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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting to Know Students

A new school year means a roomful of new faces and new names. It's challenging to master one hundred or more names within a short time span. Yet, building relationships and safe classroom environments for learning depend upon knowing students, their names, and their backgrounds. Here are some activities to help conquer names and to share students' background information. 

1. Let students create a Road of Life map with at least eight events they would like to share with classmates. Road of Life maps can focus on hobbies, learning adventures, sports, and more. If using folders, students can draw their maps on fronts or backs so that storytelling and writing ideas are always near. For the complete lesson plan, see A Common Core Approach to Narrative Writing. Here are some student samples that can be used as models, and be sure to build your own map to introduce yourself to students:

2. Use compare and contrast to help classmates learn about one another. In pairs, students choose topics, such as hobbies or physical characteristics, complete brainstorming/pre-writing activities, and write a group essay. Meaningful discussions about backgrounds and skills take place as students share information. Take a look at My Best Friend: A Compare and Contrast Essay Assignment:

3. Introduce students to one another and to different genres with Multigenre Writing in the Classroom. Students work in pairs, interview each other, and create three multigenre pieces to introduce their partners to classmates. This fun assignment can be used to access students' technology skills if computers are available.

For more ideas on getting to know students, visit my Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher's Notebook storefront (not all lessons have been uploaded to TN as of this date).

Happy Back-to-School 
from the
Educator Helper!

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