Ideas for the first day:

  1. Present how people see me vs. how I want to be seen. (talking about a fresh start).
  2. Don’t talk at all. Play a song that fully represents me. Ask students to think about the one thing (a song, a book, a character, or a movie that most accurately represents them).
  3. Introduce the concept of giftedness (the curve a la Jen Gottschalk).
  4. Tour of the room for 7th graders going over all of the little areas of the room.

Cores 1-2 (7th only on the first day)

  1. Introduce myself:
    1. Credentials
    2. Family members
    3. Home town
  2. Introduce the room and procedures that are important:
    1. Look here sign
    2. Computers (Book Reviews, AR Tests, Internet Research, Blogging, etc.)
    3. Pictures on walls
    4. Reading Area
    5. Writing Ideas Area
    6. Utensil Area
    7. Smart Board
  3. Introduce the concept of perceptions (being seen as you want to be seen).
    1. Most of us are not seen as we want to be seen, or we fear that people see us as something we are not. Today I would like us to explore this idea and to create both visual and written representations of how we want to be seen and how we don’t want to be seen.
    2. We are going to do this because this classroom has to become a safe environment for all of us to think, read, write, discuss, open up, believe, explore, play, and act in. The only way that this can happen is if you see others the way that they want to be seen. (Has anyone ever seen the movie Shallow Hal?)
    3. I would like you to take out a piece of paper and divide it into halves. I want you to label each side as how you want to be seen and how you don’t want to be seen by the other students in this classroom. This can be a thought heavy exercise if you don’t often think about other’s perceptions of you. You have a blank slate for most of the students around you. Most of them don’t have any concept of who you were in elementary school, and I certainly don’t have any preconceived notions about you. Think of who you want to be this year as a friend, a reader, a writer, a thinker, a classmate, a dresser, and a middle schooler. Draw what you want people to see when they look at you, and write out what you want people to think when they are around you.
    4. Here is my example.
    5. Work on your own version and be prepared to share with others when you come to class tomorrow.
  4. Conclude class: We are going to make a promise to one another that we are going to see each other they way each of us wants to be seen. Because of this, insults are obsolete. Because of this, laughing at someone because they said something either incredibly smart or incredibly stupid is banned. Because of this, we are going to have a ridiculously good year.