Every year before the start of school I read Harry Wong's The First Days of School. Those first days are crucial in setting the tone for the year. They really are. I enjoy reading his book because it sets my mind on track for those first crazy days. He reminds me how to be a professional, and I love it.
In his book he says, "An effective teacher always has the procedure or schedule posted or ready for distribution when the students arrive. " He also says, "Your first priority is not to take roll; it is to get the students to work immediately."
On the first day, I will have a different morning procedure posted on the board. With all the supplies and hullaballoo of the first day, plus the fact that I have not taught them their morning work yet, I have different things planned for that first day. I will, however, train them in our morning procedure, we will practice it both the right and wrong way, and the second day they will be able to complete all the components (except for the homework folders because I am not introducing those until the third or so week.) I will explain the Number of the Day in a later post. Also, I hate pencil sharpeners with a passion. After the first day, they are only allowed to use the pencil sharpener during the first ten minutes of the day. They have to have three pencils inside their desks. If they lose or break them, they can borrow from a neighbor because they have three. I have used this system for two years now, AND I LOVE IT. (I'm not a pencil sharpener nazi, there are always exceptions, but I don't tell the kids that.)
When I moved classrooms my birthday poster mysteriously disappeared....So I had to make a new one. This was easy and FREE!! I got the months from That's So Second Grade on Teachers Pay Teachers. I love that site. I wish I was creative enough to come up with ideas to sell there. Maybe one day, but until then I will reap the benefits and ideas of other great teachers.
I will play the Birthday Line Up game on the first day. (The students have to line up according to birth date without talking.) I will write their names and the date on the corresponding month, and then the poster will just hang on our closet door. It's so cute! Love it!!
And finally, I saw these lamps at a home decorating store called Real Deals. I don't particularly like cowboys and bison, but these were so great, and so cheap. I just had to have them. I paid $10 a piece for them. They go well with our westward expansion unit. Adorbs!
There you have it, folks. I had to go to school today for a literacy meeting, and I am wiped out! I do not have the stamina for the first week yet, but ready or not here they come!