So I made it! I just completed my first week back to school (year round). There are so many activities to post, but I’m short on time so I’ll have to settle for one. Like many teachers, my first week back to school I plan many team building/partner activities. I am trying to build a community of learners that feels comfortable not only share their opinions, but also to LISTEN and collaborate with others.
This particular activity went really well. I call it “What makes a great teacher?” I propose this question to all my students and distribute the following handout.
The students read over this list silently, while I read it aloud. The lines on the bottom on the handout are there to allow the students to add any other qualities they feel are missing from the list. Next, the students must circle what they believe to be the top 5 qualities a great teacher must have. They are warned to choose carefully because they will have to defend their reasoning for choosing one quality over another.
I then have the students work with one partner. Each person shares their list and their task is to create a new top 5 list on a post-it. It’s awesome to hear the discussions that take place, trying to convince one another to agree on “their” qualities. After this is complete, I then reveal the final, most difficult challenge. They must share with the team (6 students) and agree upon a top 5 list all together. A couple students were already looking nervous because they knew how difficult is was to decide previously and that was working with just ONE student! 🙂 *Tip: It’s helpful to have some sentence frames up guiding the students how to speak in a group i.e. I agree with _________ because _________. In my opinion, _________ is an important quality because of _________.
See the picture below for the discussions taking place. Exciting!
After each team wrote their top 5 qualities on some chart paper, they attached all three post-its to the paper. I like to see the actual work on the final product. I think it’s neat to see the thinking that goes on along the way.
Check out the lists. I had one student from each team share out with the class and then picked a couple teams randomly to explain their thoughts in choosing one of the qualities. For example, many of the students had “does not assign much homework” so they had to defend that. Also, the team that chose “young” and “good looking” (there’s always one group in the class, isn’t there?), had to defend and/or explain their reasoning. Although it was funny, they realized they must be serious and if they choose something in this class, they will be required to defend it.
I’ll post pictures of my new classroom set up soon. I love it! Was able to put in a couch AND a little reading cave. It’s already getting some love from the students.