Part of kicking off a new year involves teaching your rules, expectations, and procedures. Who am I kidding?! It's pretty much the most crucial piece to beginning a successful school year. I focus on classroom management heavily those first six weeks. That may seem like a long time, but I have found it pays off in the long run. My classroom is always known for how self-sufficient it runs. Is it perfect? Not at all. We have the same problems arise as the next classroom, but it's limited.
I also want to make sure that not only do I have a strong classroom management plan, but I also want to build an inviting, fun classroom environment. I don't spend the first day reading over the rules and telling what my expectations are by lecturing and talking all day. I want my students to be engaged from the start, so I teach my expectations through children's books, classroom discussion, and by attaching a fun little craftivity to break up the day.
We start the first day by creating a social contract. I can do another post about this in more detail. The students basically come up with expectations and rules and then sign off on it. I can always tell after we do this that they need some little reminders about blurting out and waiting turns. So, I usually start out with My Mouth is a Volcano. We talk about self-control and using our best manners. Afterwards, we list the steps that the book gave us for controlling when we speak. They always love this book and the craftivity that goes with it. I write out the steps with them as a class and they write with me.
Another cute book is Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker. The book itself is just beautiful and I love how the book shows them how it feels to others when we do all the talking and no listening. They also realize how much they could be missing out on when they're not listening. I like to have them write about what it would be like if they lost their voice and couldn't speak.
We do some prewriting on this activity and then transfer it to paragraph form. This is a great assessment to see how well they write and organize. We then make these simple and easy owls to attach to our writing.
Everytime I read No Excuses, I have to hold back the tears! It's the sweetest story and makes me realize how important my words are as their teacher. It's so important for us to be encouraging and to teach students how to go for their dreams. I forgot to take pics last year when I did this! I take a picture of each student holding a chalkboard with what they want to be when they grow up written on it. We then make a list of positive attributes about ourselves, like "I am smart!" We use this to tie in to how important it is to always do our best and not make excuses throughout the year, even when things get tough. It makes a great parent keepsake, too!
Some groups are better than others, but there is usually a little tattling problem at the beginning of the year. We read A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue to remedy that problem. They never really believe that their tongue will transform but it's fun to pretend! I take their photo or they could even draw a picture, and then I attach it to their tattle rules. They book has a list of tattle rules they can record on their printable.
In second grade, multiple meaning words is a huge skill. So, I always introduce Amelia Bedelia early because she's hilarious with her multiple meaning word mixups! I let them choose with phrases they want to use to illustrate and write a sentence about. Finally, we make our very own Amelia!
I use the whole brain rules in my classroom, so we also make this pencil craftivity to attach to our rules. I read David Goes to School and we write the five rules together. I then just cut scrapbook paper in half and attach construction paper for the other pieces. I don't have a template, but I did attach the paper for the rules as freebie down below. Click the pic of the paper to get the document.
I do these activities over the span of the first week. Like I said before, I don't like to just go over everything at once, because they won't remember it. I like to go over procedures as those situations arise and then use the books to teach the major behavior expectations. Attaching a craftivity to it, makes it a little more fun! If you would like to add some craftivities to your first week routine, you can check out the unit below. Click on the pic to head to my store, because it's going to be on sale until Friday!
Have a great rest of the week and enjoy what's left of your summer!