Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day Fun

Every year I begin the school year the same way: asking myself what I will do the first day.  No lesson plans all year take me as long, there is no day that makes me as anxious.  No matter this was my seventh first day, I am perplexed every year by the idea of this big, first impression and how to make it a great experience for my students.

I shared this concern with my colleague and friend, Kristin LeClaire, who confessed to the same wonderings.  With that sentiment in mind, she asked me a terrific question.  It went something like this:  If you were a student in your class, what would make you feel excited that day?  Excited for the following class?  What would make you feel validated?  Like this class was worthwhile? 

Here is the list I came up with:
  • I want to know my classmates enough so when I have group work, I have someone to work with. 
  • I want to know them enough so when I walk in the room, they say "hi" to me and call me by name.
  • I want to know the teacher a little as a subject enthusiast and as a person.
  • I don't want to listen the whole time; I want to feel like someone wants to hear my voice and this is not just my teacher's show.
  • I want to have an opportunity to get up and move around; this is the longest I've sat and listened for a long time.
  • I want to learn a little about the class's content and why it matters or is interesting, why it applies to my life.  I want to be excited about that content because of relevancy, interest, or, preferably, both.
  • I want to know my teacher knows a cares about me a little, even after just one day.
With these bullets in mind, I drafted my lesson plans and had a solid first day experience, but I am still wondering how others might answer those questions and what they do on that first day of school. 


  1. I wonder what the kids would say about how they would want to spend their first day. Maybe ask them to respond to your blog post. That way you have some feedback for next year.

    Also, I think you did a great job reflecting about what it would be like to be a kid in your class. To often as teachers, I feel as though we forget this part. I can't even imagine the first day of school for them having to sit endless hours listening to rules and regulations when they have been free of school all summmer.

  2. Coming back from the 3 month vacation from school is tough, especially on the first day back. There are new teachers, new kids, and a whole new school. When I come back from summer, I like to try and find my way around before school actually starts. I try to find my classes and hopefully not get lost.

    I usually check to see if I have any friends in any of my classes but if i don't I try to be outgoing and make new ones. That's how I start the first day of school and I'm interested on how the rest of the world spends theirs.

  3. Anne and Phil, thank you for your comments. Phil, I'm especially excited to have a student perspective. I'm glad to know that one of the things you look forward to is getting to know your classmates. I will be sure to keep that in mind for future years. Thanks for posting!