To help get you in the back-to-school spirit – and maybe pick up some great ideas along the way – we recently started a Back-to-School Question of the Week series on Facebook. This is an opportunity for you to share your thoughts with your virtual colleagues around some key back-to-school questions. We wanted to share some of these responses with our blog readers.
Check back each week for highlights of the past week’s question and responses. We hope you’ll join in the conversation by either adding your ideas to our blog or our Facebook page.
Last week’s question: What do you do in the beginning of the school year to create your classroom culture?
- “Create a parent letter to elicit important information about the child. Have children create goals and dreams, then classroom rules that will allow the students to achieve the goals. Create curriculum that is inquiry based. Make sure that there is academic choice for all activities. Morning Meetings a la Responsive Classroom, to include authentic curriculum.”
- “I created a ‘Do I Know You Well Enough To Teach You’ questionnaire that ask silly, but revealing questions. We talk about what it means to be a “Hamptonian” which is what all of my students are called since I am Mrs. (Momma) Hampton. I take pictures of my students when they are reading on the floor, working in writing groups, sitting at their desks, etc. and those pics are displayed on our classroom bulletin board to emphasize the idea that this is “our” room, our community. I absolutely ♥ the first week of school and the weeks following.
- “I adapted the compass points activity from the [All Kinds of Minds] Schools Attuned course… The H.S. students respond well and it starts them thinking and talking about what their learning profile is and what they need to be successful.” NOTE FROM ALL KINDS OF MINDS: In this activity, participants are asked to identify themselves as North (structure), South (meaning), East (action) and West (caring) and, in small groups, to consider their own learning/working needs as well as the needs of those identifying with other “directions.” A brief discussion follows. This activity results in a set of ground rules for the group.
- “Aware that she was facing a difficult class, one teacher I know wrote one thing on the whiteboard on the first day: ‘We are all new.’ (and then went into Responsive Classroom mode to get the kids to elaborate on what they thought that meant and what it would mean for them as they participated in creating a learning community in their class.”
To read more, visit our Facebook page and look for our August 19th entry. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a member to view the page! Or, if you’ve got an idea to share, leave a comment below.