My first day of school plans (I teach sixth grade English and 7th/8th Creative Writing):
1. Introduce myself. Make sure the kiddos are in the right place.
2. Have students write a letter to me. It's an open forum. Anything goes. They can write about themselves, their summer, their interests, their breakfasts, or all of the above. Friendly letter format. You'd be surprised, some sixth graders still don't know this format.
3. Pass out my syllabus. Tell them it's really boring (because it is) and they can read it on their own time (if they want). This year I've added a new clause on the back that students and parents must sign. It's a contract, sort of. It goes something like this:
I understand the goals and expectations of this class. I will work hard to become a better reader, writer, thinker, and overall person. I understand that it will take hard work and my best effort to accomplish these goals.4. Tell a few stories. I tell stories about year's past and students who have succeeded and ones who have gone the other way. I talk about those kids (anonymously) and why they succeeded or failed. Kids love stories. After all, that's what this class is about.
5. Answer Questions, most which sound like, "Where is the pencil sharpener?" This brings up a good point about being observant and knowing what is around you at all times. Every student KNOWS there is a pencil sharpener is each classroom, all they have to do is look around and get to know their surroundings.
6. If we have time, and that's a big IF, we'll watch a few short videos courtesy of Macmillan's A Wrinkle in Time 50th Anniversary celebration. The videos are short and give insight to various aspects of L'Engle and her timeless story. (though I feel time is running out on A Wrinkle in Time, to no one's fault but time itself.)
I have a slew of fun stuff planned for our two summer reading books, A Wrinkle in Time and When You Reach Me. It's the 50th anniversary of Wrinkle, so let the party begin! I will share more of my fun stuff later, but first to the nuts and bolts. Below is an example of a chart I'm using this year. (Forgive the formatting; it got all jacked up on the upload.) The first one (Wrinkle) we will complete together as a class. Students will complete the second chart (Reach Me) in groups of two, then we'll review the answers together. (Two hands, and two brains, are better than one.)
Why the chart format? It's visual and provides easy reference to basic literary terms. Students will keep these charts in their binders for the entire year. They can refer back to them at any time. Practical and useful.
Wrinkle Literary Elements