Sunday, August 2, 2015

5 Day One Ideas Instead of Going Over the Rules

I know I'm in the middle of a video series, but I just wanted to write tonight. Sometimes it feels good to write a little. 

Also, my first day as a teacher, had a very memorable experience. Check it out HERE

Students don't want to hear you go over your classroom rules on day one. Have them create, make, or design something instead. Make it about the students. They should feel like what they did was worthwhile and make them want to come back. Doing something fun on the first day is good.

Here are 5 things you can do instead.

1. I'll start with what I do. I give them a half sheet of paper. They fold it in half, hot dog style. On one side, they write the name they want to be called (within reason). On the back, they write or draw the most unique thing about them, or a highlight from the summer. On the inside, I have them draw themselves as a superhero, using their super power. We then have a sharing time and the student has 3 options to share from. I imagine that each student will be comfortable sharing one of them. It allows me to mingle with every student why they all are working. I get to know their names during this time and by the end, I know all of their names. Some substitutes - Play-Doh or Legos work well for this, as well. 

2. Put a random object on each desk in your room. Have each student come up with an idea on how that thing could be used in your class. Spatula, Fork, Screwdriver, Basketball, Teddy Bear, Hat, Cup, whatever. Make it random. 

3. Adding a timer to anything makes for time-on-task.  Have them write a story about what they think this class will be like from the perspective of something in the room. Perhaps, something like a desk or the carpet. Give them 3 minutes to pre-write some ideas and 7 minutes to write it. You could also get in groups of 3. First person writes about how they think the beginning of the year will go, 2nd person writes about the end, 3rd person ties it together. Present them together. You could also have groups present each other's. You would combine the groups and they would each teach the other group their song. It could serve as an introduction? 

4. Scavenger Hunt / Amazing Race. Why not teach them about your room, by doing a scavenger hunt? Use QR codes or a Google Form. What is this corner called? Where do you turn in assignments? What is one spot in the room where you shouldn't sit because there is a horrible glare from the window? Those types of things. 

5. If you don't have multiple classes, why not pile all of your stuff and furniture into the middle of the room. Maybe stack it all the way to the ceiling? Have the students put your room together however they want to. It's a great opportunity to talk things through like, "Will this work well here?" "Is this going to make learning easier?" "Is this the best way to arrange this?" "What are some ways you can use this space to enhance learning?" 

I think you have to make it about the students. It has to be their space. Even if you put your room together, it has to feel like a space that is welcoming and that students are valued.

I hope these ideas benefit you, or at the least, make you think about some ideas for starting the school year. 

Share your ideas in the comments. 

1 comment:

  1. I thought I'd add this comment to help people who see Matt Miller's post in the #1st5Days LiveBinder (, as he also shared this resource: