The first week we have kids is always the hardest for me. I’m nervous and anticipatory and all the things that you think would come along with meeting 150 new people all at one time. That’s a crazy thought. And it kind of puts things into perspective about why I feel the anxiety that I do.
Monday was Freshman Orientation, so since I was moved back up again to sophomores I didn’t have kids in my class. It rained Monday, and I put the finishing touches on my classroom to the sound of it pelting the metal roof and fearing that I wouldn’t be able to get out of the parking lot.
We spent a good two hours in Advisory so every class didn’t meet. But for periods 3-9, I had something planned as an introduction that I had never done before.
I read Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess over the summer and it gave me some serious renewed hope. I’m going to write a review soon. But he says that on the first day of school he has the kids play with Play- doh, creating something that represents who they are as a person. And I gotta say… it was probably the best first day activity I’ve ever done. The kids, even though there were a few who decided they were too good, seemed to really enjoy it. One kid built an entire soccer goal complete with soccer ball. And another made a turtle, and explained to me that she was “slow and steady.” So creative, so great.
I got to see every class today and debated whether or not to jump in to expectations and rules with 1st and 2nd period. So I had them introduce themselves and tell me something interesting. I know it’s cliche, but we only have 45 minutes as it is.
After that, and for 3-9, I showed the kids my prezi with the memes about what I expect from them. I didn’t have them take notes (I have done that in the past and it’s so unnecessary) and I explained to them that as long as they were paying attention that I wouldn’t make them. It was the second day of school, so they were pretty awesome about it.
I then had them interpret one of the expectations in their own way. They could act it out, they could draw it, they could create a better meme if they wanted to. I’ll put it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store one of these days and include a link to it.
There is a huge failure rate at the school I teach at. The expectations are incredibly low and the discipline is almost non- existent. As much as I talk about my dislike of my job, I really do grow to care about these kids. And I want them to know that they are more than the sum of their failures… because honestly… they don’t get told their capable of much.
I showed them a Prezi that introduces the idea that school is not for everyone, but in order to be successful in this society, school is necessary. And that trying is what matters, that that is all anyone can ask for, and as long as you try, you’re already successful.
After that I gave them a lesson on success and failures and how people who ended up really successful in life failed, sometimes multiple times before they made it. I connected it back to the fact that all those people tried, and continued to try, and that’s what made them a success.
The last part of the lesson dealt with goals. In order to put in the work, a person has to set a manageable goal and figure out the steps to take to achieve that goal. I created a worksheet for the kids so they could make their own S.M.A.R.T. goals. I had them do two, and I left the third one to be done after the first semester.
Lesson and handout to be posted later in Teachers Pay Teachers.
Friday was my favorite day. It was group day, and I explained my group expectations. With a sign and everything. And for the most part the kids were really good about it.
I showed my Prezi that I was super proud of. Basically the kids were asked to use their imagination, pretend that their group was on their way to a class trip overseas, their plane crashed, their’s one boat that only they know how to use, and now they’re tasked with deciding which 5 people to save out of 10 horrible people. They love the morbidity of it. And the Prezi makes it super engaging.
Each group member has a task. And I got some really great answers out of it. Once again, I’ll include the link once I have it.