Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Days of School

The first week is in the books! We did a lot getting our ISNs set up and taking surveys to learn about ourselves. I have done the personality color, multiple intelligences, and learning style surveys for the last couple of years (via Everybody Is a Genius, of course!) We use those to talk about how to help ourselves not only learn and study but to get along with others in our groups. The kids really get into it once they know their color!

I do lots of team building activities the first week. It is a great way to ease them back from summer and get them working together before we do math. It also gives me a chance to start building relationships with them. Teaching at an inner city school is mostly about classroom management and I know for me, these relationships are the key to the trust that has to be felt in my room. 

For the first week, I have a different way for them to sit written on the board each day: ABC order first name, hair length, height, birthday, shoe size. This gives me lots of insight! Who the leaders are, who is just going to sit back and let someone tell them where to sit, who is going to not say anything and mess up the order when they are still standing at the end! It also helps see the dynamics before I make the seating chart. 

I have done the usuals that are all over Pinterest: the marshmallow challenge, building an index card tower that holds a bear, but this year I needed something different. I found this activity on a science teacher's blog and loved it because my oldest real kid is Sam and I knew I would be able to play that up. 

To set the stage...Sam is riding along in his bay boat when a big wave comes and turns the boat over. His life preserver is under the boat and he needs it around his waist to save him! 

The groups of 4 could only use the paper clips to touch anything. They had to first get the life preserver from under the boat without Sam falling in the water. 

Next, they had to figure out a way to get the life preserver around Sam's waist. I had to make a big deal about them not being able to just stick the paper clip in him! 

They actually used a lot of different strategies and only one group all day couldn't do it. 
They were excited when they figured it out and it was a great way to start the year working together! 

So that is my first week! No math, just a lot of getting to know each other and how to play together nicely!

I hope your first week and every day after is amazing! 



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