July 26, 2017

Day in the Life of a Teacher - THE First Day!

I was looking at what we had coming up the next few weeks in our family calendar and had the moment of OH! School starts back up in a month! A month for us! I know some are prepping to go back within the next week or two, seems like summer just started. I hope you have been able to enjoy your summer and soak up some sun and warm weather! So that brings me to this post ...




A Day in the Life of a Teacher - THE First Day!!


As a new teacher, those first few days gave me a lot of anxiety! How was I going to fit ALL I needed to fit in, in ONE day.

So I had thought at that time ...


I needed to hand out student guides, rules, books, assign trays for students, show them around the room, oh - don't forget to start with the classroom procedures and policies, classroom behavior - the management plan! AND we had computers - what were the rules with that, how I used online resources and more! Add in a fun activity so we got to know each other too! And start teaching?! I wasn't sure how to handle all that load...it was sooo much to all take in!


I crammed 90% of ALL the above within the first day for the first few years of teaching! Then I had that moment of what am I doing? This is nuts! The kids heard 1/10 of what I was saying, especially the new incoming 6th graders that were happy they made it to class on time and were trying to figure out the route and how much time it would take to get to their next class! Then I was having to repeat all of that for the first week, probably two weeks...



My third came and I had to change it up! I wanted to take at least a week to introduce all the above. I made classroom management and policies/procedures my top priority. While taking the time to really get to know my students and fit in the rest here and there.


The first day I introduced a fun Student Interest Activity, that I turned into a FREEBIE! I wanted to get to KNOW my students - this was a weakness of mine and I wanted to make sure that I was taking time to work on that. I had gotten this idea from a mentor and put my own spin on it and implemented it the first day! Lots of discussion, laughs and more came from it, which was wonderful!

 


How I Organized My FIRST Day...

I took this activity, posted the questions on the Smart Board and handed out index cards to students when they came in. I had a posted seating chart (that you hope you attempted correctly...) and students would find their seats and start working.

Bell would ring and I gave them about 10 mins to work. We then spent the rest of the period discussing and sharing answers - whole class discussion. Let me back track and mention I taught two - 43 minute block classes. I introduced a few procedures (NOT all of the them...) - how to come into class, bell ringer, class time, how we exit class. The basics to how the day would run. Then we moved onto classroom management. I had been introduced to Whole Brain Teaching from another mentor the prior year, 2nd semester and it did wonders for my classroom!!

(I will post at a later date about my experiences and what helped and what didn't with 
Whole Brain Teaching - stay tuned!)

But I wanted to implement it right away that third year of my teaching! We went right into how the whole brain teaching and the procedures would look in the classroom - my kiddos looked at me like I was crazy at first, but the process works!

I am a person who needs order and structure within a classroom and I believe so do middle school aged kiddos! It keeps them focused and diligent with their work and classroom behavior.

The rest of the class period finished with discussing procedures and policies and actually acting them out! HOW to come into class, HOW to get started on a bell ringer, HOW to turn in papers, HOW to exit a class ...those are all points of the Whole Brain Teaching. I would go through the motions with them. We would all walk out of the class, come in together, go to our seats and start a bell ringer...

Then the bell would ring and another group of kiddos would come in and we would go through the same as above - which I feel always goes smoother the second or third time for that matter than the first 😉

Yay!! FIRST Day Done!! 


I wanted to help ease those first day anxieties and help give ideas to make your day go more smoothly! I was under the impression that I had to do everything that VERY first day ...and that definitely was not necessary. We get to structure the days how we would like and we want to make it fun for the students! We know that every teacher is pretty much doing the same thing every period that the students go to. So why not change yours up and make it memorable! Enforcing from the beginning your classroom management and policies and procedures is essential and crucial! Mix that in with fun and I bet your students will come back the next day knowing more than you anticipated :)


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FREEBIES, Tips and MORE!!

I gathered a list of other ideas from myself and fellow amazing math educators that hopefully will help you THE first day and days after ...so thankful they were able to contribute all these amazing things below!! 

Bingo - 
*Have students coming from different schools to meet up in middle school? Introduce this FUN Bingo Activity where students can get to know what another and it can lead to a great whole group discussion at the end! Grab your FREEBIE now!



Pennants - 
*I have fallen in love with Scaffolded Math and Sciences Pennants - there different and fun! The best part about them as they double as room decor - win, win! I love displaying students work in the classroom and outside my room in the hallway - the students take pride in their work and enjoy sharing with their peers! She has created a Back to School Math Pennant and Glyph!



Ice Breaker - 
*Want to use an ice breaker activity?! Who loves marshmallows? Grab some spaghetti & string and you have created a STEM activity! Over at Mrs. E Teachers Math she has a created a fun challenge she uses with her students. It would be a perfect activity to break the ice with students that first day!



Stations - 
*Who LOVES stations?? Me!! I can't wait to share in an upcoming blog of how I set up stations and how they worked wonders for me in the classroom - stay tuned (Can we say NEW blog writer here - ideas are flowing in lately, hehe!) BUT, back to stations! Mrs. E Teaches Math has an EDITABLE Stations Activity - Character Education -- Recognizing Respect, Looking to the Future, The Power of Yet and more ...perfect way to introduce the 'rules' of your classroom!!



Routines - 
*Ideas for setting up routines! Middle School Math Man created a great blog post highlighting these great tips to get your first day and after a good jump start! Putting a schedule up on the board to help students KNOW what is expected of them can help classroom routine tremendously. They know what is expected of them and you know what you expect out of them! Routine, routine, routine ....



About Me Activities - 
*Need classroom decor? Over at Activity After Math - Hayley has created this All About Me Activity for students! This activity has options!! There are filled in questions OR you can decide which questions you would like your students to answer! Have students complete, color and customize it all to them!



*Algebra and Beyond has created a new line of activities - iStep! Every kiddo has a phone very similar to the one below! Add in fun things that students can relate to and your building relationships with your students! The new 'About Me Activity' will be a good addition to your first day! 



Problem of the Day - 
*Trying to think of an idea of how to start your day with your students on a daily basis? Creating a consistent schedule is beneficial to you day. It create routine for you and for your students. I personally used a Bell Ringer set up daily for my students! Over at Free to Discover she has a great FREEBIE to help keep your students and their Problem of the Days organized!



Partners in the Classroom - 
*Free to Discover has written a blog post of about using partners in the classroom. That first day - have your students pair up and get to know what another, have them pair up again and keep them going to meeting others in the classroom. My favorite ...Think-Pair-Share - it got students talking and to not be hesitant to participate in front of everyone, because they were able to gain that boost of confidence with confirming their thoughts with a peer.



Hopefully all of this helps you find direction for your FIRST day back!

Good luck, you are going to crush it!! 



What are some of your non-negotiables that must happen 
on that first day back?





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