This year will be my 2nd year teaching. I teach 4th grade. I had no idea what I was doing last year....Could someone PLEASE tell me what their 1st day of school schedule is for 4th grade. What is the VERY FIRST thing you guys do with your kids....on the 1st day of school.....I teach at at Title 1 school and it is very small. We meet in the gym and have morning prayer (I teach at a Catholic School)..1st thing in the morning....so we end up in our rooms around 8:15 A.M. After morning prayer what should I do? How much time do I spend the first week or so of school on my expectations/rules/consequences? When do I begin teaching the curriculum?
When the students come directly in the classroom, on the board a journal prompt is written. Kids are to get directly to work on the journal prompt. While kids are writing, I take attendance. The journal prompt is a list of 7 or so questions to answer about themselves and their families. I try to take home and write back to all students that night. After they finish, they are to read a novel that is already on their desks (James and the Giant Peach).
Afterward, I will go over the rules with them. I am using power teaching, so I will show them the hand movements that go with all of the rules. I will also go over procedures. Procedures include raising hand (using sign language), getting up out of their sets, sharpening pencils, bathroom use, talking, etc. I have a little list in the front of the room with me that I use as a guide. If you PM me, I will email you a copy of what I use. Before we get started on the work for the day I will read "First Day Jitters," a cute story about the first day of school.
After I go over the rules and expectations, I am going to have the students do a quick write about the 4th of July. (We are starting back on Monday). I will use this as a starting point to see what skills the students have. If we have time before recess, we will begin going over our focus wall and our first basal story.
After recess, I am sure I will need to practice lines and walking with the kids. When they come in, the kids will take a math test so I can see where they are in math. We will then begin our first math lesson.
After lunch they will silent AR read. Then, they will make All About Me posters. (Thanks to whoever made those on PT!).
After the posters, we will again practice the rules (we will do this after every break of the day). I will spend quite a bit of time going over homework. 4th grade is the first time they have had daily homework at my school. I will start them on the homework so I am sure they know what they are doing. Then it will be another story and time to go home!
As far as your rules question....go over the rules every chance you get. Let them be successful with them. That is why I love Power Teaching. The kids can physically and verbally practice and recite the rules. I start curriculum on the first day, but not everyone does. I like to start things out like they will be everyday.
If you do nothing else, be sure to model expectations of procedures and behavior. Spend time going over your rules and procedures. Kids can help with the rules too. Make them think they have some ownership. I demonstrate examples and non-examples for coming in the room, sitting at their desk, and working.
I also do get-to-know-you activities such as name tags glyphs and a scavenger hunt to find someone who...I also do a preview of the textbooks of what we will be learning this year. I do a first math lesson and yes, I assign a homework in math. Get them used to it right away. I start the next day as a ususal day. I do repeat expectations and rules through out the week. You need to spend a lot of time on this. The more time you spend on it in the beginning of the year, the less time you may spend on correcting behavior later in the year.
Have a great year! How soon before you go back?
procedures, procedures, procedures AND this is different from rules!
I do have fun welcome activities to start with but quickly move into procedures.
Check out Harry Wong's book "The First Day of School" for ideas on procedures.
Then I develop class rules with my students and a mission statement.
I know the rules I want to have ahead of time, but I use a process called an affinity diagram to gain student buy-in for these rules. I use the same process to create the mission statement with the students as well. The mission statement becomes important in our room. We recite it every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance. I would be glad to share more specifics on this process with you if you are interested.
We practice procedures most of the rest of the day with some basic activities as the anchor. (ie: practice heading our paper and then write a short paragraph about the things they hope to learn in 4th grade; practice lining up correctly and then go to the bathroom well before you must line up to get to lunch on time) I also practice all safety drills on day 1 -- tornado, fire, lockdown, etc.
We read through our code of conduct book and discuss expectations of the school system and we go through the student planner and practice using it.
I also introduce their first project on day 1. I bring a bag of 5 items to share about myself. Then I give them the project requirements and due date (3 days later). Each student creates their own bag and brings it in to share. This is a great way to build community. I review the grading rubric at this time too and students write this project in their planner.
Believe it or not that takes up an entire day very quickly.
Each successive day for the 1st 2 weeks is spent reviewing procedures and routines intensively while incorporating more and more curriculum. The 1st two weeks of school is truly about developing procedures and routines more than covering curriculum.
You want to develop/model your procedures & expectations from the first day. I've found over the years it may take a little longer before I get started on assessments, but it saves me so many headaches during the year because the students know what is expected. I let the students brainstorm all the rules they think we need for our class to function, but by the time we finish the activity...they're back to the 3 rules I always have in my class...Respect for self, Respect for others, and Respect for our community. Those objectives, a good read-aloud, a get to know you activity, and recess take up the majority of the first day of school.
When the kids come into the classroom, I get them started like any other day. There will be early work posted on the board ( editing a sentence or two and then a writing prompt) while I take attendance, the lunch count, take up lunch money and workbook fees, and welcome kids who did not come on Open House evening. We check over the early work, and then we go over procedures.
I have a powerpoint that I play and we discuss about what to expect this year. Somewhere early in the day, I make sure I know how each child is getting home. On the bus? In a car? If they don't know, their name goes to the office so a phone call can be made.
We begin the first story in the basal, assign their spelling and vocab words for the week, and assign their homework. I do daily 5, so I round them up for a read-aloud, a group lesson on how to choose a good fit book, and a chance to settle in quietly to read it. We have activity at 10:45 -- 11:35 (art, music, P.E., computer, and library). Then my co-teacher and I switch classes and I do it all over! I just don't have to collect the monies, etc. for the afternoon.
Be sure you overplan for the day. If you do that, the kids will be busy while you are handling all of the first-day madness! At some point, books get passed out, etc. etc. etc., but if you have a Starbucks or some favorite goodie, you will make it through with a big smile on your exhausted face!
I found my lesson plans from last school year and here's the tentative scheduled I followed:
8:30 - 9:00am: Word Search - As students arrive in the morning, they look for their desk, sit down, and complete the school themed word search placed on top of their desks. This is also the time for taking attendace and morning announcements.
9:00 - 10:00am:First Day Jitters - Students brainstorm the word jitters and share experiences where they've had the jitters. I then read aloud the book First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. Students then create a poster or panorama using pictures to show a first day jitter experience they've had before. They share it with a partner or in groups and then a couple of them share it out to the class.
10:00 - 11:00am: Classmate Interview - Students pair up with a partner and complete a Venn Diagram about each other by asking a series of questions to learn more about each other. They then complete a framed compare/contrast paragraph and take turns presenting each other to the class.
11:00 - 12:00pm:Rules and Procedures PowerPoint - Much of my first day activities revolve around introducing my class to the class rules, expectations, and procedures. I do this through a PowerPoint presentation.
12:00 - 12:30pm:Lunch
12:30 - 1:30pm: Place Value Review - We are given a pacing guide for Math in our District and we are supposed to start with reviewing place value the first week of school.
1:30 - 2:00pm:Science Process Skills Review - Our Science pacing guide has us reviewing the science process skills the first week of school as well.
2:00 - 2:30pm:The Astonishing Journey of Teddy Bodain - This is a Melissa Forney book that I got at her writing conference last summer. It introduces students to Florida History as well as reading, writing, and grammar skills. It is a story written in the form of letters. You read one letter a day and the activities for that letter are on the back.
2:30 - 3:00pm: Physical Education
This was just a rundown of my first day last year but not everything goes to plan all the time since other things might be going in school and I usually overplan.
This year my morning activity that students will complete as they enter the classroom will be for them to write a short story on an index card about what they did during their summer vacation. This activity is called Summer "Short" Stories and my fellow colleague Mrs. Gonzalez introduced me to it. Students then decorate a shorts cut-out and then glue their index card in the middle of the shorts. This becomes an instant back to school bulletin board in the classroom.
I'm new to this site, and start teaching 4th grade in August! I like your ideas, and was wondering if you can share your ppt with me? I'd love to see it, and maybe use it, if that would be ok? I love using stuff like that. Thanks so much!
ccsteacher001, this is my day exactly. I also saw Harry Wong's presentation my first year of teaching. He's a great presenter, and really...procedures are so important to establish from the beginning. Students need routine and they need clear expectations and guidelines.
I was reading your post and I liked your creating a community project with bringing in 5 items to share about. Could you tell me more about that? I would love to do that in my 4th grade class. It is my second year teaching over seas and I liked your idea for my class this year.
So I have been teaching middle and secondary school for seven years. I am now starting my first year in elementary 5th grade and I am excitedly nervous. I am looking for websites, resources other teachers might be willing to share and anything else to calm my nerves a bit and make this year a great experience for my students. My deepest thanks from Phoenix, AZ in advance.
Also, any attachments or materials for that first day would be helpful