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Home : 2003 : Jul : 31

    6th grade
    By Kim

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    Okay, I teach at an elementary too so I can definitely help you out here...

    For open house I always have copies of the curriculum out for parents to see, sign up sheets for volunteers (if you want them), as well as our first conferences, and information cards for them to fill out about the kids--what they like, what their strengths and weaknesses are, special needs, homework history, etc. For my presentation, I talk briefly about important procedures and policies like homework and discipline and then about the curriculum for the year. They seem to really want to know how I'm going to prepare their kids for junior high, so I address that too. We work closely with our junior high and follow some of the same procedures as they do.

    During the first days of school, we do a lot of getting-to-know-you activities. On the morning of the first day I have a folder out at each desk that has the following inside: lined paper, a notecard, a back-to-school word find, and an All About Me sheet (questionnaire about interests and school). I also have out pencils and crayons at the tables so they don't have to take out any supplies until later in the day, otherwise it's chaos! They come in, start the All About Me sheet while I meet and greet, take attendance, get lunch money, forms, etc.

    During the next couple days I do some of the following activities:

    3 True/1 False: On a notecard the kids write their name, then four facts about them, one being totally made up. They want to make them all outrageous so that when they read them in front of the class later, the class has a hard time telling which is false. The class votes, then the student reveals and tells a short story about the statement. I put them on a bulletin board with a picture of the student next to it for open house later.

    Personalized Plates: After the kids fill out All About Me, I partner them up and they share briefly. Then with their partner they choose their favorite thing about themself--the thing they'd want other kids to know the most. I teach them about personalized license plates and how words are shortened or abbreviated to "spell" out catchy phrases. The kids practice and then make their own plate on a template I premade. It is really cool! I laminate them later and display for parent night as well.

    I can't think of everything right now because I'm on vacation and am not in that mindset quite yet, but if you like those and want more, I can e-mail you a ton later after I get home (August 6th). You will pretty much spend a ton of time teaching, modeling, and practicing procedures for the first couple weeks, with fun low-stress activities thrown in every once in a while. It's a positive, productive, and cooperative way to start the year.

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