Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Setting Students Up for a Successful Year... part 2

After that first moment comes the first day....

What do you have planned?
Why do you have it planned?
What purpose is the first day of school?
How does it lead to the rest of your year?

Lets Get the Year Rolling to a FANTASTIC start!

Have you sat down and thoroughly thought through your plan of implimentation for the moment the students are in your presence?

Step 1
Spend the time envisioning what you want it to look like.
             *Where are you standing?
             *What are you saying?
             *How do the students know what you want from them?
Now...write it out.  Script it out.  Be clear on exactly how it is going to go. 
       ME...I would write over and over, don't forget to SMILE. Not that I don't smile or am unkind, but when I get focused on what I am doing or what is next, my face is more blank than welcoming. This is misinterpreted as being unfriendly. You know yourself and the places you need to emphasize in your plan.
Here are some items to keep in mind:
      *Where will you be first seeing your students? 
                If they come to you/the room, plan to be outside greeting them with a warm smile, touch and directions.  Remember, they don't know what you expect from them unless it is stated.   
       *While you are greeting each child, what are the others doing?
                Have a get to know you or easy assignment on the desks.  Express to your students how you expect them to be working while you are greeting others.
Here is an example video:

       *If they are not going in one by one, how will you lead them to what you want them to do when they enter?  
           I am an odd ball or at least some of my practices seem to be....My students figure this out the very first moment of the very first day, because, we sit on the floor in the hall way. Want to know more read my first post in this series.  Basically, I start them off on the first day explaining the expectations that start before walking into the room. 
     *What are the intentional activities for the day? Why?  
           If your activities are fillers, things will get out of hand.  What do you need them to know, what information do you need? What materials need to be given out?  How do you plan to conduct each of these "activities?"  
Do what you did for the greeting...thoroughly plan.
Okay, so I didn't do this my first year for every activity.  I will tell you, the places I did it for, it worked.  The ones I didn't...failure.  It takes time.  Then each year you tweak and add items to strengthen that first day. 

    **If you want to teach schoolwide behaviors - walk the school...stop at the spots you need to discuss.  The best time to teach each behavior set is when it comes up incontext.  However, some like, bathroom behaviors can be taught ahead of time.  I don't wait to explain to a child who is sick my policy or "GRAB A CAN AND GO!"   We go over it in general prior.  
    **Need to pass out textbooks/markers or other materials.  Do you have students doing jobs? Go over jobs first.  Then your passers can start by helping you.  ALSO think about how you organize the materials prior to passing them out.  Since I don't have assigned seats but do have assigned books, I organize all of the items they need into one pile per student.  Once we have played our find the right fit desk game, we learn about their number.  Then they pick up the pile that matches.  All the textbooks, book box....are numbered the same in that pile. 
    **Play games or watch short videos to introduce concepts like teamwork, why we need "rules." This hooks the students.  Otherwise, it is you yapping at them A LOT the first days.  

Step 2 
You have a plan. It is written.  Now walk it out.  Stage it. Stand where you will stand, then at least in your mind if not outloud rehearse what you want to say. 

Step 3
Gather materials you need. Be prepared.  

Step 4
Relax, you got this!! 

What are "activities" you do for the first day and why?  I am interesting in knowing.  I love to share ideas. This will be the subject of the next blog post in this series.

Product Details
A FANTASTIC resource is Harry Wong Youtube videos and books.  I am rereading The First Days of School.  Always can pick up something new. Tons of ideas.  Unit C discusses how to effectively set up the classroom for success from the start.