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Starting School
Old 07-22-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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Hello fellow 4th grade teachers! Our school district has decided that our students will start school on September 1st this year. They will go 2 days of school and then get a 3 day weekend. This is the first time that our district has chosen to start school before Labor Day in years. Many parents aren't happy about it, nor are the teachers. We already know that several students will be absent those first 2 days because of vacations already planned for the long weekend. What would you suggest we do those first couple of days when our classes won't be complete? We are struggling with how to keep the kids entertained. We normally would teach rules and procedures during those days. Do you think we should still teach them even though we will have to do it all over again on Tuesday when the rest of the kids show up? Help! Thank you.


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start date
Old 07-22-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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I can't really answer your question, but I want to point out that you are lucky. We start school on August 22nd. That is only four short weeks away.
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early start date
Old 07-22-2011, 01:39 PM
 
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I start on August 9th! But then, I'm year-round school and only had a 6 week summer!!
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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We always start the Thursday before Labour Day. Yes there is always the 2 or 3 kids who dont show up before the long weekend but I think you will be surprised in that most will show up. Our problem is often that many will skip Friday afternoon to go camping or whatever.

Anyways I would suggest that you get started with routines etc. I think that if you dont then those kids who are there will see the year start of with a fun free for all type of environment. I think it would be good to get whoever shows up into the routines and it wont hurt them to review routines on Monday. They can also set the example for the others. Also if you treat Thurs and Frid as fun non learning type days and if you start early again next year parents will really start to think the two days are unimportant. If they start to realize they are important they may be more apt to plan vacations appropriately. Hope that helps
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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We start August 1st! The kids don't come back don't come back till Aug 22nd... I think its crazy!


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Old 07-22-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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I think you really do have to go ahead with your rules and procedures on the first days, or run two risks -

1) setting the wrong tone for the year with the students who do come, which I'm assuming will be most of your class, and

2) reinforcing to the parents that the first days are not really important, which might weigh into their vacation decisions for next year.


You could catch the Tuesday kids up in several ways -

- have the kids who were there take turns explaining the different parts
- send home a written version that the parents have to go over with them and sign
- actually ask the students and parents who were away to come in for a short open house thing and do your reteaching then


In addition to the procedures on the first days, maybe do some getting-to-know-you type things, surveys of their interests, let kids talk to the class about books they read over the summer if they want.
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I go back August 10
Old 07-22-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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and Open House is the 11th. Kids start August 16. We are not a year round school.
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Same time
Old 07-22-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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Teachers go back on Aug. 31, with Back-to-School Night that same night. Kids return on Sept. 1st. We did the same last year and didn't have a problem with attendance. The only thing we thought didn't work out as well was having BTSN before school actually started, because the turn out wasn't as great as other years.

I agree with PP. Start with rules, procedures, and routines. Set the tone early. We also do some getting-to-know-you activities. Get these out of the way, and the next week we can start with the academic stuff.
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Aug. 15th
Old 07-22-2011, 06:58 PM
 
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Teachers go back August 8th and students go back the 15th. Plus, we go to the end of May, like the 26th!! I wish we could wait to go back till Labor Day! Especially since I am pregnant and due in 5 days! That would give me extra time with my little one!!
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:20 PM
 
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I remember being a student and we used to do that too. Yep, school is run like normal and enrollment really wasn't that low.

I personally would just do what you normally do, treat it like the first 2 days of school. It's also great to get the kids' feet wet before hitting the ground running, if you get what I mean.

My district has earlier start dates than most school districts, so we often have lower enrollment sometimes, but we still operate like normal the whole time.

We start Aug 15th, teachers go back the 10th, we're in school through the 2nd week of June...we aren't year round, but just have a modified calendar, which means you get two extra weeks vacation thrown into the school year, which I like. (A fall break week, and a third week for winter break, besides the one week for spring)



Last edited by basketball777; 07-23-2011 at 05:47 PM..
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Ya'll are LUCKY.
Old 07-23-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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We aren't year round and the kids start on August 8th! I go back in a week and a half for preplanning!
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Teaching Structure with Scavenger Hunts
Old 07-23-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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I agree with everyone about going on with rules and procedures. Despite Labor Day plans, a lot of parents are not going to have their student miss the first day of school (and a lot of kids don't want to miss the first day either!)

But also, here's another idea. In addition to the normal first day of school stuff, you might try to have textbook scavenger hunts. It's fun, the kids who are present will benefit from knowing their book, the ones who are not will not have missed anything big, and best of all, you can really sort of teach the structure of the day, what to do when someone is finished, where to turn in assignments, etc. We usually start school on a Wednesday or Thursday, and last year I did Science and Social Studies textbook hunts. I did it mostly to teach procedures like handing in work and to review the parts of a book, but the kids had a good time, and I gave prizes and homework passes out.

If you already positive about there being numerous students absent, you may just have to play it by ear. If for some reason more than half of your class is gone, you may have to improvise and just celebrate the first day of school and the fact that those students showed up? But I think you'll have more present than you think.
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first days without the whole class
Old 07-24-2011, 03:59 AM
 
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I tend to agree with those who have suggested just go ahead with the normal procedures.

You could catch the Tuesday kids up in several ways -

- have the kids who were there take turns explaining the different parts
- send home a written version that the parents have to go over with them and sign
- actually ask the students and parents who were away to come in for a short open house thing and do your reteaching then


In addition to the procedures on the first days, maybe do some getting-to-know-you type things, surveys of their interests, let kids talk to the class about books they read over the summer if they want.


I think these are really good ideas from Lakeside!

I might even send things like interest surveys home for hw to those who missed
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first days of school
Old 07-24-2011, 06:14 PM
 
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Well, first of all...we start August 5 and students come on the 10th! We always have some students who don't come the first few days and some who come but take off Friday before Labor Day for a long weekend. But--- we start out with rules and procedures and several fun art projects. The students who don't come the first few days usually fit in just fine and learn rules/procedures from their classmates as well as their teachers! I'm usually the first teacher to break out the books because if we don't get started with reading, we lose too much time and feel "behind" for the rest of the semester!
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:54 AM
 
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What are some of your really fun art projects?
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Emptynester's idea made me think
Old 07-25-2011, 07:31 AM
 
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...... of the penny drop experiment that teaches the scientific method. It is such fun and something they would be talking about for days.
You can find it on-line.
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Penny Drop?
Old 07-26-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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Are you talking about how many drops of water will fit on a penny? I love that experiment, but I'd never thought to do it at the beginning of the year! You know the first few days of school are so hectic that you never get to all the subjects- so that's a great way to review some math at the same time.

Great idea, thanks!
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