First Monday- Advisory Lesson to Engage Students

Yesterday was my first Monday of the school year (last Monday was a Holiday). Most students don’t like Mondays, it means the end of living on their terms. No laying around the house, watching TV and playing video games while eating junk food. When I walked into my classroom for advisory at 8:10 I found many heads laying on the tables and blank eyes staring back at me. The students weren’t ready for the school day, heck many weren’t fully awake yet. After taking attendance, I felt I needed to do something to get everyone’s blood flowing and engaged for the day. So, I turned to one of my children’s favorite wake up songs Wake Up (By Verve Pipe a band I enjoyed in bars as a college student)

The lyrics seemed to connect to the students. Heads lifted from the desks, if not only in wonderment about what was going on. Eyes started to stare in wonderment towards the from of the classroom. When it was over, I was ready to pass out an article to discuss sleep deprivation in teens. I noticed the students weren’t quite ready to get to work. Blood was flowing but not enough. Then I remember a video Adam Bellow   had share at MACUL Conference back in March.

At first a few students yelled out,”Not Rebbeca Black!!” But then they realized it was something different. A few started to snicker, others stared at the imagines in disbelief of what they were seeing. Was a teacher really playing this? As the chorus started to play “Its Monday …” I sang along. A few student looked at me and smiled. Realizing that school does not have to be a “drag” students started singing along and a select very comfortable few even got up to dance. 

Afterwards we discussed sleep and eating habits to help students get into the groove with school.

If I felt this was an awesome lesson, I would have posted it last night. It wasn’t till today in advisory, that I realized how powerful it was. As I was taking attendance, with the plan of watching CNN student news and discussing Syria, a hand popped up. “Mr Bloch, are we going to listen to the Wake Up song?” A few yeahs echoed from behind the questioner. Could I deny students a 3 minute song? Of course not. It made most of the classes day (Can please everyone). Student sang along and were moving. It really created positive energy to get the day started.

Think about finding hitches that get the students up and moving to start their day!

Make every day like the first!!

Today was our first day here in Michigan. Teachers arrived early, decorated their rooms with care, lessons and activities were months in the making. Students arrive well before the start of school, flooded into the classrooms like a One Direction concert was about to begin. Engagement was maintained, few hall passes needed. All left tired but excited and satisfied with having a GREAT day. 

What happens tomorrow? 

As my experience tells me as the year goes on and we get into the long haul that is the educational season: Teachers arrive later and students tune out.  Lessons aren’t as sharp and behavior slips. 

How can we as educators maintain the first day feel? We have to remind ourselves the first day went. Maintain the energy and enthusiasm. Hold our students to high expectations for learn. It is our JOB to make every day count. Creating learning environments where students want to be in class and want to learn. 

The best thing about today was that the students wanted to be in school. Many stated that they missed be in school and were more than ready to return. 

Now to work on my student hobbies: Number one hobby stated today was sleep. Is that really a hobby? I don’t think so… 

Have a great school year and remember the energy and excitement of the first day when the nights get long and dark.