Having a GREAT 1st Day

first-day-of-school-frugal-coupon-living-1024x682Today was the first day of school…YAY!  It is so great to have students back in our building.

Here are some tips for a great 1st day:

Morning Meeting: Have you heard of morning meetings?  It is a great routine that helps grow a classroom community.  A complete morning meeting lasts about 20 minutes and contains 4 parts: (1) Greeting, (2) Sharing, (3) Activity, and (4) News and Announcements.

Establishing the Routine:  Great questions to ask after you have gathered students to your meeting area on the first day are:

  • Have any of you been to a meeting?
  • What kinds of meetings do you know about?
  • What happens at a meeting?
  • What do you think might happen in our meetings?
  • In order to make our meeting run well what might we have to do?

Great 1st day greeting:

  • SAY YOUR NAME – This greeting is great because everyone gets a chance to say everyone’s name and it does not include body contact which might make some students feel uncomfortable on the first day…All you do is chant:  “Say your name and when you do we will say it back to you!”
  • Great 1st Day Sharing
    • Display the following poster:IMG_1076
    • Walk around the circle and give each student a few M&Ms.  Students choose a color they would like to answer and eat any extras.  Then go around the circle and have students share their color and answer.
  • Great 1st Day Activity
    • Pass the Mask as found in the book Energizers!
    • IMG_1078Start with a discussion:
      • Who has wore a mask before?
      • What was the mask?  When did you wear it?
      • On the first day of school we can have a lot of emotions.  Some students could be scared, happy, sad…(have students show faces for each feeling)
    • Pick a face to show to the person next you and then they turn to their neighbor show them the expression you modeled…this expression then travels around the circle.  When it as returned to you then ask the students to report what emotion the face expressed?

Read Aloud:   What is a good book to read aloud on the first day?  YOUR FAVORITE!  Show that you are a reader and that reading is important by reading your favorite book to the class.  Take time to explain what makes the book special to you.  Then for homework ask students to write down the title or bring in a copy of their favorite book to share on day 2.

Turn and Talk:  Talking is such an important component to understanding.  Teaching the procedure of turn and talk is a great first day activity!  Here is a quick video I found online in case you haven’t seen this method:

Classroom Library:  In 3rd grade teachers were eager to get books in the hands of their readers.  They introduced the class library, how to choose books, how to return them, and gave students 10 minutes of independent reading.  As teachers we carefully observed student behaviors and stamina during this time and took notes (Who was reading aloud?  Who was pointing?  Who was looking around and how long were they engaged before this happened?  Who kept reading after time was called?)

Reader’s Notebooks:  Today in 5th grade we introduce our Reader’s Notebooks and idea that Reading is Thinking as modeled here.  We modeled this by randomly pulling a book out of the class library and reading the first page (our reading voice).  When the page was finished a student just automatically made a comment about the text (his thinking voice).  We wrote his and several others thoughts down on the board to demonstrate the variety of thoughts that can be had.  We also talked about the distracting voice.  Students then glued this completed Reading is Thinking graphic in the front of their notebooks:





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