We’re back at the beginning (again) and there is so much to do! So how do you get your students to be the smiling angels and hard-working scientists and engineers that you know they can be?
It’s all in the planning! As you plan our your year and have your units and phenomena all laid out in your Yearly Plan, be sure to leave room for the most important part- laying that foundation for your successful students and keeping them motivated.
Part of laying that foundation is teaching kids their classroom procedures from the minute they walk in the door. Going through all these in a lecture-format will put us all to sleep, so I used a combination of classroom discussion and games.
Circle the Wagons
The first tool in my arsenal was conducting a Morning Meeting. If you’re familiar with Morning Meetings, you already know that the first part of every meeting is the Greeting. During the greeting I would ask each of my kids to share something about themselves (favorite food, best dessert, etc.) and I captured it in my Interest Profile to help myself get to know them better.
Discussion is Key
A second strategy was getting them to buy into our classroom. I did this through guiding a discussion about expectations and letting the kids choose the ones they felt were important in our classroom community. Oddly enough, we almost always ended up with the same expectations 🙂 and you can grab a copy of the Classroom Expectations here to use in your room.
Who Doesn’t like a game?
And another strategy I used to help my kids become familiar with our classroom procedures is playing everyone’s favorite game- Bingo! We played a couple rounds of Classroom Bingo during the first few days of school. I labeled popsicle sticks with each of the procedures. When I drew one, I’d name the procedure for the kids to mark on their boards and then explain how that procedure worked. As we played more rounds, I’d call out the procedure so the kids could mark it (with a Smartie, of course) and let one of the kids give the explanation. Get a copy of the pre-made bingo boards (with 2 blanks) here.
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Lane specializes in STEM curriculum design and professional development for K-12 stakeholders and enjoys making teachers’ lives easier through innovative, standards-based STEM lessons.