## Set Your Students Up For Success

Whether its the first day, first week, or first month, what you do in those first 30 days of the new school year is critical to helping you set your students up for success.

Weve all done it: the first day of school comes and we focus almost entirely on shoveling out a laundry list of rules and procedures to students.

You go over your assessment plan, This is how much exams are worth, quizzes, finals, etc. And you chart a course for the entire year, with individual lessons down to the week.

Its a lot for your students to take in. But more importantly, it sets the wrong tone for the class as a whole, and that tone and their belief about the class will affect their engagement moving forward.

Instead, shift your thinking to focus on setting your students up for success.

## Principle No : Curiosity

Too many college courses are presented to students as boxes of content: British Literature From 1800 to the Present,Inorganic Chemistry,Principles of Sociology. We walk into the room on the first day of the semester, open this box of knowledge and skills for the students, hand it over, and expect them to give it back three months later in the form of a final exam. The first class meeting usually affirms that approach. We tell students all about what we will cover throughout the semester, even though they might have no particular or prior interest in our subject matter.

Illustration by Eric Peterson

**The first day is the best day to spark your students curiosity.**

Instead, consider the first day as your best opportunity to spark students curiosity and invite them into a fascinating intellectual journey. In his book, *What the Best College Teachers Do*, Ken Bain argues that instructors should build and present learning experiences around deep questions and problems. Highly effective college instructors recollect what first fascinated them about their discipline, pay attention to what fascinates students today, and make a connection with those issues at the opening of the semester. Such instructors reflect upon why the course should matter, and work to convey the significance of its content to students as well as to their world beyond the classroom.

## Getting To Know You Dice Activity

All you will need is a die to pull of this easy-to-implement getting to know you dice activity. Have students take turns rolling a die. Whatever number they roll dictates how many facts about themselves they must share with the class.

You will be sure to hear groans when a student rolls a 6! I always play along as well.

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## Petals Around The Rose

Petals Around the Rose is a classic dice-based brain teaser. It can easily be played by the whole class. Roll five dice. Announce how many petals are around the rose. Students must work to figure out the pattern.

The most important element of the game? You arent allowed to talk about how the game works! When a student thinks they have solved the mystery, they prove it to the teacher by correctly announcing the number of petals around the rose for several dice throws in a row.

This one is a memorable one, and it tends to drive students CRAZY!

## Conduct A Pi Symphony

Turn pi into music! Start by experimenting with pi10k, which turns pi into music as youve never heard before. Then, create your own class symphony using pi to structure the composition. Assign each student or group of students a number from one through nine and have them come up with a musical sound associated with their number. Think claps, hums, whistles, knocks, beats on a drum or tambourine, or notes on a kazoo, recorder, triangle, or another available musical instrument. Write the first 20 digits of pi on the board and direct students to make their chosen sound when you point to their number. Zero can be a rest. Repeat the sequence several times until you get the hang of it and have a rhythmic tune to show for your effort!

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## Left Center Right Dice Game

If you have a copy of the Left Center Rightdice game, it can make a great activity for the first week of school. A former coworker of mine would play the game with starbursts or wrapped candy instead of the plastic discs.

I actually saw that Dollar Tree had copies of Left Center Right in the toy section recently! Usually, I have more students than the discs in the game allows, so I use bingo chips.

My favorite thing about Left Center Right is that even if youre out of the game, you can still end up winning! Its also great for discussing statistics and probability.

## Principle No : Expectations

The previous three principles will guide you in devising creative, engaging activities for opening day. But you cant ignore the fact that students will bring a host of expectations things they will want to know right away into the room with them. What shape will the course take? What materials will they have to buy? What tests, projects, and other assignments will they be required to complete? Are there any special obligations that might differentiate your course from a typical one?

An important practical reason for answering those questions on the first day is that not all students who show up will remain enrolled. Although you might be tempted to take it personally, my experience as an academic adviser suggests that students tend to switch in and out of courses during the first week because of logistical issues in their academic and personal lives. A student might discover on the first day that three of her courses require extensive amounts of writing, and decide to postpone one of them until next semester, so as not to be overwhelmed with deadlines. Or a student might switch into another section after he discovers that you have a required field trip that conflicts with a family wedding.

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## Taking A Cue From The Business World

One practice that the business world invests heavily in is onboarding. Onboarding is a fancy word that refers to the process of starting a new employee at their job.

Many of the largest and most successful companies in the work invest heavily in helping each employee get started off right, not just getting them the resources they need to but:

- Laying a strong support structure
- Establishing expectations, and
- Getting them inspired and excited about the work theyll be doing to maximize engagement.

Sound familiar? These are many of the same things we want to put in place at the beginning of the year for our math students.

Imagine you just got hired to work in an office. On your first day on the job, you were invited to see your supervisor. You waited twenty minutes just to be seen, and once you were in, they rattled off a laundry list of rules and procedures, and your responsibilities, for a half an hour before letting you go free.

Not a very inspiring, supportive, or encouraging picture, is it?

Now imagine, instead, you were hired at a company where someone greeted you at the door who was solely responsible for your being well-supported in adjusting to your new position?

They made sure you felt like you had everything you needed to do your job. And they were ready with your first project an interesting one on your very first day that helped you get an easy win and sparked your engagement.

## First Day Of Geometry Tips And Tricks

If you are looking for more Geometry Tips and Tricks, to communicate with other veteran geometry teachers, or just a way to not have to spend all of your time creating lessons for your Geometry class click this link: to learn more about what the Geometry Teacher Community can do for your life as a teacher

Are you looking for more lesson plans and resources?

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## Survival In The Desert

In Survival in the Desert, groups are given a scenario where their plane has crashed in the desert. They are given a list of items that have been found at the crash site. They must then work together to prioritize the items based on how useful they be for their survival.

The activity encourages communication and creative/logical thinking.

The activity is actually adapted from the Air Force Survival Training Manual. Correct answers are given, and they are always eye-opening to the students!

## The Math Projects Journal

__Day 1 & 2, Thurs Aug 14, 2014__

**The Drumrol**l: I have been pondering Carole Dwecks Growth Mindset findings, and came up with a couple of vehicles. The first is the Drumroll. I told the students that since this was my only class of the day , I will need their help getting in the right mood for class everyday with the drumroll. It goes like this.

**Leader at the Front of the Room** : **Drumroll, please.**

{students drumroll on the desks) **Leader: Are you ready to learn? **

**Class: Are you?**

**All: Yes**

The students bought into it more than I anticipated, but they will need some practice coordinating the routine. We will get there. The most important thing was setting the tone that we are going to be about learning in this class.

**Opening Quiz on the 6 Cs**: I always start every year by answering the transformation question: *How will you be different in June than you are now, because of my class?* In the past, I answered with the 4 Es, and structured my Portfolios as such. This year, to better align with the Common Core, I answered with the 6 Cs which are the 21st Century 4 Cs and the 4 Smarter Balance claims. Since two overlap, there are only 6. I structured my grade book and my portfolios around these 6 learning categories.

**Conceptual Understanding & Procedural Fluency****Creativity****Collaboration**

I pressed them to give me __something__ numbers, equations, drawings __anything__ intelligent.

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## Memorize Those Pi Digits

Teach your students about the current record holder for reciting the digits of pi. Rajveer Meena recited 70,000 digits in 9 hours, 7 minutes on March 21, 2015. Then have them memorize digits using this catchy song about the first 100 digits of pi. Play it in the background while your kids work on other projects, and theyll know it by heart in no time.

## How To Plan An Effective First Day Of Class

**1. Scrap the Typical Icebreaker – Engage them with a Unique Activity**__Fun Back to School Activities____Get to Know You True/False Activity__**2. Go Over Rules and Procedures in a Fun Way**__best teacher memes here__**3. Let Them Get to Know their Teacher**here to purchase**4. Year-at-a-Glance****5. Teach Doodle Note Skills**__Engage Your Brain____Doodle Note__here to dowload this free set.**6. Provide a Special Treat **

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## + First Week Of School Activities

Home»Beginning of Year Activities»30+ First Week of School Activities

*This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. This comes at no cost to you. Thanks for your support of Math = Love!*

As summer is wrapping to a close, I am excited to share more than 30 first week of school activities to help you choose the perfect activity for your classroom. The first day of school is one of the highlights of my school year, and I look forward to crafting a fun and engaging experience for my new students each year.

As a result, in almost a decade in the classroom, I have compiled a list of over thirty different tried and tested ideas for the first week of school.

## A Mathematical Magic Trick

I used this mathematical magic trick with students during my first year of teaching. The magic trick starts with students thinking of a number from 1 to 10, and it ends with almost every student thinking of the exact same animal in the exact same country eating the exact same food.

Is it magic? Or is it math?

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## First Day Of School Printables + Day Plan

I remember my very first day of school as a teacher and looking for any activities and ideas that I could use. I finally have a first day of school plan that I love and has worked well with my groups over the years.

Of course, each year is different, but my first day of school day plan and activity pages below have been tested in my primary classroom.

The product includes a very detailed lesson plan with everything I make sure to reinforce, teach and do on the first day. A collection of printables for activities and exciting, unique hands-on activities to keep children engaged and make the day memorable are included.

## Getting To Know You Quiz

I like to use a getting to know you quiz to both introduce myself to students and to start learning more about my students. Yes, I am that cruel teacher who gives their students a quiz on the first day of school!

On the front of the quiz, students compete to see who can answer the most questions correctly about their teacher.

After I go over the answers to the quiz about myself, I invite students to write their own quiz about themselves. I take these quizzes after school on the first day of school so that I can return them on the second day of school.

Students love grading my answers and telling me just how well or badly I did!

Want to learn more? Check out this post for more details as well as a free editable getting to know you quiz template!

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## Activity #: Theyve Gotten To Know You Youve Gotten To Know Them Now Its Time To Get To Know The Classroom

I dont usually do my procedures and expectations and rules spiel on the first day of school. I know that my students are already overwhelmed with information on the first day. However, I do want them to get an idea of what my class is going to be like and how it works. My favorite way to do that is with a Classroom Scavenger Hunt!

I prepare a worksheet with questions that can be answered just by looking around the room. For example, I have a poster about measurement in my room, so one of the questions is, How many cups are in a pint? I have lots of quote posters hanging up, so some of the questions ask the students to fill in the blank of a quote or find out who said the quote. I also ask questions that require students to find important places in the room, such as Where is the lost and found? or Where will you turn in your work?

This is a great way for students to begin to become comfortable with your classroom and to discover all the resources available to them in it. You didnt spend hours hanging posters over the summer just for students to never look at them! Make sure your scavenger hunt draws attention to anything you want students to know and use in the room. I dont allow them to ask me for help just reiterate that they need to keep looking! You can check out the template I use by !

What are your favorite first-day-of-school activities?

## First Day Of School Bingo

I cant wait to try this Back to School Bingo! If you are looking for an exciting hands-on activity to try on the first day of school, a BINGO game with a back to school theme is sure to be a hit!

This would also be a great activity to try at home to have some fun with children starting school. For younger children, discuss each of the pictures on the BINGO board as a way of showing some of the things they may see once they start at school.

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## The Next Class And Beyond

Or, you can do all of that in person on the second day of class. Produce a PowerPoint with the key findings from your first meeting, or a word cloud with their impressions of the course content. If the students created a list of activities that would help them succeed in the course, pull their ideas together into a one-page handout for successful learning.

As the semester continues, find small ways to link your opening-day activities to the current course content. In a senior seminar I teach on 21st-century British literature and culture, we watch a segment of the 2012 London Olympics on the first day, and analyze what it tells us about the British values that the organizers wanted to project to the world. As the semester continues, I refer back to those values whenever we can. Occasionally students, too, will refer back to that video in our class discussions, a connection I always affirm.

## Free First Day Of School All About Me Printable

To get you started on your first day of school, you can download a FREE All About Me page for children to fill out. Printable is available in black and white and color.

When you subscribe you will gain access to Hands-On Teaching Ideas Free Resource Library, filled with a variety of free printable learning resources. You will also receive emails with my latest blog posts and freebies! Click image below to subscribe and gain access.

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