Friday, September 4, 2009

First day of school

School starts for me on Tuesday.  There's always a lot going on during our first day of school, so the schedule for classes is shortened to about a half hour.  Now, there's nothing particularly different or spectacular about the way I run my first day, but there are a few things I think are pretty important about what I do.

I start by handing out a kind of "Getting to know you" sheet that doubles as a record for book numbers.  There's space for student name, what they did over the summer, and three things they like. (Vague, I know)  After books and everything are handed out I go through and have all the kids share what they wrote, but first share about myself. I always try to pick things about me they'd never guess. (Like that I enjoy dancing, and I'm pretty awesome at it)  If you have any trouble learning kids' names, as you're going through on the first day make sure you say the name a couple times out loud back to them ("And, Jamie, what three things do you like?") and listen carefully as they answer.  This first day activity is probably pretty standard, but here's what I think is really important...  As they give their answers, I do everything I can to make some connection with one of the things they've said.  If they say they like video games, I tell them about the time I won a Halo tournament without owning an xbox.  If they went to the shore, I tell them about when I went to the shore over the summer too and what happened while I was there.  If I can't think of ANYTHING, I'll ask them some more questions until I can.  It's pretty helpful to get you to remember each kid, but more importantly it helps make connections with them, making it easier for them to buy into what you're teaching and to respect you as their teacher.  You can figure out some interesting things too.  A few years ago, we figured out that when I was in high school I worked with the older sister of one of my students!

Anyway, I'm really excited about starting school this year.  I hope your first day goes/has gone well!

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