Tuesday, August 25, 2015

1st 5 Days Middle School Version!

The first 5 days are most important, which is why I am starting off letting them design our class and have input on what is going on in the room.

Day 1 - Round Robin Input!
Students will rotate through 8 stations -- about 4-5 minutes per station.

Station 1: What do you want to learn in 7th grade science?
At this station, students will find 3-4 pieces of butcher paper with our course themes on it.  They can write what questions they have or identity topics they are interested in.  I am going to take their ideas and tie them into our year plans.

Station 2: What songs do you want to add to our class music playlist?
Students add songs to our Apple Music playlist. The only requirements are that they cannot be inappropriate or have the "E" next to them in the store.  I play music in the background all day, almost everyday.

Station 3: How would you improve the world?
This station is another piece of butcher paper where students write down what they would do to improve the world.  They can identify what bugs them or what they see as the biggest issues in society.  We will try to address some of these throughout the year and offer solutions or suggestions on how to improve society.

Station 4: What makes you happy?
I do this station because talking about what makes you happy makes you feel good -- and everyone should feel good, especially on the first day of school!  At this station, students wrote on the table with neon markers.

Station 5: School would be so much better if only...
This station is a writing prompt that students complete.  I was curious to find out what about school makes them anxious or stressed.  If we can find ways to avoid that, it would make school better for all!

These answers were hilarious.  From an indoor pool to free pizza vending machines, kids really know what they need to be happy.   Many students wrote "no homework", which I COMPLETELY agree with!  A couple wrote "no mean teachers", which again, I totally agree with!

Station 6: What do you love about your school?
Since I am new here, I wondered why they love this place so much. Groups submitted to a Padlet all the things they love about CMSE.

Station 7: My favorite teacher ever was...because...
This one is my favorite. Every kid has a favorite teacher, but most teachers have no idea.  At this station students write a quick note to their favorite teacher saying WHY they liked them so much.  Now I get to see what kids think about awesome teachers and I will put all these notes in the teachers boxes on the first or second day of school as a surprise!  #win-win

Station 8:  Meet the teacher: ME!
No one wants to stand in front of the class and talk about themselves in a room full of strangers, but I need to meet each student. I want to speak to everyone of them on the first day. This station allows students to meet me with only 2-3 other students around and allows me to put a face to a name.

Here is the link to the Google Doc with the station information documents that are at each table if you are interested in the specific details!

Day 2 - Angry Bird Challenge
Team building time!  Design a new angry bird tower that can support the weight of a tiny angry bird.  Students had about 10 minutes to complete this challenge and the only supplies available were 20 notecards and 10 pieces of tape.  Loved the creativity, energy, and competitiveness!


  1. Love these ideas for the first days of school! I'm definitely going to try it this upcoming school year! Thanks!
    Tiffany Cooper
    7th Grade Life Science - Ludowici, GA

    1. Thanks!! Would love to hear how it goes! :)

  2. I love this idea as I am really trying to incorporate design thinking into my 6th grade science class this year. Where can I access days 3-5?

    1. We are starting this on day 3-4... There is an iTunes U course linked that contains all the information and instructions if you are interested :)

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  4. Hi. I love your First 5 day plan. I, too, am interested in Days 3-5. I went to the link that you gave above, click on the iTunesU page but couldn't find it. Could you please tell me where to find them?
    PS. I love your blog. You have great ideas.
    Karen Lovett, American School of Paris