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First week of school
Old 06-30-2010, 06:59 AM
 
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In the past my district started our first week on a Wednesday which was perfect becasue it was just enough time of get to know ya's and classroom procedures. This year they are starting on a MONDAY!!! Any ideas/suggestions on things to do during that first week of schoool? This will be my second year in 3rd at a new school with a new principal and I don't want to look lost. ha!!


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I agree
Old 06-30-2010, 07:41 AM
 
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A short week the first week works really well. It makes for an easier transition for the students and the teachers. Continue the get to know you phase and establish classroom procedures. Then dive into the learning.

See if they know their math facts in addition and subtraction. Give an assessment and then start practicing the facts they have forgotten.

Test their reading fluency and see who is on grade level and who is going to need extra help.

Have them do a fun writing assignment to get an early assessment of where their writing skills are.

Do a get to know you exercise with each of the text books you will use the most. Create a scavenger hunt of sorts to make sure they know how to use the book. This is especially important with a book that is organized differently. For example our science book has an A, B, C and D section and they start renumbering in each section. Remind them about how to use the a table of contents, index and a glossary.

Start a great read aloud. Read a little longer if they are enjoying the story and ask for more. Later in the year you get so busy that you must stick with your schedule.

Allow more time for recess. It is difficult for them to adjust to all the structure of class after so much freedom in the summer.

I show mine an example of what I want their desk to look like early in the week. Then on Friday the Desk Fairy has left a little gift for each child who still has a correctly arranged desk.

Good luck!
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First Six Weeks
Old 06-30-2010, 07:55 AM
 
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Check out Responsive Classroom's First Six Weeks of School. There are GREAT plans that I use every year to get the first week(s) started right - Hopes and Dreams, guided recess games, reading, writing, and math activities... It gets pretty specific and is easy to adjust to meet your specific needs.

I'm not a fan of starting on Monday for the reasons mentioned in earlier post - but The First Six Weeks helps me pace our week better so as not to overwhelm the kids right off.
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Old 06-30-2010, 07:58 AM
 
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The desk fairy visits my classroom as well! You would think (or I did) that third graders would be too old for that sort of thing. Not true. They loved it, and would work so hard to keep their desks neat just for a piece of double bubble or a snack size candy bar.

I do the things that BD1956 does, and I have one thing to add: have the kids practice procedures all week--for everything you do. After the first week, you will not have time to do this. At first, it might seem as though this is a waste of your time, but it will pay off the rest of the year, b/c kids will know your expectations.

Show them how it will look when they line up properly, how it looks when they walk down the hall, pass papers, sharpen pencils, etc. Once they know how it looks, then it's time to practice. If one or two forget to push their chairs in when they get up to line up, then I tell them, "That's good, but I want great." They have to do it again until it looks just right. We "do it again" for lots of things.

In this way, you set up the expectation that they can always do better, and "good enuff" is not acceptable. It carries over into everything in the classroom.

Good luck to us all----we have to start on Monday this year, too.

Last edited by mooba1; 06-30-2010 at 08:02 AM.. Reason: too many typos!
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first week
Old 06-30-2010, 08:09 AM
 
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Wow - that would be hard! I agree - I love starting with just a few days to get acquainted (and get them back into a sleep routine!).

Since you don't have that option, I'd still plan on spending a few days on getting-to-know-you activities and procedures. Those are crucial. If you spent 3 days on it before, do it again. Then on Thurs. and Fri. (when they're going to be exhausted) you could go into great detail about how centers will work (if you're going to do centers). You could go over the rules/procedures and then let them try it with some simple ones. It would be a good time to spend as much time on the expectations as possible. You can stop the centers if they don't do them right - so it'll set the precidence for the rest of the year. That way you'd/they'd be ready for a "regular" week the next week.


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Old 06-30-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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I didn't realize so many started in the middle of the week. I have always started on Mondays. I agree with the book The First Six Weeks. I am doing Responisve Classroom next year and this book will help me plan the first weeks. Even if you are not doing RC, you can still use it for those get to know each other activities and procedures.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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We spend a lot of time teaching behavior expectations. Our building uses Dahlgren's Teach To's. Do a google search for teach to's and the first site listed starts like this:
www,kyrene...
That document gives you an idea of what to work on.
We teach how to line up, how to go through the lunch line, how to get the teacher's attention, how to walk in the hallway....

Our program includes describing the behavior, modeling the behavior, then modeling what it isn't (kids like acting that out), as well as modeling/discussing "almost, but not quite." We are expected to work on explicitly teaching these behaviors for the first two weeks.
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I'm with you!
Old 06-30-2010, 11:19 AM
 
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I start with students on a Monday too this year. Obviously the group that worked on the district calendar did not include any teachers! We used to start on a Wed. with 2 professional days before. Then the past few years we started on Tues. with 1 professional day. 4 days the first week was alot. Now 5 full days is over the top.

I really feel for our K and 1st grade teachers. I can't imagine 5 days with 3rd graders trying to get back into the swing of things, but younger students...it's way too much for them.

I'm going to spend much time that week going over routines and things like I normally would. I'm also going to include a second recess that week. My principal frowns on any extra "fun" time, but too bad. I've been there long enough that I'm going to just do it. The students have been off all summer 10-15 extra minutes outside in the afternoon when they are burned out is not going to effect any test scores.
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THanks!
Old 06-30-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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Thank yoyu so all of your responces!!! How very helpful. I will be checking out The First Six Weeks book to gather ideas.
People keep mentioning "get to know you" games. Anyone have some examples they play?
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getting to know you
Old 06-30-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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Some that I do (that I can give you more details, if needed):

1. "Me Bags"
2. Circle Map using magazines and/or drawing/writing
3. Bubble Map (or Venn Diagram if you don't use Thinking Maps) with a partner
4. People Bingo
5. T-shirts (construction paper) of how they spent their summer
6. Birthday graph (with cut-out cupcakes)
7. Read The Important Book and we make our own - each child has a page for it telling why they're important.
8. Word search with all the students' names (usually morning work)


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Old 06-30-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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Get to know me activity- I'm doing a scavenger hunt from the First Six Weeks book.
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More details!
Old 06-30-2010, 03:08 PM
 
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SusanTeach, I would love to hear more about your get to know you activities. Especially "Me Bags' and the maps.
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Third Day of Third Grade
Old 07-01-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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My class celebrates the third day of third grade. We read books with the number three (ex: Three Little Pigs) and compare them, write about three wishes, do math problems/games with the number three, etc. It's a lot of fun and will take up one whole day during the week!
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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One "get to know you" game that I played this year (and I'm pretty sure I got the idea here somewhere!) was a yarn activity. We started with a roll of yarn. I held the first strand, and said something like, "I have a dog". Students that also had a dog raised their hand, and I picked one to throw the yarn to, while still holding my piece. They then grabbed a part of the yarn with one hand, then held the ball in the other hand. They said something about themselves, other students who that statement was also true for raised their hands, they picked someone, and so on. In the end, it makes a web, and helps students realize that we're all connected, and they have something in common with at least one person in the room. It's also pretty funny to see their coordination, because it's somewhat hard to hold a piece of the yarn and throw with the other hand at the same time.

A friend of mine has a game they play, which I'll be playing this year. You go around the room and say, "I'm mrs_c, and I like reading." The next person says, "She's mrs_c, and she likes reading. I'm Bob and I like baseball." The next person has to remember mrs_c now, and also bob, then say something they like. It sounds like a really fun game to play, and also helps them get to know each others names!
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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The "me bags" are fun and easy. I do one myself to model it, plus it's a great way to tell about myself on the 1st day. I put a few objects in a paper lunch bag to tell about me (apple because I'm a teacher, picture of a wedding ring because I'm married, etc...). Then I give them the assignment for homework. I give them each a brown lunch bag with the directions stapled to it. Basically the directions tell them to find 4 objects that tell about themselves. It can be real objects (nothing breakable), magazine pictures, or drawings - as long as they fit in the bag. Then they fold the top down 2 times and don't write on the outside. When they get to school the next day (the 2nd day of school), they put their bags in a big pile. Every 15 min. or so, I open up a bag (or about 4 bags) and everyone tries to guess who it represents. They love it!

The Circle Map is simple. It can just be a giant circle with a smaller circle on the inside with their name and a drawing of themselves. They cut out magazine pictures to represent who they are, what they like, etc... and paste those around the smaller circle. Similar to the "me bag", but they do more pictures and it's something that can be hung in the room or left on the desks for Open House. Here's a diagram example (of something else): http://yatesmilles.wcpss.net/thinkingmaps/circle1.jpg

You can use a Bubble Map or Venn Diagram to show comparing/contrasting. You pair up the kids and they write ways they're alike in the center and ways they're different on the outsides. Here's a picture of a bubble map:
http://www.irvingisd.net/staffdev/im...gmaps/map4.gif
The 3 circles that are touching are the "same" and there are 3 "different" for each child.

I hope those make sense!
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Great Ideas
Old 07-01-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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Thank you for sharing these great ideas. They will definitely help me my first week of school.
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actually
Old 07-02-2010, 08:52 AM
 
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Our district's planning team includes teachers from all levels. They submit 3 versions to the whole district to vote on then submit the winning version to the school board for its approval. HS and JH teachers like the full week better for their classes usually. They don't need to spend days teaching routines and all the get-to-know-yas the way lower levels do. Their kids have already been well trained in routines by us so they can jump right into their work. They'll give a course syllabus and homework the first night and they are good to go! I miss the mid-week start of school, too. We also will start the kids on Monday. Our kids have a hard time with it, too. They get soooo tired by the end of that first week!
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:20 AM
 
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Great idea with the Circle Map. This will be perfect for Back to School Night. Thanks.
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