By Barbara Baditoi
What needs to be accomplished during the first week of school?
- Conduct student observations and informal and formal assessments.
- Review the syllabus. Provide an outline of the first and second quarter.
- Lay the groundwork for the curriculum.
- Give state- and-district wide assessments, if required.
- Help students learn the layout of the building, including the cafeteria, office, clinic, school counselor, specialists’ rooms, etc.
- Establish classroom expectations, routines, rules, and consequences — some of which are student generated.
- Practice classroom routines.
- Implement organizational procedures for students. Model and practice study skills.
- Encourage students to share themselves verbally or in written form. The classic “what I did this summer” can now take the form of a PowerPoint presentation on “The Five Most Important Ideas I Learned This Summer.” High school students can complete interest surveys or multiple intelligences surveys, or write a letter to the teacher. Some of these activities may carry the weight of a grade and therefore be more motivating.
- Share with the students a brief biography of the adults in the room, why you are a special educator, and what you hope to accomplish during the coming year.
- Ask students to write personal academic and social goals for the year, including suggestions for ways they can achieve these goals and how you can play a part in the process.
- Play games that assist students in getting to know their peers.
Collect information on each student (remember my August 13 entry on paperwork?).
Enjoy your very busy, but very productive first week of school.