Ah! It’s almost August! The kids are coming! The kids are coming! Soon I won’t be able to have a pint with my lunch!
This post has one purpose: Getting you to take a deep breath and collect some solace in the fact that your teacher friend Dave has a few years’ worth of articles and resources developed to combat the start of school year overwhelm. You don't have time to completely re-invent the wheel!
The way we think is the way we'll teach, so start with these
- Cures for First Day of School Overwhelm
- This Year, Make Better Choices with Warren Buffett’s 25-5 List Technique
- Get Ready for the School Year with this 5 Minute Activity — what are you driving at, all year long? What is your Everest sentence?
- You’ll need to focus if this year is going to be a good one; I recommend running your lesson planning and units through the simple, robust Non-Freaked Out Framework for Literacy Instruction — here’s a really short overview and here’s a free, mini-book-length version. Note: The framework has utility in all content areas.
Activities for the first days of school
Let’s get practical now.
- Simple Questions on the First Day of School that Teach Purpose — I hand these index cards out on the last day of the school year during pop-up toasts.
- This post pairs nicely: A Simple, Powerful Tweak on the First Day of School Index Card Activity
- A First Day of School Activity That Teaches Argument, Which Teaches Thinking (Updated) — This is another part of my first day.
- Starting Strong with the “Transformative” & Simple Think-Pair-Share Strategy
- Here’s how three weeks of Think-Pair-Share parlay into the first successful pop-up debate of the school year: Beyond the Fear of Public Speaking: Making the First Pop-Up Debate a Success for All Students
- The First Article of the Week of the School Year: Key Teaching Points — I teach this lesson on my first Monday of school each year. (We always start on a Tuesday.)
- This isn’t strictly first day of school, but it could be depending on when your first student birthday falls. This is an easy routine for recognizing each kid on their birthday efficiently and ending the year with a neat document. Check it out: A Simple Classroom Birthday Tradition
In my next posts, I'll share my thoughts on classroom management — a big, important topic for teachers new and old.
After having taught community college comp for ten years, I have to say that your program is the first that 1)Makes sense to me 2)Addresses my own teaching deficiencies 3) and motivates me. I’m building (as I’m teaching) a freshman integrated skills course and your course and materials have been very helpful. Quick Question: In order to increase engagement, I am teaching a podcast as a text (while showing transcripts on the projector so they can listen/read it). It’s upped engagement quite a bit, but I’m struggling to find ways to model the listening/reading/comprehension parts (like with your 9 moves, for example). What do you think of using podcasts in ELA classes?
NG, this is so encouraging to read — thank you very much. Making sense, promoting self-critique, and motivating — these are good outcomes of this little blog of mine.
In terms of podcast as text, you’re further ahead than me. I think it’s a fascinating idea, I just haven’t embarked on it yet. Nowadays there are some truly wonderful podcasts that I think merit study — I want to encourage you in doing that work.
Jenny Forester says
I bought several items and are loving them – thank you! One of the items purchased was the Mechanics of Grammar Instruction. Is there a key with that?
There is, Jenny — you’ll find it at the end of the book. I am sorry that it’s not listed in the Table of Contents. But stay tuned! Good news is coming to all folks who have purchased Mechanics Instruction that Sticks soon.
Lorna Kapanke says
Oh, do tell, Dave! What could make Mechanics Instruction that Sticks better!?! Of the new “stuff” I implemented last year, that was my absolute favorite. You’ve got me thinking about the possibilities now!
It was a year later than I wanted, Lorna, but it was the 3.0 version of MITS — with assessments. I hope it helped!