I always spend the first week of the new school year going over classroom expectations, procedures, and setting up our Interactive Science Notebooks. I am always amazed at how much time it takes to do both of those things, but I honestly can't imagine NOT doing them. I think that going over my expectations and how I want my classroom to "run" is muy importante.
In the past years, I would spend about 2 days going over expectations and procedures and by the end of those 2 days, I was usually without a voice. I can't believe how much I talked on those days (and for 6 different class periods)! And apparently, the whole "no voice" thing wasn't a big enough clue to me that I was doing too much teacher-talk, because I just kept doing the same thing year after year. No lie, I had to borrow a microphone and speaker from another teacher to amplify my whisper, just so that my students could hear me! Last year, I finally got the hint and I did things differently and it was a success.
I've had a lot of people asking me about this on my blog, so I decided to create a more generic version that will allow every teacher to customize it to their individual needs.
I created a Classroom Expectations, Procedures and Safety Scavenger Hunt around my classroom. I had 31 task cards in various locations around the room and the students had an Interactive Science Notebook booklet that I created for them to answer questions in. The students were instructed to roam around and find all 31 of the cards. When they found a numbered card, they opened their booklet to that same number and found a related question that could only be answered by reading that specific card. This forced the students to be moving around (not sleeping at their desks, while I mindlessly fed them information) and they had to read (which is never a bad thing.....painful for some of them, but that's a different issue.) And the best part..... I still have my voice.
This scavenger hunt freed me up to facilitate and assist any struggling students (although there weren't too many problems). I was able to take care of a lot of that first week paperwork and I knew that my students would still be prepared for my class and the very picky expectations that I have for them. The activity still took 2 days, but for this, it is always time well spent in my opinion. Of course, I still went over a few of the really important ones (like my homework policy, late work policy, what to do when you're absent, what will happen if they are disrespectful with a sub, etc...), but it was quick because they already knew the answers. I could just ask what the expectation was and they quickly gave me an answer. It was wonderful!
In this zip folder you will receive my original versions of the booklet and task cards (for reference more than anything, but certainly feel free to use them or copy ideas) and an editable version of both that will allow you to customize it.
**8/7/14 UPDATE: As per customer request, I've added 2 additional documents that include the exact text from my original booklet. They are still in Editable PDF Form that will allow you to change the text, but this is a timesaver for teachers who don't want to type out the text completely on their own. Make a few changes to the existing booklet to suit the needs of your classroom and you are ready to go!
**8/10/14 UPDATE: As per customer requests, I've created all of the task cards to already include all of the text I use on my task cards. They are still an Editable PDF Form, so you are free to change what you want to change, this just saves you time. If you simply want to tweak some of my ideas to work for your classroom, the majority of the work has already been done for you,
To see more, check out my Science Teaching Junkie blog post HERE.
The editable documents were created in Adobe PDF Forms which allows you to type in designated text fields and edit the text as you wish).