The 1st day of a new school year

The first day of school was awesome!!

We recently learned about Top 20 Training and are working to implement some of the beliefs into our school.

At the start of each class period today I stood at the door, greeted each student and gave them a high five. It was awesome to see so many smiles from the students as they came into class.

My students completed the “golf ball challenge” today in small groups. They walk into the room, find the table with their name, introduce themselves and begin reading directions for their challenge. It worked out well, my students were starting to plan and work on their own while I was greeting students at the door and helping the last few students who were late and lost.

The first few years that I taught I had a PowerPoint slide with all of my classroom rules and I would stand at the front of the room and read the entire presentation, all 6 class periods. Wow, booooring. I realized that my students didn’t need all of that information on the first day. Also, not every student was listening, what if they missed something important like what to do during a fire drill?? I also realized that I didn’t like standing and lecturing during the year, but I always did it on the first day. This didn’t really make a good first impression on my students for what they could expect from me the rest of the year.

Today I only had 3 students ask me if the activity was graded. I heard a 7th grader say “It doesn’t matter if we’re the best out of everyone, we just have to do OUR best”. A 6th grader explained to me that their first design didn’t work, so they were going to try their second idea. An 8th grader (who has had me for 2 years) excitedly told his group that the directions didn’t say anything about what they could or couldn’t do to the golf ball.

Today I got to say hello, high five, and talk with each student that walked through the door. We were laughing, living in suspense as they tested their designs, and sharing our curiosity.

There were only two students I had to talk to one-on-one about ‘rules’. Otherwise, students were so engaged in their challenge and working with their group that they didn’t have time to ‘misbehave’.

The other exciting thing about today is that we have many new students at our school this year. The students had a few people they got to know really well and had the change to work together with them on something fun and stress-free. Many of the new students were smiling and laughing with their groups and I hope they are starting to feel a part of our Spearfish community.

One other thing I am changing this year… instead of having my students watch the classroom expectations videos I’ve created right away, I am going to have them do a Google Drawing concept map that tells about them. I love reading them and commenting on every student’s finished product.

If you don’t stand at the door and greet students at the beginning of every period- you need to start!


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