I may be a little late to post this, with many schools already back in session, however I still wanted to take the time to share my plans for the first day of school. My first day with students will be next Wednesday, so I still have some time to finalize my room and my plans.
I teach three, blocked, 7th grade math classes and have changed how I approach the first day each year. The past two years I’ve chosen to opt out of any ice breaker activities. Middle school students are just as nervous as the teachers. The students are nervous about their first-day outfit, finding their new locker, and meeting their new teachers. I believe that by starting the year with an ice breaker – that forces them to speak or do something out of their comfort zone, in front of their new classmates – could be embarrassing and may hinder the classroom moral.
As my students enter my room, they may be feeling nervous, however I want them to leave the first day feeling comfortable and confident. With that being said, I also want to set the tone that our room is a place that we learn and get our work accomplished. Upon entering the classroom, there will be directions on the board that they can choose their own seat and will need to begin working on the daily warm up for that day. Once I go over the warm-up, and some light introductions, I will begin discussing procedures for group stations.
My first day stations consist of:
- Syllabus Scavenger Hunt
- Setting up a Data Folder
- Four Content Review Stations
Although this is my first year doing stations on the first day of school, I cannot take full credit for this idea. After purchasing this resource from The Literary Maven, I really wanted to come up with some great stations, for myself. For my first station, I adapted my Syllabus Scavenger Hunt from this resource. It gets students reading the syllabus before I even highlight some key parts. Instead, students are actively engaged in the syllabus, within their group.
The second station is primarily for students to organize their data folders. Given an example, students will set up their data folders and begin their quarterly goal setting. Since I do not think this will take the entire station time, when students finish their data folder, there will be student surveys for them to complete. The student survey will be homework, if they do not finish during that station rotation.
For the final portion of these stations I wanted to include some content review. This serves not only as a chance to review a skill, but to also set the tone of the school routine and expectations. After taking the summer off, it is important to help transition the students back into “school mode”. For my general math classes, I will be doing some of these stations: Fractions, Decimals, and Percents Conversions. For my accelerated class they will be doing Decimal Operations. Both sets of these stations are from Lindsay Perro.
I wish everyone a great start to their school year and can’t wait to hear any feedback you may have.