Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Building Classroom Community

The first day of school is filled with procedures, procedures, procedures. It is very important to schedule in time for your students to get to know you personally and for them to get to know each other.  You are all about to spend 180 days together so make your time together special.  Make that personal connection to each other and your relationships will be stronger.  Students will be more successful if they have a personal connection to their classmates and teacher.
After labeling supplies and reviewing school expectations, I shared my Me Bag with my students. I pulled objects out of a bag one at a time and revealed information about my life. I like to cook, listen to the Beatles,  and go to the beach. I love my family and was proud of myself when I finished a mud run. The students will bring in their own Me Bags to share with the class.

Yes, I gave my students a quiz on the very first day of school! Some of my students from last year remembered some of the information about me, but I had purposely created questions that I hoped would be new them.
Students completed a Student Scavenger Hunt by having classmates sign squares on grid. The squares contained activities a student may enjoy or descriptions of a student. They completed this activity silently so they had to rely on facial expressions and hand gestures. This was a great activity for the 2 students new to our school. They were not intimidated that everyone else knew each other and didn't have to be nervous to talk!

Following the Scavenger Hunt, students wrote about themselves on an index card. This first writing activity of the year was plain and simple for them. I think it had much more of a purpose for me because it showed me their handwriting, their use of capitalization and punctuation, grammar, spelling, and how well they compose complete thoughts.

We ended the day by filling out Time Capsules. Students filled in their current likes and interests. They will revisit it in May to see how they have changed.
We will continue to build and strengthen out learning community throughout the year, but these are a few of the fun activities we did on the first day of school.

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