Start Off Positive
We’ve all heard this, but what does it really mean? Yes, we all greet our students at the door and welcome them with a smile on our faces. Many of us have ‘fun’ activities planned in order acclimate our new students to our ways, rules, expectations, and personality. How many of us bust out the technology on the first day? How many of us have students creating something meaningful the first day?
Here’s what we did
- Wrote out all expectations (learning goals, personal goals) on sticky notes and posted them around the classroom. As a group, we read them and talked about them. What I think I will do next year: write these expectations on a Google Form, take their answers and create a word cloud using abcya, wordle, tagxedo, or tagul (my personal favorite).
- Paper Bag 5 ‘W’s – I wish I could site this, as it wasn’t my idea. I read it online somewhere. The idea is to give each student a paper bag with 5 items in it (I put in a pencil, eraser, Hershey Hug, mini candy, and a Smartee). Students answer the 5 W questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why). They then take the bag home, put in 5 items that represent them, and present it in class the next day. A bonus was, I was able to see the quality of their writing in a low-risk setting.
- Students also worked together in the Marshmallow Challenge. I modified it to fit my needs. Students used spaghetti, mini marshmallows and 4 large marshmallows. I was able to see which groups/individuals communicated, collaborated, planned, thought out, and were innovative.
- Finally, each student created a Voki to tell me a little bit about themselves. This was a fun way for students to introduce themselves to me. They got to use technology, create something meaningful, and were able to view it online (and show their families). Here is my class and the other class (Mrs. Pursley).
This was a great way to begin the school year! We just finished our second week, and things are going GREAT. I am blessed with an amazing group of students. This may be the best year yet (and that’s saying something as this is my 20th year teaching).