Hey all. I have been pouring over all of the posts, but I would love some help. I just finished my Masters in Education and was offered my first teaching position in a fifth grade classroom to start in September. I student taught at the fifth grade and loved it! I just never saw what fifth grade teachers did in the first week -- especially that first day!
What shall I do? I know that I want to do some team building, get-to-know-you activities... but I am not sure how far to dive into academics. How much do you get into the curriculum on the first day?
Can anyone give me a brief description or schedule for a first day of school? I think that would help me loads!!
Congrats on your 5th grade position! You'll love it! On the first day, I do not get to any academics. I too do team building activities, but I do several ice breakers. You can do a google search for "first day ice breakers." It is very important that you go over your expectations, rules, and classroom procedures and STAY consistent the entire school year.
As for a schedule, we are departmentalized, so I will my homeroom half the time and my partner's homeroom the other half.
Hope this helps.
I just finished my Master's as well and am starting in 5th grade - quite the coincidence!
We're departmentalized as well, so we're going to spend the first day with our own homerooms. I have several activities planned. To start, we're going to do a classroom constitution activity whereby the kids will get into teams and draft some rules and consequences they feel are appropriate for the room. Then we'll come together and see things we have in common and revise, agree, revise, agree etc. until we come up with an acceptable list (I have veto power). If you google "set up classroom constitution" there are several lesson plans available. I've heard that if you let kids make up the rules and consequences they are more likely to have a stake in them - I'm guiding, but they generally know what to expect of themselves.
Then we're going to have a scavenger hunt. I have posters for reading, writing, study skills, and classroom information throughout the room and I figured they wouldn't really read them if I didn't make them :-) So, I walked around and jotted down 20 questions for them to answer by reading the posters. Here's the catch - they have to work with a partner and take turns answering questions AND they can't talk. They can gesture, write things down etc. but no talking. First team to answer all questions correcty gets a prize. I'm going to put them in teams by having them pick song lyrics out of a hat - they have to find the person that completes their lyric and that's their partner.
I have a few other ideas but I don't know how long this will take so we're going to start with this and then see what else we'll have time for!
NO MATTER WHAT you choose to do, plan WAY MORE than you think you can do! If you run out of activities you will be in a bad way. If you don't get to everything you can either do it another day or forget about it! Good luck, and have FUN!!
I haven't drafted my plans yet...but I have 2 ideas that I want to do for community building.
1.) Interview - students interview each other to find out what they have in common, then share with the class.
2.) Campfire - I'm going to get some firewood logs and a string of white Christmas lights. I will put the logs in the middle of the classroom (or somewhere in an empty space, haven't set up my classroom yet), string the Christmas lights around the logs and have the students sit around our "camp fire." We will go around the class and share something...haven't thought of a topic yet, but toying around with 'fears for 5th grade,' 'favorite summer memory,' etc. I plan to do this periodically thoughout the year for about 15 minutes on Fridays when the class does well.
Since this is your first day of school at that school I would say talk to the other teachers that teach 5th grade there may already be some traditional things, activities that go on during the first day or days of school. Also to help you out and to be a savior OVER PLAN!!!! There is nothing worse than under planning and having to figure out as you go with 50 eyeballs starring at you as if they can read right through you! Good Luck!
I teach 5th grade reading and language arts to 3 classes. Because the first day can be so hectic, we always do a modified schedule where the students spend most of the time in their homeroom classes, but they switch for about 30 minutes. This gives the students the opportunity to meet their other teachers AND get used to switching.
I like doing a scavenger hunt as the opener. I use puzzlemaker.com and create a crossword puzzle using hints gathered throughout my classroom. The kids really like doing this, and they begin as soon as they come in. This also gives me a chance to meet any students/parents who are new to the school, or take care of any first day business.
After that, I generally introduce myself and give a little presentation about what to expect in fifth grade, including expectations. With fifth graders, it is really important to establish expectations immediately. I always complain to my husband that I feel so strict the first week or two of school, but it pays off later.
After that, we do a team building activity (I always look online for an interesting one), and I explain their first homework assignment. The first day is always a blur for me...it goes by so quickly. Just make sure you have enough planned...extra even.
For starters, the best book to read before you start school is "The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher" by Harry Wong. I hope someone has already advised you to read that book. It is fabulous and very inspirational.
Is your fifth grade class all day long or do you switch classes?
If you're with them all day long, my plan may work for you. If you would like, send me your email and I can scan the plan I follow on the first day. I teach first grade which is different but maybe it could guide you. I have written exactly what I discuss in time spans. Let me know if you're interested!