Friday, August 23, 2013

First Weeks of School
Lots of teachers and educators have been sharing ideas for the first days and weeks back to school. Here are some.
  1. Beginning the School Year, "It's About Connections, Not Content," written by Jackie Gerstein, offers lots of neat creative ideas to point the focus on the students and them connecting with one another. I love her suggestions. Do you?
  2. Live Binder is an online tool for collecting resources in folders for easy accessibility. In this Live Binder, "First Five Days," assembled by talented teacher Joy Kirr, you'll find a bundle of ideas. To use the Binder, note tabs across the top; each opens a binder with resources. 
  3. "You Only Get One First Day of School" despite its title offers tips for the first few days. 
  4. Erin Olson's blog post "First Day, First Week" offers several ways to greet students the first few days. 
  5. Katrina Schwartz's "10 Ideas to Get those Back-to-School Juices Flowing" is not just for the first dew days but for any time of the year.  Each heading is a hyperlink to access additional ideas. For instance, the heading "Why Read Reading Aloud"  leads to details about this strategy.
  6. "How to Tackle Digital Citizenship During the First Five Days" helps with developing school climate and classroom atmosphere for tech use and in general. 
  7. The "Brave" video is an excellent discussion starter, especially for students in upper grades. 
  8. First Five Days video produced at Alan November's Building Learning Communities is embedded here.
  9. "
  10. School Year Hopes" is another post about setting a positive classroom climate. 
  11. "A Must Watch Back to School Video Guide" showcases eight videos, both for teachers and students.
  12. One of my favorite teacher blogs for finding ideas to implement in the classroom, especially at the elementary school level, is Pernille Ripp's Blogging in the Fourth Dimension. Just recently, she posted: "Small Reading Ideas," with lots of small ideas but really they are big ideas with lots of potential to add to your classroom and students' interest in reading.
Looking for more places to find additional ideas, use this hashtag to search on Twitter, and check the feed over the next few weeks for ideas. #1st5days Twitter remains an excellent way to keep current and spread your wings for professional development and forming a personal learning network (PLN). Here is a screen capture of some tweets found on #1st5 days.

Don't forget to share your own ideas for the opening of school and getting to know students and parents, and to let us know which ones of the ideas explored above appeal to you.


  1. After having my first day of school last Thursday, I can connect with idea 1 by Jackie Gerstein. I think fostering relationships amongst students in my class is key to ensuring a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

  2. I love the blog on #12. What a wonderful idea to create special bins for "new books" and "popular books." I can only imagine the excitement of kids running into the classroom library to check out the new classroom books.

  3. There are many activities here that I love to do in my own classroom within the first couple of days. I really liked blog #3 because the first day of school is so important to make an impression and set the tone for the year. Something I like to do on the first day is to have the students write one thing I need to know about them as learners to help them succeed throughout the year. It has been great to see how honest they are in their responses, which truly helps me when working with each student.