The First Week of Middle School

Wondering what to do with your new middle school classes during that first week of school?  Find out here! #backtoschool #firstday #forteachers

I have a friend whose daughter is going to be teaching for the first time this coming fall.  The daughter called me and said "I will be teaching Science and I know all about that but what do I do on the first day of school?  Just go over the syllabus?"

I'll be honest, that was like the sound of nails down the chalkboard to me.  So I put on my most kind teacher voice and said "I would suggest that you save the syllabus for about the third day because the students will not care how much you know until they know how much you care."  
"Oh.  <pause>  So how do I do that?"

1.  First Day of School

On the first day, I greet everyone at the door and say things like "Good morning!  Glad you're here!"  "Welcome to 7th grade Language Arts!"  "Good to have you!"  "Hi, Welcome!"

Ideas for the first day back to school and the rest of the week!  #middleschool #forteachersThen after the bell rings, I do some kind of getting to know you activity like the "TP Pass".  This is where I pass a roll of toilet paper around and ask each person to take "some".  Then for each square a person has taken, they have to share one fact about themselves.  I always go first with at least 5 squares to give students ideas of what they might want to share.  I even make a list of these ideas on the board.

Next, I might have them make something that has their name and things that are important to them on it.  I have had students make paper t-shirts, sports cards, name tents, and other things.    
(These are perfect to display for Open House!)

2.  Day Two

Now it's time to talk about "rules" a little bit.  I actually do something called creating agreements.  If you click on that link, you'll get a very detailed post on that concept but to summarize here,  today all students get 2 post-it notes.  On one note I ask them to write down one thing THEY need to be successful.  On the other note I ask them to write down one thing that they need from ME to be successful.  Then I ask them to stick them to the two sides of the board.

A BINGO getting to know you game is a great activity for the first or second day of school!  #backtoschool #ideasThen I move on to playing another game - like maybe a BINGO getting to know you game.  

Finally we finish day 2 with finishing the craft from yesterday.

3.  Day Three

Last night, after school, I categorized those sticky notes into 4 categories:  Prompt, Prepared, Responsible, Respectful - but I didn't label them.  Instead I told the students that many of them had similar ideas and so I grouped those similarities together.  Then I read the grouped stickies out loud.  Next I asked the students what title we could give to this set of notes.  If they need a little help, I help.  I repeat this until all 4 categories have been labeled matching my 4 categories from above.

Then I say "Ok - so do we all agree that this is what we need to be successful?"  We make additions/deletions as necessary and then I say "Since we all agree that this is what we need to be successful, then these are our "rules" but I will call them our "agreements" because we all agreed on this together."

NOW I hand out the syllabus and go over the class requirements & procedures.  The students are more invested because we have spent some time getting to know each other.  I always include a "Student Information Sheet" that I ask students to fill out THAT NIGHT and return the next day.  I always tie this into my positive reinforcement system that I explain today as well.  

4.  Day Four

Today I do some kind of academically related activity that still is not subject heavy to keep building those relationships.  

So I might do something like have teams build something, or I might have them read an article about getting recruited (one year I had a bunch of sports fanatics!), or read a picture book that connects to our agreements to help establish our community.

We have some great class discussions and this is a perfect opportunity for me to observe - who speaks up, who doesn't say a word, who wants all the attention, and so on.  It's also a chance to reinforce any procedures.  

5.  Day Five

I end the week with some fun things!  Like a getting to know you survey and some silent note-writing, or a Socratic Seminar, or a goal-setting activity, or maybe even a presentation of that building activity!

Now the first week is done and you have started the most important part of teaching middle school - building relationships!  Next week, you can start in on that subject area content.  Just be sure to have routines and procedures that students can count on so that you will continue to build your community.  

Want all of this and more to help you get the best start with your new position teaching middle school?  My New Teacher Starter Kit has instructions and resources for the 6 areas all new teachers need!

The SIX things all new middle school teachers need for their classroom to start a new year off right!  #musthaves #survivalkit #firstday

-Class routines
-Behavior Management
-First Week Plans
-Lesson Planning checklists, templates & more
-Setting up the Classroom - 2 watercolor decor sets included!
-Syllabus samples

Get even more great ideas and free resources throughout the year by subscribing to my newsletter!

Summer Treats for Teachers

One of the biggest perks of being a teacher is summer vacation.  Of course, teachers don't generally get paid during the summer (unless their district has a deferment plan like mine), so this sometimes puts a wrench in the plans of soaking up some sun with sand between our toes.

Well, maybe this will help!  A group of middle school teachers has joined together to offer a MONTH of Sun, Sand, & Savings!

Every Monday will be dollar deals!
Every Tuesday will be special deals!
Every Thursday-Sunday will be a giveaway!

You can enter the giveaways below each week in July:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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