What do you DO on the first day of school?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Or even the first week, but more exactly, the first day? Do you have a speficic list of things you need to complete by the end of the first day? Just thinking about it. I don't have a classroom as of yet, but something could pop up and I want to be prepared...
     
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  3. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I did some fun ice breaker type activities. I also did an art project that I put up on my bulletin board that day. I went over some procedures, like going to the bathroom. It goes by so fast that you don't really need a lot to do. You also need to have some time for unpacking backpacks and putting school supplies away. Think about where you want everything to go.
     
  4. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I have a script that I usually follow. I thought I had it stored on my computer (I was going to paste it here) but it must be stored in my filing cabinet. Let's see if I can remember most of it . . .

    - welcome the kids as they come in (I have a bell work to occupy them right away - a questionnaire on their likes, dislikes, etc.)
    - Give each a chance to say one thing about summer (middle schoolers love to talk about themselves!!)
    - Go over procedures (I have them on a slide show).
    - Go over discipline contract (they sign, parents sign)
    - make name tags for desk (I laminate so they will last the year)
    - Go over bus rules, school rules, fire drill procedures (get volunteers)
    - Talk about subject marking schemes
    - 4 corners activity - students develop room rules, goals for the year (school goal, personal goal), what they need in order to do well, etc.
    - Assign HW (BB display w/ items they bring in from home that represent who they are).

    I usually have their books already on their desks (I assign each a number), but if we have time we walk through them so they get excited about what we are going to learn (haha - I am such a geek . . . )

    If I have time I touch a bit on their math facts - they always have a multiplication test the 2nd or 3rd day back.

    I'm sure there is a bunch more stuff that I have forgotten - I never seem to have enough time on the first day, and I am always worried that it is too much of me "blah blahing"). But, I want to make sure that we start off on the right foot re: procedures and discipline, so I do go through it, but try to make it as fun and engaging as possible.

    I'm going to watch what other people write here - I might switch things up a bit this year!
     
  5. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    I have each class for ten minutes the first day! I barely have time to take attendance and talk to them a little about procedures. Crazy, huh?
     
  6. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Aug 10, 2008

    PRAY-Sorry I couldn't resist.
    The most important thing on the first day is to establish routines and rules and consequences for following or breaking the rules.Let the children help to create the rules. Model everything,I want to be sure the children understand everything I want them to do and what each rule means.
    I usually spend the first few days doing activities to learn the children's names and something about them. I also try to determine in the first few weeks the children's abilities in reading,writing and math. I am always amazed how many children coming in with high test scores,really have poor academic skills.Just because it is in the previous years curriculum don't assume the children have mastered it or even covered it. A fatal mistake I made my first year teaching.
     
  7. msmath

    msmath Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I teach 7th grade.

    The first day:

    Welcome students at the door. When they come in they have to fill out information. Name, phone numbers, strengths/weaknesses in math, interests/hobbies, do they need to sit in the front/anything I should know, what they liked/disliked about math last year/fav subject/etc...

    Then we go into the rules, procedures, and expectations. I have a packet that they and their parents have to sign. That is their first HW assignment, plus getting the required materials. I model the procedures and we practice the ones that we can practice that day.

    We talk about summer and what they did. I explain how I'm excited to get to know them and teach them and about my class.

    First week:

    -rules/procedures
    -diagnostic test (to see what they know and basic skills)
    -goals. I like to talk about the importance of goals, and they make long-term and short term goals for the class and school year.
    -Review the diagnostic test. Review key concepts form 6th grade. I also like to play a review game on Friday or during the second week.
    -Give out textbooks. Set up portfolios. Set up notebook.
    -Quiz on Friday on the rules and procedures.


    I introduce,model, practice, and reinforce the procedures throughout the first few weeks.
     
  8. Goldie

    Goldie Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    First day--welcome students
    worksheet at desk to complete (usuallly math)
    routines/procedures
    rules
    bingo game (high freq. words/number/addition)
    routines/procedures
    second grade survival bags
    get to know each other activities

    All week- routines and procedures
    art activity to display before parent night
    testing/easy centers to keep them working while I
    test
    reading story from anthology/activites
    get to know activities
    about me book
    bingo games (addition/number/high freq. words)
    writing about summer
    sharing their picture of something done this summer
    and reading aloud their favorite book
    math activites

    During the first week, there is no homework. We use Saxon math and phonics but don't start till week two.
     
  9. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Aug 10, 2008

    For high school seniors:
    Welcome each as they arrive, have them pick a playing card from a basket - they find the seat with the corresponding card
    Introduce myself briefly
    Teach Power Teaching "Class - Yes!"
    Take attendance and fill out seating chart while students are filling out information sheets
    Introductory PowerPoint on the curriculum and policies
    Icebreaker activity
    Assign homework - write a descriptive paragraph about what we discussed in class today
    That pretty much fills up a 55-minute period. :)
     
  10. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Procedures/routines more than anything else, and some icebreakers like Classmate Bingo, a journal writing activity, and reading a novel out loud. I am reading No Talking by Andrew Clements first this year. They also complete surveys. Besides that, I tell my students about the Me Bags they have to complete for the second day.
     
  11. kstar03

    kstar03 Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Very helpful stuff!!! I had the same question/worry, heavens
     
  12. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I screwed up the first day of school in my first year of teaching, and didn't get a first day last year (started in February and was made to go straight into the curriculum where the previous teacher left off), so i'm looking forward to getting it right this time.

    To start, i'll greet the students at the door and seat them according to the seating chart (i already know all of last year's 6th graders, as i did a lot of work with all the 6th grade classes last year). They will fill out an index card with basic information (including which language is spoken at home). I don't want to ask them about their favourite subject because i feel like we sometimes unconsciously lower our expectations for students who pick something other than our subject.

    Next, I'll be going over rules and procedures. The students will physically rehearse each procedure, including:
    -- What to do when you want to answer a question or make a comment (yeah, you'd think 7th graders would know this by now, but of course they've had all summer to "forget")
    -- How to pass papers forward (i don't allow students to start passing up their paper until they have the papers of the students behind them, so for example, row 5 passes to row 4, then row 4 passes two papers to row 3, then row 3 passes three papers to row 2, then row 2 passes everything to row 1. I find that it makes middle-row students less annoyed at having to turn around multiple times to collect papers)
    -- How to line up at the end of class/how to enter the classroom and what to look for when they enter
    -- The hand signal for "can i use the bathroom?" (closed fist). Asking to use the bathroom or raising your hand in any way other than a raised fist to ask for the bathroom will cause me to automatically say no.

    I'd like to let the students create the rules, but i'm not going to. The rules will already be made, and included in my PowerPoint and on their class rules which they are taking home to have signed.

    What i WILL do, however, is discuss with the students and make a list of what they expect from me, followed by a list of what i should expect from them.

    All of this will probably not take 90 minutes, so if it doesn't then we're going right into a diagnostic test. I haven't decided the homework yet (aside from the signed form). I also intend to write a letter greeting the parents, telling them what we are going to do this year, and giving them my contact information. I will also be giving them a heads up that i like to assign homework that requires parental involvement from time to time. Sometimes the parent's sole responsibility will be to take the student to the store, but sometimes the parent will need to do more than that!

    Wow, i applaud anyone who managed to reach this sentence! Your reward will be that you get to hear how i "screwed up" on my first day. I'll preface by saying that NO ONE told me ANYTHING about the importance of the first day, or what to avoid at the start. So here's what i did:
    1. In my opening, i slammed down a book (they were already quiet, it was for effect) and asked a student, "who are you?" I proceeded to make only question statements to the child, which the class found pretty funny. (Mistake #1: doing something "funny" in my first moment with the class)
    2. I then yelled "YOU!" and pointed across the room at a stunned/delighted student. I then marched across the room, including leaping over an unoccupied chair en route. I then made question-only statements to that child. (Mistake #2: giving the impression that it's okay to leap over furniture in class) (Mistake #3: raising my voice over the gradually increasing noise/laughter of the class)
    2a. The point of the intro, by the way, was to highlight the importance of asking questions (Mistake #4: starting science class with an actual science lesson).
    3. Eventually i gave out the class rules, but we went over them in literally about 5 minutes and that was that (Mistake #5: spending 5 minutes total on rules, and 0 minutes on procedures).
    4. On the SECOND day of school, i played a fun game with them (Mistake #6: Ugh...). It was the balloon tower (which involves no talking in theory, but an ENORMOUS mess after four classes worth of balloons popped on the floor. NOT a good first impression to make on the janitor! To be fair though, i did sweep up the balloons at the end of the day and leave them in a GIANT pile in the front of the room.
     
  13. Ms.C teaches

    Ms.C teaches Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    I like your idea of doing a power point of the classroom procedures and rules. That would be more interesting for the students instead of just reading off the procedures packet that I will give them. I am also having the students as well as their parents sign the back sheet of the procedures packet to keep on file so I know that they have read the procedures. I am a new teacher this year, so as soon as I get a school/district e-mail address (I'm not giving out my personal one) I am going to have business cards made up with my contact information for the parents.
     
  14. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2008

    I have to amend my previous post, to mention that i will definitely be implementing aspects of Power Teaching, so my first day will also involve rehearsal of the Big Six.
     
  15. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2008

    Chas,
    Your story of the first day of school is so funny. I too have made the mistake of being way too much fun the first day of class. Now I just go over the rules.
     
  16. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Aug 12, 2008



    Chas, no one helped you out at all?? I'm checking on both of the new teachers on my campus to make sure they're ready for the first day.

    The biggest & most important thing is getting correct addresses to go home that afternoon & phone numbers. We have a lot of bus kids and usually at the end of the first day there are about 10 kids in the office who don't get on the right bus or don't know what bus to ride. They're squalling and bawling and so is the first year teacher who wasn't told.

    Smile a lot, relax.

    Great the children & parents with a smile & handshake.

    Smile a lot, relax.

    Then we'll brainstorm and develop our Class Constitution, which is just the classroom rules because I want my kids to have ownership.

    Smile a lot, relax.

    They have some surveys to work on, I'll quickly organize community property. I have baskets sitting out and ready.

    Smile a lot, relax.

    We're Wildcats and I have a poster-board size wildcat cut into puzzle pieces that need to be colored. They'll color their pieces then as a "family" we'll put it together on my white board. I'll establish that "We have to work together to make the class run efficiently."

    Smile a lot, relax.

    We'll take a tour of the school and playground.

    Smile a lot, relax.

    Go over the district's handbook.

    Smile a lot, relax. Try to make it the best day of the year.

    Did I say, "Smile a lot and relax?"
     
  17. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Aug 12, 2008

    This is my 5th year and I worry about this at the beginning of every year. I've got a long list of procedures that I like to get in during the first week.

    The first day I worry about the basics:
    lunch/attendance-my kids show me both in a pocket chart
    line-up -this should be interesting this year. The kids get here no later than 8:00 and we leave at 8:15 to go to special class.
    stair rules -our school has specific rules on how we go up and down the stairs.
    lunch seating-I tried an arrangement at the lunch table last year and really liked it. It cut down on behavior.

    Other things to be taken care of the first day:
    paperwork that's turned in (checklist)
    supplies (checklist)

    I'm not a big fan of ice breakers. I don't know why, I just hate doing them myself. So that means I really have to work on them with my class. I always do My Brown Bag with the kids. At open house the kids take a brown paper bag home with them with a poem on it. They are to bring it back the first day with 3 things that represent them. We go around and share our items. I think I'm going to do a Time Capsule with the kids this year. We'll do a writing prompt that I do every year (about the 1st day of school). I just thought of this last night, so I don't know what else we'll put in it yet. On the last day of school, we'll open it up.
     
  18. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Aug 12, 2008

    Oh, and there are the other basics:
    School rules
    class expectations
    playground rules
    etc...
     
  19. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 12, 2008

    We always have a 3 day week for the first week of school. I start lessons right away... math workshop, reading workshop, writing workshop, but also lots of free time, games, and so forth so the kids get to know one another. I follow the general schedule for the day, but recess is a little longer, math is a little shorter. I give them lots of free time so they will connect and make friends right away. I go over lots of procedures, like bathrooms, boundaries at the playground (we have a woods, and different classes have further boundaries), we do a tour of the school and they learn how to walk from our class to the office, the library and such. We practice our quiet signal(s) and practice lining up.

    We do lots of art also (during the time we would have science/social studies) and it's often an "all about me" sort of activity. We have to have stuff to display right away!!
     
  20. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Aug 12, 2008

    Here is my basic list of things to accomplish.

    Greet students at the door.
    Students work on small easy assignment while I do attend/lunch count.
    Introduce myself, allow students to interview me
    collect some materials for storage (tissues, paper towels, index cards, etc)
    Sort through other supplies with class-what needs to stay here, what goes home
    Procedures-entering in the AM, lining up, going to lockers, sharpening pencils, restroom breaks, etc.
    Students document textbook damages
    go outside and play for a little bit
    restroom/drink breaks
    Student create/complete All About Me posters
    Students interview each other and introduce each other to the class
    Lunch/recess
    Read aloud from novel
    Maybe another comm. building game if time
    Send them home

    We dismiss at 1:00 the first few days so this list may not get completely tackled. Whatever doesn't get accomplished is carried over to the next day. I don't have everything here in the precise order we do the activities. After we sort through supplies I kind of feel for what they need-do the kids need something more active or are they still able to sit still for a while? Anyone look like they need a restroom break? There may also be a scheduled assembly or level meeting with other grades or classes. Somewhere in the first few days we go over the procedures for fire safety patrol as that is 5th grade's responsibility.
     
  21. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2008

    My first day was yesterday the 11th. We have homeroom all week starting from a hour and 15 minutes to shorten a bit each day to only about 10-15 min.

    Yesterday and today was spent introducing myself, taking roll (we have schedule changes alot the first week or so), going over syllabus. Explaining what I expect from them, what they can expect to do in class this year. As of now just about all 6 classes have finished a survey that asks questions about what themselves and we are working on Multiple Intelligences Quizzes, I do this to show them that everyone has some type of 'smartness or intelligence" and its not limited to getting straight As. They seem to like it and some admitted to learning about new things about themselves ( i have 9th/10th graders). I review rules/procedures each day. Next week, we will spend 4 days going over the notebook/binder and I will be telling them exactly what I expect in great detail.
     
  22. nhagle

    nhagle Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2008

    What Multiple Intelligneces Quizzes do you use ? Where can I find them? I am a new middle school teacher teaching special education and I have been looking all over the web and all I can find are small elementary like quizes for learning styles. :thanks: for any information that will help me.
     
  23. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Procedures, procedures, procedures!! With some fun activities mixed in...I like to do a time capsule the first day. I also like to have the kids create a Bio Poem or About Me poem and Picture. Last year I turned the pictures into a quilt and kept it on the wall all year. On the last day of school we opened the time capsule, shared what we had written, and cut apart the quilt to take the individual pics home.

    I also give out textbooks and let the kids get familiar with them. I toss in a few games here and there-- especially review games that I plan to use often in the classroom.

    I like to do a read aloud as well on the first day.

    It's also a good idea to do a survey about the kids' like/dislikes and to have them compile a list of things they are interested in to be used (unbeknownst to them) later to pull writing ideas from...

    I also like to give them the little quiz about following directions...the one that says "Read the test completely before beginning," and then the last question says, "Don't answer the questions. Just write your name on the test, turn it in quietly and begin reading a book. If you already answered the questions, turn your paper in quietly." This shows them that it will be important to follow all directions this year! Ok, so maybe this is too much for the first day...LOL
     

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