Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meet and Greet

On that first day of class, I do a meet and greet outside the door to my room. All of my classes line up outside the door, which also happens to be outdoors. Fortunately for the kids, weather is rarely a concern – in our part of the country we have 2 standard forecasts: sunny and warm OR sunny and hot.

This meeting process is a great visual and physical transition from the classroom teacher’s authority to mine. We meet on neutral territory so there is no confusion about who is in charge – we both are! Somewhat like the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace! At the end of class, we reverse the process: teachers pick up their students outside where I have them lined up and quiet…

The classroom teacher and myself exchange pleasantries, and on this first day I hand him/her a copy of my special needs list to fill out and return by next class/week. The teacher then leaves so I can continue giving my spiel…

During that first Meet and Greet I say my name, ask the students who are new to our school to raise their hands and welcome back those who are returning. If I’m lucky, I’ll remember the names of several returning students and welcome them by name. I don’t know about you but my brain tends to turn to mush over the summer and although I rarely forget a face, names tend to slip in and out of the gray matter…

The last things I talk about are the art room, how to enter (I use/teach specific traffic patterns) and the seat assignments for this first day (details about that process in the next blog). I’m a firm believer in assigned seating. I spend hours analyzing and using the info gathered from this first class to put together my table groups for an optimal learning experience all year long.

This meet and greet process should take no more than 3 – 5 minutes. Students don’t come in until I have invited them in. Of course they need to be quiet and ready (hands and feet to self, in line, etc…) before that invitation is extended!

Some of you may feel that all of this is a waste of precious class time but I’ve learned you can accomplish far more in less time if your students are taught and know the routines to move smoothly through their class time.

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