First Day Question

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by mochateacher, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. mochateacher

    mochateacher Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2008

    My first day of school will be on August 11th and I'm getting items ready over the summer. I have a question about what new teachers did on the first day. This may seem silly, but I'm curious about what you do when they first come in. I know how I want my normal school day to look, but I'm just stumped about that first day. Once my students come in, should I have something waiting on their desks for them to do while I take that initial attendance? What should I do with them after that is done? Should I take them to the carpet and do introductions?

    I know that I want to spend the first few days of schools focusing on procedures for my classroom and getting them used to my classroom management style. My student teaching was during the Spring semester, so I didn't get to see a "first day of school".

    If you don't mind, can you please share how you opened your classroom on that first day? What did you do once they came into your classroom? What was waiting for your students? How did you begin to teach them your procedures?

    Thanks,
    ~Paula~
     
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  3. Chef Dave

    Chef Dave Companion

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    Jun 22, 2008

    Before entering the food service industry and later becoming a chef instructor, I was an elementary teacher. I taught 3rd grade for eight out of seventeen years.

    Most elementary teachers spend the first day with orientation.

    What do you do?

    1) Introduce yourself.

    2) Go over class rules, teacher expectations, rewards, and consequences. Go over basic procedures i.e. What's the procedure for getting permission to go to the bathroom? What's the procedure for ordering a hot lunch? Where do students put their book bags and lunches?

    Some teachers like to have students help design their class rules under the premise that this gives students "ownership" of the rules. If you decide to do this, keep it simple and general i.e. "Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Try your best. Wait your turn etc."

    3) Orient students to your classroom i.e. show them where the reading center is, the class library, dictionaries, pencil sharpener, recess equipment etc.

    4) Issue textbooks. Some districts require students to cover their textbooks to reduce wear and tear. If your district issues textbook covers, model how to cover a textbook and have students cover their textbooks. Student names should be added to textbook covers. If you have not already done so prior to the start of class, record student names and textbook numbers in your grade book.

    5) Conduct some getting to know you activities. For example, have students illustrate what they did for summer vacation. Organize students into groups so each student may share what he/she did during the summer. After all groups have finished sharing, randomly choose at least one student from each group to share what he/she did with the class. (Organizing your class this way allows all students to share without boring everyone with 21 or more presentations.)

    6) If you have several students who are new to your school in the class, pair off students. Have each student partner with someone that he/she doesn't know. Have each student interview the other using a prepared questionnaire that you've written on the board. Sample questions: What is your name? Where are you from? What is your favorite color? What is one thing you would like everyone to know about you?

    Have each student question the other and record responses. When all students are finished, have each team take turns introducing each other to the class.

    7) If you have several students new to your school, give the class a tour of the school. Where is the library? Where is the gym? Where is the cafeteria? Where are the nearest bathrooms? Where is the office?

    8) Give students an informal assessment. For example, check with the 2nd grade teachers and see if you can get an end of the year math review worksheet. Distribute the worksheet and circulate as needed to provide instructional assistance. Grade the worksheet to identify areas of class strengths/weaknesses ... but don't record the grade.

    You can do the same thing with reading. For example, while kids are working on their illustrations of the summer, call students one at a time to your desk and conduct an informal reading inventory to see how each student reads and comprehends.

    For that matter, after students illustrate their pictures, they could write a paragraph telling about their picture. Looking at their paragraphs will give you important information about student knowledge regarding capitalization, punctuation, use of complete sentences, and spelling.

    9) Play a simple game like Simon Says except call it "Mr/Ms. (insert your own name) says." You know how this game works, right?

    "Simon says, 'put your right hand over your nose.'"


    Students who do this, stay in the game. Students who don't do this or students who use the wrong hand are out and have to sit down. The winner is the last person standing.

    Though fun, games like this will give you important information on how well students listen to and follow directions.

    Playing a game like this will also break up the monotony of the day since you don't want the kids doing assessment and seat work all day.

    Best wishes with your first day!

    Chef Dave
     
  4. mochateacher

    mochateacher Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Dave,
    Thanks...I really like your ideas!!!
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I, too, student taught in the spring. But, you will be surprised. It will just happen. I can't tell you most of what we did on the first day! I know the activities we did, but not much more! Apparently extreme fear affects your memory!!
     
  6. MomtoCAV

    MomtoCAV Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I am so glad I ran across this posting, as I have been worried about the same thing - what to do on the first day! I also did my student teaching in the spring and have never seen the first day activities. I have been really curious about to actually start the year.
     
  7. princessa48

    princessa48 Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I would definitely have something for them to do while they are coming in. Of course, the school I work at has buses from sixteen different districts so I have about fifteen minutes from the time the first bus arrives to the time the last bus arrives. Sometimes even longer. That is a lot of time for the little ones to get restless.

    I remember my first year and the fear that I had as the students start coming in. This is my fifth year teaching, and I know I will still get the butterflies in my stomach. It is inevitable!
     
  8. AbbyR

    AbbyR Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    My first day will be spent with many of the things Dave suggested. I do a brief introduction, go over rules and consequences and spend a great deal of time teaching, modeling and practicing my procedures. I will also have a getting to know you sheet, and we will probably play charades with procedures.
    I have several books I like to use during the first few days. Teacher from the Black Lagoon is the only one I can remember - they are all at school.
    I'll add more if I think of anything else.
    Good luck!
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I was just thinking about this last night while I was trying to go to sleep. :)

    1)As students come in, they get a colored dot. The desks are in groups and they can sit where they want as long as their desk as the same colored dot. They are not allowed to switch dots or desks with anyone.

    2)Once they get situated, they start on a back to school packet that includes them writing two truths and a lie about themselves, a Student survey, a crossword puzzle, and a small writing piece about their summer vacation. During this is when I get together any school supplies, new students that were not on the list, etc.

    3)Next we go over our truths and lies deciding which one is the lie for each student. Discuss rules and procedures, practice, role play correct and incorrect way to do it. Fill out Type A/B classroom where A is the type of classroom we want, and B is the classroom we don't. What would the classroom look like, what type of students found in that classroom.

    4)We do a getting to know you activity where they have to find a student that fits a certain criteria, ie. Find someone who went out of the country for the summer, etc.

    Over the course of the week, we'll revisit rules and procedures. They'll have homework that first night where they bring back 3 things that tell us about them, and they'll share. More getting to know you activities, finishing their packet. On Friday, they will have group work, where I will give them a situation and they will have to model either the correct or incorrect to do it. If its incorrect the class will have to correct them and they will then do it correctly. And they'll have a quiz on the rules and procedures on that last day. The day we come back from that first week, we'll do the group work again to refresh their memories from over their weekend.
     
  10. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Jun 23, 2008

    This year I plan to have something on desks that takes a LONG while to complete. This year the kids started coming in 20 minutes early (the car riders did)-so those kids didn't have anything do do once the bus riders arrived. Learn from my mistakes lol :)
     
  11. GrandHighWitch

    GrandHighWitch Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    This will only be my second year teaching, so I'm definitely not an expert, but I had this question last year, and here are some things I ended up doing on the first day:

    - I had bought what I thought were several packs of sticky notes on clearance, which turned out to be just square pieces of paper, not even bound together in notepad form. So I had all these loose little pieces of paper to get rid of. So when the kids came in on that first day, they had a blue and a yellow square on their desk. On the yellow piece of paper, they were to write one thing they were excited about, and on the blue paper, one thing they were nervous about or a question they had. I had a message on the TV (Powerpoint) instructing them to do this, while I stood at the door to welcome the others as they came in. It gave the early birds something to do while I greeted everyone, and it was nice because it gave me an idea of what they were thinking. I collected all the papers when they were done, and we read some of them (anonymously) and talked about them. It gave me a chance to answer questions they had, clear up their concerns, see what excited them, etc. I will probably do something similar again this year.

    - The Name Game, so the kids could start getting to know either. My school is 4-6, and they feed in from 6 different schools, so while some of them knew each other, a lot of them didn't. I spent a lot of time on icebreakers/get to know you activities the first two weeks of school.

    - I read the book "First Day Jitters." It was so perfect for ME because I'm sure I was more nervous than the kids were!

    - We made up our class rules that first day. I had a management plan in place, but my Classroom Rules poster was blank, and I told the kids I wanted us to come up with our big three classroom rules together. I had them work in groups to come up with some rules first, then all the groups shared, and I wrote down their ideas on the board. We then classified the rules that went together and came up with some broad topics that each cluster fell under - respect, safety, responsibility. We decided to have three rules that covered these three general areas. I had the kids throw out suggestions for how to word the rules, and they did a great job. I wrote them on the poster, the kids all signed it, and those were our rules for the year.


    I guess the rest of the day was just spent on procedural stuff in and out of the classroom. It goes by fast!!! I remember that whole first week or two of school, I would only get through about half of the activities I had planned LOL.
     
  12. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Jun 23, 2008

    What grade did you do these activities with? I teach 2nd and would find it quite difficult for incoming second graders on the first day of school to write 2 complete truths and 1 lie, complete a survey (several of them will probably be unable to read the survey) a crossword puzzle (again, some will be unable to read), and a small writing piece. All of this could easily frustrate some students and thus create an unpleasant first day of school. I'd keep things very easy going. Rules, introductions, procedures, do a group writing of summer experiences some free play time, hand out books, perhaps do one or two worksheets together. As the week progresses I would be able to begin to assess who can do what and then begin to give more detailed assignments.
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I haven't done this with any grade yet. This is what I plan on doing with my classroom this next year, probably 4th-8th. Of course I would modify it if I were in a lower grade.
     
  14. crayoncaper

    crayoncaper Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Wow!

    There are some GREAT ideas in this thread!! This will be my first year, also, and I was wondering the same sort of thing. What grade are you teaching?

    I am going to teach fifth grade Social Studies. I plan on having a "respect" constitution, where the students write down ways they can respect me and each other, and I write down ways to repsect them. This will be on the first day. We will talk about respect in the classroom, with each other ,and also with the entire school. Then I think I am going to have them model out procedures to do things in the classroom.
     
  15. mochateacher

    mochateacher Rookie

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    I'm going to be teaching third grade. I really like the ideas that have been posted and plan on incorporating a few from a different posts. I really like all of these ideas...so many good ones to choose from :)
     
  16. BB0211

    BB0211 Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Make sure you give a sufficient introduction!
    Last year was my very first year and, although I thoroughly planned for the first day, I was so nervous that I kinda blew the introduction. All I basically did was tell the students my name (which they already knew). Hahaha....

    Next year I plan on showing a power point on me and what to expect in my class....kind of a display of my philosophy.

    Another thing I did last year and will definitely do this upcoming year is have an already-sharpened pencil waiting at each child's desk with a word search that I created. The word search has each child's name in it and gives the students something to do right away, while also helping them get to know the names of their classmates!
     
  17. Chef Dave

    Chef Dave Companion

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I did this once but found that kids were sitting with their buddies ... which promoted off task behavior and disruptions.

    I assigned seats. Before school even started, I visited the 2nd grade teachers to get a low down on each returning student. This gave me basic information about overall academic ability and behavior.

    Like you, I grouped my students - but by using information from the 2nd grade teachers, I was able to organize some fairly cohesive cooperative learning groups by distributing strong/weak academic students and students with behavioral problems.

    Each desk had an adhesive cursive handwriting strip taped to the top of the desk. A laminated strip of colored paper bearing the student's name was also taped to each desk.
     
  18. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Jun 24, 2008

    You may not always be able to find out background info on your students at least not right away in particularly when you are the new teacher in the school. The school I will be teaching for is a Title 1 school & so it's common for students to come and go (sad but that's how it is). There will be many instances of 'first days' to deal with.

    In any case, lots of good ideas here for new teachers.
     
  19. GrandHighWitch

    GrandHighWitch Companion

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I did that last year too - they had a lot of fun with it! Will definitely do again this year.
     
  20. RugRats

    RugRats Companion

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I now teach 1st, but started off teaching 3rd for a few years. Here's my experience and a few things I did that really worked in 3rd grade!

    As students entered the classroom I gave each a blank desk name tag and had them write their name and draw pictures to decorate it. I posted 4 on the board as examples. Two were what I was looking for, two showed what not to do.

    I let them pick their own seats for the first week only. This gave me an inside peek on who NOT to seat together.

    I sat my 3rd graders in groups of 4-5.

    Our first activity was to learn about our class rules. Each group picks one rule. In their group they talk about what this rule means to them. The had a large piece of contruction paper folded into threes. On the first fold they were to write their rule and what it means to them. On the second fold they were to write an example of someone following the rule and/or draw a picture. On the third fold they were to write an example of someone NOT following the rule and/or draw a picture. I usually had 6 groups for only 4 rules so two rules were done twice. I gave them 10-15 minutes and then each group shared. I posted those on the wall beside my rules. Sometimes I would add in my view of the rule most of the time they were right on.

    Then, we'd talk about the rewards and consequences for following or not following each rule. I'd start my reward and consequences right then.

    Next, I would begin teaching procedures for my classroom. There were a lot of procedures to learn so I spread them out over the day and week. I found that if I rushed teaching them the students had a harder time learning them.

    After that I would do one inventory. This is... assessing what the students already know. I had one for reading, writing, and math. They would quietly do the inventory and then I would introduce the center(s) that go with that subject.

    I would lighten it up with a name game activity or an ice breaker. One of my 3rd graders' favorites was where you put a sticky on their back and they have to guess who they are by asking yes no questions. LOVED IT!

    Next I would do my second inventory followed by the center(s) introduction.

    After that we would explore our desks. Everything came out and they talked amongst themselves.

    Then we would do our final inventory of the day followed by the center(s) introduction.

    No student was allowed to go into any center for the first two weeks of school. Each day we would practice as a whole group how to use each center. Once I felt they had learned the rules and procedures for each center I would begin to open them one at a time during our Independent Work Time. If at anytime I had to stop and correct someone that center would be closed until we could review the rules and procedures. I gave them NO slack!

    Our third grades classes have different bathroom areas from first and second so I made sure to take them as a whole class just before recess and just after lunch.

    At the end of the day they would get a post it note (everyday for the first week). They were to write one thing they learned today or one thing they wanted to learn about. They stuck it on the door as they walked out. I'd gather them and base a few of my activities for the next day off their 'want to learn' post its. I'd stick all of the 'one thing I learned' post its on my We're Off To a Great Start bulletin board.

    Good Luck!!! Third grade is wonderful :)
     
  21. MomtoCAV

    MomtoCAV Rookie

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    I really LOVE this idea....I can see it working for any elementary grade level. I especially think it would keep the younger students occupied while I am greeting the incoming students. I will definitely use this idea.

    There are SO many wonderful ideas on this thread, I am so glad I ran across it. Thanks everyone!
     
  22. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    BB,

    For added fun, give the kids a "quiz" BEFORE the powerpoint. Yes, a quiz about you!!! Of course, they won't know the answers, but they will have a lot of fun guessing! Then show the power point and let them "update" their answers.
     
  23. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    For any grade, meet them at the door. Ask them what grade they are in! (I'm not kidding -- every year I have at least 1 student who is on my role sheet, but in the wrong grade and was assigned the wrong class by the office ! ! !) If it checks out and they are in my class, then they go in. If not, I direct them to the appropriate place in the school. If Mom is with them, I ask Mom how the child is getting home today and make a note of it. It is amazing how many kids don't know how they are supposed to get home the first day! Mom drives them, but then tells them to take the bus home! And the child doesn't know which bus! I smile my best smile and I tell them the child to "say goodbye to Mom!" and send parents on their way!!! (They had their chance to see the room on Back to School night..and I don't need a room full of parents to add to all the first-day confusion!)

    For 2nd and 3rd grade, I have two sharp pencils and a bin of crayons ready for each student. I tell them to put their book bag against the wall and to go take their seat and get started. I have an "All About Me" book waiting for them to work on. I tell them (over and over) that we will go through supplies in a few minutes, and that no! they don't need anything from their bookbag right now... we'll get to those in a few minutes.

    I unplug the pencil sharpener so they don't get it in their heads that their pencil needs to be sharpened! I have a container of extra sharpened pencils for trade right next to it.

    I remind them that I want to see their best work (not scribble-scrabble, as I call it)! I let them know we will be sharing some of the information later, so they want the others to see their best work!

    This gives me the time to deal with all those parent drop off questions and last minute students who the office will inevitably be sending to me.

    While they work on their booklets, I call students over one at a time using my role sheet. I ask them how they are getting home that day (bus, afterschool program, walking, being picked up). I look up their bus number, if they don't know it and write it on the back of their hand with a marker (I also make a list for myself of how students are getting home, because I will forget with everything going on!) I have them bring their book bag over to me, and we go through their supplies. I collect classroom supplies (pencils and tissues and such) and tell them how to store their other supplies in their desk. If they have a lunch, I show them where to put it. If they are buying their lunch, I give them a card with their lunch number on it. If they've brought things I don't need (I had a parent send a battery-powerred pencil sharpener one year!), I send them back home in the bookbag! If they are missing supplies or haven't brought any, I assure them it is okay, and put a supply list in their bookbag. I assure them I will loan them anything they need until Mom can get the supplies. (Our students don't get advanced supply lists, so it is potluck on the first day.) I have them go and hang up their bookbag, and then call the next student. When all the bookbags are off the wall, I know I have called all the students. I still ask "Is there anyone who hasn't been up to talk to me?" just in case a student came in without a bookbag at all. (I make a note to talk to the counselor about getting them a bookbag through the free program.)

    If you'd like a copy of my All About Me package, you can get it from my teacher's page on my website. Go to:
    www.quia.com/pages/granby.html

    Then once they have all checked in their supplies, the craziness of drop-offs and new students is over, and I'm ready to start with my morning meeting and rules.
     
  24. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Wow, Rainstorm good info! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to copy & paste all these suggestions & have it handy for the first day. I hope I don't freeze & forget what comes next. As the time passes, I find myself worried that my mind will go blank & I'll have at least 18 pairs of eyes looking at me expectantly.
     
  25. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    The first time IS nerve-wracking! Write yourself a script. Check things off as you do them. Have at least twice as much work as you think you can really get to, because you don't want to run out. Also, have some educational coloring sheets, easy word searches, or dot-to-dots just incase they finish too early or things don't take as long as you think. If they have 2 seconds of free time, they will get into trouble!

    Then relax and remember that the kids are more nervous than you are!!! I always read "First Day Jitters" on the first day. If you don't have it, you might want to order a copy. It is a wonderful book about someone who is too nervous to go to the first day of school, and how her dad talks her into going anyway. On the last page of the book you find out it isn't about a student, it is about a teacher!!! The kids love it!
     
  26. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    One of my mentor teachers advised me to always have bell work ready on the desk first thing in the morning so that those who arrived earlier were kept occupied (and out of trouble).
     
  27. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Yes, and that's one of the first things we go over. That they made the choice to sit with their friends; however, if that disrupts them and others from learning that I will move them from the group. They should have that choice;however, if they abuse that, then they know they won't have that choice again.
     
  28. mochateacher

    mochateacher Rookie

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    Rainstorm~Great Ideas. I too am keeping a list of all these wonderful ideas. I've pasted them into a "First Day Resource" document for myself.

    Thanks Again!
    ~Paula~
     
  29. wildcat82

    wildcat82 Rookie

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    YES!!! PLEASE KEEP THESE COMING!! I know there are a lot rookies who always wonder what exactly to do on this first day since it is SO important! Teachers with expereince....keep it rolling!!
     
  30. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    I also like the idea of doing a 'Word search' puzzle with the name of the students in the class so this way students become familiar with each other as well as keep them occupied while you are still greeting students/parents on the first day. I wonder if there is a short cut or program out there that can assist you in creating a Word Search puzzle. I've never created one & would have to figure out rows & columns & so forth. Any ideas?
     
  31. wildcat82

    wildcat82 Rookie

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    Here is a link from the Discovery Channel I use CONSTANTLY at school that allows me to make a word search in about 5 seconds! When you get there, just click on Word Search. You simply give it a title and enter the words. I made one every week with that weeks spelling words and the kids can work on it if they get done early.

    www.puzzlemaker.com
    NOTE: They don't print out very pretty and would sometimes print onto 2 pages. I would usually print it out and then cut it out and center it on another paper before I made copies. Sometimes I would draw a line for a name and even draw some smileys around it or something. Anyway...it awesome!!
     
  32. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Thank you much, Wildcat! It's exactly what I was looking for! :2up:
     
  33. iteachm123

    iteachm123 Comrade

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    You can also go to www.superkids.com to find make your own word searches. You can make your own math worksheets as well. I like this website and use it often.
     
  34. lteach2

    lteach2 Cohort

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    Jul 2, 2008

    I already have my lesson plans done for that day...sad? Haha-I never take a break it seems. I guess me going to 2 weeks of workshops kept me in that mode. Here is what I am doing this year:

    1)7:00-8:00-student arrivals-yes they drag in the first day at my school. I have a packet made up of random reading/math worksheets. I let the students pick which ones they want to do (in any order) as they arrive. These packets give me a good idea of what basic things they can or can not do (ex. beginning or ending sounds, basic add./sub., etc.). I have students hang their book bags on the back of their chairs until all have arrived. I take attendence and then we have to make sure we have all busing/transportation issues taken care of first thing. Someone will come around and check to make sure all kids know how they are getting home. I then take up any supplies.

    2)8:00-8:15-Getting to know you- I get big puzzle pieces and trace them on the big white index cards. I write each child's name in the middle of the puzzle piece. The kids then write or draw things that describe them or what they like to do. Then we discuss how we are all different, but we work together. I join the puzzle pieces up and hang them somewhere in the room.

    3)8:15-9:15-Then I do the following activity to go over rules (this is just the jist of it):
    *We brainstorm rules (for 2nd grade, we would be sitting on the carpet together)-teacher writes these suggestions on sticky notes and sticks on the concept development board (for a further explanation of what that is and/or how to use it, please msg me). Students will come up w/ all kinds of things-no pushing, raise your hand, etc.
    *We will then group similar rules together into a broader rule-ex. no pushing or hitting might go into the broader category of keep hands and feet to yourself. I try to go with 5 rules.
    *Students will then be placed into small groups based on the 5 broad rules. Each group makes a "poster" (or I may use the long story paper) illustrating and writing about their rule.
    *Then I do a jigsawing-there is 1 person in each original group in the new groups to teach about the rule.
    *The class comes back together-you post the rules and "posters" up as your class rules. Then the students journal about what rule they think the class should work the most on this year and why. I really like to see what they think is important!

    4) 9:15-9:30-Go over other classroom procedures.
    5)9:30-10:30-Math-calendar time-making a birthday graph-Lesson 1-1 from the math series.
    6)10:30-10:50-Practice lining up for lunch and going over lunch procedures
    7)11:00-12:00-Lunch and recess/bathroom
    8)12:00-12:30-Writing-I will be using Froggy Goes to School as the mentor text
    9)12:30-1:15-Practice lining up for specials-go to specials
    10)1:15-1:45-Accelerated Reader-teach procedures-reread Froggy Goes to School
    11)1:45-2:15-Social Studies-We start out talking about responsibility-and it really ties into the earlier rules activity and our school pledge. I try to make everything connected.
    12)2:15-2:30-Go over homework/agenda procedures
    13)2_30-2:45-Go over dismissal procedures and make sure everyone knows how they are are getting home

    Dismissal at 2:45!

    This isn't what a normal daily schedule is like and I am not doing literacy the first day, but it will get worked in starting the 2nd day as I cut back on the other necessary beginning of year activities.
     
  35. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jul 2, 2008

    I love the idea of brainstorming rules and writing them on post-its. It's a great way to clump rules together!
     
  36. lteach2

    lteach2 Cohort

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    Jul 2, 2008

    And I like the kids to feel responsible and understand the importance of what they are doing. I throw around the word responsible a million times a day in my lessons. :)
     
  37. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jul 4, 2008

    Congrats on your first job, Paula! Your first day is also my first day of school. Definitely have something on your students desks to do when they first come in. I usually give them some kind of brain teaser (word scramble, word search, crossword puzzle) to keep them busy. I would write on the board something like:

    Welcome to ____ grade!

    1. Hang your backpack up
    2. Find your desk
    3. Quietly work on the ________ I put on your desk


    This will show you which students can follow directions ;) and will tell students exactly what to do, rather than having them wander around with no clue of what they should be doing. Plus, you'll want to be at your door, greeting students as they come in so you can give them a little reminder to follow the directions on the board.

    After I take attendance and make sure everyone is following my directions, I introduce myself and then go over my classroom expectations (rules, consequences, and rewards). I spend a good deal of time going over these because they are the basis of my classroom. My students need to know exactly what to do and what happens if they don't. Once they understand the expectations, they are enforced. Although I hate putting kids names on the board the first day, I have to if I want to maintain any control over them for the rest of the year. It never fails that I have a student within minutes of me talking about my rules, they break one of them by shouting out.

    Then we do a get-to-know-you activity ... sometimes it's where I make a statement, such as "I like to read." Students that agree with the statement, pop-up out of their seats and look around to see who they have this in common with. Then I go through more random statements with students popping up at various times.

    Next we go through the procedures and I walk them through the classroom and how different things work. I model exactly what I should see when they are doing them.

    We do another get-to-know-you activity ... each student writes three facts about themselves on an index card. Two are general statements and one is very specific, such as "I was born in Texas," "I like to eat pizza," and "I have a dog named Buster." I collect all the cards and throughout the first week of school I randomly pull out cards. I have all the students stand up. As I read the statements, students remain standing if they pertain to them. By the time I get to the last statement, the specicic one, there should only be one student standing. They introduce themselves to the class and tell us one thing they did over summer vacation. I go through all of the cards by the end of the week.

    Then I have my students do their math pre-test and I start reading instruction that day, which is to teach the reading strategies we'll be using throughout the year.

    We do another get-to-know-you activity and then I start teaching my Essential Rules, which have been adapted from Ron Clark's The Essential 55.

    We continue to do get-to-know-you activities throughout the week, intertwined with instruction from the very first day of school. I also give homework the first day to get them into the habit of routines and my expectations.
     
  38. mochateacher

    mochateacher Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2008

    Calalilys~Thanks for the information. I really like the getting to know you activities and I think I'm going to use both of them.

    Thanks a bunch!
    ~Paula~
     
  39. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2008

    You're welcome!
     
  40. animalclass

    animalclass Companion

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    Jul 5, 2008

    for the kids that come in early i hate to give them work so i set up one table with legos, one with bingo, one with connect 4 guess who and mancalla and one with coloring untill the final bell rings and morning announcements are over. school starts at 8:30 so this is usually from 8:10 untill 8.35
     
  41. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jul 5, 2008

    Paula,

    Teachers who make *structure*, teaching rules and routines, the priority first day and there after until the kids get it right spend less time teaching structure on a daily basis until June. Many teachers tend to blow over structure in a hurry to get to the curriculum. Although this seems sensible (so much to teach - so little time) research has shown instructional minutes decrease in the long run since structure was never established and kids must test the boundaries on a daily basis to find out where the teacher stands and what is for real or fake. The key to structure is TEACHING rules and routines not announcing.

    Consider:

    Sit down and brain storm a list of all the rules and routines you will have to teach the first weeks of school. Don't leave anything out - what to do with notes, passing/collecting materials, hand signals, how to get help, line-up, pencils, backpacks, bell work, free time etc.
    I usually come up with about 20 R&Rs. From this list prioritize the rules/routines you must have first minute, first day (put yourself in the place of student -- What do I need to know right now?) to ones can wait. Write out lesson plan for each rule or rountine -- like what prior skills (readiness) do students need to master current skill - Example: If hang up backpacks on back of chair is announced one might get all kinds of personal methods like sling it from feet away. However, if teach directs a lesson with input, modeling, checking for understanding, guided and independent practice likely better chance kids will hang packs the way you want it done.
     

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