through for me! These are great ideas!
     

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