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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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Have your students introduce YOU to the class

So many teachers right now are asking about
that first day of school. I thought I'd make a quick blog post with a fantastic no-prep, no tech option.

I can only do this one in the summer with incoming freshmen as during the school year I have too many students who already know me (because I taught them during the summer).

Many teachers do this with a fancy handout or PowerPoint. Since I never know the status of my classroom the first day (e.g. How many students? Will I have technology?) I keep this no-prep and easy.
  1. I warmly welcome students to my class and ask them what kinds of things teachers usually share about themselves the first day. As they give me answers I write them on the board
    • Home city, If they have kids, Professional background, etc.
      • If students don't guess right away you can nudge them, but I usually get a pretty good list.
  2. We sort the list into three different categories
    • Usually we get something like:
      1. How does she teach?Teacher Type
        • We tie this into rules and expectations too.
      2. What has she done? Background
        • Professional, Personal
      3. What does she like and dislike? Personality
        • I have LOTS of "me" around the class, if you don't you may not want to include this.
  3. I pass out scratch pieces of paper and tell them to walk around the classroom and find any evidence they can that shows them who I am as a teacher. 
    1. Depending on how involved they are, I usually give about five minutes.
      • If they're just sitting or staring at one spot. End it sooner. But they're usually into it.
    2. You may need to set more guidelines depending on your privacy. I let them open any drawer that is unlocked and have even had a (rather brave) student ask if he could look in my purse. I allow it! 
  4. Stop the class and have them see what evidence someone else collected. Sharing is caring!
  5. Tell them now they are going to take the evidence and explain how it tells them who I am. I usually give an example
    1. Ms. Peck has almonds on her desk. This tells me she is trying to eat healthy.
    2. I also model using different evidence to support the same conclusion: Ms. Peck has almonds on her desk and bike pedals under it. This tells us she wants to be healthy.
    3. As I say this I also write it on the board. Then I erase my specific terms and the students are left with a sentence frame: Ms. Peck has _______ This tells me ______.
  6. As this is a little more intense, they'll be in groups (I like my groups of 3-4 students so divide appropriately) I also assign each group a category: personality, teaching, background
  7. Give them some more time (2-5 minutes) to gather more evidence now that they have a category and goal.
  8. Encourage students to focus on the evidence they have to create a mini-presentation on what type of teacher Ms. Peck is.
  9. Students present!
    1. As students present I praise them for their conclusions even if they are wrong..
      • Example: I had a student infer I was Native American because of my complexion and the dreamcatcher in my class. I shared I was Mexican and the dream catcher was for a different reason. Then as a class I tried to get them to guess (I taught American literature)
    2. Other times they are right but their evidence doesn't support it.
      • Example: I had a student infer I loved to travel because of my travel signs in the classroom (that pointed to Rome, London, etc.) I explained those were because I teach World Literature and asked if anyone saw any evidence that I love to travel other that those? (My diploma from Spain, the picture of me riding an elephant)
  10. You're done! Congratulations you had a first day where students got to:
    • Work in teams
    • Find evidence
    • Though critically
    • Make inferences based on evidence
    • Learned about you
    • Moved around
    • I feel awkward calling this student centered, as it's all ABOUT the teacher, but the students do all the heavy lifting.
    • And had fun! 

2 comments:

  1. Great idea!!! This is something different.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing! Will give it a try!!

    ReplyDelete

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