Be the reason someone smiles today…Is the quote that is on my rolling whiteboard in my room for when students come in to open house. I have to back up and mention what I try to do during open house as it is the groundwork for how the school year starts.
I teach 8th grade math and science with about 56 students and have a coteacher that teaches the same students for ELA and SS. We have a very unique opportunity in 8th grade to build a very strong community of learners. This will be my 6th year (whoa…) of partnering with this amazing person. We have grown to create quite the environment for our students to succeed. We value building a community of learners and the first week of school reflects that!
Open house: we partner up together. The students and the families meet us together. We are a team. We want them to see that starting out. This year is different. We won’t be in our rooms we will be outside doing a cookout! Families will go to our rooms, see our information and tell them to meet us outside for burger or a brat to support our schools best buddy program! We want the students to feel comfortable meeting us and the informal the better for our 8th grade students. This is the first year of this part and will let you know if it is a peak or a valley!
First week: as I mentioned before, we are a team. We value this to the utmost for our students so much that we actually do the first four days with a whole group. There are some smaller nuts and bolts that we must do in separate classrooms but 90% of the time we do the “first week stuff” as a whole group.
A few of the highlights:
CPR – circle of power and respect – I will make a blog on this later but it is a core foundation for our base. We do it each and every day!
Acknowledgments – we get into a large circle and acknowledge people that help us during the first week of school
Hopes – letters to themselves about where they want to go
Growth mindset activities: team building while learning the value in making mistakes
Norms: students write our norms for the year
Little things: go to https://www.littlethings.com we have students write down a favorite little thing about them to share
I could go on and on… but as you can see there is very little academic pieces. We believe it is like a train track or a plane… you need to lay the railroad before you can run the train or you need to build the plane before you can fly it. Because… let’s be honest, it would be extremely hard to build a plane while flying it…
Some may think that we spend too much time on building our community, but we would spend even more time if we could. It is a foundation.
I will be doing a mindset Monday where I frame a quote….