I really do love the first week of school. It’s not Christmas, but sleeping the night before has always felt like I am ten years old and I am way to excited to sleep. Then… the alarm goes off and I want to snooze away. I have always felt the worst part of my job is an early alarm clock. I have come up with a few ways to curb a little of the exhaustion that comes with the first week of school, but I don’t think there is a way to avoid the after school nap.
I love this game because it gets them up and talking to each other within the first few minute of class. I wait to take roll until after the game because it gives me a chance to introduce myself personally to each student and hear them say their names.
Do you get sick of hearing yourself talk? Don’t do it. A simple solution is to film a video. This is by far one of the best things I have done for myself during my teaching career. I have made an eight-minute video introducing my course syllabus. Along with the video, I have also created a scavenger hunt for my students to play. My students were engaged and on point when I reviewed the questions with them. Due to this being a flipped room activity, I am able to run around like a crazy person, solving whatever first-day issues arise while they are on task. An added bonus to creating this video is I also use it on back to school night. (10 minutes x 6 periods) + 1 video = an evening out of the year, for every year of your teaching career, where you won’t have to repeat yourself over and over. This makes talking in front of a camera totally worth it.
Digital copies of my course outlines.
PASS AROUND THE ROOM DRAWING
I squeeze this in when I have about 15 minutes to spare at the end of a period. Basically, we are drawing a person passing the drawing to the right between each aspect of the figure. First, I have them draw a circle in the upper 1/4 section of the page and then they pass the paper to their right. Next, I have them draw a neck and pass it to the right. Part by body part or item of clothing, I have them draw the figure, passing the drawing to their right after every step. After they complete their collaborative drawings we do a gallery walk so we can enjoy the creativity of the room. I like to talk with them about drawing ideals and how art is more enjoyable when we let go of the idea that art is only good if it looks like a photograph.
This is the first year I have done this and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It will take a little more than 2 class periods and is totally worth it. The kids are laughing, getting to know each other, and learning some key things they will use all year long. They learn how to make a copy of a digital handout, add the turn in folder to their Google Drive, how to submit a digital assignment, how to use FlipGrid, and most importantly they make a friend in the classroom.
While they are engaged in the activity I was able to walk around and input their names into the seating chart. In the years past I have sent the seating chart around and let them fill it in. This time I was able to talk to everyone individually and find out just exactly what they want to be called and the correct pronunciations of their names.
I have also included video explanations of three team building games we will play throughout the week. Letting them see the rules of the game before we play will hopefully make leading the games a little more efficient.
I have my students fill out a slip of paper that I keep in a folder on my desk for a time filler when instruction doesn’t go all the way to the bell. I introduce the student, read the three sentences and have the class try to figure out the lie. This gives me a chance to ask each student a little about themselves in front of the room.
In a blink of an eye, it is going to be Thanksgiving break, Winter break, Spring break, and then it’s the end of the school year. I highly suggest making all of your photocopies during the last week of school leading into the Summer break. I know at the time it’s hard to imagine the next school year, but it’s worth it. You will be ready to go and will not have to deal with the copy room cluster.
Have an amazing first week of school!! If you have name games or tips you do to make your first week of school a breeze let us know in the comments below.