First Week Back to School

Well, it's been a long time coming but I am back!

Following an extensive time off, I am pleased to say that I am settling into a new teacher role as the Year 2 for an International School in Italy, in addition to being the school's Innovative Digital Coordinator as we unroll a completely new technology program.

The year got off to a great start with some fantastic "Getting to Know You" activities, as most classes do. Our first day consisted of deciding how to make name tags for our pegs in the hallway where we keep our coats and bags. We had a great discussion about what size paper we would need, and how big the letters should be. We decided that using Duplo Legos to measure was the right tool, and that we would need between 2 and 3 Legos to ensure that our names were big enough to read, but not too big that they wouldn't fit. See photo below:



While the students have been with each other for the last 2 years and know each other pretty well, I wanted to find out more about them. It is so easy for teachers (and other students) to judge each other initially based on appearances. Whether we like to admit it or not, the first day we automatically make lists in our minds about which students are going to be easy to handle, which ones are going to be very into athletics, which students are going to need extra pushing, etc... To help all of us get to know more about each other beyond face value, I came up with a game/scavenger hunt where the students were given 10 post its. They had to go around the room and locate the 10 different "I Like..." statements such as I Like Traveling, I Like My Family, and others. If they were able to relate to the statement, they wrote their name on the post it, and added it underneath the poster. Once all post its were used up, the students then got to go back around the room with a graph and document how many people related to each of the I Like statements.






Our next activity for the first week of school was in relation to our first PYP Unit of Inquiry in which we are going to study Healthy Choices related to our well being (WHO WE ARE). Similar to the idea of a Taxonomy pyramid, we had a discussion about what we felt was important to us at school, and what was not so important. While we all know school is important, it is our individual choices about our day that help shape who we are and what we enjoy. I am hopeful that at the end of the year when we do this activity again, that the students might have changed their ideas. 

I provided each student with a brainstorming notebook page to list things they felt were important to them about their school day, and things that were not important. I also provided them with a word bank with photos (these are second language learners). After making their lists, the students were given an A3 pyramid; at the top was to be the most important thing to them, the bottom was things that were not important, and the middle was to be filled with things that are still important but aren't the most.


 


If you would like to get your own copies of these activities click the links below!

Getting to Know You Click Here
What Is Important to Me About School Click Here

As I finish up this post, I leave you with these thoughts?


Does "Getting to Know You" only mean name, age, and birthday?

Do you judge your students on face value, and if so what can you do to move away from that?

Once you know more about your students, what do you do with that information? Does it affect your planning in terms of differentiating?







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