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I’ve written about my typical first day of school before, but I thought I’d go into more detail this year. Since I’m not actually going back to school this year (I’ll be on baby-coming-any-day countdown!), I am sharing what I’ve done in the past and how I would change it for this school year.
I always have assigned seats for my students as they walk into the classroom. I’ve tried having student’s names written on cards and putting them on the desks between classes (kind of like they do in elementary school). Yeah, don’t do this, it takes forever and the kids can switch the name cards. I’ve also tried having a seating chart projected or posted on the board and having the students find their own seats. It works a little better, but first day anxieties don’t mix very well with reading diagrams. I’m still looking for the perfect solution to this problem.
Then, I stand at the door and shake hands with every single student as they walk in. Think of it as a good immune system jolt for the school year. If it really freaks you out, squirt some hand sanitizer when the bell rings. I got this idea from The First Days Of School: How To Be An Effective Teacher by Harry Wong. Great book, good ideas.
As the students come in, I have something posted on the board with the class, room number, and directions. This is what I had posted on the board last school year. Our school colors were blue and white :)
I would use the same homework assignment that I used last year. I loved it! It is a free download in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Basically, the students tell you about themselves using numerical expressions. I would have them start working on it at the beginning of class, and whatever they didn’t finish would be homework.
I always briefly go over expectations on the first day of school. It was something I always expected as a student, and I feel like it’s less stressful for the students to at least give them a hint on the first day. Then, I would launch into a brief lesson about patterns. I’ve used this powerpoint before, but never on the first day of school. This could also be related to any high school math class, which is nice. The first day is exhausting enough, it would be easy to use the same lesson for each prep, but relate it to the students in different ways.
Some of the patterns are pictures, some of the patterns are mathematical, and some are just for fun :)
This pattern is my favorite. It always takes my students for-ev-er before anyone starts to get it. I give them hints along the way. Most students stare or try to make it make sense mathematically, but that’s not how this pattern works.
In your head, read it this way:
One One and One Three
Three Ones and One Three …
If I have time at the end of class, I would have students come up with their own pattern and write it on the back of their homework sheet.
I avoid the name game type stuff and the “go around and introduce yourself” activities. I HATED them as a student and dislike them as an adult. So, I try to help out the quiet kids and not freak them out on the first day :)
What are you planning to do on the first day of school this year?