Like I’ve said before, I don’t go over the syllabus on the first day of school. I firmly believe that the first day is all about relationships and getting to know my students (and giving them an opportunity to get to know their classmates). You can read more about how I do this in this post.
However, after the first day rolls around the second day, and it is necessary to go over our classroom expectations and procedures. I know that if I don’t lay a solid foundation of procedures and expectations with my students from the get go, then it will result in a classroom management nightmare.
Just like us, our students like procedure. They want to know what to expect when they enter our classroom. They want to know where they are supposed to sit, how to ask to use the restroom, where to turn in assignments, etc. Thus, going over this information with them is a necessary chore, but it doesn’t have to be!
Here are 3 ways to take going over classroom expectations and procedures from drab to fab!
#1: Card Sort
We use card sorts a lot in my classroom, (see this post for more info on how I do this) so why not start the year off with one? On these cards, I have a mix of my classroom expectations and procedures. I have students work with their lab groups (who they worked with yesterday for the Biology Bonanza) and ask them to sort the cards into two piles, expectations or procedure. I do this BEFORE I go over any of these with my students. As I walk around, I hear their conversations as they READ each card and decide which pile to place it in. This exposes them to my expectations and procedures before we talk about it as a class.
All in all, this takes only about 3 minutes of time, but it allows my students to engage with the information before I discuss it with them as a class. And for me, that’s a win!
#2: QR Code Scavenger Hunt
By now, we’ve gone over the classroom expectations and procedures (more details on how I do this to come in a later post) and it’s time to see what my students remember from our discussion. In addition to card sorts, I use QR code activities such as QR Code Scavenger Hunts quite a bit to help my students solidify their knowledge. It’s a fun way to get them up and moving with purpose.
I create a 10 question QR code scavenger hunt that emphasizes my key classroom expectations and procedures. Students will move around the room to answer questions and search for the correct answer at the top of a different QR Code page. I have designed this activity in a loop so that if students get an answer correct they will be led to the next number in the sequence (for example, number 4 leads to number 5 and so on…). In this way, students will be able to know instantly whether or not they have answered the question correctly, providing INSTANT FEEDBACK!
So while they are moving around the room, they will quickly know whether or not they’ve listened and understood my expectations.
#3: Digital Breakout
The last thing I do to review our classroom expectations and procedures is a digital breakout that uses Google Forms. I have students work on this individually and we have a competition to see who can breakout first! I create a breakout that is 15 multiple choice questions and corresponds to the QR code scavenger hunt and our classroom discussion. Students complete it on their device individually so that they can solidify their own understanding of our classroom expectations and procedures. It’s fun to watch them get competitive and want to win!
Creating digital breakouts use to take me a lot of time, but now I use these templates I created. Check them out and save yourself the headache and hours of formatting!
I chose these three activities to use on the second day of school because these are types of activities that we use regularly in my classroom. Therefore, by implementing them into my lesson over classroom expectations and procedures, I am subsequently teaching them how to complete these activities, a procedure in itself. Not only am I going over my expectations and classroom procedures, but they are learning how I expect them to take on different types of activities in the future. This saves me so much time later on as I don’t have to explain instructions for these activities before we dive right in.
So that my friends is how I handle day 2 of school and ensure that my students not only know our classroom expectations and procedures, but are actually engaged and moving while we go over them. What do you do to go over your classroom expectations and procedures?