Building a Positive Learning Environment

I believe on the first day of school students need to do more than move from class to class, from subject to subject developing rules and expectations. Of course my primary objective needs to be just that, developing a positive learning environment which will allow students to move and learn safely.  So the challenge becomes developing a lesson plan in which  students learn protocol, develop rules and understand my expectations while simultaneously learning or practicing a skill and sustaining  a moderately high heart rate.

I have tried many different lesson plans in the past.  With third, fourth and fifth graders I have used stations in which students practiced simple to understand and easily diversified skills after discussing a rule, expectation or protocol with their partner. Then at the conclusion of class we discussed as a group the correct protocol for rule or behavior expectation.  For example students might be asked to discuss what they believe they should do if the fire alarm sounds.  At the end of class I ask my class,” What do we do if the fire alarm goes off?”   Students choral answer “line up at door, exit across playground.”  We then have a practice within a few weeks.

Last year I added a video component.  Students choose one rule or expectation to demonstrate on a video.  My goals were to have students demonstrate competence, and put together a rule/expectation movie.   New students could then watch the video before starting class.  The video clips the students recorded were good, I just never put them together into a movie.

This year I am undecided on how to start.  I would love to hear your ideas.  I know many of you started earlier in August.  Please share with us what you did and how it worked……please!   I would love some new ideas!

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