As a teacher, the back to school period is my favorite time of year, since I have the opportunity to use what I’ve learned from the previous years to be an even better teacher of awesome! What about my students? Well, despite the worries of starting the new year, I find they can also be as excited as me to get back – for some, it’s their first time a new campus, they look forward to making new friends, or seeing their existing ones.
Setting expectations in your classroom
It’s crucial to set expectations in your classroom in the first few days back. Unfortunately, the first few days back at school can smother the excitement students have at the beginning of the year. A typical first day of school consists of sitting in an assigned seat, receiving a syllabus, learning class procedures, filling out an index card about yourself and possibly starting the first lesson complete with homework. Depending on grade level, a student could possibly do this up to 6 times!
How do we as teachers ensure our classroom culture is where it should be? By having a different kind of first day of school! Here are some my favorite ideas to ensure students can answer question, “How was your first day back at school?” with more than grunts.
Tip #1: Build relationships by creating a kahoot to introduce yourself
One of the biggest mistakes we teachers can make is not taking time to build relationships before jumping into “school” activities. Team building activities (like a Guess Who Kahoot!) will have your students in their element. You’ll quickly find out who are your leaders, your creators, your followers, and your distracted learners.
A simple activity is to create a kahoot quiz about yourself. Cover all the questions you think your students would want to know about their new teacher. If you’re feeling generous use pictures or videos for context clues. The key here is to help students be comfortable. I present this as Two Truths and a Lie – add two true facts about yourself, and one lie. This gives the opportunity to elaborate on who you are and sets up the next activity – outlined in my next tip!
Some topics you can cover:
- Favorite anything (food, color, sports, teams, time of year, etc).
- Fun facts about your family
- What you do in your spare time
- Where you’re from
- First job
- How long you’ve been teaching
Tip #2: Two Truths and a Lie – it’s the students’ turn!
Similar to my last tip, but this time, it’s the students’ turn! Create a class kahoot where each student creates a Two Truths and a Lie question of their own. The question can include their name or an uploaded picture of themselves, to reference who each question belongs to. This activity will also help introduce them to the basics of creating a kahoot.
…these awesome tips will be continued in the next post! Stay tuned for more ideas soon.