Teachers.Net - TEACHER.NET GAZETTE - Teachers.Net Chat center provide 24 hour discussions for teachers around the globe.  Early childhood chatboard primary elementary chatboard upper elementary chat middle school high school administrator chatboard student teacher chat substitute teacher beginning teacher chatboard new teacher 4 blocks four blocks chatboard gifted and talented GATE ATP academically talented advanced placement special education chatboard music teacher science social studies arts and crafts board pen pals 100 days chatboard project boards teacher job listings and education jobs teacher career support forum.  Bookmark the Teachers.Net Chat Center and tell a friend!
Effective Teaching...

by Harry and Rosemary Wong

  To print: Select File and then Print from your browser's menu
This article was printed from Teachers.Net Gazette,
located at http://teachers.net.

A First Day of School Script

Effective teachers have a plan for every day of the year and especially one for the first day of school to start everything correctly. There is nothing that will take students into orbit faster than to suspect that a teacher is not organized. Model disorganization and the students will replicate this behavior and the classroom is soon in chaos.

In our June 2000 column (teachers.net/gazette/JUN00/covera.html), we featured the first day of school script of Melissa Pantoja, who was a brand new teacher about to begin the first day of her professional career. She had a very successful first year as a teacher and one of the reasons was her classroom management skill of being organized with a script for the first day of school.

It is now four years later and Melissa is so effective as a teacher that she can leave directions for her substitute teacher and indicate the procedures that govern the effective operation of her classroom. People have recognized her effectiveness: 1) she serves on the school's improvement committee, 2) she is chairperson of the fine arts festival, and 3) an administrator has recommended that she work on her administrator's degree.

Daily Class Routine
Substitute Teacher's Copy

Here is a list of routines to help you pace each of the classes from start to finish. I have tried to include the routine my students are familiar with.

Melissa Pantoja

  1. Wait at door for each class of students to arrive
    1. wooden door stopper will help to hold the door open

  2. Ask students to quietly find their assigned seats at the tables
  3. Explain the lesson for the day
    1. lesson may be something we've been working on, or
    2. a lesson prepared for the Substitute {Substitute Lessons for the Day}

  4. Call out list of supplies needed for the project
  5. Choose a quiet student from each table to be "Table Leader" and gather the supplies needed for this class period
    1. the "table leaders" can help pass out the papers, get supplies/materials ready and at end of class -- put away
    2. I use a chart to record who has been table leader -- they may ask about it -- you won't need to worry about this

  6. If the class has already started the project their papers will be on the designated shelf (North side of room)
  7. Remind the students of the 5 numbers at the front of the room
    1. the numbers are incentives for working quietly
    2. if it gets too loud, or the students aren't giving you full attention -- ring the timer (on ledge of white board) and take down the 5, and then continue pulling numbers as needed for warning the class
    3. you can record how many numbers they kept at end of class
    4. I use these numbers to allow the class to earn a POPCORN party

  8. Taking care of the supplies: as the class works they may need to be reminded of taking care of the supplies - especially with paints, brushes and supplies that can be used over and over again.
  9. Clean-up -- depending on how messy it gets -- you may need to allow 5-10 min. for clean-up before they leave
    1. let the students know that you are looking for tables who are cleaned the fastest and the best -- this usually gets them moving!
    2. table leaders can help to pick-up supplies and make sure they are put back where they belong or on the counter (some things may need to air dry)
    3. you'll want to have the kids clean-up as much as possible -- this will make it a lot easier on you at the end of the day
    4. I will usually clean brushes and things that need a little extra attention

  10. Look for tables that all students are sitting quietly
    1. you may call these tables to line up - one table at a time (the numbers are hanging above each table)

  11. I have students sit on floor, parallel to computer table, as they wait
    1. this helps me not to step on or over them as I open the door and wait for their teacher

Now that you're familiar with this
Daily Routine -- Have fun!

The day has just begun!


A Middle and High School First Day Script

In June 2002, we featured Sasha Michaels, a middle school teacher, and her first day of school script (teachers.net/gazette/JUN02/wong.html). Sasha was the teacher who the assistant principal did not think would last a week. Without any administrative support, she lasted the year.

Effective teachers are able to see a concept or an example, and then implement a strategy, technique, or activity for their own classrooms. Regrettably, ineffective teachers will whine that things don't apply to them, unless they are shown something specific to their grade level or subject area. Sasha was able to take the script of Melissa Pantoja and apply it to her classroom.

Likewise, John Schmidt, a high school teacher was able to look at Melissa Pantoja's script, understand the concept, and create a script for his own high school classroom. Granted, he had help because his school, the Homewood-Flossmoor High School District of Flossmoor, Illinois, has a three-year new teacher induction program with expert help in training and supporting new teachers to bring out the best in them. John Schmidt became so successful that the Homewood-Flossmoor Induction program used him as one of their demonstration teachers in his second year as a teacher. What a role model!

Script for the First Day of School
John Schmidt

Homewood-Flossmoor High School

Before Class

Greet at the Door

  1. They can find their seat by referencing the seating chart on the projection screen.
  2. They should grab the 3 handouts on the table at the front of the room.
  3. They have a bellwork activity waiting for them at their desks.

Welcome and Introduction

Syllabus Explanation (Handout 1)

Class Policies Explanation (Handout 2)

Class Procedures (Handout 3)

Dismissing the Class

Class Policies
Mr. Schmidt

A. Note from the Instructor

I will lead a respectful and disciplined classroom. To achieve this I have established a few simple policies. As a student, it is your responsibility to comply with these policies. If you decide not to comply, there will be logical consequences. By enforcing these policies, I promise to you fairness and order in our classroom.

B. Class Rules

Watch Your Mouth- Students will exhibit courtesy and respect toward all other students at all times. Hateful comments concerning race, gender, sexuality, political views, appearance, or of any other type will not be tolerated; this applies to serious as well as "joking" comments.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself- Physical contact of any kind is not permitted. Violation of this simple rule will be punished by the most severe consequences possible.

Stay in Your Seat- Do not walk around during class unless directed to do so. Have everything you need ready before class begins.

Leave the Food at Home- Students may not eat or drink in the classroom. This includes gum and candy. Closable containers of water are permitted.

I Need to See Your Eyes- Students may not sleep in class. To prevent this, students' eyes must be open and visible to the instructor at all times.

Nothing Goes Airborne- Nothing will go airborne in class at any time. This includes pens, paper, and other students.

Do Not Say "Shut Up"- This phrase has no place in school. Do not use it.

C. If YOU CHOOSE to Break a Rule:
Punishments will always fit the crime. Of course there are behaviors that will warrant a Dean's Referral immediately. Examples of this include gross insubordination or violent behavior. Behaviors that are less severe, but in violation of the basic rules of the class will be dealt with in the manner described below. This format is in no way all inclusive and is subject to change:

1st Incident -- Warning and name on board
2nd Incident -- 30-minute detention and check next to name
3rd Incident- 60-minute detention, phone call home, and second check
4th Incident -- Dean's referral and phone call home
    Warnings carry over for the entire week. Name and checks will be erased on Fridays. However, continued violations will be noted and dealt with appropriately.

D. Detentions
All detentions will be served on Friday. Detentions can be served before or after school. One day notice will always be given. Students receiving a detention on a Friday may serve it the following Friday if necessary.

E. Tardies and Late Arrivals
A Student who is not in the classroom when the bell sounds, is considered either late or tardy. A student is tardy if he is without a pass after the bell. A student is late if he arrives with a pass after the bell. Tardy and Late students need to sign-in at the clipboard by the door, and are not to disrupt the class. Late students need to pin their pass to the wall above the clipboard. There is no penalty for arriving late with a pass. The tardy penalty is explained below:

Definition: A student is tardy if he is not inside the classroom when the bell stops ringing and does not have a pass.

F. Academic Honesty
It is expected that students will use genuine, sincere, and fair means for the accomplishment of the tests, tasks, or projects from which evaluations of progress shall be determined. Students found plagiarizing, copying or cheating in any way will receive automatic zeros and have phone calls made to their parents. In addition, a write-up of the incident will be given to the student's counselor. Flagrant or repeated offenses will result in a failing grade for the quarter or semester depending on the nature of the incident.

G. Attendance
If a student has an excused absence from class he or she is responsible for the assignments/ homework that missed. The student has as many days as he or she was absent to make up the assignments. It is up to the student to inquire about missed work and tests. Zeros will be given if a student fails to make up work within an acceptable time frame. Unexcused absences void all make-up privileges.

H. Late Work
Homework assignments may not be turned in late. Papers and projects may be turned in late with a penalty of one letter grade for each day late.

I. Make-Up Tests
If a student has an excused absence for a test day, he may make up the test in the morning or afternoon on Fridays. Arranging a make-up requires signing in with the instructor. A missed make-up appointment without notice will result in a zero. Quizzes are not to be made-up. Instead, the previous night's homework will be handed in and graded in place of the quiz.

Class Procedures
Mr. Schmidt

A. Note from the Instructor
As an instructor, I pride myself on an efficient and smooth running classroom. To achieve this I have established a few simple procedures. As a student, it is your responsibility to learn and perform these procedures. Through these procedures, I promise to you a more organized and effective learning experience.

B. Most Common Procedures

Entering the Classroom
You are to enter the classroom without screaming, running or otherwise causing a ruckus. Students who do not do this will be asked to leave the room and reenter as expected. It is expected that as soon as you enter you first go to the center table and pickup any handouts or hand in homework in the appropriate tray. You should then get anything you need around the room (grade check, pencil sharpening, tissue, etc.). Once seated, check the front screen for the day's bellwork. You should also check the side chalkboard for the day's assignment (write it down so you don't forget). You can also use this time to briefly speak with me or make an appointment to make-up a test or get extra help.

Everyday will begin with bellwork. You will find the bellwork on the front screen. Bellwork should be started before the bell rings. Most bellwork will involve specific instructions for preparing for a daily quiz. Other times the bellwork may be to answer a question or fill out a form. Bellwork is required.

Picking up Materials for Day
Any handouts that you will need on a given day will be found in the tray, on the middle table marked "Please Take One". If the tray or sign isn't there, you don't need to pick up anything, just begin the day's bellwork. If you arrive late and picking up the handouts will cause a distraction, sign-in, go to your seat, and raise your hand when it is appropriate to do so.

Handing In Homework
If there is an assignment that you need to hand in, place it in the tray, on the middle table, marked "Please Deposit Homework Here". If the tray or sign isn't there, keep the assignment and begin the day's bellwork. If you arrive late and handing in the homework will cause a distraction, sign-in, go to your seat, and raise your hand when it is appropriate to do so.

Coming to Attention
When I need to quiet the class, I will raise my hand. When you see this you are expected to stop your conversation, look at me, and raise your hand. This is only complete when all hands are up and the class is quiet.

Arriving Late
When you enter the room late (with or without a pass) you need not disturb the class. Simply sign your name and the appropriate information on the clipboard by the door. Print clearly and sign only your name. Signing a name other that your own will result in immediate referral to the dean's office. If you have a pass, pin it to the wall above the clipboard. If you must speak with me, sign-in, go to your seat, and raise your hand when it is appropriate to do so.

Leaving the Classroom
The bell does not dismiss the class, I do. Do not pack up until I dismiss the class. Do not leave your seats until I dismiss the class. "People who pack fast shall leave last."

On the day you return from an absence you should arrive early to class. The first thing to do is check the Class Log on the student center. The log will likely answer any questions regarding "what we did" when you were gone. If there are any questions beyond the log, speak with me before class begins, after class, or during office hours.

Extra Handouts
If you need a handout, because you were absent or just lost your first one, go to the appropriate "extras box" on the bottom shelf, next to the student center. Do not ask me for handouts, go straight to the box.

Make-Up Tests
If you are absent for a test day (not the day before a test) you will have to arrange for a make-up test. Make-up tests are done on Fridays in the morning or afternoon. You will sign-up for the test and receive a green reminder slip. Make these appointments before class begins, after class, or during office hours.

As indicated in the Class Policies, you will receive one warning if you choose to behave inappropriately and have your name put on the board. If you continue to choose to behave inappropriately, you will have a check placed next to your name and I will remind you to see me right after class. There will be no conversation or debate regarding detentions. When class is dismissed, you will see me, sign-up for the detention, and receive a pink reminder slip. Failure to speak with me after class will result in immediate dean's referral.

Using the Bathroom
The bathroom may only be used in emergencies. A pass is needed for leaving the class. Do not ask to use the washroom or go to your locker before class begins; just go before you get to class. Anyone late for any reason is late.

How To Create Your Own Script

The last two first day of school scripts were each presented in June. By presenting it this time in March, this will give you time to create your own script before the present school year is completed.

If you have never organized your classroom with procedures, this is what you may want to do:

  1. Decide on what one thing you would like the students to do that would start to make your classroom run smoother. Do not say to yourself, "If they would only behave this way, I would be happier." Procedures have nothing to do with behavior. Behavior falls into the realm of discipline, whereas procedures fall into the realm of classroom management. If you are not familiar with the difference between discipline and classroom management, please read chapter 20 in The First Days of School.
  2. Teach that one procedure every day for a week until it becomes a routine. If you do not know how to teach a procedure, read chapter 20 in The First Days of School or read our September 2000 column, "The Problem Is Not Discipline." (teachers.net/gazette/SEP00/wong.html)
  3. The following week and every week thereafter, teach another procedure.
  4. Save each procedure and when school is over in the next two or three months, you will have a battery of procedures similar to those that used by John Schmidt.

Each of you, we know you have the capacity, talent, and commitment to do it and become even more successful as an effective teacher.

Harry & Rosemary Wong products: http://harrywong.com/product

This printable version is provided for the convenience of individuals.