First Four Days

School is open! The first week of the 22-23 school is in the books. It has actually been four days but l will round up because it felt like more than a week. It has been a whirlwind of a first few days as students headed back to school and are starting to settle into new routines. Teachers are doing the same and navigating new instructional resources. This is the first time in three years that we have had a somewhat normal of a start and the overall excitement being seen around the school is telling.

I find that students are excited and at the same time anxious to be back in school to see their friends and begin a new journey. Class discussions about community, expectations, routines, and drills flooded the halls this week. Clubs and sports are in session and the usual community builders are back in action. This year has been a bit different as there is a higher than usual emphasis on social and emotional learning as well as drills regarding safety. Beginning of the year professional development was geared towards bringing awareness to the need for students to feel like they belong. Staff kept this in mind when thinking about community builders early this week. The list below includes a few items that were used during the first four days.

Sara’s name tents. I missed a couple days and will need to make them up next week. I continue to be amazed with how receptive students are to the correspondence and it is a great way to build rapport.

Class puzzle. Each student receives the same piece (about 6″ x 6″ that includes information about likes and dislikes. It also allows for an opportunity for students to use art tools to create a background image. The pieces fit together to make the class. I usually hand this up on the door for the year since each piece tessellates.

Getting to Know You Quiz. Students give the teacher a two question multiple choice quiz. The students get a kick out of creating a couple questions for the teacher to complete. Even more, they find joy in becoming the teacher and grading the teacher’s response.


Along with the feeling of community I ended up getting a couple items in the classroom that are geared towards make a positive difference. These items are intended to help to contribute to the environment throughout the year.

Paper roller coaster. This is a yearly hit with the kids and without social distancing guidelines there will be more collaboration involved with the builds. I wrote about this in the past and am looking forward to using it with my 3rd and 4th grade crew over the coming months.

Kolam tiles. I am always game for math puzzles and games and this seems like a winner. I usually include a math station for students that displays different math puzzles. The Kolam tiles are unique to the classroom and will be a great addition.

Light covers. I have heard parents, students and staff discuss the impact of bright florescent lights in the classroom. Being under the lights for a prolonged period of time has caused me headaches before and this will give a different vibe to the classroom setting. I have already had a few students mention how they like it. My classroom is on the second floor this year so I refer to them as skylights.

I hope all of those in the classroom are off to a great 22-23 school year!

Author: Matt Coaty

I've taught elementary students for the past 14 years. I enjoy reading educational research and learning from my PLN. Words on this blog are my own.

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