It’s a new year, a new class, and a new start! Make the most of those precious “new” moments with your students by establishing a strong foundation for the year to come. Read on for three easy ideas to set your classroom up for a great school year.
Establish a community
Studies have shown the importance of a supportive classroom environment on student learning outcomes. Since first impressions are everything, prioritize establishing a positive community on the first day of school.
One way to do this is to ask your students to complete an interest inventory. After they’ve completed the questionnaire, each student can share their responses with the class. This activity helps your students identify shared experiences and interests and allows you to get to know them right away. Plus, the act of sharing will establish the precedent of open communication among students.
Establish a routine
Nothing makes a classroom run more smoothly than clear expectations! Build upon the empowering and positive community you’ve established by having students help develop class routines. Do they like to have rotating responsibilities? Do they prefer bellwork at their seats or a whole-class class warm up? Do they want to turn in homework to you directly, or would it make more sense for a designated student to collect assignments? Giving your students a voice in creating classroom routines will instill ownership and accountability to upholding these expectations.
Establish a knowledge baseline
The third key to a great first day of school is determining the knowledge baseline of each of your students. We know that every learner is unique, and you can use IXL’s Continuous Diagnostic to help you find out what each student knows and doesn’t know. This powerful tool will pinpoint your students’ levels in math and language arts and point you to the specific skills in the IXL curriculum that will help each individual grow.
Work in the Continuous Diagnostic is self-directed, so it’s a great activity for day 1. Not only will it engage them academically, but it will quickly give you insights into each individual’s skill gaps and strengths. You’ll then be able to provide instruction and grouping based off of what each student knows right now.
(If your students have used the Continuous Diagnostic in the past, that data will carry over, though they’ll likely need to answer additional diagnostic questions to bring their levels up to date for the new year.)