The first day of school is almost here! Your friends at TeachingRocks.ca will be providing you with ideas and resources to help ease both you and your students into a successful new school year! One of the most important things that you can do on the first day of school is to review key procedures with your students. Although I like to spend time on the first day of school getting to know my new students and building community, it is also necessary for students to learn about key classroom procedures. Why is this so important? Students need to know what their teachers expect from them, how they should behave in class, and what is considered appropriate practice. By discussing these procedures on the first day of school, teachers and students can spend more time
1. Entering the class: Review with students how they are to enter the classroom, either at the beginning of each period or at the beginning of the day. Where do they place their coats, school bags, and other belongings? Do they have assigned seats or do they choose their own seat? Will you have any bell ringer work ready for them when they enter the class?
2.Missed homework: What are the repercussions for not completing homework assignments? Do you have “homework not done” slips? After how many incomplete assignments do you follow-up with parents? It is important for students to be aware of homework procedures and the importance you place on completing their homework on a regular basis.
3. Class Schedule: Do your students spend the whole day with you or are they only with you for one period? If students are with you the whole (or most of) the day, it is important for students to know the daily schedule. This can be done either by posting a large weekly schedule or having a designated area in the classroom to post each day’s daily schedule. By doing so, it is easier to transition students from one subject to the next. Check out our Day Schedule to aid during transition times!
4. How will you get student attention? Whenever there is a whole class activity or students are working with partners or in small groups, the noise level may be a bit loud in the classroom. Classroom noise is sometimes essential for learning, as this means that students are immersed in the activity and having fun! But how can the teacher get their attention to settle down and move on to the next task? Some teachers clap out a rhythm with students repeating the clap back, some flicker the lights, while others have come up with many different attention grabbers. I simply raise my hand and students know that when they see this, they are to raise their hand, look at me, stop talking, and wait for direction. For me, it’s simple and it works!
5. Washroom visits: Review with students the proper procedures regarding washroom visits, which includes how to ask for permission, appropriate times, washroom passes, and whether a buddy system is in place.
6. Absences: It is important for students to know that when they are absent from school they must catch up on any work that is missed. A great way to do this is to incorporate a “buddy” system where students pair off with a classmate and they inform one another of missed assignments when the other is absent. This FREE customizable homework tool can help with this: While You Were Absent!
7. Eating and drinking in class: Are students allowed to keep a reusable water bottle at their desks or do they ask permission to use the school water fountain? If so, when is there an appropriate time to ask for permission to use the water fountain? Are students allowed to have a small snack during class? Do you allow your students to chew gum in class? Quickly review these items as students are always eager to know about food and drinks!
8. Personal electronic devices: What is your and your school’s policy on electronic devices? Must these devices be “off” or can they be kept on silent? May students keep them in their pockets or must they be stored in a knapsack or locker? Are students even allowed to use these devices during the school day, and if so when? If not, review with students the repercussions for improperly using these electronic devices.
9. Emergency Procedures: It is vital to review emergency procedures with students on the first day of school because you can never predict when an emergency situation may arise. Review with students proper procedures for fire drills, lock downs, and any specific drills you may have for your geographic area (e.g. tornado drills, etc…)
10. Taking care of the classroom: Remind students that it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of the classroom environment. In my class, I use classroom jobs that are rotated every two weeks. Here is another FREE resource that can help you with this: Taking Care of Our Classroom!
11. Parent Communication: Education is a partnership between students, teachers, and parents/guardians, so inform your students how parent communication will occur and for what reasons. How will you communicate with parents/guardians? Will you use newsletters, phone calls, email, or forms? Let your students know that you won’t just be communicating negative behavior,s but you will also be informing parents/guardians about their positive achievements as well. Here are two FREE forms to help you with parent/guardian communication: Parent Contact Log and Keeping Parents in the Know!
12. Classroom dismissal: What are the end of day procedures? Do you review homework, reminders, and agendas at the end of day? When is it the right time for students to begin packing up their belongings for dismissal? And, finally, how are students supposed to leave the classroom – are students to leave individually or do they line up for dismissal?
We hope this list helps with your classroom management on your first day and throughout the year!