A favorite lesson for many teachers: establishing class rules. This is an exciting turning point in the first week! The students start to understand what their teacher is expecting from them. They will continue to test; however, now is the time for a teacher to be very consistent with consequences.
To start, I read the book Chrysanthemum. I print a picture of Chrysanthemum on a piece of card stock paper to use as a symbol. As I read the book, anytime a character puts Chrysanthemum down, I rip a piece of the picture off. As a character gives Chrysanthemum a put up, I tape a piece of ripped off paper back onto the main picture. Here is an example of what Chrysanthemum looks like once the book is over. :)
After the book is over, we discuss what the pictures represents. BIG IDEA: Once someones feelings are hurt, you may apologize; however, they will never be the same. Think before you speak.
In addition, I use the Responsive Classroom philosophy focusing on the social and academic aspects of school. As a class, we discuss our Hopes & Dreams for the year. Then each child picks their own Hope & Dream. For example: to improve in math, make more friends, do more than one pull-up during gym, etc.
To wrap it up, we brainstorm our class rules. "If we want all of our classmates to achieve their hopes & dreams and feel like the proud Chrysanthemum, what rules do we need to have in our classroom?" After all rules are brainstorms, the next day we cut it down to the five to six most important rules.
Our class rules poster this year!