Within the first 20 minutes of the first day of school, my students have heard me say some fairly significant things about them. They're words that I hope set the tone for the kind of classroom I have visions about before I even meet the little people who are on my roster. They are also words I'll repeat often, not only during the first few days of school, but right up until the very end. But in order to help my new friends remember these important words even on day one, I say each important thing with an intentionally chosen object in hand. I actually pull them out of a bag, because bags make everything more exciting in first grade.
1. Mrs. Barker sends me the best kids in the whole school.
2. I loved you before you even showed up.
3. I'm surrounded by greatness.
First off, my first graders could tell me the meaning behind each of these objects before the end of the first day of school. The ease with which they could do this reminds me to thoughtfully consider strategies for making my teaching stick, and an intentionally chosen object can certainly do the hard work for me.
Secondly, words are powerful, and it's never too early to say what matters most. I believe in calling out the greatness in the room before I've even looked at the hand I'm dealt.
To sum up, intentionally choose your message and purposefully make your words hard to forget. I'm not sure there's any better way to start the year.