Heeeyyyy! Happy Thursday! As I’m gearing up for year 12 (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!) and reviewing my first day of school activities, I thought I’d share them with you! If you’re on Twitter (give me a follow @Bethany_Petty) then you know back-to-school activities and what you do on the first day has been the subject of MUCH debate. Do you dive in with procedures? Start with the syllabus? Do a “get to know you” activity? Join Google Classroom and bookmark other websites? Here’s my plan for the first day of school this year – which is today 🙂
First, a little backstory … I teach American Government, Advanced American Government, and dual credit high school Social Studies classes that are made up of juniors and seniors. My Advanced Government class is a semester and coupled with college American Political Systems (College Government) the second semester. American Government classes are a full year and my dual credit classes are each a semester in length. (I also teach Educational Technology online for our local junior college – I have ALL the preps, and I love it!)
Our first day of school bell schedule is pretty interesting. During first hour, our administration meets with the juniors and seniors for about 45 minutes, then those students go to their first hour and our freshmen and sophomores meet with our admin for the same amount of time. First hour, this probably goes without saying, is extended on the first day. Second through fourth hours are abbreviated in length (about 30 minutes) and fifth through seventh hours are the normal 47-48 minutes long. This is the ONE day during the year that I am totally fine with having first-hour prep!
So, if you’re like me and have multiple sections of the same class at various times throughout the day, planning for the first day can be a tad on the interesting side. Instead of diving right into joining Google Classroom, bookmarking websites, and discussing the syllabus, we’re playing a “get to know you” game, which is more for my benefit than it is for my students!
Students will work with a partner to scan QR Codes placed around the room and answer the prompt it poses. One QR Code, for example, says “find someone who is in Band.” My students most likely know who in their class is in Band, but I have no idea! So, as they’re scanning and asking their classmates questions, I’m walking the classroom getting to know my students and having conversations with them. I also volunteer myself as a source for QR Code responses. It’s a fun way to get to know my students on the first day!
If you’d like to use this activity, go for it! Click here to access the QR Code list and create a Google Form with 16 short answer questions, or have your students use a piece of paper!