Getting Students to Buy-In On the First Day of School
Student buy-in is one of the most important components of a successful school year. If there is no student-buy with regard to the class mission and values at the beginning of the year the result can be fatal. This is a sad reality considering that student buy-in can be achieved in just a few minutes of the day through purposeful planning and student interaction. This starts on the first day of school!
The following are just a few ways to ensure student buy-in on the first day of school.
1.) Greet Students at the Door
Morning interactions with students have a tendency to set the tone for the day. By personally greeting each student as they walk through the door you are communicating to them that they are important, and that you are excited to have them in your class. In order to start the buy-in process students must feel a sense of safety and trust. This is the foundation of the relationship that you will build with your students this year.
2.) Have Something Meaningful for Students to Do
Planning for the beginning of the year can be challenging. Without having done any baseline assessments, it is difficult to know where students are at academically. Nevertheless, plan with a purpose as students have a good sense for when they have been assigned busywork.
On the first day of school assign students work that is engaging with the purpose of allowing you to get to know students as well as allowing students to get to know each other. In order to get our students to buy-in we need to get to know them and help them feel safe and connected in a community of learners. The following is an example of my first week of school morning work.
3.) Begin Building Relationships With Students
As students are working on their morning work, what are you doing as the teacher? While the tendency is to begin organizing supplies and doing all of those tedious first day of school administrative tasks, in doing so we miss out on valuable time to connect with students.
By making the intentional choice to circulate around the room and engage students in conversations about their work you are beginning the buy-in process that your students are important and that the effort that students put into their work is important.
4.) Allow time for Peer to Peer Interaction
In order to get students to buy-in to the fact that our classroom is a community of learners it is important to provide time for students to share and collaborate. This can be as simple as providing time at the end of morning work for students to share their ideas with a partner or with their table group.
On the first day of school teachers can start the buy-in process by greeting students at the door, providing engaging and meaningful work for students, and by beginning to build relationships with students. Although it seems like a lot to ask on the first day of school, beginning the investment process will save you even more time later on in the year.
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Photo Credit: School Bus (School Photo Project)