Once the first day of school has come and gone, it’s time to get down to the real work of teaching and learning. The first week of school is a great time for reinforcing the plan you taught on the first day. After all, your students had a lot of information to absorb on the first day. You will spend some time in the coming days reinforcing PBIS expectations, but the first week of school is the best opportunity you will have to set your class on a positive path.
Along with teaching your lesson plans, take some time during the first week of school to reinforce these concepts:
What Do Students Need to Hear the First Week of School?
You are an individual.
Students often see themselves in relation to their friends, their siblings, or their school group. Let them know you see them as individuals, with talents and goals of their own.
You are important.
Each student sitting in your classroom is to be valued. Every one of them has talents and abilities that make them unique. This might be the first time some of your students have heard this message. Tell them their worth has nothing to do with their grades. Lay out your expectations for them as valued individuals – including hard work, respect for themselves and others, and a sense of responsibility.
You are responsible for yourself.
Accountability and responsibility are pretty big concepts. Still, encouraging your students to be responsible for their actions is great preparation for the future. This can include everything from cafeteria behavior to homework to the playground.
Choices have consequences.
This is where you can really drive home the points of your PBIS framework. Every student has a choice with regard to his or her behavior. Role play with your class to illustrate consequences.
Bring your best effort.
Effort is everything when it comes to learning. Tell your students that anything worth doing is worth putting effort into. This includes not only class work, but also their friendships and their extracurricular activities.
Everyone makes mistakes.
Anyone can have a bad day. Mistakes are going to happen. What’s important is learning from those mistakes and starting fresh. Make a commitment to your class that every day is a new day, and mistakes will be forgotten and forgiven with each new day.
Thomas Edison famously said about inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Teaching your students the concept of “failing forward” will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
Giving Your Students a Key to a Brighter Future
While you may not have much control over the events that occur outside of your classroom, you have considerable influence on your students while they are with you. The things that you communicate with your class the first week of school will have a deep impact on them for the entire year.
PBIS can make it easier for you to teach positive behaviors that will benefit your students long after they have moved on from your classroom. The first week of school is an ideal time to reinforce the positive messages from the first day of school. Letting your students know that you are invested in their success, coupled with the tools they need to be successful, is central to PBIS.
PBIS Rewards can make your schoolwide PBIS program easy to administrate. Our software and PBIS Rewards apps make it easy to recognize positive behavior, no matter where your students might be – in class, on the playground, on a field trip, or in the cafeteria. As we like to say, “You can recognize any student, anywhere, with PBIS Rewards.”
Establishing positive expectations like the ones above during the first week of school is a great start. Follow through on that great start by rewarding positive behavior with PBIS Rewards!