I'm bored with my First Day activities. What are yours?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Jen in NCal, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. Jen in NCal

    Jen in NCal Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2008

    I think I am tired of doing the activities that I have done for the last few years. Unfortunately, because of all the assessments we are required to do at the beginning of the year, I need busy work for the kids.

    What kinds of things do you have them doing to keep them occupied?
     
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  3. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Aug 8, 2008

    While I'm assessing individually, the others do the following:
    Definitely some independent reading time.
    Decorate the cover to their writing notebooks
    Put notebook paper in all the reading notebooks, science journals, etc.
    An already made mini Back to School book.

    I also break the individual reading assessment into several days so that I can teach something and then have the kids get started on practice while I call kids back to the table. It would be an easy review lesson on nouns or verbs, like ABC Noun Challenge-find a noun for each letter. Proper noun Challenge--find the name of five countries that start with an N, Five cities that start.....etc. They can use the maps in the back of the SS book. It can be on a grid, like in the Scattergories game.
     
  4. summersun61

    summersun61 Comrade

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    Aug 8, 2008

    Have them sort all their construction paper they bring in by color. They do the dirty work for you! :) They love it!!
     
  5. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    One thing I love to do is for my students to "arrange" themselves by data. They mustn't talk. They line up by shoe size, middle name, height, and more.
     
  6. Jen in NCal

    Jen in NCal Rookie

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    These are part of my team building exercises. We noticed at Camp last year that the kids don't know how to problem solve as a group. So this year we are incorporating more team building stuff. Unfortunately, I have to monitor this so I can't be testing. Much of it is one on one.
     
  7. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I'd say specifically during testing, you can have them work on journaling activities... and during one-on-one reading testing, I have them silent read and complete centers that can be brought to their desks (until they familiarize themselves with the areas of the room). Maybe if you have laptops, you can have them log in to a few websites to explore multiplication, division, or other important areas of math/whatever subject.

    I don't have too much one-on-one testing at the beginning, though, it's mainly whole group, so we do a lot of activities as a class.
     
  8. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Aug 8, 2008

    I'm trying to think of the same thing... what my second graders can do while I'm testing. Grr.
     
  9. DaleJr88AmpFan

    DaleJr88AmpFan Cohort

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    I have them do a "getting to know you activity" involving art. I photocopy a large circle that has been divided into six sections. On one slice, they need to write their name. In each of the other slices, they draw a picture representing themselves. Ideas: favorite sports, foods, recreational activities, color, family, pets, dislikes, fav. books, etc. All pieces of the "pie" must be colorful-- meaning that they need to color them in. The other option is to have a 6"x6" square divided into 2"x2" sections on the top and bottom rows. The middle row would be left open for their names. Does this make sense? Create a sample for yourself and explain what each section means to you. Have students plan their project and draw lightly with pencil. Then, have them add their splashes of color. Once done, all students share their project with the class. I then mount them on construction paper and add them to my room's decor.

    One of my colleagues has made a back-to-school packet that includes a wordsearch puzzle with the names of all the students in the class hidden. It also has other "fun" worksheets that include coloring, basic mathematics, puzzles, jokes/riddles, and such.
     
  10. zoodies

    zoodies Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    We do an introducing yourself to fourth grade writing assignment. They have to write about what they are scared of coming to 4th (we are a different building), what they look forward to, favorite subjects, what they want to learn, who their best friends are, etc. The second part is about themselves, hobbies, sports, family, interests. They could work on this while you are testing. I usually have a questionaire for them to fill out before they actually write. The more questions the better the paper! Our students come from 3rd knowing writer's workshop, so they know how to handle writing for longer periods of time. Plus it's about them, so they like it:) It can also be saved to compare their writing at the end of the year.
    We also do me bags. They decorate a white paper sack that must describe them personally. They take the bag home and put 5-10 items in that "fit" and bring them to school to discuss. So decorating the bag may take some time.
     
  11. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I take the first two days and lay hard into the procedures and rules. We review, review, review. We create anchor charts for what behavior looks like. I take pictures of the students following the procedures and rules. I find that if I take this time out, I can get a lot more done with testing after than if I start testing right away.

    It also leads well into quiet activities while I am testing. I print out smallish pictures in black and white and let students work at creating their own rules book and their own procedures book. They cut, they glue, they write and they love to spend time seeing if they can get in all the details.

    I try to change things up and "allow" them things when I see great behavior. The first day, I pull out all the math manipulatives and talk about them a bit. I take a poll to see which ones they would most love to use. I save those for last :D.

    I like to switch things up- 20-30 minutes on one thing, take a break, stretch, review the rules, and introduce a new activity. Sometimes inserting things like, "Wow, I can see the class was very respectful while I was working with Johnny. Did you know that respectful and responsible students are able to have more freedom? I'm thinking that respectful, responsible students will be able to choose whatever math manipulative they want after lunch!"
     
  12. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Well, I did exit slips yesterday where they listed a question they still had, something they learned, and something they liked.

    The one thing that most of the kids liked was something I did new this year.

    I wrote down 5 big procedures for my classroom (sharpening pencils, working as a group, asking a question, lining up, and checking out a book from my library). I then grouped them up, and had gave them 5 minutes to work out a skit showing how to correctly and incorrectly do the procedure they were given. It was hilarious! Hopefully they remember!!!

    I also read aloud from our first read aloud. It got most of their attention (even the one who was "too tired to do anything".

    I also did the grid activity where the kids have to find signatures for different things (someone who went to a different school last year, someone who likes pizza etc). Everyone enjoyed that!
     
  13. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 9, 2008

    A procedures book sounds like a really neat idea, TeacherPippi!

    What do your "anchor charts" look like? Or how are they created?
     
  14. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Loves2Teach, I do a lot of the activities that you suggested! The skit one generates a lot of excitement.
     
  15. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I make T-charts similar to the charts used with the Daily 5

    One side is for students and one for the teacher. Pretty soon they see that on most charts, the teacher list is pretty short-- and that is great because it means more teaching!

    I have students model the behaviors and we put into words the different things they are doing.

    Ex.
    "Working at My Desk"

    Student
    *Get started right away
    *Allow others around me to work (this can cover a lot;))
    *Stay on-task
    *Quietly gets supplies AND puts them away when finished (other anchor charts for how to get supplies and put them away)

    Teacher
    *Working with indivudual students or small groups

    I leave my anchor charts up for 2 weeks or so after I introduce something and we go over them SEVERAL times per day-- more than you think you need to. After that, have a set of magnetic clothes pins and the charts all get put together there. We go over one or two per day during morning meeting. Later in the year, it is fun to see if they can remember all the parts without the chart.

    For students who are struggling with a particular skill, I like to type up the info and then print it out and put it on their desk. I encourage them to pick a classmate who will challenge them to work on the skill and who will be a good helper to gently remind them.
     
  16. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Ooooo I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!
     

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