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Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Year's First Lessons

The way you start a year matters.

Students typically arrive on the first day of school with open hearts and minds, and it is our job as educators to seize the moment and make those first few days inviting, fulfilling, and memorable.

I typically enjoy beginning the year by teaching a few lessons that are new for everyone as well as lessons that help students understand their role and power as learners--the learning to learn curriculum.

Each students' desk is a place to organize and store useful, personal learning items. We'll discuss desk set-up though it's unlikely that students will use their desk much next year.

Your Homeroom
The first message I want to give students is that their homeroom is their "home away from home." It is a room that should be comfortable to them. I'll introduce the room to them, and then we'll talk about the ways we can keep the room cozy, clean, and helpful to their learning and friendships.

The Coat Rack
We'll discuss ways to hang up coats, and store extra clothing and bags.

Sign In
I'll show students the sign-in routine and we'll practice.

I'll introduce a few jobs such as sign in manager, lunch count, and star classroom counters, and those students can begin that work.

Star Classroom
We'll review the school rules and the star classroom attributes. We'll start our work to earn a star right away.

Math Routines
Students will each get a "math drawer" for their math supplies. We'll review the daily math routine and try it out. We'll also review math homework routines. We'll practice and learn math in enjoyable ways.

Numbers Tell Your Story
We'll make a class infographic about the numbers that tell our story as a class, a story that includes birth dates, ages, numbers of siblings, how long you've lived where you live, and more.

I'll begin with my favorite team film and after that we'll identify initial STEAM Teams and engage in STEAM team building activities, conversation, and plans.

As I write I realize that the start of the new year will include lots of community building activities, discussion, and efforts. Building positive relationships and an empowered learning community sets the stage for a successful year to come.