What do you do on your First Week of School?
The first day is tough – you want to play some games, have some fun, but you know that you need to establish the procedures and class expectations as well. How do you accomplish all of it and what kinds of activities do you plan? Remember, this is a great opportunity for you to establish the DNA of your Phys Ed program and set up the culture of your classroom.
Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“. I think about this every year before school begins and I think it rings true in our classrooms. The better you can setup your class culture at the beginning of the year, the easier it will be for you to avoid future problems and time wasted on management or behavioral issues. This translates into what we all want – more teaching time for us and activity time for our students.
This is what I do with my students on their first day of Physical Education Class:
- Introductions – kids tell me about their summers, I tell them about mine. I meet any kids new to the school. I do this for about 5 minutes as soon as the kids walk in the door. I could wait, but I know they are dying to tell me about all of their summer trips, experiences and adventures – and honestly I love hearing about them. Your relationship with your students is what everything else is built on, so spend some time here first.
- You could create a slide presentation with some pictures/videos to show the kids some of the trips and adventures that you’ve been on over the summer to help them connect – kids love hearing about your personal life (this might be a good idea especially if you are new to the school)… just keep it short
- Note: Feel free to use the presentation linked above, you’ll need to copy it to your Google Drive first. Do this by going to “File” – “Make a Copy” you can then edit the copy in your Google Drive. I can’t grant you access to edit it, since it’s the master copy 🙂
- If you want to spend a little time on it you could also just create a quick 1 minute video to recap your summer for your students, I recommend checking out the App iMovie (Here’s a tutorial on how to use it). You can see an example video that I made below – although I used a program called Final Cut Pro – you could make something similar with iMovie along the same theme:
- Assign “Home Base” spots – I will explain how each student can find their spot by using the number and letter to determine a point on the floor (like a graph).
- Give an Example – 2D – line yourself up with the 2 and then find the D… now have a seat
- You can check this post out for more info on Home Base Spots and to print the ones I use
- Watch a Video about what we will learn this year or about the type of culture you want to create in your gym
- Try a motivational video about pursuing excellence and always doing your personal best (Here are some ideas)
- Create a video or slideshow showing students what activities they will be learning throughout the year
- Show them Part One of this 3 part Physical Literacy Series (check it out if you haven’t seen it) – We will have a short discussion about the student’s thoughts on the video and them move on to the next activity.
- Check Home Base – after each activity I have the students race to home base to see if they remember their spots. This accomplishes 2 things, it helps them memorize where their assigned spots are and it also keeps them moving throughout the lesson as we transition to the next part of the lesson.
- Go over the GYM RULES
- Go over the 6 gym rules and consequences, talk about why they are important and ask students if they agree that they are fair, and make sure they don’t want to add any more or make any changes (Get them to buy-in).
- Mention and explain orange form to be filled out if students get injured, forget their tennis shoes or have to go to time out after a Strike 3.
- Instant Activity – throughout the year we do different Warmups and Instant Activities as soon as students walk into the gym, but our fall-back is always walking the short lines and jogging the long lines for 2 – 4 minutes with the music blasting.
- Go over stopping signal “1,2,3 signal” before beginning activity and then practice Walking and Jogging for 1-2 minutes – use the “1,2,3 signal” and “music off” to freeze students
- Check Home Base Spots
- Go over Bathroom and Water Fountain Procedures
- Go over all the rules quickly, explain rules if needed.
- Summarize – When the music is on you can get water or use the bathroom, when the music is off, you need to be listening or lining up to leave the gym.
- Check Home Base Spots
- Go over Emergency Procedures – Practice Lining Up for each drill quickly and quietly
- Fire, Tornado/Earthquake, Code Red/Intruder Alert
- Go Over Daily Self Assessment
- Explain how the daily self assessment works and why we do it
- It is part of our GATOR Goals (Our school’s Mission/Vision Acronym – the T = Take responsibility for what you say and do)
- Play a Game for the last 15-20 minutes – Noodle Dance Tag or Adventure Bingo (See download link below)
That’s it. It’s definitely a full lesson and a lot to pack in, but I want to set expectations up front and lay the groundwork for a successful year. I try to help the students have fun by moving them around a lot, making jokes and getting their feedback on the routines and procedures that we have in place. Also, since I’ve been at my school for 8 years, most of the kids are familiar with the routines we have so I can move through the content pretty quickly. If you’re brand new to your school, you might want to break this lesson up into a 2 part lesson, since it will be the first time your students are being exposed to new routines/procedures/activities.
If you want to use the Google Slides that I use for my presentation on the first day you can copy them HERE:
- Note: Feel free to use/edit the presentation linked above, you’ll need to copy it to your Google Drive first.
You can also download a free printable first week of school lesson plan below:
A Great First Week Game
If we have time, one of my favorite First Week of School Games is “Adventure Bingo” – you can check out the video and also download it below if you’re interested.
P.S. If you’re interested in checking out all the Posters and Visuals I have up in my Gym you can find links to everything and a walkthrough of each poster here
What do you do differently for you’re first week of school?
If you have some good ideas leave them in the comments. Have a great first week!