I did two first day activities: I used the M & M activity to let the kids get to know each other a bit. The prompt I used for a short (10-15 minute), in-class, timed write to give the students a chance to privately tell me things about themselves that they thought might be helpful for me to know. I made it very clear that these were completely confidential and would not be shared in any way. For both of them I shared first to model what was looking for and to let them get to know me a bit.
Every year I change it up. This year I had each student create a notecard. I used the back side of a lined index card. On the card they wrote the following:
- On the top: their name, as it appears in our grading system
- Line 1: How would you like to be addressed in class?
- Lines 2-3: Why are you here?
- Lines 4-5: What are two of your short-term goals?
- Lines 6-7: What are your long term goals?
- Line 8: What do you plan on accomplishing while you are here?
- Finally: What obstacles do you have and how do you plan to overcome those obstacles so you can achieve your goals?
For classwork the next day and/or homework for my honors kiddos, I had them create six-word memoirs.
I had them brainstorm writing facts about themselves and adjectives that describe their personality. Next they picked words from their brainstorm to write 3 versions of a six-word-memoir and looked at mentor texts. Finally, I had them create memes with their faces for the image and the memoir for the text. They were to size their memes to fit on the back of the index card. The next day in class they each presented their memes and they were powerful, hilarious, entertaining and incredibly insightful into their persona.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
"Isolation is a sign of desperation."
"When I was little couldn't Inglish."
"How bad do you want it?"
"A Frozen but chosen blue ocean."
"Fifteen years of, 'Where's my charger?'"
"Sun's shining and so are you."
Of course, I made my own as a sample and to give the students a chance to get to know me. Here is mine:
I have already (we're on day 5) used these notecards in multiple ways:
- They allowed me to get to know the students
- I have used them to group the students
- I have asked the students to use them for an exit task - http://roselynrobison.blogspot.com/2015/09/exit-task-board.html
- They have served as a reminder to my students of their goals/reasons to be here.
- The pictures serve as a reminder to me for names, etc.