Throw Down a Challenge the First Week of School

The first week of school can be a letdown.  The kids so looked forward to it, but the reality is they’re mostly just learning procedure and playing getting-to-know-you games with same kids they’ve been stuck placed with for years.

I highly recommend that you actively teach on the first day of school.  I already wrote a blog entry about that, so here is a refinement on the concept.

Throw Down a Challenge!

Make it voluntary, and make it a stretch—but not too big of a stretch.  You want something in the class’s Zone of Proximal Development.  (The teacher word for the level that’s within reach but a little bit of a stretch.)

Memorizing a short poem, learning the names of the continents, mastering a times table, writing a story or essay, finishing a back-to-school review packet—these are just a few example of possible challenges.

You might consider discussing your challenge with teachers in the grade level below you to see if it is appropriate.

Give the students about 5 school days to do the challenge.  You can have some sort of small reward, or you can just have students who achieve the goal write their names on the board or put their names on a bulletin board.  Your call.

I like to give whole-class incentives for 100% attainment of a goal, but I wouldn’t do that with the first challenge.  You don’t know your students well enough, and the challenge might be way beyond some of them.

I hope you find that throwing down a challenge is a fun and educational experience for your class.

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Posted in Back to School,Classroom Management by Corey Green @ Sep 9, 2011


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