In my area kids normally start school on a Wednesday.  While I like it, and appreciate that the first week isn’t too drawn out and extra exhausting, it does make it a bit difficult.  3 days is not enough time to do all of the getting to know you stuff you want to do, and 8 days of no instruction begins to feel like you are losing valuable time.  But alas, we combined the two and spent some time getting to know others.

As I was looking for ideas to implement the first 8 days, I came across this great post from Mary from Teaching with a Mountain View.  I borrowed a few ideas from it and there were lots of others I wanted to use from it

 

We did the 7Up and M&M’s activity from Mrs. O Knows’ blog.   I loved that it set clear expectations for the year and talked about consequences.  You can click her picture below to check out her post.


We started out by talking about the word consequences.  Of course, the students only associated it with negative things, so we talked about how a consequence could be positive.  I then introduced our activity by saying that they would have a consequence for their choice.  I then brought out the bag of M&M’s and showed them how they were going to use a little cup to scoop up M&M’s.  I advised them to not take a lot of M&M’s because there would be consequences.  Guess what?  My kids took a TON of M&M’s.  So much so that I ran out before I made it around the class.  They didn’t take my advice.  Shocking.

 

I then had my kiddos sort their M&M’s by color and record the amounts.  I told them they couldn’t eat them.

 

Then….the big reveal…

Some of the kids were shocked and astonished.  Some wanted to cry.  During this time I also came around and “stole” some M&M’s from the kids who took 100+ and shared them with the kids who only had a few because we ran out.  They then tried to adjust their number of sentences.  Nope.  Nuh uh.

 

I let them sit, and stew, and freak out, and write, for about 10 minutes.  Then I pulled everyone together on the floor and told them they were off the hook.  They did not need to write 48, 63, or 108 sentences.  We were going to stop there.  Phew!  They were so relieved.  We also discussed listening to Miss Maguire’s sage advice. 🙂

 

During our morning meeting one day, I used the scaffolded cards from my Kicking Off a Great Year set as our share for the day.


Then, later, during reading, I introduced PQA to the kids and referenced our morning meeting share.


I then split the students into heterogenous, random groups and they rotated through each set of cards.  I bounced back and forth between groups to keep them on task and to ensure they were using PQA.

When we got back together as a group I asked everyone to share something they learned about someone else.  It was a no-pressure way to get everyone participating and joining in.

I also borrowed another idea from Teaching with a Mountain View and used it in my room.  It’s one I’ve always wanted to use, but have been bound by specific classroom rules.
The only rule we have in our classroom is Respect.  Respect for others.  Respect for our belongings.  Respect for our environment.  Respect for our learning.  Respect.
We did a few other beginning of the year activities, but we’ve been crunched on time and they aren’t wrapped up yet!  There never seems to be enough time, does there?