The First Day Cometh

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.

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9 thoughts on “The First Day Cometh

  1. Mrs. Chili

    Our first day is today (after yesterday’s orientation). I’m totally stealing this idea and I’ll report back how it goes. Thanks!

    p.s., I have a really, REALLY good feeling about this year; I think it’s going to be great for all of us, and I’m sending that energy your way, too.

    Reply
    1. drpezz Post author

      I hope it works for you. Many of the questions will repeat, and I’m always surprised how many times I’m asked how I got into teaching. My students really seem to be curious about this.

      Reply
      1. Mrs. Chili

        It was GREAT! I got everything from “how hard will this class be” to “is red your natural hair color” to “will it ever get less scary?” LOVED this; I’m going to make it part of my first day every year. Thank you, thank you!

      2. drpezz Post author

        I’m happy to hear it worked. I just love how the students get to ask what they want and then one question leads to another. We had quite good discussions.

  2. Tom Ranieri

    Great activity. I plan on using it also. I worked as a teacher for a few years and my family is still in the classroom. I started a small student travel company in Costa Rica but stayed connected because Im still involved with students and I think this is a simple and easy one I can do on the bus first day. It will give the kids a chance to know me better and a chance for me to know them of course with the types of questions they ask. Im sure some of the qeustions asked the kids are able to call out who asked that question. Really enjoyed playing it all out in my head and cant wait to try it out. Have a great year and thanks for all the info on the blog.

    Reply
  3. A Phillie Teacher

    We are required to post rules in our classrooms as well as a separate poster stating “consequences.”

    Of course this is a bad way to get started but administration (superintendent) sees this as a way to head off the inevitable “No one ever told me” arguments.

    Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to work in a profession that doesn’t require me to take a defensive CYA (cover your a**) stance on every detail.

    I will try your question activity, though. Our first day periods are only 30 minutes long

    Reply

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