Back to School Means Back to Work
August 24, 2009
My high school students often comment that they don’t bring basic supplies on the first day of school because the teacher reads the rules, and they do nothing in class. To avoid this basic, boring routine, I give an activity to each student as they enter the classroom. I ask that they print their name at the top and begin working on the activity right away. When the bell rings, I take roll by walking up and down the aisles marking present students, while the students continue to work. Walking around also gives me a chance to see that “Peter” wants to be called “Pete” and so on, without boring all the students by verbally calling out roll and wasting time. It also picks up any misplaced students with a schedule error without embarrassment.
As for the rules, most students in high school know the basics, but I address my specific rules as they are needed. When an announcement comes on, I “stop, look and listen” to the announcement and then address that rule with the students. When a student is tardy, I address the tardy rules for my class at that time. When a student asks to use the restroom, I discuss those rules at that time.
The rules are laid out, and students are paying attention to the rules instead of hearing me say “blah, blah, and blah.” It is very effective and sets precedence on the first day that they should be working.