First weeks of school

There is absolutely no shortage of ideas, activities or things-to-do during the first few weeks of school.  Without question, I begin building my classroom community starting day one.  If you missed the post on Caring Classrooms, go back and (re-)read it.  My treat.

Then, check out this list and challenge yourself to implement ten ideas - yes, ten ideas - during the first few weeks of school.  I have no clue why, but I always find solid ideas at Honolulu Community College's faculty website.  Maybe that is an omen I need to take a trip to Hawaii and meet with my colleagues there.

Some of my favorite ideas from their list include.....

#19 - Seek out a different student each day and get to know something about him or her.

#20 - Ask students to write about what important things are currently going on in their lives.

#63 - Hand out wallet-sized telephone cards with all important telephone numbers listed: office department, resource centers, teaching assistant, lab.

#87 - Have students write questions on index cards to be collected and answered the next class period.

To be honest, I made myself choose those four.  I would have replicated the entire list because the ideas are so worthy.

See for yourself and implement ten ideas with your students.

Happy back-to-school, you super educator, you.

Yes, you know who I'm talking about (wink).


PS - Be sure to enter the giveaway coming in mid-September!


  1. You are amazing at getting everyone going miss your classes.

  2. Samantha - Without everyone going, I don't think I'd want to "go." By the way, if this is the Samantha I think it is, you are missed.


  3. I really like this post. We did the index cards in your class the first day. And it was really helpful getting to know anyone and it made us more comfortable being around new people and speaking in frout of the class. I loved all the ways you got us up and talking to each other and shading our thoughts! When i finally get my chance to have my own classroom i will deff be taking all your advise you ahd shared with us. I hope one day i become an amzing teacher like you!!!

    Brandi B

  4. All of these ideas are really great ways to become closer with all of your students. You said in class that when students feel comfortable with their teacher then they learn better and also open up more! I want all of my students to feel comfortable in my classroom and with me so these activities will be used. Also, if there are kids in a classroom that just moved there or don't have a lot of friends or both, doing these activities will help them to find other kids that have the same interests! BAM. Best friends.

    Zoe Nardo

  5. This is a great post...I especially liked #19 seeking out a student and getting to know something about them. Young children are very egocentric and this allows them the attention they crave, and the teacher an opportunity to gather their trust and respect as learner. The students comfort level in the classroom and with their teacher is a main contricutor to their success in learning.

  6. Great ideas for the first days of school. I also like the re-introduction for new kids during the school year. We tend to get an influx around Thanksgiving, just when the other kids are hitting their stride. These re-introduction ideas are a great way to make sure new kids don't fall through the cracks.

    Elise T.

  7. I love these ideas for starting out the school year with a 'caring classroom'. It is so important for students to know that you care about them. having them write about important things that are going on in their lives is a great way to get perspective on what they are 'bringing' to class. You could get a heads up about their living situation, new siblings, or even things that are exciting to them. This is a great way to get a view of whats behind the scenes. Knowing students SES and background is important especially if the student is struggling. Also, having students write questions on index cards is a great way for students to ask questions without worrying that their question is 'stupid'.

    Emillee C.