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The First Day of School! The Middle of the Road

Referring back to the words of Wong and Wong, "The first day of school is the most important!"  It is the day that sets the pace for the rest of the school year.  This means different things for different teachers.  For many, it is simply a day of introductions, while others get right to business with first assignments.  I tend to like to be in the middle of the road!

Being a content-focused teacher from Day One, I have always stressed the importance of utilizing that first day of school to its fullest.  I introduce myself, my course, and my expectations with my course syllabus, allow my students to introduce themselves in a manner I find valuable, and I set the stage for the rest of the year by assigning the first homework assignment.  Some find my fast paced first day harsh, I find it helps my students prepare for an action packed year!

Oh, but before you run off from the blog, thinking I am passing out tedious assignments on the first day, take a look at my methods!
  1. My introduction - I use my "Identity Bag" to introduce myself, my course, and my expectations to my students.  With symbols and hidden meanings to the objects I have in the bag, I share my world of Social Studies with humor and excitement!
  2. Their introductions - I always loved the Find Someone Who Activities.  It's a great ice breaker, getting the students out of their seats and used to the idea that I will expect them to interact as we learn together in my classroom.
    • My Meet & Greet for World History, U.S. History and Geography are a twist on the original Find Someone Who..., requiring students to match their historical figure or location cards with another classmate's to introduce the historic character or location they will study in the class, and to introduce themselves.
  3. The first homework assignment - I assign my students a simple task.  They create the same type of Identity Bag that I used to introduce myself at the beginning of class.  It should not take them long to create, but does set the expectation that there will be home-time requirements for the course.  Download the FREE First Homework Identity Bag Assignment HERE!
The first day does not have to be all business, nor does it have to be all fluff.  It can be a great mix of the two, mixing fun with responsibility.  What a great forecast for the year!  What a great first day of school!

Michele