Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Favorite First Week Stuff--Use or Lose!

I thought I would share some stuff I like to do during the first week to set things up. Most of it, as with most things I do in my classroom, I learned/stole/took from other teachers. Above is a list of most of the books I used to talk about first week stuff.

*Who Has Inventory This is also sometimes called the autograph game. In this game, students get a grid with approximately the same number of squares as there are students in the class. The squares say things like "has traveled to another state" or "has a June birthday." Students must collect signatures of other students. Every student must sign the sheet at least once.

I like this activity for the very first day because it is a great Get-to-Know-You activity that gives an excuse for moving around. The first day back is a lot of sitting after a whole summer of moving! I've used this in fifth grade and third grade and both groups loved it.

*Two Truths and a Lie I like my kids to write in journals first thing in the morning while I take attendance, collect lunch money etc etc. I use this as my first morning activity. I put a prompt stating that students must write a four sentence paragraph stating their name, two facts about them, and one fact about them that is not true. After students have had some time to write, they share with their tables and try to guess which fact is the lie for the other students at their tables.

I like this activity because it introduces journal writing and is a great opportunity to introduce group work.

*Name Game We have a lot of class meetings the first week. I use this game to help kids learn each other's names in a fun way. All the kids sit in a circle on the floor. Each student thinks of a hand motion to say with his or her name. For example, I might hand jive and say (miss-un-der-stood). After I do that, all the students repeat exactly what I said and did. We go all around the circle that way practicing names. I have also done this with dance moves and the kids standing in a circle. I prefer to have them sitting for the game during the first week because I like to keep the tone calm.

*I Can Train We read The Little Engine That Could and each student writes three personal I can statements for the year (ie I can be kind to others; I can learn my math facts). The kids write these statements on little trains they cut out. We put all the trains in a line in the hall outside and it is an "I Can Train."

We do tons of procedures practice and initial testing (fluency, phonics, math pre-assessment). We tour the classroom. We tour the school. We make assessment binders and writing journals.

We cut out hand prints and make a wreath around our school character pledge. We all sign the school character pledge and agree to follow it.

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