Your first week of school sets the tone for the whole year. It is critical that you set standards that you expect them to follow. Each day this first week, you will teach students a new routine they are expected to follow. You will carefully model and practice these routines this week.
Day 1 Entry Routine
The first routine you will teach to the point of perfection is the entry routine. I’d suggest working on this upon their entry after their first recess/nutrition break.
Meet them where they hang up their jackets and backpacks. Model using someone’s belongings how and where you want them to place their footwear and outerwear.
Ask for questions and if none, have a student model what you just did. Repeat this with a few more students until it is perfect. If there are errors, that’s okay, we are learning together. Ask students to point out the errors that were made. Have them try again and then eventually with the whole class.
This is something you can work on each day that first week of school.
Now model how they will now proceed to their desks, group area etc. Again, ask for questions, comments.
Have a student recreate what you just modeled. Was it perfect? If not, model again and have the student try again.
Try with a few more students and then eventually the whole class. Again, once perfection is achieved, you should practice this each day this week at entry.
Day 2 Implementation of Reward System
Upon morning entry, bring a handful of your Secret Ingredient into the entry area. Your secret ingredient is a stack of 2 inch by 2 inch reproduced really, really happy faces.
Hand them out to students, without saying a word, who are following your entry routine to perfection. Just smile as you hand them out, and if questioned, reply we will talk about it in the classroom.
Once everyone is in the classroom and seated, ask students who received the happy face tickets why they think they got one.
Once this has been established, explain that students will put their name on the back of the ticket and place it in the weekly draw bin.
I’d suggest, for the first week, have one draw at the end of each day and then the following week move onto a weekly draw of five tickets for each day of the week. Have students place their hand into the prize bin without looking to get their prize or they will take forever trying to decide.
You will now find that your students will be watching for those tickets in your hand at every single entry so be sure to have them handy. You will be amazed at what your students will do for that happy face ticket.
This reward system can be used to teach every one of your routines this first week of school. You’ll be amazed at how smoothly everything flows for you! The key to success is only reward perfection and reward consistently.