School started last week. Usually I spend the first few days getting to know my students. I am lucky to have 1/2 of my class the same as last year. This made the beginning days easier. We tried a few new "getting to know you" activities to bond more as a class. The first was having each student create something out of playdough to represent themselves. The creations were varied, from sporting equipment to animals to different types of foods. Students found they had something in common with others that they won't have known without the activity.
The second activity we did that helped me to know my students better was a "Failure to Success" Hyperdoc. The theme of my classroom is "Try Everything". We play the theme song from Zootopia to remind students they need to get up and try again and not give up, even when they think they failed. The Hyperdoc showed students famous people who failed many times before they became a success such as Walt Disney, J.K. Rowling, and Bill Gates. Students watch quick videos, read small articles, and created their own presentations about what it means to both fail and succeed.
While this activity was great to give the students real life examples of failure and success, it also allowed me to get to see how my students like to work. Some were able to sit alone on the computer and complete each activity. Others wanted to share their excitement with each of their friends. Some students were able to read the directions and know what to do without teacher facilitation. Others wanted help with each step of the way. It showed me who was able to work collaboratively and who wanted to do things their way only. By choosing a non-academic activity that covered multiple days, I got to know a lot about my class without the pressure of them having to know the "right" answers.
I discovered two very important ideas about this year's class. The first is that they LOVE videos. They were able to complete the activities that involved visuals much easier than the activities where they needed to read an article. The second very important idea is that this year's class is VERY "techy". I knew that about the students I had from last year, but the others weren't that far behind. Good thing I can be "techy" myself. :)
What I learned:
-Sometimes simple activities (such as playing with playdough) can be both fun and informative.
-Students will rise up to your expectations, whether it is technology or academic. (Ok, so I knew this already, but it's nice to have it confirmed yet again.)
-This is going to be a FUN year!
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching