High School Teachers, what do you do on the first day?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ACardAttack, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    Jul 1, 2010

    Just kind of curious to what other high school teachers do their first day of school. I'm going to be teaching mostly juniors and seniors, so I dont think many icebreakers will really be needed for the students. So since this is my first time teaching, I'm trying to get an idea of what others do. I do plan on asking my principal and other teachers at my school for suggestions and what is expected, and at the moment I dont have access to my books yet.

    I would imagine, introduce myself, talk about the syllabus, my expectations, all that good jazz; but what else? An easy and fun activity that may or may not directly be relevant to what they will learn, just something to get the rust off the brains and then hit he ground running on the second day?

    Any suggestions would be much obliged.
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 1, 2010

    I know many teachers will say hello and jump immediately into their first lesson. You may or may not want to do that, and you may or may not be able to. Some schools, even high schools, have an interesting first day schedule. I'd first speak to the principal or at least someone already teaching there to ask if the schedule is normal and go from there. If it is, I'd introduce myself, quickly go over expectations and syllabus like you said. And I'd have this all on paper for them as well...it's a lot to take it in. I like the idea of a "get the rust off the brains" activity because I would never do a legitimate lesson the first day because there are so many changes from the first to second day. We always have new kids the second day, in extreme cases students are moved because their parents find out Bully Billy is in the room...it's just a messy day.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 1, 2010

    I knew there was a recent thread like this :)
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=109886&highlight=day

    But to answer your question, I'm one of those teachers JustMe was referring to.

    I assign seats as they walk in; there's a seating chart on the podium (in alphabetical order) and they find their seats right away. When the bell rings, we start with a prayer (Catholic school, obviously) Then I review the seating chart really fast. (OK, first row: Tom, Kate, Sue...)

    The test dates for the year are up on the board as I take attendance; I ask if anyone needs a pencil or paper so they can copy them down.

    I do a 10 minute spiel on how my class works. Honestly, bu the time they hit high school, most of them pretty much have it down.

    Then I teach. I do a short lesson, nothing too complicated, but I teach. And I assign homework. And I tell them that their first quiz is the day after tomorrow.

    The next day, I check the homework, and teach bell to bell.

    The 3rd day, they get that quiz on the first day's material, and we continue.

    I think I head off a lot of problems in my class simply because they get the point, loud and clear that first day: we're going to be working bell to bell in here-- this one means business. I'm not mean or unfriendly about it, but I think the point is made.

    What courses are you teaching?
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think what Alice describes is effective for most high school classes, especially if you're not teaching freshmen who are new to the building and so forth. That's simply not possible in my situation...we have a special schedule for the first three days and nothing at all is normal. But I teach middle school.
     
  6. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I have two different groups of students; my AP kids and then my regular students.

    With my AP students by the first day of school, we have already met three times (once before school ends and twice during the summer), so the first day we are off and running.

    With my regular students, it takes 15-20 minutes to pass out books, go over procedures for absences, bell work, turning in papers and class exceptations. Then we begin with our first assignment. Typically my first assignment in World History is an archeology group assignment examing artifacts and what they mean and in US History in groups students look at primary source documents examing the same events from different points of view to understand the bias in History.

    Like justme posted, there are many students moving in and out those first few days. But for me, my class runs better when both my students and I are doing history :)
     
  7. SunnyGal

    SunnyGal Companion

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    I teach 9th graders, so my first day probably looks a lot different than it would if I had juniors or seniors! I spend a lot of my first day going over the syllabus and how my class runs. This is their first day in high school, so they don't really know how everything works.

    I also have them write a letter to themselves about how they're feeling, what they want to accomplish as a freshman, etc. I take up the letters and they get them on the last day of school. It's neat to see their reactions at the end of the year as "almost sophomores" reading about their first day as a freshman. :)

    We don't have homeroom everyday (only when reports cards get passed out), but we do for that first week of school, so our bell schedule is crazy.
     
  8. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    You could go over the class syllabus, and have them take it home to get it signed, and pass out textbooks/workbooks, give them a worksheet to fill out that tells you a little bit about themselves.
     
  9. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Jul 1, 2010

    This is almost straight Harry Wong "The First Days of School" - get the students going, into a system/procedure from the get go!
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm probably the only teacher in America who hasn't read Harry Wong.

    And my system doesn't work for everyone- no system does.

    But it works incredibly well for me.

    The best was when, about 10 years ago, I had the same kids 3 years in a row. (Algebra ii & Trig, Precalculus, Intro to Calculus.) I mean the SAME kids-- they were the class who tested out of freshman math, so they were a year ahead of their peers.

    Year 2, day 1: "OK, guys, same seats. Let's do a quick review of procedures...." 3 minute spiel, then math.

    Year 3, day 1: "OK, so as I was saying in June...."

    They almost died laughing as they took out their notebooks :)
     
  11. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 2, 2010

    HA! Love it!
     
  12. Mrs. Q

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    This is my first year, so I'm taking advice right along with you... but I will be teaching journalism, which is mostly freshmen and sophomores, and then newspaper and yearbook which is the upperclassmen.

    I already have each of my three syllabus(es?) complete, so I plan on handing them out in each class and going over rules and expectations. I then have a little questionnaire for them to answer so I can know their backgrounds a little.

    For newspaper and yearbook, we will go over their ad sales requirements and then get started on their first deadlines right away.

    For journalism, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with them for the rest of the 45-minute period. Maybe a short writing assignment to see where they are, or go ahead and start the history of media.
     
  13. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    Jul 2, 2010

    I kind of like that idea, have them write about their opinions of math and what they plan to do the next couple years in their lives as they are either nearing or are graduating high school.
     
  14. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    The only problem for me starting day 1 with lesson 1 and quiz two days later is schedule changes. I'm guaranteed to have 3 to 6 students get dropped from each of my classes and 3 to 6 new ones show up in the first week. It's already a pain in the butt with calculator, clicker, book, roll, gradebook, etc. I really don't want to add make up work to that list.

    I start with a seating chart from day one and have learned the hard way that this is an absolute MUST.

    I run through the syllabus, routines/ expectations, course schedule, and do a student information sheet. Then go to a health and safety test that is required for my class since it's considered a vocational class (all of it basic stuff they've heard before) but I have a number of slides and gross experiences from my military experiences to share with them.

    Then we walk the fire drill to my rally point and end with a multiple intelligences test.
     
  15. Groovy

    Groovy Companion

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    LOL! I love it!
     
  16. BCPMWK

    BCPMWK Companion

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    Jul 3, 2010

    For journalism, you could have them interview one another (using your questions, plus maybe they should come up with three more on their own) and have them write it out in the form of an article and present them to the class. I would find a famous interview from an online news source and discuss it with them as part of an opener to help them get started.
     
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    My first day we go over the syllabus, expectations, etc. for about 10 minutes after they find their seats. I usually only cover the things in my syllabus which are both important and different to my class. Then I have them do a quick student information sheet. Then I dive into the material. For homework they take a Multiple Intelligence test and obtain a binder. A few days later we organize the binder.
     
  18. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    BC -- That's actually a lesson plan I've done before, when we talk about interviewing. I think I will change it to a simple Q&A and use it on the first day and then use the full lesson later in the semester. Thanks for the idea!! :)

    I was also thinking maybe the best question or the best interview could win a prize of one of the school supplies they are required to bring in (like a composition book)... is it a bad idea to do something like that on the first day? Will it set the wrong tone, you think?
     
  19. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jul 4, 2010

    My high school had a half day the first day of school- the morning was the upperclassmen and the afternoon was the freshmen.
    They stuck us all in homeroom first (we had homeroom about 3 times a year and we had the same homeroom teacher for all 4 years) and we listened to rules, got our schedules and lockers. Then, we had like 15 minutes in each class. So the teacher pretty much just went over rules, what we needed, what we would learn in that class, and then handed out books.

    If I were a HS teacher and had a full class period, I'd probably do some sort of pretest. I do that with my 5th graders on the first day, too.
     
  20. each1teach1

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    Well, I'll be teaching in a school that 90 minute periods, so I don't plan to waste the equivalent of 2 class periods. I plan to introduce myself, go over the syllabus, let them pick Spanish names, complete a cognate activity and review and then I'll teach them their numbers 1-100 to the beat of the macarena. (1-10, 11-20, 21-30 and then 20-100 by tens)
     
  21. SashaBear

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    Jul 15, 2010

    So if you start teaching on day one, what do you teach? Are you doing a warm-up lesson to get their brains working or are you doing Unit 1 Chapter 1 type thing? In my grammar class I would I start teaching the parts of speech?
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I start with the first lesson

    Algebra I: Order of Operations

    Geometry: Basic definitions

    I forget for the other courses, because it's been a few years since I've taught them.

    You want a lesson that:
    - can be done in part of a period, since SOME time has to be spent on administrative stuff
    - the kids will be able to understand and do homwork on; you don't want them frustrated the first day
    - doesn't require tons of prior knowledge
    - will allow you to give homework

    So, yes. I would do parts of speech in your shoes.
     
  23. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2010

    During the first 3-5 days, we have altered schedules...spending more time in homerooms. Like some mentioned, we don't go to homeroom everyday, most days the students go right to 1st period.
    Our first week is typically crazy because we have class schedule changes etc.

    I've typically had 9th and 10th graders (some of the 10th I had the previous year) With all students I introduce myself, take attendance as I put them in alpha order and hand out syllabus to go over. I will spend time with the 9th graders (especially 1st period) asking if they know where rooms are..if rooms change I'll let the 10th graders know.

    I have done a couple of things..MI test, Get to Know You Questionairre, passed out index cards to put their info on that I keep..name, address, parents' name, phone, parents email. Ive also done an initial slide show called Famous Faces I put pictures of historical people, celebs, artists and significant places that the students have to figure out. It gets them working together a bit because the 9th are coming from 2 different middle schools.
     
  24. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jul 19, 2010

    Our 1st day of classes is dedicated to going over the syllabus. We normally drop a class but on the 1st day we meet all periods in a shorter time period. We also go to mass that day so you just have time to go over the syllabus and it is required to go over the syllabus. The 1st full day of classes, I go right into our daily procedures and teach.
     

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