What to do for the first week or so???

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by MsMaggs, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. MsMaggs

    MsMaggs Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2008

    Next year will be my second year of teaching fifth grade, but last year I missed the first month of school. I have no idea what to do with the kids this first week. Well, I do have a few random ideas, but they're not going to take too much time. I want to do student surveys, start a timecapsule, play get to know each other bingo, and, of course, present, model, and practice our classroom procedures...
    What do you guys plan to do those first few days or weeks? When do you start getting into your curriculum? I'm tempted to jump right in, because I want the kids to know that I expect them to work hard and learn, but I also want to create a good sense of community and security with them...
    Also, does anyone have any back-to-school letters and/or packets that they'd be willing to share. I've seen a few that look great, but I'm still not exactly sure what I want/need to have in mine.:confused:
     
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  3. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Jun 19, 2008

    I think that the first few weeks of school is all about procedures/routines/rules etc. I typically spend 6 weeks on this stuff.
     
  4. Deeena

    Deeena Cohort

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    Jun 19, 2008

    After finishing my first year in 5th grade, I have learned that this following year I will spend MUCH more time on procedures, routines, and rules. I would not recommend jumping into the curriculum until you have thoroughly established these things. I thought I knew what my rules and procedures were, however, as the year continued I quickly realized that there were several procedures I did not even think about (partly because I was new). Of course you want to have fun get-to-know-you activities, but make sure you focus on your classroom management. It will pay off in the long run!
     
  5. Picabo

    Picabo Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2008

    Have you checked out the book, The First Six Weeks of School, Ms. Maggs? There's a book discussion on it here at A to Z.

    I used it last year, and it was a life saver. I loosely followed the suggested schedule of activities and such. I plugged in the things that I had to do curriculum-wise (my school's pacing schedule has us giving our first math test nine days after school starts), but really relied on the suggested schedule and activities of the authors.

    The most important thing that I took from the book was the use of morning meetings. I did morning meetings all year, and had great success in creating a wonderful classroom community.

    You should check it out. It's a terrific book!
     
  6. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2008

    Definitely spend the first few weeks on procedures. It will make the rest of your year go so much smoother. If you want a list of the procedures that I go over the first few weeks, pm me your email address and I'll email it to you. I keep a list of procedures saved in my computer so I won't forget anything I need to go over with the students!
     
  7. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Jun 20, 2008

    Exactly. I've been updating my procedure/routines every time I think of something else that drove me insane this year, and when I read something awesome on here. I normally do procedures/routines with a few get to know you activities thrown in to break up the monotony. It's also key to model EVERYTHING. Don't take for granted that 5th graders know how to line up etc. Model your expectations. I will also be happy to email you a list of my procedures/ routines. I have a list as well as a power point.
     
  8. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jun 20, 2008

    I spend time on procedures the first two weeks,but I also begin to introduce curriculum. With the OAT's I would not get through what I have to cover according to state standards if I didn't. My school is also big on The First Six Weeks of School, but in my district, we are mandated to send home interim reports every 5th week of the quarter. With the First Six Weeks of School, I found I did not have much to grade to put on the interims. Ugh. I did use some things, like the morning meeting. It did help develop a classroom community.
     
  9. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2008

    I start off the first day of school going over my rules/consequences/reward. After I teach them, they are enforced from that moment on so that my students know that I mean business and that there will be consequences if they don't follow them. It never fails that five minutes after I finish going over them, a kid shouts out an answer instead of raising their hand. I hate to write their name on the board, but if I don't than my behavior management system will fall to pieces immediately. Anyhow, then we go over procedures and policies, do a few getting-to-know-you activities, and I start doing my assessments (reading, writing and math). I like to get my students working on the first day so that they know they are in school to learn/work and not spend the time goofing off, doing God only knows what. I do start teaching reading that first day because they are learning the comprehension strategies they will be using throughout the school year (predict/infer, questions, evaluate, phonics/decoding, etc.) and it's all whole group since I don't know what their individual reading abilities are at that time. We also start math immediately, too, with homework that night. I know it seems like a lot, but we have 6 1/2 hours with the kids that first day so there is a lot of time to fill since we don't have specials. During my science/social studies block that first week we go over our essential rules with discussions, role playing, modeling, etc. and writing starts on the second day so that I can teach them the writing process.
     
  10. MsMaggs

    MsMaggs Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2008

    Thanks for everyone's input...I'm starting to get an idea of what I should be doing now. I picked up The First Six Weeks of School today and although it looks good, I don't feel like I'd be comfortable using exactly what they have for the day to day plans for the first six weeks. I think I'll pick and choose things to include like the morning meeting and some of the activities, which look like they will help with community building. I'm glad to see some others that started putting the curriculum in that first day...I know I'm going to have to do this to keep up with our state testing, our school tests fairly early...
    Thanks again for the great ideas...please keep them coming!!!
     
  11. Panther

    Panther Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2008

    I would recommend getting right into the curriculum after about the second day. You can only do so much with procedures and get to know you before the kids get restless. We test early in our state and we end up with snow days. If we don't start early we can't get everything in before the Spring. I am coming back to 5th grade after having taught 3rd and 2nd for three years. I am very excited!
     
  12. SnowDaisy822

    SnowDaisy822 Companion

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    Jul 7, 2008

    I also used this book and LOVE it! It helped me so much my first year since I had never been in a room at the beginning of the year either. I usually spend the first week doing community building activities, getting to know you games, and we spend TONS of time on procedures and rules. I have a pretty tough management program involving money so we spend a ton of time talking about that and what it all means. We usually jump into curriculum the second week of school, but not as tough as we will in another week or so. Our reading starts the second week school wide. In other subjects I do more of a review of what they did last year and assess where they are so I can adjust my plans for the year.
     
  13. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jul 8, 2008

    First day plans

    discuss most procedures on the first day, and then review them for the rest of the week, but also get right into teaching.

    Independent reading selection (lesson on how to find an appropriate book, expectations for reading independently, followed by about 20 minutes of reading.)

    Math lesson (lesson on procedures/warm-up routine, Calendar Math lesson, quick bar graph review and making a bar graph)

    More role playing of procedures. I will have a graphic organizer for them to take notes as we go over procedures. I also have ten balloons to pop. In each balloon is a message about a personal pet peeve--pencil tapping, pen clicking, leaning back in the chairs, blaming me for not turning in an assignment, etc. We are going to "pop" those habits right away.

    I may get in the writing pre-test they are required to take.

    The next day will be less going over procedures, more teaching curriculum.
     
  14. DaleJr88AmpFan

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    Jul 8, 2008

    During the first "week" of school, students are only there for Thursday and Friday before Labor Day. I use Harry Wong's ideas as well as a few of my own. Those first two days are introductory days filled with TEAM BUILDING, procedures & policies, review of rules & expectations, and organizing. We do an "intro" activity that is art-based so they get to break into the new supplies and yet aren't listening to me "yap" the whole time. The next week (after our Labor Day one day vacation), we jump right into our math curriculum as well as Balanced Literacy. I already have my librarian clued in that we will be visiting the library on that TUES for a book talk on our first genre of the year. Again, for the next several weeks, I am constantly reviewing procedures while attacking curriculum. By October, they are pretty well trained (as am I) and we start flying!!
     
  15. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    Jul 8, 2008

    We have a 2 hour orientation on Tuesday where we go over rules, procedures, expectations, etc. On Wednesday morning we set up desks and by 10:00 that morning we are teaching curriculum. It's a bit slow at first with having to model procedures, etc., but by Monday of the next week I expect to be into a full schedule, as I expect all my teachers to be.

    I can't image taking a week (let alone 6) before we were actually teaching grade level material.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 8, 2008

    I tend to begin the second day with most subject areas. The first day is filled with getting-to-know-you, passsing out and organizing materials, some diagnostic math activities, discussing expectations and routines.
     
  17. noreenk

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    I love the balloon-popping idea! The first day is all about procedures and expectations, and we spend time discussing the year's curriculum and playing some get-to-know-you games.

    Last year I used an idea I found from a book called Word Study where students have to draw their name using pictures and symbols that describe themselves. For example, I included a paintbrush in one letter to represent my love of art and hid the letter e in a slice of cake because i LOVE desserts. I showed the class a sample with my name and gave them some time to begin their drawings in class on the blank side of a lined index card. Their homework for the first day of school is to then take the index card home and find out the story of their name; why did their parents choose their name? What does it mean? etc. Every morning for the first week or two, I had several students present their names to the class. The kids showed an impressive amount of respect during each presentation. The index cards were then taped drawing-side up on each student's desk as their nameplate.
     
  18. SnowDaisy822

    SnowDaisy822 Companion

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    Jul 9, 2008

    My favorite activity we do is I trace their head and then they have to fill their head with pictures that describe them. They also have to have their name somewhere in there. We also write biopoems that week and we type them up. I then make a really cool bulletin board in the hall with the pictures and poems.
     
  19. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jul 9, 2008

    I LOVE this idea!! Thanks for sharing it :)
     

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