First Day of School Plan
7:00 – I will arrive at school, prepare materials for the day, write agenda on board, and pass out Morning Minutes. In addition to writing an agenda on the board, I will also have a powerpoint slide prepared for the day explaining that students should begin the Morning Minutes and including an explanation for what they are to do for the day’s Morning Minutes. See powerpoint slide above.
7:45 – I will stand outside the classroom excitedly greeting students as they enter my room, making sure they are in the right place, pointing them to their spot in the room, and instructing them to get started with the Morning Minutes.
8:00 – Morning Minutes: Students will complete a special first day Morning Minutes assignment. This Morning Minutes will simply be asking the students to write me an informal letter about anything which is important to them. They will be given ten minutes to write. This Morning Minutes will begin the process of helping me get to know the students and their attitudes, and also help me to see where they are at in their writing skills. I will be able to use the information gained on this first day in relating with the students throughout the year.
8:10 – Announcements/Pledge of Allegiance
8:20 – After the pledge and announcements, I will make my formal introduction:
“Good morning, Class! My name is Ms. Horton and I would like to officially welcome you to your first day of fifth grade! I hope you were all able to find your seats with no problems. As you can see, you all have a place in this classroom, and you will have a place here all year. Fifth grade is seriously a fantastic year and I plan to have lots of fun learning in all kinds of new and interesting ways this year! However, I do want to make it clear from the beginning that I also have expectations of you all. Raise your hand if you want to be respected. Yeah, I think if we are honest, we all want to be respected and listened to. I know I definitely do. As your teacher, I promise I will respect you and I will listen to you. You can always talk to me about anything. But because I will do this for you, I expect you will do the same thing for me and for each other. If we can do this, we all feel comfortable in this class, and we will actually look forward to coming to class and spending time with each other. As fifth graders I know we can all do this, and I am really excited to see where this year takes us! Let’s get started!”
8:25 – Introduction of classroom norms: I will also let students know that because the class will be based on mutual respect, they will have a chance to help come up with the classroom rules later in the day. I will share the classroom norms:
o Treat everyone with respect.
o Listen to others.
o Do your best to be successful.
I will also share the two pre-established rules for the class:
o Follow all classroom procedures.
o Follow directions the first time they are given.
These norms will be represented on a poster, which I will use to explain the norms and then hang in the front of the classroom (See attached poster). After sharing these norms and rules, I will encourage students to be thinking of rules necessary for the class which would fit well with our norms. I will let them know that we will be coming up with these rules in the afternoon.
8:45 – Introduction of morning procedures: I will begin discussing procedures such as Morning Minutes, turning in homework, attendance, and getting the students’ attention. The class will practice these procedures in a whole group setting.
9:30 – Getting to know each other: We will take the time until morning break to participate in get-to-know-you activities with the goal of building community among the group. These will include as many of the following as we get to:
o Community Line-up: Students must create a circle around the room but can only stand next to students with at least one similarity. We will then go around the room and share these similarities.
o Cooperative Musical Chairs: This is like normal musical chairs except instead of being out, the rest of the students have to share and make room for the last student remaining. Chairs still disappear, so the challenge is to see how few chairs they can have and still make room for everyone (http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/icebreakers_for_kids_2.shtml).
o Human Knot: Students will be split into up to four groups for this activity. Each student will grab the hands of two other students so that the entire group is connected in one big “knot.” Students must work together to get out of this knot. Afterward, the class will discuss teamwork and perseverance.
10:30 – Morning Break: On typical days, students may bring a snack and water from home to enjoy during the break. I will provide the snack for the first day and explain the normal break routine.
10:45 – Specials: We will take the last few minutes of break to go over the lining up and walking through halls procedures. The students will then line up and go to specials.
12:00 – Lunch/Recess: Students will again practice their lining up and walking through the halls procedures by going to lunch and recess.
1:00 – Silent Reading/Class Reading: Directly following lunch/recess, I will explain our routine of silent/class reading after lunch. I will tell them they will get a chance to choose a book for silent reading the next day but that we will begin reading a book together on this first day. I will begin reading from the book Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (Carson & Murphey, 1996). Although this is a nonfiction book, it is a great story about a young boy from a very poor part of his city who was determined to succeed and, though going through a really tough time in high school, ended up becoming a very important doctor and surgeon. I will read this story because it is fun and interesting, but also because many students will be able to identify with Ben. Reading about Ben’s story will help establish an expectation and climate of good effort and success in my classroom.
1:30 – Establishing Classroom Contract: We will take the next hour to develop the Classroom Contract and discuss/practice consequences (See Plan to Maintain Appropriate Behavior for the specific procedure).
2:30 – Small Group Time: This is a time for students to get to know each other better and to grow in their interactions with other students. In this first small group session, I will let the students know which group they are in. Students will then work as a group to decorate homework folders and popsicle sticks (for calling on students). On one side of their popsicle sticks students should write their names and on the other side they should write one sentence about what they expect from me as a teacher. As students work, they should discuss what they expect of me. At the end of small group time, some students will share for the whole class. I will let them know that they will have a chance to come up with rules for me the next day.
3:00 – End of Day procedure: I will explain the end of the day procedures:
§ I will dismiss the students, not the bell.
§ Students will learn the end-of-day “Success is a choice,” “Choose it!” chant. I will take time to explain the importance of these words.
3:10 – Dismissal: I will dismiss students, reminding them to check their mailboxes. They will also receive a letter home to their parents that first day. I will let them know how they did on this first day, and that I am excited to see them the next day!