The FIRST DAY is SO EXCITING! Even though I am not ready to go back to school yet (I still have so much I wanted to get done and …. SUMMER), I love thinking about the first day back. I can’t wait to actually meet and interact with the amazing young learners that I will get to work with this year. Their enthusiasm for learning is at a high the first days of school and I am excited to harness that and turn it into amazing math!
I do not go over my course guidelines the first day. I would rather spend that day getting to know my kids, having them get to know each other, and playing with math! I have found that it is better to go over one guideline every day or so in the first few weeks, as they naturally come up. I usually say, “Refer to this place in your syllabus.” in response to a student question. This reminds students that the syllabus taped in their notebooks is a great place to look for important information that they may need.
Sarah Vanderwerf is a thoughtful educator and you should definitely follow her blog if you don’t already. Basically my entire first day is coming from her! Last year I did Sarah’s name tents and I loved them! I think my students liked them as well because later in the year I learned that some students had shared part of their name tent on Snapchat. I also noticed some of them kept their name tents in their notebooks. Even though replying to name tents took a lot of work the first week, getting to know each of my students better was worth it, especially if they appreciated it as well. I also did Sarah’s 100’s Task later in the week last year. But I loved it so much I am doing it on the first day this year!
Our first day has very short class periods, only 25 minutes long, so I don’t have time for much. We still have almost two weeks until school starts so my first day plans aren’t firmed up completely yet, but this is what I am thinking.
- Greet students at the door with a Hi-Five and instruct them to look for their seat.
- I always have a seating chart the first day to help ease student anxiety. I will have their names on their tables and may even project it.
- Name tents will be waiting at their tables to give them something to start on before class starts. I am a die hard “bell to bell” teacher and there is no better time to start this than the first day! I will have an example name tent for them on each table.
- Display what they need for my class this year and briefly talk about it while they finish their name tents.
- Have student introduce themselves to the other students at their table.
- Have each student write down their favorite movie, ice cream, and vacation spot. Then each table group compares answers to determine the favorite move, ice cream and vacation spot of the group. After they finish, they will share their group answers with the class. We did this in our CPM training and it was a fun and low stress ice breaker activity. (I may not have time for this, and may have to push it to day 2). I will pass out textbooks during this time.
- 100’s Task! I will take pics of the action!
- Discuss 100’s Task and share the pics I took to show them what great group work looks like! I’m not sure how I will record this yet. I will either write it on the white board or type their responses into a google doc so I can print it out and share it with them. (I may do this on day 2 so I have time for the ice breaker above).
- Closing. I’m terrible at class closure. I’m going to set a 5 minute timer on my watch so I can remind myself daily to close the lesson. Not sure what this looks like yet. They will need to clean up their tables and turn in their name tents. I don’t know if I will have time for an additional closing activity! This may just be a time for me to say goodbye and have a great day!