We make it a point not to discuss content or the syllabus on day 1. We know how important positive relationships will be for later success. So we spend the first day getting to know each other. Here are the activities that we did with our students:
We make seating charts a week before school starts. Our gradebook software allows us to print out seating charts along with student pictures. We study the names and pictures for several days. At the end of each hour, we attempt to identify each student by name. In my three classes today, I was 93 for 93! We think the students appreciate the effort. Hint: Remember locations as much as faces and make connections between names within a class. We would have no chance whatsoever if students got up and moved their seats.
Reveal our personal side to students
In college, I had a teacher prep class that made us put together a 3 ring binder of photos and artifacts that we could use to introduce ourselves to students. I had pictures of my family, my interests and hobbies, and pictures of big events in my life. After many years of use, I realized that this is not how people get to know each other these days. In the age of the internet, we get to know each other on social media! So now I share my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account with students. It achieves the same goal as the 3 ring binder but with a little more relevance for students. I make sure to share a wide variety of my interests and adventures. My hope is that each kid can connect with something about me.
Find out about my students
Students fill out a “Getting to Know You” worksheet where they have a chance to reveal themselves to their classmates and me. Then we have students share their information in pairs, and then their seat partner has to present them to the class. We usually ask for a name and “one or two interesting facts” that we should remember about that person. Tomorrow we will quiz students on names and these facts that we should remember.