The first two weeks at school are known as “Pre-Season” by all teachers. As a school, we all work together in each team and grade to go over routines and procedures with scholars before we launch into our first academic lessons for the school year. The goal is to turn these routines and procedures into habit, so that learning time is maximized.
For the first week, I really focused on building relationships and community in my classroom. One of my professional goals this year is to promote a more positive learning environment and culture. I tried to set that up by doing the following activities for the first week.
First Days Activities
Day 1 –
- What Kind of Teacher Would You Want? survey
- Student questionnaires
- Slideshow about myself, my interests, what I did over the summer, and how I got into science
- Classroom expectations (Work hard and Be Kind)
- Overview of what we will be learning in science this year
- Sharing of student questionnaires with class
- Goal setting in science with pennants and student photos
- Science interest surveys
- Poll results of Top 6 qualities all students want from a teacher
- Student survey of what they think I would want from a student
- Teacher/student learning pacts based on surveys
This week, we as a school will continue to practice routines and procedures. I plan to begin introducing classroom-specific procedures, especially for independent work, productive partner-work and group-work, and increasing more writing in science. I also would like to try out interactive science notebooks this year so I’ll have to schedule some time for scholars to set up their notebooks.
- Independent work – focused annotations, writing short summaries on current events
- Partner-work – practicing writing styles and experimental design diagram (using puzzle activity)
- Group-work – roles and responsibilities over long-term inquiry labs, work as a team (using stacking cup activity)
What kind of first days science activities and labs do you use with your students?