First Five Days of School

You ready? Day 1 starts soon, so let’s talk about some lesson plan ideas for the first five days of school:

Month-by-month calendars for English 9 or 10 (free download):

My favorite classroom seating arrangement:

First day stations overview/explanation:

First day stations materials and “You are here” worksheet (free download):

The Only 4 Classroom Rules You Need:

Class contract (free download):

Using memes in your classroom (blog post):

How to Teach Grammar in Just 10 Minutes a Week:

MUG Shot Monday bell-ringers (paid product):

Lit. Term Tuesday bell-ringers (paid product):

Sustained Silent Reading/SSR (free download):

Words on Wednesday bell-ringers (paid product):

Power of Punctuation lesson materials (paid product):

Email Netiquette lesson materials (paid product):

All lesson materials mentioned in today’s video are also included in the Full-Year 180 Days of Eng. 9-10 Curriculum (paid product):

Music used with permission of Sing King:

Whew! That’s a lot of links and a lot of hair-dos. I know no one’s actually going to read through all of those (it’s still summer vacation, for cryin’ out loud), but they’re there when you need them. Teach on, everyone.

18 thoughts on “First Five Days of School

  1. You’re the best. I am sending this to our new teacher (my former student teacher) immediately!

  2. Fantastic, Steph! Hope this will help our newest colleague harvest a few ideas. Thanks for watching! 🙂

  3. This is fabulous – thank you!

  4. Kendall Childs says:

    Have a great first week of school and thanks for all of the great resources.

  5. Hey Laura – love it all! I used your first-day stations activity last year and it went so well I’ll use it again on Day 1 (not until September 5th here – yeah, kids start on that Wednesday, so talk about a kooky and disjointed week! Throw in a few grade-level assemblies…). I’ll definitely share this post with the teachers in my life!

    [And just a side-note, as someone who just turned 49 this year, and as someone who never turned on those awful overhead fluorescents anyway, I’m a huge fan of lamps, string lights, and even a salt lamp or two! 🙂 You look fab!]

  6. Thanks, Heather, for helping to spread the word. And, yes, fluorescent lighting must be what’s used to illuminate all of Dante’s levels of hell. It’s just The Worst.

  7. Hey Laura! Thank you SO MUCH for this really great overview of how you run your first week. I’m a 7-9 English instructor and just wondering–if you do 45 min of SSR on Friday, do you also have your classes read novels together? My classes meet 5 days/wk for 52 minutes/day. Would you recommend using SSR in the same way if I intend to still teach classroom studies of novels once or twice per semester?

  8. Hi Renee,
    Yes, indeed. We complete novel units in my classes, too. SSR is an additional assignment on top of our regular curriculum. Also, I don’t allow students to use our class novel (for example, To Kill a Mockingbird) as their SSR book. If they’ve forgotten to bring their SSR book on a Friday and want to read their class novel (or complete math HW or finish a Spanish project) to fill the time, that’s fine, but they don’t earn their 10 weekly SSR points for that. I’m actually working on an SSR explanation video this week that I hope to have posted on Saturday, so stay tuned for a bit more detail about SSR and my Book Talk process. Thanks! 🙂

  9. Ben Dowling says:

    You are beyond incredible. Thank you for everything you do!

  10. Gayle Greenzaid says:

    Thank you for your help and wonderful suggestions. It’s refreshing and encouraging to find insight and guidance for SECONDARY classrooms. I recognize how much extra time and effort you have to put into your blog and want to make sure you know that you are appreciated!

  11. Thanks, Gayle, for this note of support. My gas tank is starting to hit empty, and this note definitely helps. Hope you’re having a great year! 🙂

  12. Meri Cuni says:

    Laura, I love your suggestions!

  13. Sandra Burch says:

    Just wondering if you think these strategies would be suitable for a grade 12 class? I love the structure of the days and the activities, but I don’t want to purchase the material if it’s a little to simple for my 12’s.
    Thanks very much:)

  14. Great question, Sandra! I guess it depends on the level of the seniors you’re teaching. If they’re at or below grade-level, these materials are still a good match; I’ve successfully used all of these pieces with my regular/college-prep 11th graders in previous years. If, though, you have seniors who are at the honors or AP/IB level, I’m thinking they probably already have these skills and you might want to choose different or higher-level lessons to begin your year. Hope this helps with your decision. TGIF!

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