Teaching 8th grade science, would do the usual syllabus, check roll stuff, but always saved time at end of period to do a science demonstration. Preferably one that was smelly, even better a some flames with small explosion and questions left unanswered when bell rang. Always found the students came to class the next day talking about and wanting to ask more questions. Then they were hooked on science for rest of year.
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Keep get to know each other activities brief--maybe one short one per day for the first week. Start as you mean to go on...meaning with a real assignment, not a time filler. For English, I had them analyzing a poem using Think-Pair-Share, so they read, wrote, worked independently, with partners, with small groups, and as a class.
Teach essential procedures! Before the first day, read The First Day of School, and THE Classroom Management books by Drs. Harry and Rosemary Wong! I use the books in the classroom management class I teach. When I was a principal, I gave the first book to every one of the new teachers.
Remember, it is ALL about procedures. And, yes, breathe! :)
We teach 90-minute blocks so I'm not sure how much of this you could accomplish in your individual setting. However, on the first day of school, I introduce myself and my expectations for the course. I only have two classroom rules so it really doesn't take a lot of time. Rule #1: If it disrupts my teaching, don't do it. Rule #2: If it disrupts your or another student's learning, don't do it. I let students know how my class runs, what they can expect, and right after that I start teaching. I teach English so I begin with a review of common literary terms and I also assign homework the very first night. You only have one chance to make a first impression so imaging what you want your students' impression of you to be when they leave your room for the first time and work towards that. For me, I want my students to feel comfortable with me yet understand that I place a high value on instructional time. As far as classroom management, I say that comes with time. Each class will be different. All of my success with classroom management has come from building relationships with my students.
Echoing Kathryn, The First Days of School is an extremely valuable text. For most new teachers, classroom management is the greatest challenge, but if you can establish it, then you can build progressively richer instruction into the routine. Classroom management begins by having very clear, specific, and proactive directions for students coupled with consistent positive framing. If you greet your students as they enter your classroom, give them very clear and specific directions about where to sit and what to do, and constantly reinforce the behavior you wish to see with many positives, you'll be on the road to having strong classroom management-- and that will open many instructional doors!
Make sure you cover "important procedures" and you expect them to be followed. Practice calmly until it is like you want it. Do something exciting so that they will go home telling their family how "cool" your class was. Have EVERYTHING organized and ask your peers to help you remember all the important first day "things to do". If elementary, be sure to know how every child gets home...early in the day.
Greet each kid with a smile. Provide opportunities for them to talk about themselves.
first day and/or classroom management advice focus in this:
The purpose of discipline is to educate the students what it is to govern alone. the teacher should teach them (their students) the self-confidence and self-control. Therefore, as soon as they are able to understand, you should get their reason is on the side of obedience. Take care to, to treat it, he sees that obedience is fair and reasonable. Help him to see that all things are subject to laws and that disobedience leads, finally, to disaster and suffering. When the teacher forbids a thing must warn, with love, from consequences of disobedience, to save us from damage and loss.
Greta, Congratulations. I have read most of the responses. I agree with Avery and would suggest you take his advise. Remember, set your expectations the first day. Students will thank you for your clarity. Also, find a teacher to develop a mentor relationship. Good luck.
Be sure to set expectations for your students. They should understand how your classroom works and that it will be a place they will feel safe to learn. Do this by explaining any rules and procedures you have created. I would include some sort of group icebreaker in your first day plans in order to encourage the community of learning you want for the rest of the year.
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