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Learning at its Best

10 things to do on the first day of school…

Also posted at What Ed Said

A new school year is about to begin in Australia. It’ll be the first time in nearly 30 years that I don’t have a class to teach (I have a new role) and it’s not an easy adjustment! For as long as I can remember, I have started the year by planning the first day for my new classes. Reflecting on all those new beginnings, I realise how much teaching and learning have changed… and how much I have changed.

What needs to happen on ‘Day 1′ ?

I used to think…

  1. Explain your expectations.
  2. Establish rules.
  3. Know everyone’s names.
  4. Arrange seats to minimalise talking.
  5. Organise books.
  6. Talk about homework.
  7. Tell them what they’ll be learning.
  8. Make sure they listen.
  9. Get students working right away.
  10. Show a firm hand.

Now I think…

  1. Ask about their expectations.
  2. Create an essential agreement.
  3. Know everyone’s story.
  4. Arrange seats to encourage collaboration.
  5. Demonstrate that you value thinking.
  6. Talk about learning.
  7. Ensure they know that they own their learning.
  8. Make sure you listen.
  9. Show you’re a part of the learning community.
  10. Laugh…

(See links for elaboration)


By whatedsaid | View this Toon at ToonDoo | Create your own Toon

About whatedsaid

Teaching and Learning Coordinator at an IB PYP school in Melbourne, Australia. I'm a teacher, a learner, an inquirer...


4 thoughts on “10 things to do on the first day of school…

  1. Fabulous! Your effective post gives us all much to think about. The cartoon adds humour but says a lot, too. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by murcha | January 17, 2011, 11:13 pm
  2. When student do behave in a disruptive manner, just stand and look at them while saying nothing. After a few seconds you can ask them “are you finished? or “Is there anything else you would like to say to the class?” Yelling doesn’t work. You also need to keep your ego out of the situation. For easy to read book summaries and my Twitter service, go to DrDougGreen.Com. Keep up the good work.

    Posted by Douglas W. Green, EdD | January 18, 2011, 3:05 pm
  3. Edna, I could read you and your links all day. I am thinking about ways to use them in professional development.

    So, could you post about what promoted the changes to, and development of, your views, both internal and external? And do you know this wonderful book, This Teaching Life: How I Taught Myself To Teach (Selma Wasserman, 2004).

    I think you’d love it.

    In admiration and appreciation,


    Posted by Kirsten | January 26, 2011, 4:52 pm


  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 10 things to do on the first day of school… « Cooperative Catalyst -- - January 17, 2011

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