The First Day of School - Setting the Tone

One of my goals for the first day of school this year was to set the tone for collaboration and project based learning. This proved to be a welcome change from ice breakers and going over a syllabus. The first day of school was focused on establishing classroom norms and learning to appreciate the differences in our personalities.

A game was used to estabilish classroom expectations for the year. The class played a game called "Clutch" that required listening, multitasking, and speed. Students stood in a circle and placed the pointer finger of their left hand into the right palm of their neighbors hand. The word "clutch" was their cue to try to capture their neighbors finger and free their own at the same time.

Students then listed the behaviors they needed to exibit in order to be successful in the game. These behaviors were recorded on the board. A discussion followed about how these same behaviors would help them be successful in class. I used Tagxedo to create a poster from their list of words. I printed this using the school's poster printer and have it on the wall to remind students of how to be successful in my class.

The class then listed behaviors that would cause them to be unsuccessful in class. These behaviors were also made into a poster.

After establishing classroom norms, students took a personality test. The test divided their personalities into four colors. Students moved to different areas of the room to meet with other students who shared their personality. They discussed the strengths of their personaility, the weaknesses of their personaility, and how they work with the other personalities. This lead to a great class discussion about working together in teams.

Even my more challenging students were engaged during these activities. They all contributed to the classroom expectations for the school year. They also have new insight on how to work with their peers. The school year is off to a great start!

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