Sunday, August 11, 2013

B2S and Classroom Communities

Last week was back to school and I have to say the year is off to a great start! :)
It was so nice to see everyone and catch up!
But most of all, it was great to no longer be the new person at my schools! lol

The first day back was the normal back to school business in the morning and the afternoon was spent preparing for my presentation and meeting with one of my new teams.

Day two involved a morning of learning about writers workshop and projecting units of study from Matt Glover who I have posted about numerous times.  The afternoon was time for me to present!  My principal and I did a review of balanced literacy with a focus on writing workshop.  I love that we were able to give the teachers some time to capture writing in their own journals as well as time to have conversations about mentor texts they can use to help teach writing.

My real reason for this post is to share a conversation I had with a group of teachers at one of my schools.
This team consist of almost brand new teachers.
I am so excited that they wanted to meet with me to discuss and share ideas about B2S.
They had some great questions and I am looking forward to working with them!
They are an eager team and I know they will be amazing!

We were talking about the importance of classroom communities and discussed some get to know you activities to help build strong relationships as well as team building.

One activity we talked about was using inside/outside circles.
This could be used at any point in the year, but in the beginning it is a great get to know each other activity.
You divide you students into two equal (if you can) groups.
One group forms a close circle facing out.
The other group forms a circle around them facing in.
The teacher asks a question (What was your favorite summer activity? What is a hobby?  What is your favorite book? etc.)
The students directly facing each other will take turns sharing their answers.
The teacher will have one circle (inner or outer) rotate at least one space and ask another question.
Continue process.

Another activity was creating team/group banners.
Cut out strips of poster paper (maybe 10" by 15" or whatever size you like).
Draw lines dividing the paper into 4-5 sections.
Have the people sitting together decide on a team name and write it in the top section. (You can definitely set parameters for their names.)
The next sections will be topics like favorite sport, hobby, book, season, etc.
These sections can really be topics of your choice but each student has to individually draw their favorite in the specified section.
So if the section is favorite sport, I might draw a baseball and bat.  Another member of my team might draw a soccer ball.
It's a great way to get to know the people you will be working closely with.

Here are some ideas that I found on Pinterest:
(I have used some of these before but some are brand new!)
Click on the image to read more about each.

I could go on an on with back to school activities to help you and your students get to know each other!  Pinterest has so many ideas.
Hope these ideas are helpful!

What back to school activities do you do to get to know your class?
I would love to hear them!

Antoinette :)

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