Ready or not, here they come! Even the best of teachers wish for refreshing activities to do the first day back. Showing students you are there for them will set you up for a successful year.
Save the usual rules and housekeeping for another day. Chances are others are doing that, lending an often boring routine to the first day. How can you set your class apart?
Begin by standing at the door, greeting each student with a handshake, a smile and a welcome as they enter your classroom. Continuing this practice everyday of the year will change the environment, rendering your classroom a place that students are happy to enter.
Breaking the monotony of what is likely happening in other classes that day is always fun. This can be done by giving students a bingo card that has such clues on it as:
1.A girl who has blue eye
2.Someone who has a son/daughter/husband named Dan (or whatever your son or daughter, or husband’s name may be. (It is fun to watch the light bulb come on when they realize this could only be one person in the room, you, the teacher!)
3.The name of your principal
4. A boy who has a dog for a pet
5. A girl who likes vampire movies
6. Someone who knows the meaning of the word nocturnal (or use any other academic vocabulary word that fits your subject area).
Get the idea? Students are able to move around the room, talking and interacting with others to find this information and getting them to initial the squares. Give small prizes to the first bingo, the first diagonal bingo and the first full card. Students really love this, and you as the teacher have set yourself apart from the crowd.
And lastly, focus on getting to know students’ names the very first day. Make a seating chart. Use a technique that works for you to take a few minutes to memorize their name. For instance, have them say their name and put a word that begins with the same letter to associate it. After you get it down, go around the room and say each student’s name. They are amazed! Then, turn your back and have students mix up, change seats and say the names again. This tells them what a special teacher you really are and how special they are to you.
A first day like this, and you have become the teacher extraordinaire in their eyes!