Skip to main content

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.

Unknown 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?

Popular posts from this blog

Moon Phase Box

I happened to walk into a fourth grade class the other day and they were hard at work making moon phase boxes. They were totally adorable and the kids were completely into it. The teacher very kindly let me take some pictures (thank you Mrs. Parker!) and add to my blog.

Students would need a shoe box and they need to cover the inside and inside lid with black construction paper. Using fishing wire they would hang a ping pong ball in the center of the lid so it is suspended in the center of the box. They then take a flashlight and trace the light end on one of the short ends of the box and then create viewing flaps in the middle of every side (including the one with the light bulb (but that might be slightly off center). It is important that the viewing areas are flaps and not cut directly out (you need to keep the light coming into the box blocked as much as possible).

The teacher used a box cutter to cut the flaps and flashlight hole for the children. I probably would have had studen…

Google Classroom Headers (and Bitmojis)

I recently taught a class on how to use Bitmojis in the classroom to increase student engagement and help with classroom organization and management.

One fun idea was to use them to make custom Google Classroom headers. The idea came from Alice Keeler's blog and she even provided a template for her header.

My computer settings weren't the same as hers so I had to tweak my version.

This got me thinking about how the headers could be changed out frequently, as something new for students to look forward to, when they opened up Google Classroom. In my head I was thinking they could be changed out weekly (38 total headers needed) if time permitted. 

I have several other ideas, templates, and instructions linked in this presentation.

I would love to see other custom Google Classroom Header ideas! Please feel free to post a comment or tag me on Twitter at @techcoachlife.

Cookie Moon Phases

I've seen these cookie moon phases before (click here for a description of the activity on Science Bob's Blog) and wanted to share my "Moon Phase" cookie story.

After seeing these online I thought it would be fun to do it in class as part of our Astronomy unit. I decided to make these at home. They turned out adorable. Then I decided to eat them (justifying that I would let my kids eat them in class :) It quickly became apparent that 8 Oreo cookies was way too many to eat (I definitely felt queasy). I went back to the online directions and found out that I was suppose to use "mini Oreo cookies" (which made much more sense).

A note of caution, the mini Oreo cookies may not be as cost effective with large groups of children (when I taught middle school I had 80+ children). It is definitely cheaper to buy the generic chocolate sandwich cookies. I would just provide a snack or sandwich baggie so the kids could take the leftovers home.