Saturday, August 8, 2009

Check Lists and the First Week of School

As I am writing this, it is Saturday...two days before teachers go back to school. Most teachers know that the week that we go back to school our days are heavily scheduled with school meetings, team meetings, district meetings, technology meetings, curriculum meetings, meet-and-greets, etc. so the actual time spent in the classroom is very limited. I find it helpful to have some notebooking things done before that Monday. In my case I have moved classrooms this year so I really tried to be as organized as possible with the notebooks so I had one less thing to think about as I unpack and put away.

My checklist consists of:

___ Purchased composition books (students will replace stock when they bring in supplies)

___ Put name labels on each book

___ Developed a storage system for books (in my case purchasing bins)

___ Reinforced binding with clear masking tape (done in front of the TV one evening)

___ Glued in starter pages (will also do in front of TV this weekend)

I plan to start notebooking most likely on the second day of school. The first day I have some getting to know you activities and we run through practice fire and earthquake drills (along with collecting supplies and explaining classroom rules and expectations) If I find I still have time I will jump ahead to some of the activities for the next day.

On day two I'll have students set up clock partners (see January 2009 post with picture), number the pages (to 25 only), set up the first title page, and do a textbook scavenger hunt with a clock partner. Even though I rarely use the textbooks (I collect and place on our shelves as a class set so students don' t have to lug them around) I still think it is a good idea students know what is in it so they can use it as a resource. Last year I didn't use the clock partners on a regular basis and I should have because when I did split students in groups, that didn't included their "friends," they turned dysfunctional quickly. I think using clock partners more often might lead to better group skills. I'll report back on how that goes. My game plan is to try and do one activity a week that will use a clock partner (probably more often the first week or so of school to get them use to it).

On day three we will complete whatever we didn't finish from the day before and then I will introduce our INQUIRY unit. That means reviewing the standards and making the title page for that. If time I will show What is a Scientist powerpoint that is downloadable from this site.

On day four we will discuss safety as a group and students will be put into their clock partner groups to complete the "What Not To Do Lab" in their notebooks, we will regroup and discuss. Students will then have to label, draw, and color a safety poster, which I will mount and put around the room.

On day five (end of first week) students will be taught how to "smell correctly" (wafting) and will rotate between five table groups wafting various things from around my house (vanilla, vinegar, etc.). Kids love that activity and makes for some good pictures! Then we will go over the lyrics to the Lab Safety! song, highlighting some lab safety rules we see in the lyrics. Students will then hear the song, once for fun (it is an engaging rap song) and then another time but following the lyrics (which will be on the left hand of the notebook). Students will then have to make a SAFETY acrostic poem on the right hand side (will most likely model one of the letters so students know the one word responses!!!).

This is just a rough outline of my first week. I may change or tweak depending on the schedule, group of students, etc.


Kerlyn Prada said...

Thanks so much for the link to the Lab Safety song. My students always enjoy when I play a song about what we are learning. They are really going to like this one. I played the element song when we were learning about the periodic table and they kept wanting to hear it. Your blog is great. I am a faithful reader. It must be so much fun to be in your class.

Eve Heaton said...

Kerlyn - I'm glad you are enjoying the blog. I played the lab safety song last week and the kids LOVED it. I'm glad I had them read the lyrics first and make connections. I linked it on my class website and many went home over the weekend and shared with their parents.


Krista said...

How many items did you have them 'waft'? Did you have a sheet with a bank of words for them to choose what the item was?