This Monday marked a new nine weeks for us and I have been tweaking my first day introduction stuff a bit every new start. When I first started teaching last year I had a two page syllabus (for real) that the kids had to get signed. Only half of them brought it back. Last nine weeks I had a half page introduction and the whole process went a lot smoother. Here are some things that have made the new nine weeks a smidge easier for me!
Top Five First Day Activities
1. Have Assigned Seats I talk to other teacher about the kids in my upcoming classes, because most of them I haven't met. If there are any problems with hearing or sight I make sure to stick those students up near the board. If there are any major behavior problems I know which students not to stick together etc. The first nine weeks I made the mistake of letting them sit where they wanted and the classroom didn't run as smoothly because I was constantly having to stop and ask them to be quiet. Not gonna happen this nine weeks!
2. Name Tags Since they are new having name tags out on desks may seem rather elementary it helps me pick up on their names a lot faster and provides a mini art lesson. I have student decorate these with things they like to do and I walk around the room and talk with them... Maybe we have something in common and I can make a connection. It also helps them get comfortable with using the art supplies.
3. Have materials out and accessible to students. Knowing where the art supplies are is half the battle. I keep most of my user friendly supplies out so students can get them, themselves. Talking about where these are the first day (really I bring it up pretty much everyday the first week) prevents the "but I don't know where that is at... "
4. Show examples of what the students did last nine weeks, this gets them looking forward to being in your class. I also show a little bit of my work from college and beyond. Kids like to see what you can make too!
5. Keep it upbeat! A lot of my students come in to my class saying they don't know how to draw. That's not what it is about. I talk about how I use rubrics to grade their projects and nowhere does it say you have to be able to draw to get an A in this class. My class is about learning, about making mistakes and gaining an appreciation for art. Do I want them to get better as the nine week moves on? Of course, but I also don't want students comparing themselves to others. It's the personal best that I am looking for.
What are your first day must dos?