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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You Are a Musician

I had a minor epiphany while watching middle school orchestras perform: being a good student is a lot like being a good musician. I can’t figure out how to insert this as a picture, but here is a link to a World document that could be converted into a classroom poster. You are a Musician

I think that teaching various behaviors and expectations using this analogy could be really powerful even if not all kiddos are musicians. I, myself, am a musician and am quite passionate about it, so I think that passion could help interest students and also help them understand certain behaviors, like walking silently in the halls.

This post is the first in a series called Gettin’ Serious. Now that I’m applying for actual teaching jobs, I need to start getting serious about how I’ll really run my classroom.