As a new year begins, I like to present my classroom procedures in the first couple days. Along with this I provide a few listening “games” so students get to know each other, yet are already embracing CCS of Speaking and Listening skills.
As students enter the room, I greet them at the door, handing them an index card with a number on it. This is their assigned seat – I tell them to locate the matching desk and get to know their new classmates.
I then have them complete the index card with their name, date of birth (to celebrate birthdays), previous school, and interested career. After collecting them, the immediate use is to create my seating charts.
After introducing myself, we review classroom procedures so students know my expectations. We actually practice some of the procedures (lining up outside the door, responding to “Class” – “yes”). Some procedures not used on a regular basis, so I wait until needed to introduce them.
Some of the procedures are just actions, so that students do not detract from classroom conversations (i.e. hold pencil up to indicate need to sharpen pencil; movement with fingers to indicate need for a tissue). In these cases, I just nod to the student and they can sharpen the pencil or get a tissue without distractions.
I make sure to include some type of “Get to Know You” activity to break up the monotony of rules that students typically hear on the first days of school.
Today I had them take part in “Favorite Color Listening Game” adapted from Teachable Moment website.
I explain that we are going to stand in a “circle” (really an oval) around the desks in the classroom. I am going to begin the activity by saying, “My name is Mrs. Lynch; my favorite color is blue.” Then I will point to a student (not one that is nearby, preferably across the room) and that student will say, “Your name is Mrs. Lynch and your favorite color is blue; my name is ____________ and my favorite color is _____.” That student will point to another student. Then next student only needs to repeat the information about the previous student and their own information.
This activity provides a chance for students to hear names, become aware of the need to be listening to everyone. Usually there is only enough time go through the students once, so I ask students not to repeat students that have already had a chance.
Afterward, we have a short discussion about whether this was difficult for students and what abilities were needed to remember names and colors. This short interaction with students provided a simplified version of Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards so student could begin to acknowledge new information expressed by others.