The first day of school is almost upon us. We begin Wednesday, and I’m going to use a first day activity I’ve used before. Here it is:
On the first day we have lots of comings and goings because of schedule changes, so I start with an easy activity and a game. I have the students take the first ten minutes to write down any questions they have about me or the class on 2″ by 2″ pieces of paper. They can ask anything they want and do not put their names on the slips of paper. I don’t have to answer a question, but it’s rare to get an inappropriate question. The kids drop their slips of paper into my Mariners cap and away we go.
I answer every appropriate question, even if it’s a silly one because this is how we get to know one another. I always hated the list of rules (I don’t have any rules in my classroom–never needed them) and the reading of the syllabus on the first day, and this allows me to answer their questions, making their interests the focus from day one. It’s their class after all.
This takes about 30 minutes, and then I give them some word puzzles to complete in groups for the ever-requested extra credit. It’s only five points, but they think it’s a billion and will do anything for the points. This ends the period.
P.S. I was working in my classroom today, and one of my students from last year informed me that she’s with me again this year. She then asked if they get to ask me questions again this year. I said “yes” and she giggled and said she’s been thinking about some questions she thought of this summer. She’s an innocent so I don’t fear her questions but had that one kid (that we’ve all had) said the same thing, I’d be quaking in my boots.