Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just Around the Corner from Here

The summer is drawing to a close; the first day of school is just around the corner from here.

What an incredible summer of learning it has been for me. Thanks to my participation in "23Things," I will return to school with an arsenal of new teaching tools. I'm really excited about this year. I've been staying up late every night for a couple of weeks now contemplating and planning on how/where/when to use all the Web2.0 tools I've learned. I've also thought about how I will start the year--setting the tone (if you will) to ensure an optimal learning environment and experience for my students.

I plan my 'first days' approach each August; however this year I will be mentoring a couple of teachers on my campus (both have about two years experience), so it's especially important to me to help them prepare for a productive and meaningful year.

Here are a few things that I do (and will communicate to them) that really set a great atmosphere for my students:
  1. I always greet my students at the door and introduce myself (it takes a little time, but well worth it)
  2. I utilize a multi-media presentation to introduce myself, the course, expectations, etc...the students enjoy that much more that just a paper/pen syllabus (I post my syllabi on my website and show them how to access it)
  3. I have the students decide on classroom rules/consequences (no more than 5--I make a PPT slide via the LCD projector and place it on the classroom bulletin board for reference)
  4. I have each student introduce himself/herself to the class (they give their name, grade, what they hope to learn from my class, and where they 'see' themselves in 5-10 years)
  5. I take my time with this...if it takes a few days to complete this process (my classes are only 53mins long), then so be it...building relationships with my students is just as important (if not more so) than my curriculum
It's my goal to help both my "mentees" and myself prepare for a great year with our students. I believe that by communicating clear expectations and building solid relationships we can teach our students both the necessary curriculum and interpersonal skills they will need to succeed.

What about you? What can you share with me that will help me (and my mentees) prepare for a terrific year? I would love to hear your suggestions!

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