|Studying the 80s is always a favorite in my U.S. History classes! Like Totally!|
Each teacher should have their own personality in their Meet & Greet, but the vital ingredient for all is being at the classroom door as students are entering on that first day (and every day). Here are a few suggestions that have worked well for me over the years:
- Shake hands, high-five, or fist-bump every student as you introduce yourself on the first day. Make this an everyday activity that will tell your students you are ready for their arrival, and they should be prepared for your class in return!
- Compliment each student as they come to your door. Address their outfit, their hair, or their cool new shoes. If you are uncomfortable with personal attributes, call out their notebooks, the fact that they have pens or pencils ready to go, or the how they have arrived so quickly from their last class. This can be a simple gesture, but will make a huge impact in building classroom confidence.
- Assign seats as students come to the door to avoid confusion or chaos. Make it fun by using color codes, numbered sticks, or allow students to draw out their seat number for more random placement.
- Distribute task cards, a Find Someone Who handout, or a Meet & Greet card to get students started in the first class activity. This is vitally important. It sets the standard for classroom time use and establishes your expectation that students will be on time and on task from bell to bell.
- Dress up in a fun outfit based on the subject you teach or what you'll be teaching. I did this with each new unit, and my students loved getting a great laugh at my outrageous costumes and hair styles representing the eras in history.
- Make entering the classroom an adventure. Hang beads from the door (This always was the norm during my Counter-Culture Unit!), use decorative paper to create a black hole for students to climb through to enter, place numbers/equations or literary quotes on the floor for students to follow as they make their way to their seats, set up a hopscotch board to help students get some energy out as they enter, or distribute clues for a scavenger hunt and encourage student pairs to solve the clues.
- Set the mood with music or video as students enter the room. Play motivational videos or songs to rally up your students as you prepare to discuss the great year you have planned. Convert your syllabus to a video presentation to make it less boring of a first day procedure! Continue this trend by projecting your bellringers with music or video as the year goes on.
In the end, the Meet & Greet is not a first day of school activity. It is an every day of school activity, and one that will make your classroom a better, more inviting, more structured environment for learning.
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