Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The First Day

Since my school corrects schedules during the first week of school, it is quite difficult to begin teaching until the second or third day. This means I don't go over the classroom expectations until the third day of class.

Last year I decided that the first day would just be a fun day to help me get to know the students. I set a game show in my classroom with which some of you may be familiar.

We played The Match Game.

I loved that show as a kid. I used to laugh and laugh until my sides hurt listening to the banter and the answers to the crazy clues. The host, Gene Rayburn, really made the show what it was. His wit and rapport with the celebrities made this show just plain fun.

I collected actual fill-in-the-blanks from the show and had the students in teams. We competed against one another with some modified rules. It was great! We bonded a bit, I learned names, and the kids left feeling positive.

Before we played I showed them a five minute clip where insanity ruled and hilarity ensued, but what really blew the kids' minds was that I downloaded the 70s theme song and played it while they came up with their answers. Of course, they thought I was a nut but what a blast! They talked about it all semester.

Plus, they had to think! Imagine that on the first day. The answers they provide have to be clever and usually humor is encouraged. Here are a few examples of sentences they must complete (keeping in mind they have to match their classmates for points):

"Hey, did you hear about Carla the Cannibal? She went to McDonald’s and ate ____________________."

"In the delivery room when Ugly Edna was born, she was so ugly Edna’s mother asked for a _____________________."

"Sid said, “I’ve got the world’s toughest banker. Last time I asked for a loan, he wanted my _______________ as collateral.”

This year I want to try a different game but am not sure what to play. It doesn't have to be from a game show, but I want something fun.

Any suggestions?

9 comments:

The Science Goddess said...

I'm giggling...imagining a whole different version of this at the staff party.

I think a game is a great idea. I never do rules on the first day because that's about all kids get in every other class. I want them to know that we do things in my class.

DrPezz said...

This would be a blast at a staff party. Excellent idea!

Mrs. Chili said...

I'd almost be afraid to play this game with my students. Chaos and inappropriateness would likely ensue.

I play Jeopardy with my grammar students all the time....

DrPezz said...

I've never had an issue with anything getting out of hand. We've had a blast each year with each different game. The kids are so shocked not to be going through rules and other tedious minutiae that they really appreciate the change of pace.

Repairman said...

DrP, I'm smiling too. I hate to waste instructional time, but until the schedules is reasonably in place, I'm all for connecting with the kids.

About my class rules? Those never took long and I could do them as often as I needed to.

"I only have one rule in this class. Wanna know what it is?" (Silence.)

"I respect you, you respect me. This classroom is a respect zone. As a matter of fact, the whole school is a respect zone. All the rest of the rules are in your student handbook."

There was some clarification on this novel idea, but I'll continue it on a post of my own -- it's a great topic for this time of year. ;-)

DrPezz said...

Great rule, Repairman.

I generally use the first 2-4 days with bonding activities, thinking games, and a quick pre-assessment until the schedules are finished. Our school is notoriously slow with this process, so the first week is a mess; thus, the games are easy to fill in and play.

I find that creating an appropriate atmosphere pays off big time later down the road. I get more done now in a semester than I ever did.

Can you tell I'm ready to start? :)

HappyChyck said...

I love, love, love your idea!

Have you been watching The Power of Ten? I haven't, but perhaps some cool random facts--maybe related to your content--would be cool.

A game I've played with grades 8-12 is English Olympics. Sure, it's competitive, but it's a group kind of thing, too. I've never done it at the beginning of the year, but I like to do some kind of content related thing at the beginning of the year, so I might do it, too. I've often used it on those days before long breaks or when half the class is gone to some event.

Anyway, English Oympics...Come up with as many events as you can do in a class or as you have students in a group. Each member of the group will compete in some event. You can even have a team event. What to do with events? Whatever you have. I've done different kind of worksheets--like brainteaser, a proofreading worksheet, tongue twister contest, spelling bee...stuff like that. I awarded points to the top three winners in each round, so the teams have more chances to earn points. (Like, 30, 20,10.) Some events can go on at the same time, like with different worksheets. It's kind of a crazy day, but it's a lot of fun--and it doesn't take anything more than what you have on hand.

Happy New School Year! --And thanks for your opinions (well-received) recently on my blog!

DrPezz said...

Ok, here comes my ignorance: what is the Power of Ten?

Mr. McNamar said...

For my "get to know you" activity last year I did a version of speed dating. I set a time to go off every two minutes and we rotated through, asking each other questions.
The kids loved it.