I keep having this dream. In this dream it is the first day of school and I mess something up. The thing I mess up varies, it could be the room number is wrong or I decided not to do my welcome presentation, either way my students end up wild and disrespectful. And you know what they say, “so goes the first day of school, so goes the year.” (No-one really says that, I made it up.)
Veteran teachers used to tell me about their “unprepared-mares” and I always thought: That’s YO issue, not mine! …until it became mine.
I’ve been toying around with loosening the reigns my first day but I decided not to and tried my best to hone in the FIRST day of school magic. This is what I do in my secondary mathematics classroom for a perfect first day.
- I look really legit.- I iron my outfit (a rare occurrence). I plan my outfit even before pre-planning week. I wear full make-up like a Sunday morning. I wear heels because I often get mistaken for a high schooler. Over the years I have learned that there is for sure a direct correlation between confidence and clothing, so on the first day I take this very seriously.
- I sound legit.- I greet my students at the door and give immediate direction for seating and current activity (yes I put them to work immediately). I have a Powerpoint presentation answering Harry Wong’s 7 Questions Students Ask on the First Day. This is cheesy Classroom Management 101 but it has yet to fail me. I answer the questions without directly asking them in a presentation that flows and I throw in a joke or two to lighten the mood. I’ve used the same presentation all 5 years and just tweak materials and pictures from summer vacation.
- Am I in the right place?
- Where do I sit?
- What are the rules?
- What are we doing this year?
- How will I be graded?
- Who are you?
- Will you treat me fairly?
- I leave no room for illegitimacy.- Okay I just really wanted to use the word legit again so this flowed. What I am trying to say is that I leave zero room for error on this day. I talk bell-to-bell and make sure they are exhausted and have no time to get to know each other. I milk that for 3 weeks. At the end of the day my students must be confident of two things:
- She is in charge
- She REALLY knows what she’s doing.
On day one, every question has an answer, all choices have been made, I wing nothing! There are 179 days left for that. And believe me there will be plenty of that! Here are somethings I make sure I have ready:
Seating charts– It says I am the boss and you can tweak as you go along
Turn in bins– If there is a system in place it will eliminate clutter
Give back bins– I hate handing out papers so I make it clear where they can find graded work
Bathroom interruptions– I used to make them hold up a Pee-ce sign (two fingers) and I would make eye contact then nod or tell them to wait, my current school is on a limited movement plan so the first 2 students who ask before the bell rings get to go use the restroom
Contact– My email is given, I give incentive for signing up to our class REMIND (a texting service), our online classroom gets a brief introduction
Textbooks- where do they go, what do they look like
Cell phones– DON’T use them OR ELSE
Attendance– Seated when the bell rings OR ELSE, How to find work after you’re absent, how to make up a test or quiz
Materials– having them be accessible without much movement
I can only keep up these shenanigans for so long. By mid October I am yearning for Thanksgiving break because I have been too legit to quit.😉 See what I did there? The list could go on. I basically run the day from start to finish and leave no stone unturned.
What do you do day one to succeed?
Below is a product I created. The first of many hopefully. Enjoy!
The Ultimate Factoring Flow Chart
This Factoring Flow chart covers all the bases, Difference of two squares, Sum and Difference of Cubes, Trinomials and Grouping! Give this factoring flow chart to your students for notes or blow it up and laminate it as a poster for your classroom. The Ultimate factoring flow chart for your secondary math class!
Purchase and I will email you a copy with out the EstherBrunat.com nonsense. =)