For new teachers fresh out of college programs and grizzled old veteran educators alike, the first day of school is one of the most important days of the year. Day one sets the tone for the rest of the school year, and teachers can make their jobs much easier by nailing a strong first classroom impression for their new students.
Most first school days include , facilitating introductions, setting rules, having a little bit of fun, and charging up in preparation for the next day. That might sound like a lot to cover, but education technology can help you survive every step of the way.
In an Association for Psychological Science article, education experts Baron Perlman and Lee I. McCann point out that teachers should take advantage of the primacy effect and craft a strong first impression that lasts through the year. The best place to start is classroom introductions, including the teacher introducing him or herself to the students, and the students introducing themselves to the teacher and each other. This allows the teacher to establish authority and lead students to comfortable familiarity, creating an ideal environment for learning.
Rather than just going around the room for oral introductions, you might as well incorporate your classroom technology and make it interesting. For example, if you have access to an AVer CP3-B Collaboration Box, you can supplement your intro by sharing a picture or video of something you did over summer vacation on the monitor. Then, students can do the same from their devices using the CP3-B’s ScreenShare feature. Another idea, inspired by teaching blogger Genia Connell, is to put student names into a rhyme generator. Display the generated rhymes on the monitor via ScreenShare, or allow students to use their devices to create lyrics for their names that can be turned into a collaborative poem or song. These are just a couple of ideas to get you started.
The primacy effect also applies to setting rules for behavior to start the school year. Author and consultant Elena Aguilar penned wise words about setting classroom expectations in an article on Edutopia:
“Students often misbehave because they don't know what you expect of them. Especially in secondary school, teachers presume that students know how to behave. Don't assume that they will know or even share any of your expectations for procedures, routines, or behaviors.”
Once again, technology is a teacher’s best friend. Setting expectations with EduTech could be as simple as projecting a list of rules with a visualizer. If you’re using the AVer M17-13M, you can capture an image of your rules and save it to a memory card with just one touch, so you can share a digital copy with students. That way, if your youngsters forget what you expect of them, they can just pull up the list on their devices for a quick refresher.
Rules are essential, but setting a fun tone is equally important. According to a Kites in the Classroom blog post referencing neuroscientist Dr. Martha Burns, “when dopamine is present during an event or experience, we remember it. But when it’s absent, nothing seems to stick. The more interested we are in an activity, the more dopamine is released and the better we remember it.” Therefore, no first day of class would be complete without a fun activity or two.
We’ve already applied this concept to introductions and behavior. Now you can apply your classroom technology to make the first lesson of the year fun and memorable. Use your favorite math game app to have a class tournament; in science class, you can send students outside to take pictures of plants and bugs for a scavenger hunt. The compact and wireless AVer U70+ is especially useful for such activities, as well as for the infinite number of possibilities left for you to discover on your own.
Getting Charged Up
Finally, you'll want to remember to charge your classroom devices so they're ready for day two. Your smart classroom should be equipped with the latest in power-up solutions—like AVer’s wide selection of intelligent charging carts and towers—to make sure your batteries never die.
When it's time to go home, that’s the perfect opportunity to line your students up and teach them how to stow their devices in your charging solution in an orderly fashion. The AVer C36i+ makes this process especially efficient, with convenient pull-out shelves and cable clips that eliminate messy cord tangles. Students can quickly and easily organize their devices, and then reverse the process when they return the next morning.
Thanks to education technology, putting together a successful first day of class is easier than it’s ever been. Making introductions, outlining parameters for behavior, injecting fun into learning with the latest classroom devices, and charging up at the end of the day creates a solid foundation on which you can construct a year of engaging, interactive learning. Now, good luck with the 180 or so other days!