I have to admit, in the past I have always used that first day as a syllabus day.  I try to incorporate some really fun icebreakers but for the most part it is a pretty boring day for all of us.

This year, after reading Teach Like A Pirate and The Innovator’s Mindset, I decided it wouldn’t be a boring day any longer and that is exactly what happened!  

At the current district I work for, we work in 90-minute blocked schedules and alternate red and black days.  Filling the full 90-minutes is imperative for success and classroom management. This year I wanted to create relationships, share important information and have some fun!

As student’s entered the room the following happened:

  1. I greeted them at the door with a smile and asked them for their names to get to know them.
  2. I had Spotify playing with fun and energetic music.
  3. The lights were on but only half to ensure students were not overwhelmed with the fluorescent rays.
  4. They were encouraged to sit wherever their heart desired with flexible seating options.
  5. Play-Doh on paper plates, white brick-like paper and markers where sitting on their desks.

Students were encouraged to play the with play-doh and get to know or catch up with peers at their tables.  After attendance was taken, I started with my introduction and a little bit about me. I have some repeat students, I teach several different marketing courses, so I told them this year would be different than any other they had experienced in my classroom!


I shared with them the two activities that we would focus on for the day:

  1. “Tell Me About Yourself” Model Activity  (LINK to activity)
  2. Affirmation Door  (LINK to activity)

At that point, I explained they had the choice to work on either activity while we listened to some music again.  During this time, I had Spotify playing and my screen from ClassroomScreen.com up with a stoplight, time, and timer.  I made it a point walk around to each table and ask every single student about their summer.  I questioned them and connected their experiences to my personal experiences. I may not have remembered every single name but we began to build a relationship which was my goal.

We stopped after about ten minutes and discussed a third of my syllabus which I created with Canva. (Copy of my syllabus.)  We discussed learning expectations and my goals for myself and them as learners. This took about 10 minutes. Upon completion, I encouraged them again to continue creating and talking with the people at the table.  Turned the music up, set the timer and I continued to walk around the room getting to know the kids.

We repeated this cycle until the syllabus was complete.

Once it was complete, I grabbed the iPad and large Post-It Posters, pulled up a fun first week powerpoint that incorporated meme’s with questions to get to know the students and their learning desires.


It was a group discussion activity then whole-group share out with small breaks of creation and relationship building!!  Click HERE for more information on the activity!

My biggest takeaway from this first week versus all of the other first weeks I have had in teaching:

“Stop.  Take a breath.  Listen to a story.  Take time to get to know them.  Ask their opinions. Show them you care!”

Complete the information below if you would like copy of my lesson plans!



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