First Day of School Themes and MethodsWhat themes do you introduce the first day of school? What methods do you use?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I try to introduce my procedures from the beginning. A lot of it has to do with organization. I show them how my classroom is organized, and how I expect them to be organized. It sets the tone that we will be businesslike and get things done this year.
accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

First day is your opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the year. I always work incredibly hard on planning and preparing for the first day so the students know that I am in control and I call the shots. I make sure there are a number of different activities including icebreakers etc and that students are very clear what I expect of them and what they can expect of me. We always talk about rules and they have a chance to contribute any they think are important.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The first day of school for my classes consists of introducing my classroom rules - the two most important of which are respect for me and other people and their opinions, and no plagiarism. I cannot stand plagiarism, and I try to impress upon them not only how important it is to avoid it, but how I don't give a hoot what someone on a cheat site has to say about a book - I want to know, honestly, what they have to say.

We go through the reading list, textbook, and any supplemental materials that we'll be using throughout the year, and then we get started on the first week's assignment. Because I only meet with each class once per week, I have to really get the ball rolling immediately so that they are ready for their assignments the rest of the week. If time permits, I will sometimes do an in-class timed essay on a topic that might be appealing to them, but usually I run out of time by the time we cover everything else.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

They are primarily Hispanic. It is a far cry from where I went to high school and it was certainly a culture shock for me. I went to a private Catholic school so I was probably more like the kids you teach, but I will tell you that I have learned so much from these kids and I really feel like I'm in the right place. I originally thought I was meant to be at one of the wealthier schools, but when this came along I felt pulled toward it and my family keeps asking me to leave, but I just can't- I love teaching kids that people think can't be reached! :) Our students do things that people would be amazed at especially since there is often times a big gap in the language. I think often times they even surprise themselves. For me nothing is out of their range, we'll work until we get it, even when they think they can't do it.

I haven't taught either author, but I will look into it. Thanks for the tip, I'm always looking for new stuff to do. I don't like to do lessons twice because I have a few students who are in my class 3 years in a row sometimes and I would hate to have them do something 3 times so I'm always looking for fresh ways to present materials.

I've heard "Bless Me, Ultima" is very good and esp touches Hispanic readers.  Anyone know about this one?  It's on my shelf but we've not gotten to it yet. 

 

 

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

They are primarily Hispanic. It is a far cry from where I went to high school and it was certainly a culture shock for me. I went to a private Catholic school so I was probably more like the kids you teach, but I will tell you that I have learned so much from these kids and I really feel like I'm in the right place. I originally thought I was meant to be at one of the wealthier schools, but when this came along I felt pulled toward it and my family keeps asking me to leave, but I just can't- I love teaching kids that people think can't be reached! :) Our students do things that people would be amazed at especially since there is often times a big gap in the language. I think often times they even surprise themselves. For me nothing is out of their range, we'll work until we get it, even when they think they can't do it.

I haven't taught either author, but I will look into it. Thanks for the tip, I'm always looking for new stuff to do. I don't like to do lessons twice because I have a few students who are in my class 3 years in a row sometimes and I would hate to have them do something 3 times so I'm always looking for fresh ways to present materials.

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Good, heavens, Crystal! 

I wonder if you have ever taught Richard Wright?  What is the ethnicity of your student body?  Langston Hughes?   

If you are able to reach one of these kids, what a difference your life makes.  I have mostly upper class white kids. 

clane's profile pic

clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

In reply to #5, I don't wear body armor, although I do have my concealed weapons license, but I'm not allowed to take it on campus and I think it drives my policeman husband insane that I can't. We've had kids that have served serious time in real prisons for crimes that run the gamut, from attempted murder, second degree murder, manslaughter, gang affiliation, tagging, grand theft auto, assault with a deadly weapon, rape, aggravated rape, domestic violence, really anything you can dream up, they've done it and been caught doing it.

Even though they are rough kids, they really have been so good to me. I've only had one death threat and she's in prison (pregnant and in prison) and one instance of sexual harassment- he went to jail too because it was a violation of his parole from a previous crime committed. I really love what I do and I enjoy these kids, they really appreciate what a teacher can give to them and many are on their last chance so they take it seriously when they're with us. You can see though why we have such a rigorous first couple days because security and safety is really important. I won't even wear a skirt or dress to work because I feel like I can't handle myself if a fight breaks out.

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

My approach is similar in that I try to make a connection between poetry and art. I use an LCD projector to show Brueghel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus and have my students read Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts." Then we talk about how the artist and the poet convey the same ideas using different techniques. Many of my AP English Lit students also take AP Art History so this connection is one we continue to make whenever we can throughout the year. Later, for instance, we examine Brueghel's Hunters in the Snow and read poems by several different poets (Berryman, de la Mare, Langland, Williams) who wrote poems about that work. Students really seem to enjoy this exercise.

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I start with the handprint cave paintings in France and Australia and compare it to graffitti. I try to hit that man has always had an artistic impulse, to make an imprint on his surroundings that will last beyond his lifetime.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I would have to say that I really focus the first day on syllabus and getting to know you stuff. The second day we focus on more getting to know you better and classroom procedures, rules, goals for the year. I kind of outlined the method I use for getting to know you in an earlier group.

http://www.enotes.com/groups/englishteachers/discuss/best-ice-breaker-ideas-1553 

Our first two days are kind of laid out by our administrator because we have some fairly strict rules that must be followed and the consequences must be fully understood (calling parole and/or probation officers to complete jail sentences when rules are broken, very specific policies on acceptable language (we have a big rival gang culture on a very small campus), mandatory searches, etc.), so we have to go slow those first two days. The third day is a review and we begin work in the class. I often times have a quiz at the end of the first week on the first two days as well.

The first couple of days at my school deal with disciplinary issues, so I don't get into lit. expectations until midweek.

Do you wear body armor to work? You must be an amazing person to work with those students. I thought I had it bad because one of my students is facing conspiracy to commit murder charges and two others were arrested for selling drugs!

clane's profile pic

clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I would have to say that I really focus the first day on syllabus and getting to know you stuff. The second day we focus on more getting to know you better and classroom procedures, rules, goals for the year. I kind of outlined the method I use for getting to know you in an earlier group.

http://www.enotes.com/groups/englishteachers/discuss/best-ice-breaker-ideas-1553 

Our first two days are kind of laid out by our administrator because we have some fairly strict rules that must be followed and the consequences must be fully understood (calling parole and/or probation officers to complete jail sentences when rules are broken, very specific policies on acceptable language (we have a big rival gang culture on a very small campus), mandatory searches, etc.), so we have to go slow those first two days. The third day is a review and we begin work in the class. I often times have a quiz at the end of the first week on the first two days as well.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I try to establish the mood for the rest of the semester or year, present the syllabus, get student info on index cards (name, nicknames we can use in public, address, phone, email, hobbies, and I ask what they like most and least about English), and class rules.  Mine are simple:  Be on time, Be Prepared, Be Polite.

If time allows, I go into "Get to Know You" mode, and I allow them to ask me questions which I choose to answer or not.  :)

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