Friday, 16 August 2013

Back to School Bonanza

I am so excited to be teaming up with a great group of middle school bloggers for a "Back to School Bonanza" blog hop.
By visiting each of our blogs we will be providing you with some back to school tips, tricks, and of course FREEBIES! Just a little gift from us to you, to help make the back to school transition a little easier.
Once you have checked out all our blogs and collected all your freebies, don't forget to enter our giveaway! You could be the lucky winner of our "Back to School Survival Pack"!
Happy Hopping!

I find the first few days of school the hardest. Here you are standing in front of a group of teenagers, they don't know you, you don't know them, but somehow by the end of the year you are going to have made a memorable connection with each one of them (hopefully).

My number one goal for the first day(s) is to get to know a bit about each student as quickly as I can, names are a great place to start, but I want to get to know them as individuals. This can be a challenge when I teach 3 different classes, with approximately 25 students in each. Here's how I do it...

When my students walk into my room, I say good morning, do a quick attendance check (first attempt to learn names), and then I inform them that in order to be the best teacher I can be I need to know a bit about them as students. Now unfortunately, I can't sit down with each student the first day and have a nice chat, so the next best thing is for them to write me a letter, telling me about themselves.

I then place a letter to my students on the overhead that tells them a bit about me. Since I expect them to tell me about them, they deserve to know a little about me. (They act like they could care less about my life...but you know they are curious)

I am always amazed at how quiet the room is once they start writing, after all what teenager doesn't like to talk about him/herself?

As they write, I walk around the room doing a 2nd attempt to learn names. Usually this activity takes the whole class.

By the end of the day I now know a little bit about each one of my students in terms of their family, interests, but most importantly I have my first informal assessment of their abilities. Now I may be a math teacher, but seeing a student's writing abilities, still tells me a lot in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.

Now that I know my students a little better, I can really start to plan out my year.

Now onto the FREEBIE!

My number two goal for the first day(s) is to get the students interacting with each other in a fun and positive way. In order to get them to put down those invisible barriers they like to put up, I put them into groups and provide them with a challenge.

Each group is given a paper bag filled with random supplies (basically whatever I could find lying around in the cupboards or recycling bins). Using only the supplies provided they are to construct the tallest free standing structure. There is a set amount of time, so students have little option but to start interacting with one another and putting their problem solving skills to work.

If you are interested in doing this challenge with your students, you can dowload the full set of instructions here.

Enjoy getting to know your students!


Special thanks to Kristy at 2 Peas and a Dog for organizing this event.

Want More Back to School Goodies?

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1 comment:

  1. Love this challenge idea! Cool! I can't wait to try that with my own students! Thanks for sharing! :)

    Mrs. Mathis’ Homeroom