I also start the school year off as a permanent teacher! I'm so excited and so very grateful! I received lots of high-fives from other staff members on the first day and even the Superintendent came to my class to congratulate me! So many exclamation marks!!!
Here are a few things that stood out to me this week to make it such a success!
1. Classroom decor!
In Catia's blog post where I was her guest of honor, I described my dream classroom. This is the classroom I described! I got it for at least this semester (hopefully forever). I teach periods 1-3 in here and it's empty during period 4. I can get so much done in here.
The door to the classroom. This week it's Principal Skinner explaining the benefits of Science. I plan on switching up the character/quote each week of the school year.
Simpsons characters and quotes can be found throughout the room. I also really like the job the Silhouette Cameo machine did cutting out the Biology, Chemistry and Physics titles. I randomly found in my paper supply papers that look like plants, ball and stick molecules and the particle zoo. That's lucky!
This is the room from the back corner. Behind the Biology mural is a closet I affectionately call Narnia.
Another view from the same corner. There is lots of Biology in here. I don't want to get rid of it, I want to increase the amounts of Chemistry and Physics.
I'm still thinking of what to put on those pink areas but for now they cover up a lot of tape marks.
The view from the front of the room. Notice the two fans? I'm up to three now!
My Level Up! board that I will start using this coming week, as well as the homework board. The Silhouette cut out the vinyl, Dr. Frink, the Level Up! letters and the Mario characters. I can't believe how much time that machine saved me this summer!
2. Getting to know you activities
The new Grade 9 students are so very shy the first few days. One activity that I really like to do and it was very successful is really easy to do:
-Give the students a couple sticky notes of pieces of paper.
-Ask them to quietly write down 2 questions for their group members that they want to know the answers to.
-Have the students number themselves based on an attribute (longest hair, tallest, etc).
-Each student goes through and answers all of the questions in the minute of time they're given.
-The next person thanks the previous person. Repeat until everyone has answered the question.
-The Twist: each group can choose one (or two) questions to ask the teacher! This part was super fun! My students sure did learn a lot about me. They chose very good question. Try it this week and let me know how it goes in the comments :)
3. Switching up the parent letter home
I always send letters home to the parents with the SIS and the classroom rules and info. This year the students filled out a similar form like they've done before in my classes. Questions about how they get to school, who they live with, check boxes for preferences and some follow-up short answer questions. My favorite: What is your favorite dinosaur and why? I can tell a lot about them based on their dinosaur ;)
New this year: asking the parents to fill out a form as well. Just one page, but what a change! They fill out contact info and then they have some space to tell me about their child, check boxes and a signature.
I was so enthralled by what the parents were writing me! I learned so much about these Grade 9s that I just met and quite a bit about the Grade 12s (most of which I had already taught). Maybe our students are too humble, but I am glad parents like to boast!
I spent a few hours reading these parent forms throughout the week. I laughed so much! It's incredible what you learn from such a simple question.
I was so impressed with this student and parent information form I'm offering it as a freebie in my TpT store. Go out and download it, and you can edit it to match your style and class. I've bolded the areas you definitely should change, but feel free to alter it as you like or just use it as inspiration. Should you happen to like it, leave me some love in the comments ;)
I hope you had a great first week as well, and if not, hang in there!