Day One

This is a post from August 7th, 2013.

Day 1.
....the day from which all other days begin! Teachers prepare for hours on end to make sure that this day goes perfectly. But what does the perfect Day 1 look like? Obviously, that depends on your teaching style, the kids that you have in your class, how many years you have been teaching and the theme put in place at your school. In 2010 when I began my journey teaching, I received the great book, The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong. Countless teachers have read through this book, and you should too!
The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary WongConfession...I didn't read this until in between my 1st and 2nd years teaching. Don't feel bad or feel like it's too late to start a new tradition. The first day is crazy important. 
At my school, the first day of school presents a unique challenge. It's a short day! Our 9th graders go to class the first day without the pressure of upperclassmen being around while they find their way. The main purpose of the day is for the 9th graders to learn where all of their classes are located. This means that I only have each class for 15 minutes! My first instinct has been to give the "expectations" lecture. This year, however, I will have a presentation to help the students get to know me a little bit. This is going to be a short presentation - maybe 5 or 10 minutes. I'll then have the students talk to each other in groups of 3 for a few minutes. Once they talk, they'll get a notecard where they will write basic information such as name, favorite activity, hobbies, etc... about each other. In addition to being an ice breaker, these note cards will help me get to know my new students. 
So why flip it like this? Don't we need to establish expectations immediately?
Expectations are established through action more than word. How many students complain that their teacher says one thing but does another? You can be the teacher that says little about expectations, and whose actions match those words every second of every day. Do you want your kids to raise their hands before they answer a question? Practice raising hands for basic questions and be consistent. Do you want your kids to organize themselves at the end of each hour? Take the last 3 minutes and scaffold their organizational skills to where you want them to be.
My kids show up in 6 days! We'll see how it goes... 

Good luck and have a great year!