- Look them in the eyes when you speak to them and call them by name (even on the first day!): I used to study pictures of my students so I knew exactly who they were when they entered my classroom for the first time
- Greet your students at the door: Let them know you’re glad they’ve come to school each morning. Ask questions to see how their morning went (did they oversleep, did they eat breakfast, did they fight with their parents on the ride to school – all of these things will affect their attitude and ability to learn in class)
- Learn about their families: It’s important to know about the people who are important to your students. Learn their sibling’s names and ask about them. Make mental notes when kids talk about their parents and engage with them about these details.
- Talk about their interests: I know you’re probably not interested in the latest game or fad – but your students are. Make an effort to learn about these (a quick google or youtube search will do!) and maybe incorporate them into the learning. Kids are instantly more engaged when they can relate the concepts to something they’re interested in.
- Attend their activities: It means the world to students when their teachers show up for things outside of the school day. Try to attend a few soccer games, ballet recitals, church choir concerts, etc. If you can’t attend, write your students a quick note the day of the event to let them know you’re thinking of them!
These can be customized to fit the needs of your classroom – choose the foldables you want and then have your students fill them in with your specific rules, routines, and procedures. You and your students can refer to this document all year long, especially after Winter Break when they might need a refresher.
- The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong
- The Classroom Management Book by Harry and Rosemary Wong
- The First Six Weeks of School by the Center for Responsive Schools