Seven Back to School Week Activities to Get to Know Your Students

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Sorry I lied. This post is not a list. People like lists though so I thought I’d piggy back the concept. I have a bizarre sense of humour. To be honest, I didn’t have a title.

It’s back to school time as noted by every article in my zite feed. I’ve read countless lists this week on what to do to get to know my students as if you can quantify a means to truly understand a thirteen year old in five days. I always chuckle.

My back to school week will focus on passion based learning and me simply conversing with kids. No fancy itinery, no check list to complete.

As I see it, watching students explore their interests is a significant way to begin to try to get to know them. I won’t know them by the end of next week. Not even close. Whose to say I really know them by the end of June. Kids that age are constantly changing.

I encourage other teachers out there to “let go” this week in terms of “control”. I loathe the word and use the quotation marks to reduce the impact of that word. The first week back is known as the honeymoon stage in education and is already always the quietest week so why not capitalize on that and let students explore their interests.

Have students design their class layout. Don’t make groups and rows because it works for you. Do what works for them. It’s their learning space, not yours.

This week we will do some coding, explore the curriculum as a group to determine learning goals and establish community standards.

That’s my new term. Community standards. Not classroom rules or expectations but standards. My neighbours at home keep me accountable for my duties (yard cleanup etc.) so the choice of words makes sense to me in the classroom. After all it is a community I wish to develop. One in which we look after each other.

On that topic – I am not the mayor of this community. I won’t even run for office. Instead I am more like the secretary or treasurer. One who handles day to day items and keeps the focus where it should be. One who facilitates meetings and conferences and shares feedback.

Heck, me as a mayor? I wouldn’t vote for me. There’s a much smarter thirteen year old entering my class next week who can sail that ship!

Let the learning begin! Not just for the twenty four grade eights I have coming my way, but for me. I love to learn from them. And a lot has changed since June. Just check your social media feed, you’ll see.

Happy Labour Day weekend, folks.
-B

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