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!


Anonymous said...

Teacher tool box: Peppermint Oil. Somedays when they need a picker upper one drop in the fan and the whole class comes alive.

crmarty said...

Two great first day of school books
"Do I Have to go to School Today"
Teacher from the Black Lagoon

Thanks for the gathering all the great ideas!

Suzanne D. said...

fantastic list. Much quicker than I. As far as the emergency kit, a small pack of kleenex is always good. Do you where contacts? a mini eye drop bottle- I needed that last year & didn't have it. I'll have to subscribe to the diigo group. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention! Great roundup. I just added it to StumbleUpon--hope you get some good traffic.

Unknown said...

Paul - I love the idea of using peppermint oil! That'll definitely wake them up.

crmarty - Those look like great books! Thanks for sharing them.

Mrs. D - I do wear contacts. Thanks for the reminder. I always keep solution with me, but I need to refresh my supply!

Nick - And thank you for the idea! I loved your post!


Chris Champion said...

I love the wooden heart idea, especially that its tied to a prayer. I teach in a public school but I feel that we've left out something important by leaving out spirituality.

Suzanne D. said...

I has taught in a catholic school for about 8 yrs. When I began teaching in the public school the prayer thing was one of the hardest things to grow accustom to (as well as the much louder hallways). Whenever a students told me about a sick grandparent or a death my instinct was to say we'll pray for them, I'll keep them in my prayers. Now I et the same news, and it's taken some training on my part, but I say I'll keep them in my thoughts. that might be a direction public school teachers can go with the hearts. said...

mrs.d, I teach in a public school and I tell my students I am praying for them. I have yet had a kid tell me not to do that. They all say thank you, or "gosh, you are? That's nice." I just had a young lady tell me she has been having severe anxiety attacks and is under medical care for it. I told her I would pray for her to feel peaceful and calm. She too said thanks. Kids like to know we care about them.