From the moment that your students arrive, you can start the day on the right foot. These first few moments can set the tone for the day. Your goal is to maintain a well-managed classroom while creating a community of learners. What can you do to start your class well every day? Consider these 9 suggestions.
Greet Each Student
As your students enter the classroom, look them in the eye and greet them by name. You could give them a quick high five, handshake, or hug, too. Let them know that you see them and care about them right from the start.
I had a Physics professor in college that started each class with a song that related to the topic we were studying that day. I loved it. It was a fun way to enter the classroom. You could look for songs that relate to the lesson for the day. You could also play classical music to help students relax and meditate before class begins.
Provide a Starter Exercise
As class begins, you have a lot to do. For example, you need to take attendance and conference with students who were absent the day before. Instead of letting students run wild during this time, set up a procedure. When students walk in the door, have a starter exercise waiting for them. It could be a question that they respond to in their journals, a warm-up activity, or other bell work exercises that you can review with them when you’re ready.
Do your students show up to class with lots of energy? Get them moving to burn some of that excess energy. You could have them run in place, stretch, do yoga, or sing a song with actions. I’ve done yoga with students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, and it’s always a hit. Check out YouTube for some fun poses to have your students try with you.
Or you can have the students play a game just for fun, or use one that relates to your theme or subject matter for the day. Either way -- games are almost always a winning endeavor -- and many will get everyone up and moving!
Share Good News
When you create a community of learners, students feel more comfortable. They know that you care about them, and they know that your classroom is a safe place. For this reason, I love the idea of having a good news minute to allow students to share what’s going on with their lives outside of the classroom. Maybe their mom had a new baby, they scored a goal in their soccer game, or their grandma came to visit. Whatever it is, it’s fun to hear what’s going on in their lives. As an added bonus, having a time for students to share could help limit side conversations, too.
Pose a Question
Start class with a question. It could be written on the board when they walk in the door. You could also have students get out their journals to try to answer it. The question should be related to the subject of the day. Use it to pique their interest or challenge their way of thinking. For example, “If Hamlet was a TV show, what would it be called?” or “What does Martin Luther King and Algebra have in common?”
Show a Video
What students don’t get super excited when they find out the teacher will be showing a movie in class? Of course, you can’t show a movie every day. But why not show a short video clip to start class? It could be a funny video or something that relates to the content for the day. Thanks to YouTube, there are lots of videos to choose from. There’s bound to be something appropriate and fitting for your class.
It’s hard to find time to read for fun. Why not start the day with quiet reading time? Better yet, read to your class. Allow students to sit back and relax for a few minutes while you read to them.
Find a way to start your class that works for you and your students. Look for ways to start the day on the right foot, so the rest of the day will go as smoothly as possible.