In This Class, We Are…

At the time that I am writing this, I STILL HAVEN’T SEEN MY CLASSROOM. It’s August 3rd, guys. I’m getting antsy. Anyway, if I have room, I want to have a display that says: “In P?, We Are…” (p? = portable whatever). Still don’t know my portable number.

Then I want to have these words written individually with colored background:

creative (will use imagination in writing)

responsible (will take responsibility for actions, both academic and behaviorally)

successful (WILL get good grades and succeed as a student)

brave (will take risks and not be afraid to make mistakes)

resilient (will make mistakes but will recover)

hard-working (will work hard to overcome any and all barriers)

supportive (will help other classmates)

kind (will make all efforts to be nice – always)

exceptional (will not accept mediocrity)

Rather than telling kids that this is how they’re going to be, I want them to take ownership of it. I’ll have mini lessons and anecdotes throughout the first few weeks to teach these expectations, but here is an idea:

1. Pass out slips of paper that have these words and their definitions. All parts are separate, so words and definitions are all mixed together. Give each group of students an envelope with a complete set.

2. Have students match words and definitions (so they know what the words mean). Check that all words are matched correctly.

3. On a small piece of paper, have them draw a line down the middle and write the words in one of two columns: “I already am…” or “I struggle to be…” This paper will be turned in.

4.  Assign one word per student. Give each student a small-ish piece of paper for them to write a synonym and draw a picture. (They learn “synonym” and get to represent the idea in a creative way.) Finished mini-posters will be hung up around the room.

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Grow Your Brain

Donna Wilson of Edutopia wrote an article about brain plasticity and teaching kids about how you get smarter. I definitely want to start the year off teaching students how they learn and that they must Grow Their Brain by trying hard, practicing, and pushing themselves, because no matter how “bad” students are at a subject, they CAN get better and smarter.

I definitely need to research this more, but I want to present some information about this subject to get students interested, and then maybe I’ll “turn them loose” to research, which will allow me to teach research skills and note taking. They can work together and learn collaboration, then write about and present the information to practice writing and public speaking.

I also want to have a big poster in my room that says GROW YOUR BRAIN.