Wednesday, August 6, 2008

First Days of School

Summer is quickly winding down for me, and like many teachers I am working on my lesson plans for the first days of our new school year. Several teachers that I follow in Twitter and Plurk have been sharing ideas lately and I thought it might be a good idea to put them all in one place. At the very least it will be a quick and easy reference for me!

Here are some blog posts I've found with first day ideas:
Here are some links to websites with first day ideas:
Both of these lists are far from complete, I'm sure. If you have some to share, please do and I'll add them here. I've also created a Diigo list for the First Days of School. I'll be adding to it as I find new resources.

I'd also like to share the two things I make sure to do on the first day of school. First, I take a picture of each student individually and quite a few of them in groups, at work, and at play. The individual photos are taken in a certain spot in my classroom. During the last week of school, I take individual photos of them in that same spot and add it to my end of school year slideshow so they can see how much they've grown (or not, in some cases).

The second thing I do is give each student a small wooden heart (which I purchased this morning from Michael's). I give them fifteen minutes to decorate their hearts however they would like, but one side must have their name and the other has one quality that they like the most about themselves. When they are finished, they put their hearts in a basket which I take around the classroom allowing each student to draw one heart. The name they draw is the classmate who will be their prayer partner for the year (remember, I teach at a Catholic school). Whenever we say prayer in class or in church, they are to keep that person in their heart (hence the wooden hearts). I preface the drawing by saying, "The classmate whose name you draw now is the person that God is asking you to pray for this year." This tends to prevent the loud "I can't believe I got stuck with him/her" groans.

Do you have a favorite First Day of School activity? Please feel free to share it in a comment.

Now, one final question before you get started preparing for your first day of school: What do you keep in your teacher survival kit? Do you have any of the following? Is there anything I should add?
  • chocolate (it always comes first!)
  • a small sewing kit
  • safety pins
  • bandages
  • suntan lotion
  • change
  • snacks
  • tea bags or coffee singles
  • bottled water
  • breath mints
  • tissues
  • hand sanitizer
  • aspirin!