I have been working with the first graders for two weeks (off and on) now. We began the year with learning the expectations and rituals/routines for my class. I found this wonderful set of activities at Growing Kinders: The Day a Monster Came to School.
I used the story provided to help my students discuss what makes a successful classroom. We talked about Above the Line, Below the Line, and Bottom Line behavior. Above the Line behavior helps you learn while Below the Line behavior interprets the learning process. Bottom Line behavior gets a student sent to the principal (or in my case, Dean of Students) instantly. Kathleen provided an excellent sorting activity, which we completed every day for the first week.
The next activity from the packet helped students discuss what makes a good listener. We read a story by Kathleen Pederson (Growing Kinders) about how you can listen with different body parts. The first line I read said: "A monster can listen with eyes. Can you?" The whole immediately responded with, "NO!" Then I read, "Yes! I look at the speaker when I am listening." The students loved it! They listened intently each time I read about listening with a different body part to see how it was done. Then we drew pictures about how you can be a good listener, which I displayed also.
To make sure that tattling did not become a problem, I created a Tattle Monster. I found the idea on Pinterest, which lead me to Giggles Galore. She found the idea at A Day with Lil Mama Stuart. Giggles Galore painted her tissue box with spray paint. I didn't have spray paint at school, so I used pink duck tape. I talked about introducing the Tattle Monster all week, and Friday they were so excited to finally meet the Tattle Monster. He has a special corner in the room where the directions of how to use the tattle monster are posted along with strips of paper to write the tattle on so he can be fed.
It was a very successful first week with the first grade and I couldn't have done it without the help of my blogging community!
Note: All pictures taken with my iPhone so sorry about the quality!