Ok, so it's Saturday and I'm a little late to the party, but hey, better late than never, right? It's time to link up with:
We started off the week with this awesome Getting to Know My Teacher Powerpoint Activity from The Techie Teacher where students predicted the answers to different questions about me. It was a great way to share a bit about myself. The students were engaged because they wanted to know if their predictions were right and I loved hearing their guesses for each one! This will now be a staple back to school activity for me!
Students participated in an activity called Toothpaste Words. In this activity, students work in groups and are first given a tube of toothpaste and told to squeeze out as much as they can. After about 5 minutes, they are given toothpicks and told that they need to put all of that toothpaste back in! After we clean up our mess, students return to their seats. We then have a very honest discussion about words that are hurtful and I put them all on the board (except the really bad ones). This year, my students shared more than 50 words that had hurt their feelings at one time or another. Once we had our list, I labeled them "Toothpaste Words" and asked students to consider if they had used one before. I asked what happened when we tried to put all of the toothpaste back in. Students quickly realized how this represents that once we have said something negative, it is hard to take it back, just as it was hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube. We talked about how our words can really make a difference and that we want to be remembered for positive actions. This has always been a powerful activity during the first week. It really gets students thinking about their words and actions.
This summer I stocked up on new books. By the time students are in fifth grade, they've already heard First Day Jitters and How I've Spent My Summer Vacation, so I wanted something else that would get us off to a good start. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes is perfect for a first read-aloud because it's about knowing that it's ok to make a mistake. I always tell students that they are human, they will make mistakes. I also tell them that I am human, and I make at least one mistake a day (I must get tongue-tied at least 5 times a day). Reading this aloud naturally led to a discussion about how our classroom needs to be a place where we feel like it's acceptable to make mistakes. We talked about how important it is to never make anyone feel uncomfortable because they've made a mistake. Another win!
When students needed a break from my talking about rules, expectations, and all that jazz, I let them color. But I didn't let them color just anything. I found these wonderful Quotes Coloring Sheets at Doodle Art Alley. I love to display as much student-created work as possible because I want students to feel like it is their classroom, not MY classroom. This gave me an easy way to decorate my cupboards with positive messages that are personalized by each student! I could not be happier with the outcome!
I'm happy to report that it was a wonderful first week and that my group is AWESOME! I just know we're going to have a fantastic year!