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.
Our first question of the series, “How do you get to know your new students’ strengths, weaknesses, and affinities?” sparked a lively exchange of great ideas, and we wanted to share some of these responses with you, 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: How do you get to know your new students’ strengths, weaknesses, and affinities?
“Wondering as a parent if I should write up things about my son, that I want his middle school teachers to know about him? Is helpful or just another thing for the teachers with already too much to do?”
“It’s very helpful if you provide that kind of information; I teach middle school and send a survey/questionnaire to parents so I get to know the students better; parents’ input and information is invaluable when it comes to teaching in the classroom!”
“Affinity surveys for our middle schoolers to fill out are a good way to get to know our students. There are many on the web, but can be tailored to fit the needs of individual teachers. Not only obvious questions like those about strengths, needs, affinities, but ones like where in the room do you like to sit? where do you learn best? what kind of learner are you (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc)? Answers to these questions can really tell a teacher volumes about their new students.”
“Let teachers know your child’s learning style. Do they learn through observing, reading, hands on, hearing. Do they need to sit where there are less distractions? Let them know if your child is sensitive to lights, loud noise, smells. If your child has an IEP. Be sure to let them know the best way for you to communicate with them, through notes home, phone calls, email.”
“I’m a 1st grade teacher and I have my children bring in “treasure bags” filled with 3 items that tell me something about them. I have each child sit next to me as I open their treasure bag and have them share with me and their classmates why they brought each item. I then take a picture of each child with his or her treasures and use them for our September scrapbook.”
“I teach grade six and I have students fill out a sheet “all about me” (this sheet has information on their likes and dislikes as well as information regarding their learning styles from previous multiple intelligence activity). Then … they each have a day designated to them where they bring in various items that help us get to know them and they decorate a small bulletin board in the classroom with these items and their sheet. They present themselves to the class and the bulletin board stays up for a set amount of time …”
“As a parent of two identified children in our system in Ontario I have found writing a letter from the student’s voice to be helpful in letting the teachers know both special interests, fears, areas of strength and weakness. I keep it brief… and I involve my kids because it is their letter to their teacher and their voice is integral to both informing and promoting self-advocacy …”
“One thing I did was ask students, using whatever production style they could best use, (write, draw, tell, perform) their ideal week in school. It gave me a great sense of what they felt they would excel at, their interests and I could infer a great deal of where they might be challenged.”
To read more, visit our Facebook page and look for our August 12th 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.
6 thoughts on “Facebook Back-to-School Question of the Week”
an excellent list. Two things jump out: 1) most commenting teachers want to hear the child describe what works for him or her. 2) there is a request for high description. Letters from parents to teachers with attributions and generalizations about the child tell more about how a parent is organizing the data, and not that much actual information about the child.
Yes, gather and share data–everybody: parent, teacher, student.
I have my parents fill out a questionnaire about their child. This helps a great deal. I also have my students use a graphic organizer to tell me about themselves.
Nice, Jane. Thank you. What grade level?
There is a free learning styles questionaire on-line for students to take. It only takes about three minutes and you can find out each student’s modality. This is helpful in giving choices for projects, setting up centers, and differentiating lessons. I also I find the parents are interested in this when they come for conferences.
What is the address of the online questionnaire.? Thanks for the tip!
Yea, June and Jane. This little magic wand could make a big difference. Thank you.