As summer winds down and the start to school begins in a few weeks for many students and schools, starting the year on a successful note is essential for a year full of learning, memories, and experiences. There are three ways educators can prepare for a successful year.
On the first day of school, don't talk about rules. Students typically come to school the first day on their best behavior eager to see what their new teacher and room have to offer. Instead of spending hours and hours talking about ways to be safe, respectful and responsible as well as how to sharpen a pencil or where to put your folders (which are very important - just maybe not on the first day of school), inspire your students. Bring your best and most engaging lesson to the classroom on the first day. Have your students leave the school on the first day excited, eager and looking forward to day number 2! Let them leave school on the first day wanting to come back on the second day with more zeal than they had on the first day.
If the answer is seven, what could be a possible statement? 4 + 3 = 7? 12 - 5 = 7? There are seven days in the week? The possibilities are endless. How often do educators offer choice to their students? Educators should design their lessons and intentionally plan with specific learning objectives in mind; however, they should be flexible and offer students choices as to how they will demonstrate their learning. Maybe it is by writing a poem, creating a short video or building a model - students will flourish and exceed our expectations when they are given choices. Give the students the choice and let their individual personalities, passions and talents shine!
Nothing is more powerful than the relationships built between a teacher and her students and their families. Educators can spend the first week sharing with their students their own passions, interests, and learning. Take the time to learn about the students - what are their interests, concerns, hobbies, and passions. Continue the relationships beyond the first week through the Friday Five. Each Friday, make a phone call home to five families and share something truly special about their child. Through the Friday Five, educators can continue to develop and nurture relationships throughout the school year.
When you first meet someone, your opinion is generally formed about that person in the first ten seconds. Think about that. It takes only ten seconds to form an opinion of someone. How do educators make an impression in only ten seconds? The answer is making sure that those ten seconds count – in words, in body language, in a handshake, in a smile. In short, we have to think about how we present ourselves to people. Starting the year off strong will allow educators the opportunity to have a year full of success and memorable learning experiences.
This post was first featured in Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo on Education Week Teacher.