The true secret of classroom management is having a solid connection with your students. The first week of school is the perfect time to start connecting with them. If they believe you truly care about them, they will behave better, work harder and learn more.
One way we start connecting with our students at the beginning of the year is by placing notecards in their lockers. Before the first day, we load the lockers with a surprise. Based on the team name, we put a notecard with a piece of candy on the shelf in their locker. For instance, when we were the Pirate Team, the note said “Arrgh, there be treasure” and we put Nestle’s Treasures there. When we were the Surfer Team, it said “Surf’s Up, Dude” and we used Lifesavers. It’s a nice little “welcome to the team” gesture that starts us off on a positive note.
The first day of school, kids are always excited about two things: who is in their class and where their locker is. Because of this, as soon as possible, we give the students their locker assignments and combinations. Then, we take them to the hall to let them try it out. They’re always excited to see the note. This also acts as a conversation starter for the students – as they talk about finding this note, they begin talking to each other.
The nice thing about doing this is it not only lets the students know it’s going to be a fun year, it also looks good to the administration, parents, etc. This is something that doesn’t take much time, but pays off in a big way.
What do you do to connect with students during the first days of school? How do you let them know you care?