I wanted to share my best advice for the new school year in hopes it will inspire you.
Procedures and expectations are very important and should begin on the first day and repeated often in the beginning. They are learning what it is to be in your classroom and those first few days will set the stage. Spending time on procedures will save you heartaches and time later. Taking the mystery out of your expectations helps build stability.
Do not overlook the passion and experiences that need to occur. As mentioned, you are setting the stage! Make it memorable!!!
1. Plan activities that will make students walk out of your classroom ready to walk back in. They should experience something in that first day that pumps them up about being in your room and being a part of a new team of students. This is just as important in High School as it is in Elementary. After all, don’t we as adults want those experiences?
2. Get them creating in the first day. Creation fires off the brain and helps them to take ownership. “Teach Like a Pirate”, Dave Burgess, suggests using play-dough. Challenge them to create something with play-dough. Your goal is to walk around and talk with each individual student and have them tell you about their creation. Do not pass up your chance…you should have a one-on-one conversation with every child on that first day.
3. Find a book or idea that leans itself to a discussion. Again, get them talking. When you make that connection and getting them talking, you open their mind to learning.
In Elementary, I always read books that would connect back to the culture I wanted to create. Books like “Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon,” “Mr. Peabody’s Apples,” “Chrysanthemum,” and more. High School, consider an excerpt that will ignite passion or get them thinking about what they will be learning.
If you teach Math, Science, or other subjects. Find a really cool story, song, or fact related to your content that will get them thinking and shows the fun or cool factor in your content.
Remember, teaching and learning can be fun! After all, what do you remember about school? What teachers and classes make you smile when you think back?
We have less than 180 days with these kids. Less than 1260 hours if you have them all day. If you have them only 1 hour a day, that is 180 hours to make an impact and teach them what they need to know. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want them to learn from you?
Best wishes on the new year,