First Five Days of School

Leadership Team Meeting Brainstorming Session 2013

What great teachers do...


Students create safety videos with great benefits!

  • working together
  • using technology
  • learning class procedures
  • meeting TEKS on safety


Students make their own name plates as a "getting to know you" activity.

  • students share personal information
  • teacher can reflect on name plates throughout the year
  • teacher can use the info gained to relate learning to student interests
  • teacher uses info as conversation starter to begin forming a relationship


Students play detective with the syllabus.

  • get to know each other as they search for clues
  • learn expectations for the course
  • conversations occur between students and the teacher about the course rules/expectations/procedures


The class's first assignment is to practice Job Skills.

  • Students learn about job skills expected in the work force, covering course TEKS
  • Students have an opportunity to practice what they will be graded on in the course without being penalized


All students are required to email the teacher during the first two weeks of school with questions or concerns about the course.

  • students know how to contact the teacher after hours and must have a working email address
  • teacher responds to each student individually to answer questions and make a personal connection
  • students have a chance to ask about all the scary things they've heard about the class

World Geography

Students start the year with a music quiz - reviewing music that mentions location around the world.

  • students work together
  • music creates a common experience for the class
  • the course expectation of looking at the world differently is practiced

What do these all have in common?

  • Creating a positive tone
  • engaging for students
  • teachers making an effort to form relationships

What are the AMCHS expectations for the first five days?

  • student participation
  • greeting students at the door
  • deliberately getting to know students personally
  • opportunities to observe students (Who is outgoing? Who is introverted and may take more time to get to know?)
  • a plan for how you will learn each student's name
  • introduce technology that will be used most often in the course
  • introduce, model, and practice classroom procedures
  • opportunities for the teacher to share about himself/herself

Best Practices Ideas

  • Add students' interests to your seating chart so you can easily incorporate them during class
  • Pick a few specific students each week to have personal conversations with and get to know on a more personal level
  • Plan for an "orientation" each Monday in your class to discuss what will happen in the upcoming week. This models time management and organizational skills.
  • Schedules can change A LOT. Hold off on the really heavy lifting for the first week to avoid having to repeat and catch up too many kids. Make a plan for getting to know kids who are added to your class after the first five days.

Remember that for some people, forming relationships doesn't just happen. We have to support those for whom it doesn't come naturally. If we work together, every student can feel loved and connected at AMCHS!

Want more? Check out this article.