What we do in the first days of school sets the stage for the entire year.
I like to use the first days to initiate positive relationships, build team, assess needs, interests, and passions, and begin to teach the standards-based curriculum set.
This plan requires attention to detail, preparation, and the ability to flexibly fit the lessons and efforts to the the needs and interests of students, colleagues, and system-wide initiatives.
To do this well, I create and prepare a number of early year lessons, and then prioritize and embed those lessons into the start-of-the-school year.
Right now the lessons I've created and will foster include the following:
Homeroom Team Building, Social Studies, and Science Lessons
- What's your name? Read name list. Discuss importance of names. Show funny name video.
- Review sign in, lunch count, and class jobs procedures.
- Review supply list. Make sure that every child has supplies he/she needs. Organize and store supplies. Collect summer math study packets (review in evening).
- Review room set up, assign studio stations and discuss set-up, expectations, and share.
- Review recess rules, recess.
- Focus on What is a team? What makes a team strong? Introduce notecard tower activity. Students work with team to create note card towers. Students complete lab reports, meet and share.
- Review and practice transition and lunch routines. Review schedule.
- Begin read aloud. Visualization and Empathy to understand historic context and roles as we read historic texts including James Printer, a Novel of Rebellion.
- Review homework: make a word find of classmates' and teachers' names by hand on graph papers so every child get to see and read each others names.
- Review end-of-day routine and recess.
- Collect homework. Review names, jobs, needed forms, news board, and routines again. Just Breathe: Making the most of the mindful moment and other morning routines.
- Tell the story of our United States Constitution, and review school handbook which is like a constitution for our school. What makes our school handbook similar or dissimilar to the United States constitution? Active Reading: The Student Handbook: What do we do well and what can we get better at--how can we shortlist the handbook rules and protocols to a memorable phrase, sign, poem, or acronym? How can we make these rules and protocols are own?
- Work in teams to determine our class government? Share ideas. Work on using handbook and class government ideas to write a class constitution.
- Review transition, recess, and lunch routines. Recess
- Work with folders to create window collages of what everyone sees and knows about you (outside of folder) and parts of you that people might not know and that you want to share in this activity. (Integrating SEL chapter 6)
- Review homework: Parent/Guardian timeline interview
- Read Aloud
- Review names, jobs, and routines again.
- What is the Declaration of Independence?
- What was the context of time, place, and experience that led Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence and what does the phrase "All men are created equal" mean today? How can we rephrase this for our classroom?
- Read the Declaration of Independence together. Discuss history of "All men are created equal" and if that stands the test of time? How can we rephrase that statement for modern times and for our grade-level team?
- Review transition, recess, lunch routines. Recess
- Review timeline project.
- Read Aloud
|Many early year activities|
come from this book.
Days Ahead in Homeroom
- Review TeamFive website together. Introduce computer use, protocols, safety, digital citizenship.
- Marshmallow-Spaghetti Towers
- Team Talk: What is a learning community? What makes a learning community successful? What matters when it comes to being a successful learner? What matters when it comes to being a positive learning community member?
- Complete class constitution, sign, and hang up for all to see.
- Set up showcase portfolios and complete Happiness Surveys at start of year. Review this with colleagues -- front page cover ideas and back cover potentially "one word posters."
- Your one word project and Video with Students. Teach/Review Google Draw.
Days Ahead in Math Class
- History of people, skin shade, timeline - "The past affects the future." video
- Pattern exercise
- Boaler "Everyone can learn math" Ted Talk
- Create math class norms, math study spaces/groups and routines for the math classroom.
- What's your number?
- Review summer study, warm-up on facts while learning about equations, expressions, signs using Google draw, games, and more.
- Symphony Math introduction, practice during RTI blocks
- Early year assessments.
- Establish Math Routines, Teach Tools:
- How to use math tools: rulers, calculators, tiles. . . .Using visualization in math and science as we learn about and practice with essential tools: color continuum, number lines, rulers, thermometers, place value chart.
- Equations and Expressions: Using self control and choice to assist your learning and performance (Integrating SEL. . .p. 62-68)
- Math reflection/metacognition - the math journal
- Begin First Unit