Welcome back to a new school year! I know many of you are just now getting into “school mode”, but those of us that teach at year round schools have been at it since the beginning of June.
This year I am still teaching 5th grade, but a HUGE change has occurred. I am now team teaching with an amazing colleague so that I can focus my instruction on my great loves: social studies and language arts. Whoohoo for me! We are five weeks in and so far, I’m loving it. I already can’t imagine going back to planning lessons for ALL subjects. No thank you.
Anyway, my first post is just going to share a couple of fun “intro” activities I did with my students this year. (I’ll share more in my next post.)
The first activity of the 1st day was our “Welcome to 5th grade” Survival Guides. My previous class made a survival guide for each incoming student. I placed on guide on each student’s desk and we did a Round Robin read. I let each student read a guide for 2 minutes (they weren’t that long) and then yelled “Pass!” so they passed the guide to the person on their left. Another 2 minutes, then “pass”….until everyone had read multiple survival guides. I then had the groups share their thoughts about 5th grade with their team. As they discussed, I placed a small piece of chart paper on each teams’ desks. They had to come up with one prediction statement about their 5th grade year. Some needed sentence frames so I posted them. For example, “I predict 5th grade will be _____ because ______.” Or “After reading these survival guides, I predict 5th grade ________.”
I prefer to do activities like this as opposed to handing out a packet of rules/routines and reading through it. This way, the students can actually get a feel of how the class will operate and my rules/routines are demonstrated in action. No need for long lectures.
Click on this link to see the survival guide– End of Year Project
Next, the students were to create “Hands and Feet Art”. This activity is done for two reasons: it’s an ice breaker for students to work closely with a partner and it the results are always hilarious. I love being able to post the final products for Parent Information Night. (I’ll post photos soon.)
The last activity was the “House of Cards Challenge”. I have a poster in my classroom that says….”It’s okay to F.A.I.L. First Attempt in Learning”. I like to give the kids a challenge that I know they will not be able to figure out or succeed in their first try. I use this as a way to let my students know that it is OKAY TO FAIL!! What is most important in any task is our attitude, our plan of attack, and our perseverance.
So the first challenge of the year was to use a deck of cards to build the tallest structure. That was it. No other rules except they had to work with their partner. The results are always entertaining. We did this the first day and again on day 2 and 3. The kids, of course, got better and better. I even assigned a follow up for homework: they had to find a strategy of how to build a house of cards, whether that was online or asking a family member. They loved it! And they got better!
Happy beginning of the year everyone— Until next time…