First day of school ideas center around building community and setting procedures and expectations. All of the following school days build on this foundation.
The goal of the first week is to get students into full "school mode" as quickly as possible, with all routines and expectations in place and curriculum being studied.
I have known many teachers who feel that it takes two weeks or more to get kids into the swing of things. These are often the same teachers who think that no learning needs to occur the last two weeks of school. I'm sure this doesn't apply to my readers!
The wrong approach to first day of school ideas can really set a teacher up for a difficult year filled with misbehavior and lowered expectations for grade-level learning. Remember:
NOTE: We like the occasional pleasant surprise, but not daily shocks to our systems! First day of school activity is enough stress to last kids for a couple of weeks or more.
The faster the children learn classroom routines, the more comfortable they will be with what is going to happen at school. They don't have to worry about it. That frees up their minds to focus on learning.
It also keeps them busy. After the first day in school, children who are not busy will not be on their best behavior.
After you have implemented your first day of school ideas (see the other articles in this section ), here's how those ideas are extended through the next four days.
Ready to learn...
...time to teach!
The second day of school is reinforcement of procedures and expectations.
It takes a few sessions for patterns to "stick" with kids, so you'll be reminding and rehearsing lunch line-up, end-of-day room cleanup, paper passing, etc.
You will also be setting expectations for situations they may not have experienced on the first day, such as:
These new situations will continue to crop up for the first two weeks, but by the end of Day Two you will have covered many of the most-important ones.
We also continue with community-building activities and definitely start into curriculum in multiple content areas.
The third day is content and teaching all day long.
First day of school ideas (transitioning from summer to school) are starting to fade and the routines of the next nine months are settling into place.
The content sessions are kept a little bit shorter than normal since we must go over the different procedures involved in each. For example, I have certain expectations about how children hand in their entry task, pick up their personal whiteboards and seat themselves in our gathering place.
The students must practice this procedure (sometimes more than once), so that leaves a little less time for the subject matter that follows.
TIP: Be sure to account for this when you do your lesson planning.
Days Four and Five
Days four and five of the first week are regular schooldays; full curriculum, full instruction in all areas from day four forward.
As noted above, there is no time to waste. Aside from helping with behavior, your first assessments are just a couple of short weeks away. For example, I'm giving my first unit math assessment by the end of the third week of school.
Our first full week of school is often split by a weekend. Expect a little backsliding to occur and be ready for it. How? As always, by restating and reinforcing expectations.
Children don't need two weeks to "settle in." They crave a situation where they can be settled as soon as possible. The faster they settle into your school routine, the less chance there will be that they settle into an inappropriate routine of their own (naughty) design and the more fun everyone - including you - will have!
If you want your students to behave, then you must keep them busy...and the way we stay busy in school is by doing schoolwork.
First day of school ideas offer great starting places. Transitioning from day one through day five, however, is where the real, long-term impact happens.
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